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Ash RoyApr 13, 2013 7:38:47 PM4 min read

GTD with OmniFocus – great productivity Mac Software

Admit it … You often experience ‘task overwhelm’.


I mean, let’s face it. There’s no hiding in a hyper connected world with emails and SMS messages at our fingertips.

‘Cause once that email hits your inbox the clock starts ticking. And the onus is on you to action the email even if it means notifying the sender that they’ve assigned the task to the wrong person/department.

The good news? You’re not alone.

Just about everyone these days feels overwhelmed.

The solution?

Getting Things Done – Also known as GTD

You need a trusted system where you can dump all your ideas and tasks as they come in to your mind through the day. Once you’ve captured everything in that system, you can then prioritise your tasks to decide on what you’re going to tackle first.

The most stressful part is having all those ideas kicking around in your head keeping you awake at 3am and stressing you out of your mind.

This is where the Getting things Done system comes it. David Allen’s GTD approach has been considered a panaca by many productivity experts and for good reason. I highly recommend reading David’s book. It’s a great read. Fair warning though : it’s a lot to take in. The whole system can feel a little too overwhelming for some.

Zen to Done Also Known as ZTD

21PcPwWQ7WL__SL250_If that’s you, then I suggest you start with Leo Babauta’s book called Zen To Done or ZTD, as it’s affectionately known.Leo Babauta – a master of simplicity and minimalism – has done a fantastic job in simplifying David Allen’s GTD approach to it’s bare essentials. 

Another excellent read!

A great way to get clear on simplifying your workflow for excellent results. Anyway more on ZTD in a future post. For now let’s come back to GTD and how it can help you.

Personally, I find using the manual system that David Allen talks about (tickle files and a zillion manila folders) to be pretty maddening.

I strongly recommend getting a great piece of software to implement the approach into your life. Now there’s lots of stuff task management software out there, but there’s one that is streets ahead of the rest and that’s …

Omnifocus (for the Mac and iOS)

Sadly Omnifocus doesn’t cater to the PC market, but boy does it rock?!

But let’s get a closer look at GTD first. 

The GTD approach is based around the idea of capturing tasks as they come up through the day and them to assigning contexts and projects. Let me explain  …

  1. I capture all my tasks as they arise in my daily life.
  2. At a fixed time each day I go through all these tasks that I have captured and I associate a context and a project  with each task.
  • A project can be defined as two or more tasks that contribute to a certain outcome.
  • A  context can be defined as the necessary conditions for the task to be executede.g. Home or work

So why is this approach to time management so much more effective than other approaches?

Because it has some awesome productivity and stress management benefits:

1) The initial task capture gets all my pending tasks out of my head and into a task list which I revisit at any time.

This frees my mind to focus completely on the present moment and dramatically reduces my stress levels. I don’t have a zillion tasks knocking around in the back of my mind while I am trying to attend to the present moment

2) I can batch tasks in two ways : by project and by context.

This allows me chip away at tasks from varied projects that happen to fall under the same context. For example if I am home (home context) I can fix that light (home maintenance project); Wash the car (car maintenance project); check the mailbox for the electricity bill (bills and finances project)

3) It can dramatically increase your productivity while reducing stress levels – which means a balanced life.

The OmniFocus application available on the Mac, iPhone and iPad makes it incredibly easy to incorporate the above approach into my daily life.

The Omnifocus for iPhone app allows me to use Siri to capture tasks as and when they arise through my day by just talking into my phone (this is achieved via Siri – a voice recognition facility built into iPhone 4S and upwards)

For more information on how to get the most out of Siri check out my post called My top 15 Siri voice commands that can save you an hour a week

Check out Omnifocus in action by clicking on the video thumbnail below

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Ash Roy

Ash Roy has spent over 15 years working in the corporate world as a financial and strategic analyst and advisor to large multinational banks and telecommunications companies. He suffered through a CPA in 1997 and completed it despite not liking it at all because he believed it was a valuable skill to have. He sacrificed his personality in the process. In 2004 he finished his MBA (Masters In Business Administration) from the Australian Graduate School of Management and loved it! He scored a distinction (average) and got his personality back too!