Some people use Omnifocus + other notebooks in paper, are you one of this?


I´ve seen to some places that there are people that they use Omnifocus (with projects, perspectives today…) but also they use a diary-notebook in paper.
Does Somebody know why have they/do they use format electronic (Omnifocus) + format paper (notebook)?
I would like to know some examples if somebody does this :)
Perhaps… Some persons use Omnifocus to personal life and notebook paper diary to work…?¿?¿?
A greetings.

Thanks! A greetings!

I use a journal to jot down notes or moods about what is happening around me. Some people will use a physical notebook/diary. I tend to use the Day One app that is synced between my iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Once every two weeks (some folks will do once a week), I will go through the journal entries of the recent past and start to look for patterns or points of frictions. I might start complaining about a certain activity that I hate doing. Or I might find a certain workflow difficult. I will contemplate it and possibly look for new workflows that will remedy a point of friction.

If I keep grumbling about that leaking faucet, I might make it a point to eventually enter it into OmniFocus. Or I encounter a process that I don’t do often (e.g. renewing my passport). Then I would probably enter an OmniFocus task to remind myself to “Document passport renewal workflow” so that I don’t have to worry about it the next time I have to renew.

Capture your feelings and moods. Capture an idea about a new workflow that may possibly make life easier for you. Sometimes I’ll see a friend doing something differently and have one of those Holy cows! Why didn’t I think of that?" moments. I’ll capture this moment of revelation in my journal. Then I would see this journal entry during my journal review. Then I’ll capture this task by entering it into OmniFocus.

At other times, I might grumble about hating to do certain admin paperwork. Maybe I need to document a workflow/checklist to assist me in completing the paperwork. Or I might just find a way to delegate it to someone else with better talents/background/time to do this task.

I use the journal as a way to capture possible new tasks or projects that can benefit me.



I like a lot your comment :)
I understand what you mean, but I’ve also seen it used instead of a day, people use Omnifocus + notebook planner to paper as well. This to me seems strange to use a notebook diary to task and also use OmniFocus to task. That is why I do not understand lol

oh, yes… there is another method that I use. It is a psychological trick I like to use. I use OmniFocus as a big bucket list of all the things I want to do. Tasks that are active (status = active) are available for me to do. Tasks that are not available (deferred to a future date or project status set to “On Hold”) will also be stored. I am confident that I have captured everything I want into OmniFocus. But I don’t work directly from OmniFocus.

When I look at my “Today” list (oftentimes it is a custom perspective that shows all available tasks that are due or flagged). It can be a list that will feature 5 - 20 available tasks that are due soon or flagged. I open my day planner and write down 3-5 tasks that are listed in the OmniFocus “Today” list. Then I focus myself and work on just those tasks. I check them off from my day planner and continue until all the tasks in the day planner are completed. Then I return back to OmniFocus and check those off. I can always refer back to OmniFocus and quickly write in another 3-5 new tasks to work on today.

I use the day calendar to capture and write new tasks or follow-up tasks that I think of. Sometimes, I’ll just enter it directly into the OmniFocus quick entry screen. Oftentimes, the day planner will have a notes section where i can write a journal entry as indicated in my previous post.

I use the day planner first because I feel that OmniFocus (and every other task management app) becomes a trap. If I see a long list of available tasks, I’ll fear that I have such a heavy workload and feel very bad about not being able to complete anything. If I use the day planner and write 3-5 tasks, I’ll essentially block everything else out and just work on this narrow set of tasks. I do have freedom in choosing the tasks from OmniFocus. By narrowing the focus down to 3-5 tasks, I’ll be able to work on these tasks before starting to work on other things.

If I keep OmniFocus visible on my computer, I’ll never get any work done. I will be playing with project editing and procrastinating. I will be in project planning mode for a long time inside OmniFocus. With the day planner, I know I am in “Do” mode.

The journal also allows me to record completed tasks. I can flip through the pages of the day planner to check on progress. I might be doing too many admin tasks and need to start focusing on special projects tasks. It seems to be easier to see it inside a day planner instead of trying to see it through an OmniFocus perspective.

In summary: OmniFocus is my dinner menu of choices. I choose several items to put on my plate. Then I focus on my plate. When I am done with my current plate, I go back to the buffet and pick a few more items to focus on next. Yes, I’m a hungry man!


I think a basic issue is that at a high level of detail, it doesn’t make sense to enter talks in OF for everything. For example, I’m revising some writing projects now and for each (roughly 12000 words each) I have a paper copy with notes, an annotated PDF, and a TaskPaper file with 60-80 items (as will as the document itself in Scrivener). If I tried to put it all in omnifocus I’d spend my day there instead of getting writing done. It’s less a matter of the medium (paper vs OF) and more a matter of efficient use of time when there are many many small tasks associated with a big project.


Very interesting. Can’t see myself going through 2 (or even 1) week of thoughts like this… it would be too time consuming I’m afraid. I do use journals, but not for that. :)


The notebook is an extra inbox to me. In situations where it would be inconvenient or disturbing to use a computer or an Iphone, or when I have neither available, it is fast and unobtrusive to register new tasks in the notebook. Then I regularly scan the notebook and transfer the tasks to Omnifocus.


I often write things out, as I find there is an experiential difference in how I relate to content that I handwrite as compared to content I type (or copy/paste, or which is the product of a script). I think I think about what I write differently, giving it more credibility or meaning.

