May 27th 2014
By Mike Flaminio
OmniFocus 2 gives you a bunch of really cool features and a thoughtfully-redesigned interface that looks right at home in the latest version of OS X. You can use the Forecast perspective to get a view of your actions laid out by date (and in context with what's on your Calendar). In Forecast, assigning a due date to an action is as simple as dragging it to the appropriate day. The Review perspective gives you a structured way to take stock and make adjustments. OmniFocus 1 users loved the ease of Quick Entry, a way to capture OmniFocus items from any app. And now we've added Quick Open, a way to jump right to a folder, project, context, or perspective from anywhere in OmniFocus. And for those that need to generate reports for others to review or just to scribble on, we've beefed up printing and export so that the output is more like a document than a screenshot.
I've been using OmniFocus off and on for years and in the past year I've been pretty on. It's a powerful app that can be highly customized, which can be both a blessing and curse. It's a little unapproachable in complexity and you can waste all sorts of time tweaking things rather than actually doing stuff.
Beyond simple task management, the most powerful feature to me is the ability to schedule tasks. It's one thing to put something on a calendar, but it's another to do so already broken down into action items, context, and then specify how those action items will be presented. I don't see something until it's time to see, and even more so, I'm in the right context for it. I actually found OmniFocus more powerful the longer I use it because I keep rolling stuff into it.
For example, I have a hard time remember when to change my contacts. Silly, but it takes up an unexpectedly large amount of brain bandwidth. I do it once every two months and inevitably one tears and now I have to keep track of two schedules. I have an task to change both right and left and it tells me when it's time. And I only see this task when I'm looking at my Home context, because knowing I need to change my lens while at work doesn't help me. When I change it, check it off and it repeats the event for two months. I do the same for stuff like car maintenance, changing furnace air filters, water filters, and all that fun stuff. All that little stuff gets entered as I encounter it and now it's off my brain. Pretty powerful in the aggregate and this is on top of the conventional task management tools.
Anyway, I've been using the beta version of this for a while and it's pretty great. I suggest buying directly from Omni Group because they have favorable upgrade terms for the next major release that you can't get through the Mac App Store. As you can imagine I'm also a fan of the iOS version, which I think is the most valuable of the two. I'd suggest starting there and if you find you like it you can bring the functionality to your Mac.