Task management can be a challenge if you have a lot of stuff going on. "Urgent" things are always distracting you: the phone rings, colleagues interrupt you, a client asks for help, emails, newsletters, snail mail, IMs, Tweets....
You could be buzzing like a bee, getting a whole lot of things done, but not getting done the right things.
I would love to be using a Franklin-Covey Planner program on my Mac, but they don't make one for Mac. So the choices are:
- Run the Franklin-Covey Planner on Wine or Windows using Parallels;
- Run the newer Franklin-Covey software on Windows using Parallels;
- Use the kludgey online version;
- Use the Franklin-Covey system on paper; or
- Adapt an existing Mac-friendly app for task management, with workflows to make it as close as possible to Franklin-Covey.
I've tried the first four, and after total fail with each, I'm now going with the last option.
And I think I found something with OmniFocus.
OmniFocus and Getting Things Done
I've been trying out OmniFocus off and on since the OmniGroup was doing private alphas. They have come a long long way. The app is much much improved now. They've really nailed some usability shine.
But I confess that the main reason I went back to OmniFocus (after working with Things for a few months) was that there's an OmniFocus iPhone app that syncs with the desktop versions over MobileMe. (So far, Things has syncing across wireless, but not via MobileMe.) And the iPhone app itself is quite robust, including geotagged contexts (which is helpful when out and about running errands).
That said, I'm not a GTD acolyte. Dogmatists can bark at the urgent and the easy. I don't have the time, and need to focus on the important.
OmniFocus and Franklin-Covey
The Franklin-Covey method involves a daily review of the tasks to be done. Each item is given an A, B or C, or left in a long-term "sometime" pile.
- Must be done today.
- Should be done today.
- Could be done today.
In OmniFocus, I use the flag feature to mark the A items.
Context isn't everything (but it sure helps)
One of the wonderful things about OmniFocus is the Context feature. You can sort your tasks by context -- where you are, what program you're using, etc. At first I had a hard time figuring out context, but now I've gotten the hang of it.
What Franklin has that GTD doesn't
The needs are not covered.
- To live.
- To love and be loved.
- To feel important.
Governing values are not covered.
Long-term objectives are not covered.
Those things are more homeworky than specifically task-related, but you are supposed to work those things as reference points to make your prioritization process easier.