Do Stuff

The above is one of my favorite slides from my OmniFocus presentation at Macworld. A little known secret about me is that in addition to being a computer nerd, I also enjoy woodworking.

Several years ago a friend gave me an amazing Japanese pull saw. I love this saw. I could spend hours polishing and sharpening it. But at the end of the day, I need to cut wood. The same can be said about a task management application (or any fiddley productivity software). You can spend all day adjusting settings, prioritizing tasks, and setting estimates or you can get stuff done.

When I first started using OmniFocus, I often caught myself using it as a procrastination tool. Rather than actually checking off items, I would spend hours on end organizing and prioritizing my data. Although I can be dense, when I realized that at the end of the day I still had most of the same uncompleted tasks I had at the beginning of the day, I knew there was a problem.

The trick to using OmniFocus (or any productivity application) is to not let it govern you. Use it as a tool. For me, this means I open OmniFocus in the morning for about a half-hour and I set priorities and plan my day. In the late afternoon I go back in OmniFocus and audit what happened and make plans for the future. That’s it. I spend the rest of the day checking off items and doing stuff. The iPhone and iPad OmniFocus apps are great for this. They make it easy to see your tasks and check them off as you go along.

So the next time you catch yourself in the middle of the day wasting hours “planning,” or setting iTunes metadata, or cleaning out your address book, shut the lid and get back to sawing wood.

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16 Comments Do Stuff

  1. andysibirsk@gmail.com

    I agree completely. I am a mac fan, OmniFocus dependent and love woodworking. I live in the middle of Siberia in a 110m2 apartment so I use my japanese saws for all my woodcutting-they are better than anything else, small, accurate, don't make as much sawdust and can be used anywhere. I also use them to turn wooden pens on my lathe. Great post.

    Now where is that beautiful table? If you made it I am very, very impressed. Enjoy the podcast and listen faithfully.

    Andy

    Reply
  2. andysibirsk@gmail.com

    I agree completely. I am a mac fan, OmniFocus dependent and love woodworking. I live in the middle of Siberia in a 110m2 apartment so I use my japanese saws for all my woodcutting-they are better than anything else, small, accurate, don't make as much sawdust and can be used anywhere. I also use them to turn wooden pens on my lathe. Great post.

    Now where is that beautiful table? If you made it I am very, very impressed. Enjoy the podcast and listen faithfully.

    Andy

    Reply
  3. andysibirsk@gmail.com

    I agree completely. I am a mac fan, OmniFocus dependent and love woodworking. I live in the middle of Siberia in a 110m2 apartment so I use my japanese saws for all my woodcutting-they are better than anything else, small, accurate, don't make as much sawdust and can be used anywhere. I also use them to turn wooden pens on my lathe. Great post.

    Now where is that beautiful table? If you made it I am very, very impressed. Enjoy the podcast and listen faithfully.

    Andy

    Reply
  4. andysibirsk@gmail.com

    I agree completely. I am a mac fan, OmniFocus dependent and love woodworking. I live in the middle of Siberia in a 110m2 apartment so I use my japanese saws for all my woodcutting-they are better than anything else, small, accurate, don't make as much sawdust and can be used anywhere. I also use them to turn wooden pens on my lathe. Great post.

    Now where is that beautiful table? If you made it I am very, very impressed. Enjoy the podcast and listen faithfully.

    Andy

    Reply
  5. andysibirsk@gmail.com

    I agree completely. I am a mac fan, OmniFocus dependent and love woodworking. I live in the middle of Siberia in a 110m2 apartment so I use my japanese saws for all my woodcutting-they are better than anything else, small, accurate, don't make as much sawdust and can be used anywhere. I also use them to turn wooden pens on my lathe. Great post.

    Now where is that beautiful table? If you made it I am very, very impressed. Enjoy the podcast and listen faithfully.

    Andy

    Reply
  6. davidwsparks@mac.com

    @TPP

    I'm going to do a screencast including most of the slides and my workflows for OF. Soon.

    @Andy

    It is in my office. I spend as much time standing at that desk as I do anywhere else in the world.

    Reply
  7. davidwsparks@mac.com

    @TPP

    I'm going to do a screencast including most of the slides and my workflows for OF. Soon.

    @Andy

    It is in my office. I spend as much time standing at that desk as I do anywhere else in the world.

    Reply
  8. davidwsparks@mac.com

    @TPP

    I'm going to do a screencast including most of the slides and my workflows for OF. Soon.

