Omnifocus vs Apple Reminders
For years I have used the Omnifocus apps on my Mac and iPhone. The learning curve was steep, but I became a master. Even though I was really good at using it, I always felt a certain unease with the complexity. I was intrigued when Apple came out with Reminders on iOS in 2011, especially the location based reminders. I played around with it, but still stuck to my investment in Omnifocus. I recently re-read the GTD book and Allen talks about having simple lists, a list of projects, a list of Errands etc. I then decided to give the Apple Reminders app a more serious try to see if it can be my trusted system. The key feature is that you can create different lists. I created 9, Projects, Calls, Home, Office, etc. After a couple of weeks of using this as my GTD system, I now realize how much friction is built into the Omnifocus apps. For every task you have to set two fields, the Project and the Context. There are different filters, Next Actions, Available, Remaining. There are nested folders, perspectives, etc. It is a really complex app that I think gets in the way of actually getting things done. It is really easy to hide tasks inadvertently because you are not looking in the right type of view. The Project view, Context view etc all show or hide tasks in different ways. In contrast, Reminders just shows all of your tasks all the time. I can quickly swipe through my 9 lists and see everything. I don't have to worry about things not appearing because I don't have the view setup properly. I review all of my lists every day, because it is so easy. In Omnifocus I only did that in my weekly review.
Another useful feature of Apple Reminders is Siri integration. It is so easy to create a reminder now. When I'm out and about I ask Siri to tell me what is on my Errands list and she reads it back to me! I don't have to take the iPhone out of my pocket to see what Errands I have, it is a feature I use every day. The other feature I use a lot is the web interface of reminders on icloud.com. I have to use a PC at work and now I can add things to my reminders list via this web interface. This is of course impossible due to the fact that Omnifocus is only available for the Mac and iOS.
After a few weeks with Reminders I've decided to permanently make the switch away from Omnifocus. I thought to do GTD right, I needed a power tool like Omnifocus, but in reality the simplicity of Reminders is making me more productive. I spend less time fiddling with the software and more time actually doing my tasks. I encourage everyone that has an iOS device or a Mac to give it a try.