How to Manage both Tasks AND Notes/Reference: Possible Within OF? Or at Least with an Omni Product? Or How?


Thanks Zzamboni and thanks Oogle!

One more update: I have been continuing to refine my Projects list today, adding On-Hold single action lists within each folder for notes and projects-in-waiting closely related to that folder. I am also using my new Reference context freely–thanks Stephen. The shorter Context list is great (I went from 20 to 9) and makes it easy to clean up my inbox. I also created a Context called “keep to see” which I use for things I want to see frequently, like inspirational quotes, that are not tasks per se.

It looks like this way of using OF is going to work well for me. My notes are the quick simple type that I like to email into OF, such as leads and links to follow up on. And I’ve realized that many of my notes become tasks and vica versa, so I like having them all in the same program. I’m glad there was a way to make it work.


Sorry for taking a while to respond.

I too keep On-Hold single action lists within each folder for the same reasons you wrote. My Reference List folder is for reference lists not related to a project.

My take on Contexts… For a week, write down when and why you decide to work on each task. I found that I was batching tasks: responding to all emails, all my research , coding, and brainstorming, researching answers to client questions. I have the luxury at my job that I can batch together my tasks since context switching is so expensive time and energy wise.


Thanks for the helpful take on Contexts! I am enjoying OF so much, and getting to know it better through using it for notes as well as tasks.


I have tried multiple apps for reference material over the years including using the notes in Omnifocus, taskpaper, other text based apps, The defunct Circus Ponies Notebook, its comepetitor Notetaker, Workflowy then Dynalist, Evernote, Curio, various outliners…

I eventually l settled for Microsoft OneNote. The app is available for both Mac and IOS and I find it to be very accessible. I like the ability to break down all of the reference material into tabs and pages; the ability to fold notes into headings within the reference material; the use of tags; the ability to drop in photos, docs, links; the ability to create bullet point and numbered lists; outlining within the notes; the ability to create tables; the ability to search across notebooks, and the ease of sharing notes as needed with others by exporting. You can also draw and highlight! Finally, call me old fashioned, but I like the somewhat skeuomorphic design of the app resembling the tabs of a paper notebook with optionally lined pages.

I have created two different notebooks, one for work and one for personal use. I have found the syncing to be reliable. I tried the app Outline which is a similar app to Onenote, but allows data to be kept local. I did not find it to be as reliable as Onenote, and it does not support the iphone.

The bottom line is that I settled on Omnifocus because of the way it allows me to structure my task data the way I like. I find that Onenote allows a similar structure that works best for my mind. It allows me to quickly jump to reference data as needed on my laptop, iphone, or ipad, and presents my data in a visually pleasing format.

I should also add that the app is getting somewhat regular updates.


You may have this sorters out by now?

I do not See anyone mention DEVONthink!? I’ve used Evernote for years but I cancelled because I do not like it anymore.
In DEVONthink your files, notes etc. are stored in databases locally on your computer and I find it very convenient to not need to manage the folder structure etc.

You may download a trail and see what you think.

I’m not affiliated with DEVONthink in any way. Just wanted to let you know. 🐸

Edit: did see now that you mentioned it. Sorry. It’s still a tips though.


Hi Annie -

I have the exact same question as you but two years later. Your posts were from December, 2016 - do you still use the same system for storing both tasks and reference items?