Home Screen - Kourosh Dini

Not too long ago I discovered this wonderful book, Creating Flow with OmniFocus, by Kourosh Dini (Twitter). I began corresponding with Kourosh and discovered that, in addition to being an OmniFocus wizard, he is also a really smart guy. I asked Kourosh to share his iPhone home screen and he agreed. I can tell you in advance this is one my favorite home screen posts. Kourosh’s thoughts below about non-reactive working is really thought provoking. So Kourosh, show us your home screen.

What are your most interesting and useful home screen apps?

My most interesting and useful apps are likely OmniFocus, iFlash, MindNode, Instapaper, Square, PlainText, Magnatune, SomaFM, Flashlight, and ePocrates:

  • iFlash is a simple flash card app that syncs with a laptop version of the program. If I’m standing in line at the grocery store, it’s nice to pull out “flash cards” and practice memorizing whatever it is that I’m interested in at the time.

  • MindNode - I tend to mind map in waves. I’ll go for long periods without making one and then suddenly want to do several. MindNode can create maps that I’ll export to the desktop version. It is also simple, which I like.

  • Instapaper still blows my mind as a great way to gather things to read. It distills what I want to read into its simplest elements and, by doing so, provides a good frame in which I can read it.

    I will purposely save long articles to Instapaper even if I have the time to read it in the browser as I’ll then be better able to focus on the article itself. With fewer distractions, I can stop reading, think, and return to reading much more easily than with a browser.

  • Square - The fact that I can do credit card transactions using my phone is as astounding as it is convenient.

  • PlainText - I could likely go with any number of writing apps. I’ve lately been on a kick of integrating various writing apps and working towards a better organization/consolidation of writings. The process has been significantly inspired by your discussions on DropBox and Hazel.

  • Flashlight helps me wander the house at night.

  • Magnatune and SomaFM are very nice music apps. The former has yours truly as an artist and the latter has the Groove Salad and Secret Agent stations, which I very much dig.

  • ePocrates is a great resource for reviewing medications, their dosing, listed adverse effects, among other useful info.

  • OmniFocus helps me do stuff in a huge way. See next response.

What is your favorite app?

Far and away, OmniFocus. I’m biased, but there’s a reason I have that bias in the first place. The iPhone version is a solid productivity app that functions, for myself at least, as a satellite to the desktop.

As an example of its utility, I use it as a writing app as much as any of the others, not to mention its task management abilities. Anytime I have an idea while walking near my office, I have an inbox to store it. I’ll have a “Thoughts to Add” project associated with a project-in-progress. The task itself functions as a title, and its note field is useful for ideas to jog my mind later. Syncing then adds the task to the desktop where it can remind me of the previous day’s thoughts as I type away in the morning.

Which app is your guilty pleasure?

Listening to the Secret Agent station on the SomaFM app while walking downtown. Not sure why, but there’s something just wonderfully silly about listening to that station while no one around you has any idea.

What is the app you are still missing?

None really. In fact, I’ve probably gone overboard with them.

While technology has a lot to offer, I also know that I grow into things slowly. It takes some time of devoted attention to really get into a well thought out program. If there are too many programs available, especially when their functionality overlap, I tend to slow the learning process and cheat myself out of some of those “I’ve got an idea!” moments. This is precisely what is happening with my writing apps at the moment.

Then again, someone will show me some new app, and I still run off to that shiny object.

How many times a day do you use your iPhone/iPad?

Likely, too many.

One thing I actively work on, and have been actively working on for sometime, is maintaining a non-reactive mode of working. Fortunately, or unfortunately, as technology continues its steady advance promising “convenience”, I believe it’s not really a convenience which it delivers. Rather, it’s a shortening of a distance between thought and action. If I’m not careful, this can lead to a more reactive way of working - checking email, twitter, and the like reflexively.

People have grown through a period of time where thought had more opportunity to gestate, merge, form, crystallize, and otherwise before it would eventually manifest as intention. Now, as that distance has shortened, we are delivered a new problem in that we have to devise new methods of holding onto our thoughts, working through them, and eventually delivering them in ways that require holding off the natural inclination of acting upon opportunity.

Just because I can search for an answer to a question instantly, doesn’t mean I should. Simply resting my mind on a question and letting thoughts meander can deliver some pretty cool ideas. But when I instantly search for an answer, I can actually deprive myself of those new concepts that can only come from a period of thought.

The iPhone, other smart phones, and apps and programs in general, are just tools. Like any other, I need to continue learning how to use them, especially as their nature is to change. So, I guess a better answer to the question is “Too many, but the iPhone is still very useful. I continue trying to learn an optimal use.”

If you were in charge at Apple, what would you add or change?

Nothing really. A bit tangential to the question, though, I tend to watch their iTunes/Application/iBook type stores and wonder how they’ll evolve. Somehow I compare them to Steam, which is a video game sales portal designed and developed by Valve Software. It’s fascinating to watch the development of interaction between customer and corporation and how the paths parallel regardless of file type. There’s nothing I’d add or change that I can think of, but I like to see the continued innovation of the interface.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Nope, just happy to be here.

Thanks Kourosh.