I started using task management software slowly as the need to keep track of things began increasing in life. Starting college was the main catalyst. At first I had a spiral notebook for each class and I would write any assignments at the top of a page in there. When it came time to complete work I would search through the notebook until I found the proper list. It was unorganized and it didn’t scale well.
I then tried a few different task management apps on my iPhone, starting with Wunderlist and Appigo ToDo. Wunderlist was free and synced to a desktop counterpart. It wasn’t very flexible though. Since it doesn’t allow nested tasks I simply had a bulk school list when I really wanted to separate each class into its own list. I then tried Appigo ToDo which worked pretty well. It didn’t have a desktop app at the time though and only worked with iCal and Toodledo.com. Neither of those solutions really fit me and my needs.
As a bit of a Mac nerd I had heard different bloggers and tech pundits constantly praising Omnifocus. I also saw a few friends start using it. By all accounts it was a powerful program, but it was also expensive. Eventually I got a killer discount through school on the desktop app and gave it a go.
Shawn Blanc has called Omnifocus a sledgehammer and he wasn’t kidding. It’s almost a full project management suite for your life. This comes with the expense of being complicated with a steeper learning curve. I was only really using it for school and wasn’t sure what I was doing. The iPhone app was much easier to use but I still felt a little lost. It seemed that learning Omnifocus was a huge project in and of itself.
Over time I have started to get the hang of it though and I’m beginning to rely on it for more than school. My wife and I have a 2 year old and newborn twins, I’m a full time college student, and I work part time. To put it mildly, the responsibilities in my life have become a bit overwhelming. I’m realizing that even if I don’t follow the GTD system to the tee, I need something to dump all these responsiblities into that will help me keep track of what I need to get done. In that spirit, I’m starting to immediatley dump things into Omnifocus and teaching myself to use it more throughout the day to decide on what to do. I’m slowly getting a handle on the desktop app and its nice to feel more organized. Now if only Omnifocus could create more hours in a day for me!