Today we’re going to look at how to combine two of our favorite productivity tools and systems – Agile Results, and OmniFocus.
Agile Results is a revolutionary way to set and achieve outcomes on a consistent basis. OmniFocus is the best task management tool available for Mac. Let’s put them together and see what happens.
- Agile Results should not be implemented solely in OmniFocus.
- You will have to use another tool (Evernote recommended) for the writing part of Agile Results.
- Use OmniFocus to hold lists related to your hotspots (areas of life), and bring them into focus using flags, contexts and perspectives.
Not an Exact Match
Let’s be clear: OmniFocus is first and foremost a GTD tool, that is designed with the GTD workflow in mind. This being said, after trying multiple other options such as Things and Remember the Milk, I still prefer to use OmniFocus as my go-to task manager.
Agile Results is about setting outcomes and achieving them using descriptive language, strong project management and an outcome hierarchy. If you’re already familiar with OmniFocus, you’ll know that it does have options to hold hierarchical task information – it just doesn’t have enough hierarchy to make it fully compatible with Agile.
You can most definitely try to implement Agile Results solely in OmniFocus (we’ve tried), but you really shouldn’t. It kind of ends up looking something like this:
As you can see, outcome descriptions, and that 10,000-foot overview, don’t work all that well in OmniFocus.
Instead, what you should do is put what you can in OmniFocus, and put the rest in a different application like Evernote. We’re going to show you exactly how to do that.
Agile Results and OmniFocus
OmniFocus is a great tool for highlighting what you need to do, when you need to do it. Agile Results is not so great at this – it tends to excel more in the area of highlighting which tasks are related to which outcomes across different timeframes.
Here’s what we’ve done to make them work together.
1. Setting up Hotspots
The first thing is we create a folder called “Hotspots” and then create 1 single-action list per hotspot (area of life). We then move each task or action related to that hotspot, into that single-action list:
You can use a simple breakdown of hotspots into “health”, “wealth” and “relationships”, or you can use Agile’s recommended hotspots:
- Active Projects
- Active Projects
2. Using Flags
In a minute we’re going to show you how to set up perspectives so that you can highlight exactly what needs to be done as you’re setting your outcomes each morning (ala Agile Results). But in order to do that, we need to use OmniFocus’ flags system to make it a bit easier.
What you want to do right now is go through each hotspot list, and flag any items that are due within the next 1-2 weeks as such:
Normally, you would perform this flagging during your weekly review, as you are setting your outcomes for the upcoming week.
3. Creating an Active Perspective
In OmniFocus, select the Hotspots folder that you created in Step 1. Now select View –> Show View Bar. The second drop-down from the left is the Status Filter – set this to Flagged.
The other filters should read:
- Project Filter: Remaining
- Grouping: Ungrouped
- Sorting: Unsorted
- Availability Filter: Remaining
- Estimated Time Filter: Any Duration
Go to Perspectives –> Save Window As –> New Perspective.
Name this perspective “Active”.
4. Using the Active Perspective
The easiest way to use this active perspective is when you are setting outcomes. Each morning, or during weekly or monthly planning, pull up this “active” perspective as you set your outcomes – any items that need actioning will then be brought to your attention.
Other Agile Things
There are some other lists that we recommend keeping in OmniFocus:
- Inbox. We highly recommend using the OmniFocus inbox as THE place to collect your thoughts, loose bits of information and anything you have to write down. You can clear it during a weekly review, or daily if you wish.
- Rituals and Routines. I like to keep checklists for my morning/daily/evening rituals, weekly reviews, monthly reviews and annual reviews in OmniFocus as well.
- Future/Someday Lists. You can keep these as separate lists if you like, or you can simply file the items under the appropriate hotspots.
- You can’t put all of Agile into OmniFocus and use it effectively.
- OmniFocus is great for keeping track of tasks, which ones are important and when they’re due – use it for that.
- We recommend using Evernote to store the other parts of Agile Results.
For more information on alternative ways of using OmniFocus, check out our Omnifocus page. Or, if you want to know more about Agile Results, read our articles on how to implement this amazing productivity system.
Photo by: EmreAyar