    @Andy

    It is in my office. I spend as much time standing at that desk as I do anywhere else in the world.

    Reply
  9. davidwsparks@mac.com

    @TPP

    I'm going to do a screencast including most of the slides and my workflows for OF. Soon.

    @Andy

    It is in my office. I spend as much time standing at that desk as I do anywhere else in the world.

    Reply
  10. davidwsparks@mac.com

    @TPP

    I'm going to do a screencast including most of the slides and my workflows for OF. Soon.

    @Andy

    It is in my office. I spend as much time standing at that desk as I do anywhere else in the world.

    Reply
  11. yanni.d.santos@gmail.com

    Ha! I use OmniFocus, too, but I think that there's a lot more to time management (actually self management because it's impossible to manage the time) than just an iPhone app. I believe that the most important of all, is doing your success ritual first thing in the morning and take care of your nutrition. This will give you all the clarity that you need, to do the stuff that will change your life. I don't know if you've seen the movie Limitless (2011), but that's what I'm talking about. You have to bring your body and mind to the state where you know what to do, and how to do it. OmniFocus is just a Personal Assistant, it won't make you a manager.

    Other than that, I think we share a common interest, woodworking. This is how I've found your blog in the first place. I find it great to create tangible stuff using my hands (and tools), I'm getting tired of creating information and formulas all the time.

    Thanks for the link, too 🙂

    Reply
  12. yanni.d.santos@gmail.com

    Ha! I use OmniFocus, too, but I think that there's a lot more to time management (actually self management because it's impossible to manage the time) than just an iPhone app. I believe that the most important of all, is doing your success ritual first thing in the morning and take care of your nutrition. This will give you all the clarity that you need, to do the stuff that will change your life. I don't know if you've seen the movie Limitless (2011), but that's what I'm talking about. You have to bring your body and mind to the state where you know what to do, and how to do it. OmniFocus is just a Personal Assistant, it won't make you a manager.

    Other than that, I think we share a common interest, woodworking. This is how I've found your blog in the first place. I find it great to create tangible stuff using my hands (and tools), I'm getting tired of creating information and formulas all the time.

    Thanks for the link, too 🙂

    Reply
  13. yanni.d.santos@gmail.com

    Ha! I use OmniFocus, too, but I think that there's a lot more to time management (actually self management because it's impossible to manage the time) than just an iPhone app. I believe that the most important of all, is doing your success ritual first thing in the morning and take care of your nutrition. This will give you all the clarity that you need, to do the stuff that will change your life. I don't know if you've seen the movie Limitless (2011), but that's what I'm talking about. You have to bring your body and mind to the state where you know what to do, and how to do it. OmniFocus is just a Personal Assistant, it won't make you a manager.

    Other than that, I think we share a common interest, woodworking. This is how I've found your blog in the first place. I find it great to create tangible stuff using my hands (and tools), I'm getting tired of creating information and formulas all the time.

    Thanks for the link, too 🙂

    Reply
  14. yanni.d.santos@gmail.com

    Ha! I use OmniFocus, too, but I think that there's a lot more to time management (actually self management because it's impossible to manage the time) than just an iPhone app. I believe that the most important of all, is doing your success ritual first thing in the morning and take care of your nutrition. This will give you all the clarity that you need, to do the stuff that will change your life. I don't know if you've seen the movie Limitless (2011), but that's what I'm talking about. You have to bring your body and mind to the state where you know what to do, and how to do it. OmniFocus is just a Personal Assistant, it won't make you a manager.

    Other than that, I think we share a common interest, woodworking. This is how I've found your blog in the first place. I find it great to create tangible stuff using my hands (and tools), I'm getting tired of creating information and formulas all the time.

    Thanks for the link, too 🙂

    Reply
  15. yanni.d.santos@gmail.com

    Ha! I use OmniFocus, too, but I think that there's a lot more to time management (actually self management because it's impossible to manage the time) than just an iPhone app. I believe that the most important of all, is doing your success ritual first thing in the morning and take care of your nutrition. This will give you all the clarity that you need, to do the stuff that will change your life. I don't know if you've seen the movie Limitless (2011), but that's what I'm talking about. You have to bring your body and mind to the state where you know what to do, and how to do it. OmniFocus is just a Personal Assistant, it won't make you a manager.

    Other than that, I think we share a common interest, woodworking. This is how I've found your blog in the first place. I find it great to create tangible stuff using my hands (and tools), I'm getting tired of creating information and formulas all the time.

    Thanks for the link, too 🙂

    Reply

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