The Omni Group has put together a their plan for the next year. They include visions for OmniOutliner, OmniGraffle, OmniPlan, and of course, OmniFocus.
OmniFocus 3 looks like its getting tags, manual sorting, flexible scheduling, flexible notifications, a collaboration option, and more. According to Ken, they are aiming for a Testflight in Quarter 1 of this year!
Tags are likely what’s most tantalizing for most users. It’s also the feature I’m most nervous about. Currently, Omnifocus uses “contexts”. There can only be one context assigned to a task. Contrast that to tags in which multiple can be assigned to any task.
There is a benefit to contexts in that one needs to be very streamlined in thinking through where a task best resides and how and where you’ll access it. I worry it might be too easy to create tags and not follow up on them. But we’ll see how they play out.
In fact, using tags could be quite excellent. Currently, I do use certain workarounds for what are tag-like features. For example, I have a context for @Laptop and another called @File & Flow : – Laptop. The latter is useful for short tasks while the former is used for larger tasks that could be done at the laptop. The @Laptop context is useful when I focus on a project but is not very useful as a standalone list. Meanwhile, the @File & Flow : – Laptop context is excellent for clearing regularly.
Tags would likely consolidate things and remove the need for sub-contexts.
Take a look at a previous post I did about tags vs contexts here, though the post is nearly 7 years old.
This will be neat. I don’t have to schedule a task to schedule another task anymore. Currently, if I have to schedule something for 4th Saturdays, I would have to create a task at the beginning of the month reminding me to create another task for the 4th Saturday.
Currently, I might use a Considered task to decide when to start a task. But I wonder if the following will replace that:
“Or you can be notified when a task reaches its “latest time to start”, calculated from the time you said it would take to do a task and its due date… You’ll also be able to add multiple custom notifications to individual tasks—so you could say, for example, that you’d like a reminder one week before something is due, then one at two days, with a final notification at two and a half hours.”
And, whenever I have something I need to address at a certain time, I currently use the Due app. But I wonder if I can further consolidate this task function within OmniFocus:
“Finally, for those cases where there is something that really absolutely must get done now, without delay (like taking your medication), we’re adding a new type of repeating notification that will keep reminding you about a task every few minutes until you tell OmniFocus that you’ve completed that task.”
I’m certainly curious to see what happens with the automation set up. I’m not an AppleScript writer and have largely relied on the awesome tech folks of the community who create neat scripts. I wonder how things might shift when some of those abilities can appear on iOS as well.
Now this will be interesting. I like how the Omni Group is approaching this. They are continuing to focus on OmniFocus as being a personal task system, but giving the user the ability to share individual tasks:
“The idea is that I can send you a task (with its notes and attachments and due date) and propose that our tasks be linked, and you can choose whether to accept the link or not. While our tasks are linked, we can each see updates to the status of that specific task. But in each of our databases, that task can live wherever we want: so I can turn my task into its own project with a number of subtasks, while you might have that task as one step in a sequential project.”
I like that I wouldn’t necessarily need to share an entire database or even an entire project. How I approach a piece of work is different than how someone else does. It keeps somethings private and allows me to share what I want.
OmniFocus for the Web
Finally, the Omni Group is talking about bringing an interface to the web. It sounds like it would be a scaled down version, but something that would allow access to the database. I wonder how it would look and work. But I could foresee people on windows environments being able to access some parts of their database while using an iOS device nearby to get into deeper parts of the system’s functionality.
It looks that there will be a subscription for this service which makes sense.
I’m excited to see how things shape up! If you’re up for being brave and helping test OmniFocus, consider signing up for the beta.
In the meantime, I’m chipping away at the next version of Creating Flow with OmniFocus. It will likely be released a considerable amount of time after OmniFocus 3 is released as I want to get a feel for the changes of workflow before I send it off into the world.