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.
This past weekend, I made exactly the same switch - for very similar reasons! I could pretty much have written this post .
I was introduced to GTD when David's book first came out, and I've implemented his methodology using paper, Omnifocus, Things, and others... but my very first switch from paper to digital was using a Palm Treo and the Palm desktop, and Reminders reminds me of that simple little tool! I like the way you can click on today's date and have an instant list of things that must be done today.
I'd be interested to hear from others what they think of Reminders. It's enabling me to keep my Next Actions and Project lists simple, and I'm using Evernote for Project Support, along with paper for collection and notes.
I really like the simplicity of this setup, however I do have a few questions regarding your use of project tasks.
You mentioned that you create a list for projects. So do you create a separate list for each project? As far as I can tell, Reminders doesn't support subfolders, so do you just have a list of project tasks for all your projects? If so, assuming the first part of the task name is the project its associated with?
I've wondered much about doing this myself recently. The added benefit of using Siri to create reminders on the fly I think would be very valuable.
Have you switched to the iPhone Calendar tool?
How does synching with desktops work for you, if you do that?
Can you describe your set up on Reminders or better yet post a pic?
Paul - my iPhone and iPad sync immediately with my desktop and vice versa. Also - you can share lists - I share my grocery list with my husband and any changes are instantly seen.
And Silvine, here's a screenshot of my setup - hope it helps! I'd love to see other examples too.
I've integrated Reminders into my GTD system in a way similar to what is described here for Evernote: http://examinehealth.com/personal-productivity/69-gtd-and-evernote.html
Originally Posted by silvine
I have separate lists for my inbox, single actions, and individual projects, with project lists beginning with a period to help identify them more easily. Because Reminders doesn't have tags like Evernote, I add context tags manually to the end of the entered item (e.g., "Call Jason re: conference @phone"). This allows me to use the search function w/in the app to find tasks appropriate for any given context.
It's certainly not a perfect set up, but I find the convenience of Siri along with the native apps in OS X and iCloud.com to outweigh any shortcomings.
Reminders list and gtd. This seems to fit gtd very well.
This seems to fit GTD very well it's as though they had it in mind when they built iOS 6. It's even better with iCloud as it syncs between devices.
Originally Posted by gnugrep
However, I can't get Siri to talk through my list as the previous contributor did, any ideas?
If I ask Siri "What's on my errands list?" She replies with the number of items and shows the list. To get her to speak the list, I believe you have to turn on assistive technologies. Try searching that Internet thing to find out.
Originally Posted by Jonagold
That loud noise you just heard
Yes that one, that would be the sound of my hand hitting my forehead.
Since the downfall of palm and the rise of the iphone, I have been waiting for Apple to understand even the basics of task list to give us something usable. Interestingly I had given up and stopped paying any attention to what Apple had done as of late instead focusing on Omni focus, things, and you name it every other source of to do application available for the Mac the iPhone the iPad nothing worked to my satisfaction. Now you going post this I read it and realize the obvious . 48 hours later I am completely converted to the task list and everything is just flowing smoothly like it did back in the days of the palm. add Siri on top of that and what a boon. Thank you so much for posting this.
Now I get back to getting things done
Last edited by ratz; 03-03-2013 at 05:34 AM.