Firstly thank you to @Ken Case and everyone at Omnigroup for the chance to test OF4 and the years of good service Omnifocus has given me. That said I have decided that the direction of the new app is taking is not for me, I do not know whether the following will help, it is not criticism merely my own personal experience.
I have before stated that I was not happy with the inline inspector concept, for me it creates friction and introduces a number of extra taps to achieve anything, tap once, tap twice for this, tap again for that… etc. Yes I know I can use the standard OF3 type inspector but at the very least the new inline stuff creates a visual mess every time you select a task, I do not need to see if its recurring, tagged or basically anything. If I do I just want to use the old style inspector. I understand that Omnigroup has invested a lot of time into this concept however I am not sure it is the correct (again at least for me) the correct path.
Due to my unhappiness I decided a few weeks ago to test V4 not only against V3 but also the other main task managers with at least some comparability, namely 2Do, ToDoist and Things3 and in some ways after years with OF it was a revelation. Yes OF is more “powerful” in many ways, sequential projects, defer/due dates, infinite nesting, location reminders, the list is long, however…
My first comparison was with 2Do, an app I had used before, and in many ways comparable with OF in terms of features, if it was actively developed it would be a real competitor and possibly my personal choice, but it isn’t, it’s the province of a single developer and I just can not risk my business with it.
Next ToDoist. Good points, a lot of integration with other apps as basically it’s just a web wrapper. This is also it’s downfall, minimal keyboard shortcuts, and not a good Mac citizen. It also suffers from in my opinion a lack of information density, what was half a screen of tasks in OF was a full screen + in ToDoist which creates a sense of overwhelm and wasted space. What I also liked were the checklists within tasks, although I would have expected them to repeat with the parent which they did not. Also a plus, were headings, this allowed me to do away with a lot of small SAL’s and tags I had in in OF combining them into one for example personal list with headings for different categories. Lastly while ToDoist does not have folders it does allow projects to be nested under each other, and where in OF I had a folder of one SAL per client, when I wanted to create another temporary project for that client say for a site redesign I either needed to have a dedicated in progress section divorcing the two related projects or create a folder with the folder of SAl’s for the client, then move both projects into it. On completion of the site redesign I needed to reverse the process. ToDoist simply allowed me to nest the temporary project under the SAL, simpler and easier. Oh, ToDoists natural language support really helped when entering a lot (over 500) tasks initially.
Lastly Things3. OK here I hold my hands up and say I have tried Things3 before and I could not make it stick past a couple of hours, probable reason I tried to duplicate my OF folder/perspective setup without looking at the actual system Things3 uses so this time I decided to take everything apart and start from scratch. In all these tests I wanted to give each a fair shot so transferred manually all my data, ToDoist I used a pro plan (one month), in Things3 case it took including changing the organisation best part of 10 hours to get info in, the result, complete surprise. I realised this is an OF channel but honestly the “calmness” the app invoked was a shock, initially I thought I must have left things out, but it seemed I had less to do, which I don’t. Again the availability of in task checklists which in Things3 case do repeat with the task, and headings allowed me to create a much less busy and often fractured system. It’s a native Mac app, has extensive keyboard shortcuts and of course as many have stated has a pretty good UI. Downsides, no real nesting, although areas of focus (which can contain tasks in their own right) allow for enough organisation of projects for my needs. My OF perspectives I used most were covered by the app, when I needed to surface things like pending items or tasks to consider, not someday/maybe but soon, a few shortcuts added to the phone and iPad solved this quickly.
My take on this? OF while incredibly powerful in many ways has lacked behind in things like headings and checklists within tasks which I would argue are perhaps of more use to users than automation which I appreciate is very powerful but in some ways feels like a solution looking for a problem. Plus of course the inline inspector which I could not get to like despite weeks of trying. Things3 seems to hit my personal sweet spot for task management, apparently simple but with a lot of hidden power when needed and its this ability to appear swan like, calm on the surface but a lot going on beneath is what makes Things3 so appealing.
Organisation wise I am still pretty much using @Kourosh Dini’s excellent system outlined in his book with changes to the folder structure, it ported surprisingly well to every app I tried which is a testament to his logic and clear thinking and I thank him both for the book and his input at times. So, I am out of the OF fold. I will stick with Things3 I think, it’s not that OF3 or 4 is bad, it’s far from that, it’s just not for me anymore, perhaps again in the future. I have met some great people both in Slack and the Discourse forums but as they say onwards and hopefully upwards.