To keep myself super focused, I have written out the contents of my Today perspective, or, as part of a weekly review, drawn out the week ahead in my agenda. Being able to put screens and phones away but still have my needed tasks and commitments at hand can be freeing.

As others have said, I will also write to take notes, journal, brainstorm, or mind map.




See also

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I use OmniFocus and Productivity Planner. I love them both!


The Productivity Planner looks like really nice. Thanks.

At the moment, I’m just using the hipster PDA (a stack of index card held together by a binder clip).

I was attempting to use the Emergent Task Planner (EMT). Free PDF downloads here:

Of course, there are professionally printed versions available on sale at Amazon as well.

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I don’t know if this thread is dead, but for what it’s worth:
I use a combination of bullet journal techniques in a single notebook for all capture around the office so that I don’t constantly refer to my phone. Notes get a dash, appointments get a little circle and tasks get a little dot. Then, at the end of each day/couple of days, I input all that into OF and calendar, and strike through the bullet to show that it’s in the system. It takes just minutes.
I have a couple of perspectives that I can print out the evening before so that I can execute.
It may seem cumbersome, but it means that I have a log of each day, and one place where everything is captured - thoughts, ideas, meetings, whatever. I can refer to them chronologically in the notebook. The act of writing them by hand is quicker for complex stuff and it forces me to think about what I’m doing.
On occasion, I use 3x5 cards for that and then scan them into my reference system, but I prefer my little notebook.
Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Any tweaks?


I’m experimenting with the bullet journal method - it hasn’t come naturally to me.

Alongside that, I use paper notebooks for various reasons:

  • In meetings, it’s sometimes less distracting to handwrite notes. There are people I work with that don’t like attendees sitting with screens and keyboards open.
  • If I take paper notes, I have no chance of being distracted by emails, messages and the other stuff that pops up in screen
  • Transcribing the notes later (I use Tinderbox as the note collection tool) embers the key information and often allows me to see relationships that might not have been obvious at the outset.
  • I like using a fountain pen - there’s something about using a good quality pen that seems to add weight to the writing. In some ways, taking notes is an excuse to handwrite.
  • I can take a small notebook anywhere. No-one gets annoyed if you pull a little notebook out at the dinner table and scribble a quick note. People (including me) get irritated if you pull ut your phone and start tapping. There’s a bit of a risk of hypocrisy too - for years we’ve been telling younger family members and friends to “put that away” in company. Same rule should apply to us, I think.

If it’s of any interest, I’m using a Midori Traveller’s Notebook as my main notebook - takes a variety of inserts. I have a small (Passport) size equivalent for my pocket when out and about.

I’m about to start experimenting with a slightly bigger (A5) equivalent to the Midori - I think I might prefer the slightly large pages


After being completely paperless for awhile I’ve started using a paper journal in addition to Omnifocus. I was skeptical whether it’d make sense, but I’m actually very happy with it so far after doing it for a few months.

I still use Omnifocus for nearly all capture, and long-term tracking. Where the paper journal comes in is at the end of each day, I spend 10-15 minutes planning out my following day in the journal by going through my calendar and Omnifocus (using a perspective showing all remaining flagged or due tasks, so I can see what’s up for tomorrow in addition to what’s already available). This has been a big help because I can start my day knowing exactly what I will be doing, and spend less time in OF and more time doing work.

I still find Omnifocus essential. I only use the paper journal as a temporary planner for that day. As I mentioned, I still use Omnifocus for capture (a lot time via mail drop), and all tracking of tasks and projects.

I also have to use Windows at work, and run OF on an iPad, and using the journal has allowed me to do less switching between devices.

Both David Sparks and Shawn Blanc have written about this approach recently.


I no longer use Omnifocus 2 on my Mackbook but I do use Omnifocus 2 Pro on my iPad Pro and my iPhone 8. I have more than 100 active projects in 25 project category folders.

I am not a luddite. I have more computer horsepower personally than most anyone I know.

I absolutely use a A5 size paper notebook during the day. In the morning and at night I reconcile the paper notebook with my Omnifocus app.

Why use a paper notebook in this digital age?

  1. Writing things down activates a different part of the brain and significantly improves understanding and retention. There are multiple studies to support this.
  2. Using a smart phone or an iPad during formal business meetings and other professional settings (at least in my industry) is distracting, irritating to others, and bordering on inappropriate.
  3. The format is totally flexible and inviting to thinking.
  4. Seeing only what I might be able to accomplish on one day is less overwhelming during my work day than seeing all of my lists in Omnifocus.
  5. Using high quality German pens and pencils and German notebooks is pleasing to me.

A few Google searches will reveal that the use of a paper notebook with a digital planning app is increasing.


I use both (Omnifocus and paper). Omnifocus has pretty much all of my items, but I prefer paper to write down quick action items (for example, if I am on the phone with a customer). I normally also use paper for stuff that I know I will have to take care of by the end of the day. No need to categorize it in Omnifocus in that case, I just write it down and strike it off before the end of the day.

I also use paper when I am meeting a customer face to face. I don’t like using electronic devices in meetings, paper allows me to be more personal and doesn’t create any barriers between me and the person in front of me (I also think it looks more professional, but that might be just my impression).

Also, I spend almost all of my day in front of a screen, going back to paper every now and then is always welcome (not to mention that I remember what I physically write down much better than what I type).