Using Tabs in OmniFocus

This is a quick post, however if you are an OmniFocus user on macOS and are unaware of the ability to use Tabs, this could well be worth two minutes of your time. 

Tabs has been a feature of OmniFocus since shortly after the release of macOS Sierra and allows you to view different perspectives/contexts/projects from one single OmniFocus window, via the use of tabbed windows. 

There are a variety of methods you can use to create a tab. Firstly, the trusty keyboard shortcut. ⌘+⌥+T will open this (although you can remap this using a tool such as Keyboard Maestro. Secondly, there is a + button to the right of the open tab. Clicking this opens a duplicate of the tab currently displayed. Finally, you can go to File - New Tab via the menu.

So how is this useful? Well, dependant on your own setup, there are many ways that you can find the benefit. I’ll briefly run through my own workflow. 

I have a Perspective called Dashboard that acts as my main focus of the days. Contained within this Dashboard are Flagged/Due Tasks. I love being able to refer to this Dashboard with the click of a button whenever I wish, so I always keep this as the far left tab. 

The tasks that are contained within this Dashboard are frequently meta-tasks (a system I took from Kourosh Dini’s excellent book Creating Flow With OmniFocus. Contained within the notes field of these tasks is a link to the Project that they relate to. If I decide to work on one of these Projects, I’ll be sure to open it in a new tab. Better still, you can right-click on the Project name and select Focus In New Tab to have the tab open in Focus mode. 

When I’ve completed work on that particular project, or my session of work has finished, I’ll close the tab using ⌘+W and move back to the Dashboard to identify the next task/project for attention. 

I’m working on a system at the moment that will automatically open the Inbox within a separate tab either on a timed interval, or when a tab other than Inbox is closed. The reason for this is that when I complete a session of work, I like to browse the Inbox to tidy up any thoughts I captured. 

It’s crude and rudimentary but it works for me really well. I’m looking to really work on using tabs to reduce the real estate on my screen and truly focus on the task at hand. There is scope for different workflows of various complexities out there and I’m enjoying the process of researching how others are currently working.