Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.
Merlin Mann | Jun 4 2007
(Disclosure: I am a contributor to the OmniFocus project)
According to OmniGroup, about 2,500 people are now participating in the "sneaky peak" beta of OmniFocus, and new folks will continue to be added as capacity for support allows. But even if you're not yet using the app and are just waiting to get your hands on a finished version, it's not too early to start thinking about making a smooth transition from wherever you are now.
Moving your world of action into a new application is like moving into a new house (and can be almost as stressful). This is your chance to throw away crap, rethink how you've been doing things, and just give yourself a fresh start. So before you ever fire up OmniFocus for that first time, do yourself a favor and get sorted out with your current system first. Believe me, you're much more likely to handle this well before the temptation of having the app in your hands sends you diving into using it full-time.
In short, I recommend you start by conducting a thorough review that's focused on bringing all your tasks and projects up to date and in line with reality.read more »
Merlin Mann | May 31 2007
My pal, Ethan, is a photographer who's probably best known in the Mac-o-sphere as the author of "Kinkless GTD," the AppleScript for OmniOutliner Pro that caused a sensation last year among Mac productivity nerds and helped lead to the development of the OmniFocus task management app (disclosure: it's a project to which Ethan and I both currently contribute).
Well, if you haven't visited Ethan's Kinkless.com site in a while, you'd do well to pop by for a fresh look, because you're in for a treat.
In addition to doing a re-architecture and redesign that's one of the most eye-catching I've seen on a Drupal site, Ethan has begun writing some very useful tutorials (in addition to the screencasts for which he's becoming well-known).
For example, he's recently completed his "Five Steps to a Kinkless Desktop" series, focusing on how to "clean up, prettify and streamline the usage of your desktop." He starts with "The No-Mercy Cleanup":
If your Mac and your brain need a dose of strong medicine, don't miss this.
I'm really enjoying seeing Ethan contribute his thoughts on productivity -- I've learned from working with him over the past few months that he's very thoughtful and deliberative about this stuff. Despite being a taxonomical animal, he's always focused on sharing first-person changes that will bring real, non-fiddly benefits to the lives of creative types. Looking forward to seeing where he takes this.
Merlin Mann | Mar 5 2007
I enjoyed this post by Drew McCormack on how he discovered GTD and has started using it for his work as a scientist:
"Multi-dimensional ToDo list." I'm totally stealing that.
Also, I mention it here because this post provides that rarest of voyeuristic nerdthrill: getting to peek at how someone else is using Kinkless!
Any tips or stories from the science nerds out there on how GTD is and isn't working for you?
Merlin Mann | Jan 9 2007
It was great to hear Ken lay out OmniGroup's plans and progress on the Kinkless replacement. Thanks much to everyone who showed up yesterday.
Merlin Mann | Jan 4 2007
As most Kinkless nerds already know, OmniGroup is developing a full-on Cocoa implementation of Ethan's script that they've dubbed OmniFocus. Since the OmniGroup folks will be in town for MacWorld, they've kindly offered to host a meetup at the Apple Store on Monday afternoon. For better or worse, your Author will be the emcee.read more »
Merlin Mann | Dec 20 2006
While OmniFocus is under development (and yes, friends, I have seen it: it is actual software that does things), we Kinkless users will have to make do as we can for now. And while I still find my own kGTD setup oddly stable given its byzantine under-the-hood workings (think: innards of Cylon Raider meets Brazil's pneumatic tubes), there are definitely times when I crave just a bit more canonical GTD functionality.
One of the most vexing shortcomings in kGTD (God bless it) is the lack of a formal Project list -- one easy location to glance just all of the obligations and desirable outcomes that are on your horizon, without reference to the tasks that comprise them. David Allen has repeatedly said that the project list is critical (as I recall, his quote in our interviews was "...the Project list is king."), and, honestly, lacking an all-in-one Project list for your weekly review is kind of like sitting down to the SATs without your two sharpened #2 pencils.
My solution for this has two components -- one mostly behavioral and one mildly technical. Both are squirrely and lofi and your mileage may vary. As ever.read more »
Merlin Mann | Sep 27 2006
I don't have much to add to Ethan's (typically entertaining and gracious) post about OmniFocus -- an under-development OmniGroup app that will bring Kinkless' functionality to a stable and powerful Cocoa application. But, first off: Yay! The Kinkless is dead! Long live the Kinkless!read more »
Merlin Mann | Sep 26 2006
43F Wiki user ThePolack has been putting together some great kGTD tutorials, including a useful introduction to using the Projects and Actions sections that covers several of the features that most folks only figure out after a few weeks of regular usage. Handy.
But, I want to especially highlight his tutorial on using timed and dated actions in kGTD. These are powerful features that have caused considerable confusion for users, and ThePolack provides a lucid explanation of how the different events work and how you can use them to manage all those little periodic tasks that pop up in your life.read more »
Merlin Mann | Sep 12 2006
Shiran Pasternak writes to ask:
This is a really good question -- especially given how many people are suffering from the first-world problem of having way too many cool Mac apps to choose from for this kind of work. The short answer is to slim down the number of tools you're frequently using, but to then be sure you also do something smart and repeatable with everything you've captured. The longer explanation...read more »
Merlin Mann | Aug 30 2006
Wow. It's been over nine months since I quit Entourage in favor of the kGTD/iCal productivity tag-team. In that time, I could have had an infant, finished a school year, or been responsible for a couple failed sitcoms. (I mean: if I had a uterus, was still in college, and were, say, McLean Stevenson)
Yes, friends, I do still spend a lot of my day shaking my hammy fist in impotent rage at iCal's numerous shortcomings, but I've reached a kind of détente with Apple's stock calendaring app, and along the way I've discovered some modest ways to squeeze more drops of Cupertino-y goodness from its moist Jolly Rancher-like pages. Here's a few of my favorites.
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