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OmniFocus for Groceries

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OmniFocus for Groceries

The following is an excerpt from OmniFocus Premium Posts, our new product on how to set up and use OmniFocus easily and effectively.

The uses for OmniFocus are endless. That isn’t to say that it should be used for everything, more that it can be used quite effectively for most things. This includes the everyday actions you undertake. These are essentially the actions or activities that you do that don’t add to your goals/outcomes/projects, but that you have to do anyway as a function of living in the modern world. Common examples include:

  • Calling the gas company.
  • Buying peppers at the grocery store because you’ve run out.
  • Paying your credit card balance.

In general, these are the things that keep our lives in order, but don’t add to our goals or projects.

The Solution

The easiest/simplest solution for implementation is to create two new single-action lists within OmniFocus. We have them in a folder plainly labelled “Lists”. The first is called “Single Action”, the other is called “Shopping”.

As such:

OmniFocus Single Action Lists

The “Single Action” list is simply a place for all your miscellaneous tasks to go. You can assign contexts as you see fit – a simple @Action or @Do is enough for most things. You may want to use an @Errands context for things that you have to complete outside the home/office. If you want to get a bit complex, use different errands sub- contexts, such as @Errands : Downtown or @Errands : Mall.

Remember to assign start and due dates as appropriate, and to set recurrences via the inspector as needed (for example paying your monthly credit card balance).

The “Shopping” list is where all your shopping items go. It just seems logical to separate this out from other single actions. Most of the tasks here will have the context of @Errands : Grocery Store or @Errands : Department Store. You can (and should) also have a waiting-style context of @Future Purchase for things that you intend to buy but not-right-now.

You can also set recurring grocery lists here using the recurrence feature via the inspector, especially if you have say a fixed day for groceries and things you commonly purchase. More in the post on Repeating Tasks (available in OmniFocus Premium Posts).

The reason we separate out a Shopping single-action list is because of the easy access it provides via the iPhone app – you simply pull up the list and everything you need is there. You can also set drop pins via the Map view on the iPhone app. This lets you assign a geographical location to each errand context, and you can then use the Map view to see what errands or items are readily available in your immediate area. Doing this is easy:

  1. Open Map view.
  2. Drop a pin at a location.
  3. Assign a context to that pin.

That’s all there is to using OmniFocus for shopping, errands and everyday generic tasks.


The above excerpt is 461 words. OmniFocus Premium Posts is over 22,000 words dedicated to guiding you through setting up OmniFocus easily and painlessly, and then showing you how to use, maintain and get the most out of it. Click here to get your copy now!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

James Green February 3, 2013 at 9:24AM

Is it possible to share shopping lists manged in OF with your spouse?

I love me my OF, but in this use-case the inability of OF to share lists makes the use a grocery specific app (like Buy Me A Pie) much more frictionless.

Reply

Thanh Pham February 4, 2013 at 11:47AM

Unfortunately that’s not possible with OmniFocus – you’re better off using other apps for that.

Reply

Fai June 13, 2014 at 10:33PM

I share with my SO using omnifocus. The only way I know of is to share the whole thing though. Just use the omnifocus server and log into both iphones with the same account. Some of the projects have my name in front of them, and some have his, and some tasks like grocery shopping don’t have a name in front because either or both of us can do them.
This might not work well if you also use omnifocus for work, but if it’s primarily home use, it works fantastically.

Reply

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