This week, the Omni Group has released version 3 of OmniFocus for the Mac. This release closes the loop on the version 3 release which began a few months ago with the release of version 3 for iOS.
While the new version of OmniFocus still works with GTD, I look at the new release as an intentional breaking away from prior constraints related to making it a GTD tool. Contexts are out. Tags are in. But what does that mean? I wrote an article for Inside OmniFocus over the weekend where I explained the addition of tags has fundamentally changed the way I use the application.
Multiple vectors into your task system can only be a good thing. With the new version of OmniFocus you don't need to put four tags on every task but where appropriate, you could. With increased flexibility with tags, it makes OmniFocus's custom perspectives even more useful.
One example I cited in my above-linked Inside OmniFocus article is invoice follow-up. I've got many legal clients and some automation that will generate a task for me to follow up on invoices. Those tasks appropriately belong with each individual client but with the new OmniFocus, I've been adding one additional tag to my creation script that inserts an "invoice" tag. Now when I set aside time to follow up on invoices, it no longer involves a hunt through my system. I simply pull up available tasks with the "invoice" tag and go through my list. That's a small example, but you get the idea.
Just like with the release of version 3 for iOS, this new version of OmniFocus doesn't make any change simply for the sake of change but only where it makes the application easier to use or more powerful and, in several cases, both of those things.
Another example of that is the new Forecast view that now mixes your calendar items in with your tasks in their calendar order. If you have a deadline at 9:00 and a dentist appointment at 10:00, the deadline appears first. Clever.
The deceptive part is that these changes and refinements add up to way more than the sum of their parts. I find the application more nimble and more powerful than before. It's completely changed my own "system" for using the application. To learn more about version 3 check out the OmniFocus web site. If you'd like a lot more words on the new version, I'd recommend Rose Orchard's review over on MacStories. And, of course, if you’d like 5+ hours and 69 separate videos on using OmniFocus, I’ve got that covered too.