OmniFocus Perspectives

This is something I wrote a couple of years ago that’s still immensely useful. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on it, so I’m republishing it here so that it might help a few more people.


I have two custom OmniFocus perspectives that make the application indispensable (as if it weren’t already).


I have three folders that I sort my projects into: Home, Personal, and Work. I also have a perspective called Work, but rather than aggregate all of my projects or even all of my next actions, this perspective shows me a combination of flagged and due items that live in my Work folder.

At the end of the week during my weekly review, I flag important items and set due dates on tasks that have deadlines. When I walk in on Monday, Work shows me where to start and serves as my to-do list throughout the week.


This view is absolutely necessary if your job involves having to do things like fill out a status report at the end of the week. It shows you every task you’ve completed in the last day, week, month, and six months. It’s perfect if a client or co-worker needs to know when you finished a task or project (or if you’re just plain forgetful).

I’ve set this perspective to open in a new window so I can scroll through it quickly, get what I need, and dismiss it without abandoning whatever I might already have open in OmniFocus. On the iPad, Done shows everything broken down day-by-day, which is great if you need that kind of granularity.

Related: OmniFocus for Ninjas

If you haven’t seen it, David Sparks has posted two parts of a three-part series called OmniFocus Ninja Tricks. It’s definitely worth a look. Part three will be released the weekend of May 14.

This isn’t the end of making money in the App Store — it’s just the end of selling mass-market apps for a few dollars up front from five screenshots alone.

Yep, paid apps are dead –

Steve Streza expounded on this on Informal Protocol, too, saying that the idea of cash-up-front for software is an outmoded idea.

For what it’s worth, my next app will be free with support for in-app purchase of pro features.


I’ve always enjoyed writing. I have a degree in technical communication (also known as writing for nerds), but despite the enjoyment it brings, I haven’t been writing much lately. Aside from some brief journal entries, I simply haven’t had the time. I give my daughter much of my attention when she’s awake, and when she’s asleep, I’m usually out of gas.

Over the last couple of months, though, I’ve cobbled together a system for writing that I’ve become increasingly fond of, mostly because it lets me write with the time I have. When I started putting the workflows in place, I knew that I would need

  • to be able to write and publish from anywhere;
  • to be able to write and publish from any device;
  • to write in Markdown;
  • and to write efficiently.

What I quickly realized is that the system I was building was designed around one core concept: reducing friction.1

When you’ve got a young child in the house, free time becomes very precious and almost sacred. To waste it is unthinkable. With that in mind, my plan was to try to snatch a few of the in-between moments during the day–when I’m waiting for the kettle to boil, when I’m waiting for a conference call to start–to get some words on the page.

So far, it’s working.

An example: I was working on this article on my laptop at my dining room table when my kid woke up crying. I grabbed my iPhone and went to lie down with her on the couch in her room (a quick cuddle puts her right back to sleep). After she was snoozing again, I pulled out my phone and continued writing. When she was thoroughly out, I put her back in her crib, went back to my laptop, and what I had written on my phone was already there waiting for me in Byword. That seamless transition from laptop to mobile and back to laptop is a beautiful thing in practice. It’s hard to imagine a workflow with less friction.

My next few posts are going to delve into each part of the process. With any luck, maybe what I’m doing can help you if you’re also searching for ways to write more frequently.

If you want to follow along, you can subscribe to my RSS feed, follow me here on Tumblr, or follow my site’s account on

  1. Apologies to Mr. Aaron Mahnke for borrowing the f word.