OmniFocus: save everything to it

ofWhat do I mean by everything? EVERYTHING.

If it’s something you have to do, if it’s something you want to do, if it’s something that might turn into something that has to be done by somebody, save it in OmniFocus and worry about it later. Get it into OmniFocus’s inbox and get it out of your head.

When you get time, go through that inbox and have a think. You’ll find that you delete a lot, you mark many others as done, and the rest you have a proper ponder about. Slot this task into that project, add a date or don’t – preferably don’t – and do what’s called processing everything. When it’s all slotted away and your inbox is clear, everything is off your mind and it’s all in your one OmniFocus system.

This came up in a mentoring session I did earlier this week that, unusually, was dedicated solely to the use of OmniFocus. It was for a fella whose workload made me go pale and who has been handling it all on paper. Now he’s taken to OmniFocus like an evangelist in the making, but I think he has one issue left.

What I’ve said to him is that if he gets into the habit of saving everything to OmniFocus, he will come to know that everything is in there. No more wondering if there’s another list in another notebook. I’m lighter for knowing where I am with everything, even if right now I’m under the cosh with too much to do.

The thing for this fella is that he will have to work to make the habit of saving everything to OmniFocus and especially so because he uses a PC. There’s no OmniFocus for PC. Here on a Mac, even as I write to you, I can tap a couple of keys and add a task in to OmniFocus 2 for OS X while it crosses my mind, but he will in theory have to stop working and get out his iPad.

I’m advising him to instead use email a lot. I’ve already shown him how when somebody emails you with something you’ve got to do, you can forward it on to OmniFocus and it will land in your inbox. The subject of the message will be the name of the task and the content of the email will be in the task’s notes.

But you can also just email OmniFocus yourself. Got a stray thought? Email it in to OmniFocus.

It’s not the same as having the To Do app in front of you all day, every day, but that’s not a bad thing. Get used to checking it regularly and get very used to saving everything to OmniFocus and you can then spend the rest of your time actually working on all these things you’ve got to do.

Evolving mentoring

Let’s see. Most recently I’ve mentored teenagers looking seriously at journalism, I’ve worked with a novelist on fitting her writing in around a demanding day job, tomorrow I’m mentoring a fella exclusively on the use of OmniFocus.

That’s unusual: only twice now have I been hired to mentor someone solely on one application they wanted to use – hang on, that’s a thought, both times it’s been OmniFocus – but it’s interesting because the software is the same yet their needs are not.

What I do particularly like, though, is stepping away from software and getting in to what you do and how you do it and how we can make it better and easier for you. Most importantly; how exactly we can get you more time to do what you need to do.

That’s my Blank Screen mentoring service and I’m conscious that I haven’t mentioned it for some months while I’ve been booked up. I’m still a bit booked up but I’m also dying to know what you’re up to so if you think I can be a help, let me know.

And take a look at my site’s mentoring page for details.

For sale – me

Sort of. You’re reading the productivity website, there is the email newsletter, there are the books and there are the national workshops. But now there is you. And me. You can get individual coaching to help with your specific productivity roadblocks.

Here’s the skinny:

You’ve got so much to do that you can’t remember when you last did any writing. I will get you more time: I wrote the book on it. Then I ran the workshop. And the newsletter. Now you can get my individual productivity coaching: learn how to get started and keep going, how to handle distractions and deadlines. Plus, how to get more from your computer and your kettle. Barbara Machin says my book is “inspiring and liberating… genuinely grapples with making an extra hour (or two) in the day”. Join me for one-to-one coaching and I’ll get you going with three hour-long Skype or phone sessions.

If you’ve been to my day-long workshops you know how this works overall but I’ll get to find out much more about what you’re up to and help you that much more with your specific issues.

Price: £175
More details on my official mentoring site
And email me to book

Advance word: productivity mentoring coming soon

Partly for your information and partly for mine: let me tell you that The Blank Screen productivity workshops are shortly to become very personal. As in one to one. As in dealing specifically with what is holding you back in your writing.

All I can specifically reveal now is that the mentoring will be based around Skype calls and where possible also face to face meetings.

I’ll tell you much more, including pricing, when it’s finalised but I wanted to tell you now because I also want to ask you: would you find it useful to have one to one mentoring with me?

I really fancy it because I’m dying to know what you’re doing. If you think you might be interested, let me know in an email to You’re not signing up to anything, you’re not committing, it’d just help me to have an idea of your interest and perhaps ask you about the kinds of things I can help you with.

I’m also telling you this now because I’m just so excited about it. Workshops are fantastic, but the individual sessions I’ve done so far have been deeply interesting.