Why I Switched From Things to OmniFocus

This isn’t about Things vs. OmniFocus. It’s not about over-the-air syncing or how software truly sticks to the Getting Things Done method. Features and benefits are irrelevant here.

It’s about trust.

The core of GTD is about capturing things into a trusted system. It has nothing to do with the software, it’s interface, or who endorses that app. If a paper list is what you trust the most, that’s what you should use.

Trust is why I switched to OmniFocus.

A few weeks ago, I jumped into a pretty big GTD system overhaul. The time had come. I wasn’t using my system to it’s full strength and my output was suffering because of it. It began with trying a different approach to how I used Things. I set up some more effective contexts and tried to streamline my capture and process methods. I wrote Applescripts to help with this and made a pact with myself to capture open loops better. None of this helped.

A few times in the past, I had considered switching from Things but ultimately decided that was counterproductive. I just stuck with it because Things was what I knew—it was what I was comfortable with. But it wasn’t what I trusted.

As I thought about investing the time into a major change, I realized part of what had kept me from truly trusting Things. I had doubts about it. I had doubts about it’s development. I had doubts about it scaling. In the racket of GTD, the people I trusted trusted OmniFocus so I was always wondering what I was missing out on. Some of the features they talked about sounded pretty cool but what really intrigued me was how much they believed in it as their outboard brain. For me, Things was a great tool but I didn’t believe in it enough to make it as deeply connected to my life as it should be. Every time the thought came to mind about giving OmniFocus a try, I was subconsciously sabotaging my commitment—not to Things, but to trusting my system.

After less than a week using OmniFocus, I truly trust it. It’s interface can be complex to a newcomer and implementing Perspectives can be overwhelming. It’s power, though a learning curve it surely has, is what means it can grow with you. Projects and Contexts are just dumb buckets you put stuff in but Perspectives are what builds trust. I know that whatever dumb tasks I put in some dumb buckets, I’ll be able to mold my Perspectives, over time, over career changes, and in pursuing different projects, to give me the outlook I need on the things I have to do. OmniFocus will be able to evolve as the things I need to get done evolve.

And that’s a trusted system.