I can’t tell you that I am obsessed with OmniFocus and then go away. Equally, I can’t ram a thousand enthusiasms down your throat. So let me compromise by giving you one reason, just one, that OmniFocus works for me.
There’s a feature called Maildrop and it is extremely simple yet transformative. Do I mean the word ‘yet’? Maybe it’s so useful, maybe it became so instantly part of my work specifically because it is simple.
Here’s the thing. I’m a writer so I spend a huge amount of time at the keyboard and easily the majority of things I have to deal with come via email. So I’ll read the email and if I can deal with it right then, I’ll deal with it right then. Otherwise, I forward it.
To my secret OmniFocus email address.
I’ll tap or click the forward button, Mail will auto-complete the address as soon as I type the first couple of letters, and then wallop, sent.
And then the next time I look in my OmniFocus To Do list, there it is. The task is the subject heading of the email – so I might well change that to something more specific either when I’m forwarding it or now as I poke about in OmniFocus – and the body of the email is a note within the task.
Many, many times I will get one email that has several tasks in it. Highlight one of them, tap forward and Mail creates a new message that has only that text in it. Then whack it off to OmniFocus. Go back to the original email, highlight the next bit, whack and wallop.
You could also set rules to do this automatically: any email from your biggest client gets routed straight into OmniFocus for you. I have never once tried this. But you could.
What I have done very often is email in to OmniFocus from wherever I am. OmniFocus only runs on Apple gear but if you’re at a PC or you’re on someone’s Android phone and need to note down a task, email it to your secret address.
Last, if I’ve got an email where my reply is about the task, I’ll BCC it all to my secret OmniFocus address: in one go, my recipient gets his or her reply and I have that task in my ToDo list.
Once I forgot to BCC it and the secret address showed up in the email I sent someone. Next time I went in to OmniFocus, there was a task waiting: “Pay Jason the £1 million you owe him”.
I can’t remember a time when Maildrop wasn’t a feature in OmniFocus or when I wasn’t using it. I don’t just mean that as a way of saying cor, it’s great, it’s indispensable. I do think that, although I wish it could do more, but I also mean it literally: I’ve not a clue when I started using it. Which is a huge shame because if you can be bothered to poke about a bit, OmniFocus will tell you how much you use the feature.
I just went to check for you and it says: “Used 982 times, most recently 2 hours ago”.
And the very big surprise for me is that it’s a whole two hours since I last used it.