July 19, 2017
I’ve been using OmniFocus since it was Kinkless GTD. I’ve recommended it to friends and family, and it’s been running my life for years.
Three weeks ago, I shut down my OmniFocus system and moved to Things3. I’m really happy now. This isn’t a shot at Omni. I think they make great software.
I’m posting this because moving to Things made me realize that my mind is not fundamentally compatible with GTD. I’m posting this today in case there are other folks who are in the same boat but haven’t realized it yet. Maybe this post will help them.
I discovered that I am by nature goal oriented and focus-driven. I do my best work seeking out a target and focusing on attaining it. It feels like second nature to me.
GTD is about reducing your work to “cranking widgets” and being efficient about your actions. It’s biased towards accommodating constraints. It makes outcomes secondary, and scatters focus in favor of logistic efficiency.
This works brilliantly for some people. I have always struggled with it.
OmniFocus is by far the best digital implementation of GTD. It just feels contrary that the way my mind works. Using perspectives that can’t be directly reordered has been maddening. Repeatedly re-engineering a perspective for today’s work has been exhausting and dissatisfying.
I’ve been complaining for years about overdue items being hidden if blocked in a sequential project. Ironically, working in Things has revealed to me that I don’t need sequential projects.
You can follow GTD with Things, I just choose not to. I have projects and I have a daily list of things to do. Sometimes, I’ll use tags in today’s list to carve out a few things I want to isolate. When I’m at a field office I use the tags like GTD contexts. It does come in handy.
I like being able to easily and directly plan my day. If the day changes, it’s easy to move things around and change the plan. I can be goal oriented, and still do everything that I need to do.
The most surprising thing about the change to Things3 has been how much extra work I was doing to try to make GTD and OF2 work for me. I took the time to automate a few features in Things. I didn’t need to overhaul it, or fight its design daily. I get a lot more done in a day, because Things3 works more like my mind does.
I like the feeling that Items I capture won’t get lost in the morass. Things lets me move them to a future day, and I can see what else is on that day any time I want.
If you feel like you’re fighting GTD, and you’re constantly re-inventing your approach to OmniFocus, it might be time to change.