How to deal with a paper planner and Omnifocus

Hello all,
A while ago I met with my doctor and we talked about stress. I was asked to lay off my digital calender, digital to-dolists and such, a least for a while. Instead I was asked to use paper planners (like Filofax, Franklin or Time/System) those are no strangers to me, I used them in the 90:s - but that was before our digital age, internet, e-mail etc.

When it comes to Omnifocus I was thinking of using the planners “master list” for Omnifocus stuff. But it’s a bit tricky to print any lists from Omnifocus in any other size than letter/A4.

Is there anybody else here that has the similar thoughts, and how have you solved it for you?

Any other challenges you have gone through when trying to adjust to a mix between a paper planner and OmniFocus and or a digital calender?

I did think about this a while back…

TL;DR. I use OmniFocus as my master list. It holds all my projects and tasks in one place. At the end of the day, I review OmniFocus to update it and check off completed tasks. Then I visit my perspective showing available actions and choose 3 tasks to work on tomorrow. I write those 3 chosen tasks in my Bullet Journal. I also select one Big Rock project to focus on tomorrow.

When I return tomorrow, I already have my list of things to do. I reduce anxiety because I already have my 3 tasks and 1 Big Rock. Less decision making to do throughout the day. If I finish my 3 tasks and big rock, I’ll dip back into OmniFocus to choose 3 more. It usually doesn’t happen because daily interruptions and the daily events will give me more than enough work for me to handle.

The less time I spend in my task manager, the more time I have doing the actual work. If I return to my task manager, I’ll have too much anxiety because there are too many tasks to choose from. All are important but I just need to pick a few and start working.

OmniFocus is my source of truth.My BuJo is my daily driver.

I’ve been using it for over a year now and it’s worked out well for me. YMMV.


Every morning I review my current task/project list and transfer a few to my notebook. During the day I will try to get those done. And any notes in the notebook from the previous day go into omnifocus at that time.

Omnifocus is where all my tasks and projects live on my iPad pro.
But during the day I use my notebook for capturing, meeting notes, and so on.

So in a way my notebook is my inbox, and omnifocus my GTD trusted system.
I find this very comfortable and relaxing.


Wow… thank you so much. You gave me some spot on ideas here!

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The idea is to open OmniFocus only for planning and reviewing. Never work out of OmniFocus. There’s a lot of distraction in our task manager with all the projects and tasks providing a sense of overwhelm. I prefer to plan tomorrow by looking at OmniFocus and picking the one Big Rock and/or the 3-5 tasks I want to work on tomorrow. I write those down in the BuJo. When tomorrow comes, I already know what I want to do. I do keep OmniFocus open on my Mac but not visible. This allows me to do quick entry if I want to capture something. The other easy thing to do is to use Siri on any Apple device to capture something for later processing.

“Hey Siri. Remind me to buy milk in OmniFocus”


I too use OmniFocus similar to wilsonng. However, my creation, tracking, and updating of projects/tasks is bit spread out but it works form me. I’m a Mac user, so I have an iPad Pro, MacBook, and iMac; hence I use Apple products like ical and reminder.

So, I copy projects and they’re suspense dates to reminder and set the dates. I still enter my progress and issues in the notes portion of the task in OmniFocus. Yes, this takes time, but spending that time keeps me from overextending and promotes better time management for me.

I think we need project management-like reminder and tracking functionality with alerts in OmniFocus. In addition, I’d love to print in color so I wouldn’t have to manually highlight past due tasks when I print my projects from OmniFocus.

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I use OF (or Things, as I am now trialling that) alongside a Bullet Journal. a digital task manager is great because I can plan my month with it, and schedule the time period when I want to work on specific projects with it. OF/Things is my air traffic control screen. I’ll use it to navigate what I need to be doing, and use my BJ to focus on the things I want to be doing today.

I prefer using a plain paper notebook, rather than a FiloFax or similar, because it’s lack of obvious structure pairs nicely with the very structured nature of OF/Things. Using a paper-based format with printed parameters, would just confuse me.

Like @Singinghound, I didn’t care for the structured planners as much. I did draw inspiration from them and created my own structured page. It took a few months of trialing to find one that fits me. I used a discbound notebook so I can easily replace pages as I go. As the seasons go, I’m sure I’ll tweak it every now and then to fit whatever current demands that Life places on me.

At the moment, it’s a two page spread with a one week schedule on one side and then the list of 10-15 tasks on the other side. I put major deadlines or appointments in the schedule. At the end of the day, I choose 1-3 tasks from the task page and put it on tomorrow. I wake up the next day and I already have my day’s appointments and tasks to work on,

I’ll take a shot of it when I return to the office later.

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