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OmniOutliner in law school, and an appreciation of OmniGroup

Using OmniOutliner Pro and Kinkless GTD in Law School

Erik Schmidt has a useful post on how he's using OmniOutliner Pro and Kinkless GTD in law school. His explanation of kGTD is succinct and nicely captures the economy of using a simple system to track projects and tasks.

But, I think his section on law school note-taking and planning is a particularly good read for anyone who could use OO for similar purposes -- he highlights how you can adapt a basic structure (in his case, reading arranged by time/syllabus order, and notes arranged by class), but then have lots of flexibility via things like drag and drop:

I keep all of my casebriefs and class notes in one OmniOutliner document for each class. This helps me as exam time approaches, because I already have my class notes and casebriefs in the same outline. OmniOutliner Pro gives me the ability to segment my notes by topic, while still managing them all in the same document. This is incredibly useful, because it provides context. It also makes it very easy to add or modify notes from last Wednesday's class when my Torts professor (invariably) refers back to a prior case when discussing today's reading.

It may seem like using one massive outline for each class could rapidly create hairballs. It takes some getting used to, but OmniOutliner's nesting capabilities and drag and drop repositioning make it easy to sort notes in a clean hierarchical fashion. Later, when it's time to put together that "class outline" that everyone is always obsessing over, you can simply make a copy of your existing class outline (I always like to have a copy of the orginal, because I'm paranoid), then start trimming it down for use as your study outline.

A good read -- maybe a really good one if you're in a fast-paced environment and are looking for ways to keep everything wrangled in one, non-Byzantine system.

OmniGroup really has a way with making products that work the way you hope they would -- where you just try something and it magically just works. Kind of like having a silent and obsequious concierge inside your Mac. URLs and email addresses turn into clickable links; dragged-and-dropped Finder documents are iconized and their contents are added to the document; type "now" or "next week" in a date field and it knows what you mean. High-touch stuff like that. Like Quicksilver, Transmit, and NetNewsWire, to name just a few, it feels like a modern Mac app for people who love OS X.

Anyhow, random unpaid pimp for OmniGroup. I just like that they respect their users' love of the Mac and seem to go out of their way to make things that feel right under contemporary fingers.

About Merlin

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Merlin Mann is an independent writer, speaker, and broadcaster. He’s best known for being the guy who created the website you’re reading right now. He lives in San Francisco, does lots of public speaking, and helps make cool things like You Look Nice Today, Back to Work, and Kung Fu Grippe. Also? He’s writing this book, he lives with this face, he suffers from this hair, he answers these questions, and he’s had this life. So far.

Merlin’s favorite thing he’s written in the past few years is an essay entitled, “Cranking.”




An Oblique Strategy:
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