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How to Set Up Personal and Work Rituals in OmniFocus

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One of the concepts we always talk about here at Asian Efficiency is the concept of rituals. They are carefully crafted step-by-step activities you do in a certain order to achieve a desired result.

A common ritual is a morning ritual (sometimes also called a “morning routine”) that we always advocate for anyone new to Asian Efficiency. When you always follow your morning ritual, you feel great, focused and ready to get to work. That’s just one of many rituals you can build and we always suggest OmniFocus users to implement them within the app.

Crafting rituals is easy and with OmniFocus you can build a support system that makes it frictionless for you to follow your rituals. We show you exactly how to do this in OmniFocus Premium Posts (our training material for OmniFocus) so you never miss out on your rituals.

Recently one of our OmniFocus Premium Posts customers emailed us and he had a question about implementing rituals for both his personal and work life. I thought I would share this (and my response) with everyone:

Just switched from Windows to Mac, bought Omnifocus, and joined your OmniFocus Premium Posts over the last month. I love your product!! One of the selling points for the Omnifocus Premium Posts product was the year-long support with my personal Omnifocus set-up. I need you by my side as logical set-up of Omnifocus’s many tools does not come intuitive to me. Thank you again for your support!

First question!

I want to have a Daily Rituals in both my Personal and Work Folders. For example:
Work: Daily Rituals –
clear 3 backlogged documents (file, recycle, etc.)
check e-mail in morning
check voicemail in morning
read one research article
check e-mail at noon
clear voicemail at noon
check e-mail before leaving work
clear voicemal before leaving
clear physical inbox
clear Omnifocus inbox

Should that be set-up as a Single Actions List, a folder underneath each Personal and Work, a reoccurring Project, or reoccurring single actions. What is the best method so that Perspectives and Contexts come easiest?

Chris L, UK.

My response

Hi Chris,

Glad you like it! To answer your question, I would suggest to have a Rituals (single action list) list in each of your folders. So have one in Personal and one in Work.

Then, you want to set each task in the list as a recurring task. For work rituals it’s most likely for Monday through Friday whereas for personal it can be every day. Don’t set the list on recurring – only the tasks within that list. This makes the list more flexible for any changes you’ll make (which is very likely to happen).

Also, make sure each task has a start AND due date (specific times are recommended). Otherwise, what will happen is when you complete a ritual all the tasks will appear again on your list. You don’t want that because it should appear again the next day.

For example, for your task “check voicemail in morning” you might have the start date at “today @ 6am” and then a due date at “today @ 10am”.

From there you can setup a simple Perspective for each ritual and start checking things off.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you. I’ll be here to help.


Further Elaboration

There are a lot of ways of setting up rituals and the one I mentioned is just one of them. If you haven’t played around with the Repeating feature of OmniFocus yet, you’re really missing out.

This is a key feature for setting up habits, rituals, goals and systems in OmniFocus. We go deeper in OmniFocus Premium Posts about all these topics so you always stay on top of your work without much effort because OmniFocus does all the hard work for you.

As Chris mentioned, OmniFocus Premium Posts comes with one year of personal email support. If you ever get stuck or have any questions (and we do mean ANY questions), you can email us and we’ll personally help you get your OmniFocus set up the right way. If you know any of our OmniFocus Premium Posts customers, you can ask them how fantastic our support is. We truly want to empower you with OmniFocus and our team and I will be here to help you.

If you’re interested in getting OmniFocus Premium Posts, click here to get your copy.

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1 Comment

Posted by George Smolinski  | February 24, 2014 at 4:52PM | Reply

Outstanding article! A great morning ritual is so vital to having a great day and really being able to focus on having a productive and creative day. I recently hacked my own morning ritual with great results and its made a tremendous improvement in my daily productivity. Keep up the great work!
George Smolinski MD
Four Hour Physician

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