Blog Blog

Find In OmniFocus Revisited

REVISITED: Quickly search everything in OmniFocus with one shortcut key

I’m clearly not the only one who has moments when I’m not sure where (or if) I stashed a task in OmniFocus. The original post generated more interest than I expected. It didn’t seem right that such a handy function should only be available to OmniFocus Pro users. OmniFocus Standard edition users can now join the party too. Edi’s comment on Kourosh Dini’s Using OmniFocus site steered me toward another way of solving the problem. This new approach doesn’t use a custom perspective, so it works in the OmniFocus Standard edition. I started using the custom perspective long before discovering...

Find in OmniFocus

Quickly search everything in OmniFocus with one shortcut key

Without a tool like OmniFocus, staying on top of my responsibilities would be tough. With hundreds of items active at any time, sometimes things get misplaced. “Haven’t I already created that project? What was I waiting on from David? What else do I need to discuss with him? Who did I lend that Pink Floyd CD to?” Questions like these dictate a comprehensive search before I can answer them. If I’m not exactly sure where I’ve filed a task, I search all remaining tasks instead of rummaging through multiple projects or contexts. This happens several times each day. The manual...

The Context Quandary: 6 ways to make @computer useful again

The context quandary: 6 ways to make @computer useful again

Contexts made perfect sense as I read Getting Things Done, but the experience didn’t live up to my expectations. For edge cases like @errands1 and @agendas, they were wonderful. For the bulk of my tasks, contexts added little value. That’s because the situations where I don’t have access to a computer and the internet are as rare as rocking-horse poo. With more than 80% of my tasks landing in the @computer context, it was next to useless as a filter. I experimented with various approaches to making the @computer context as effective as @errands. Let’s do a quick recap on...

Magic Keyboard and iPad

Hey Apple, the Magic Keyboard needs improvement!

If anyone can make a keyboard that works well with an iPad you’d expect Apple to be the company to pull it off. The Apple Magic Keyboard and iOS combination is more frustrating than magical. Apple hasn’t pulled a rabbit out of a hat, but they have made important functions disappear. Background I’ve struggled to do much writing lately. Other priorities have restricted the time I can put toward it. Much like exercise, writing is a high-inertia activity. It’s easy enough to sustain once you get going, but getting started is hard work. Sometimes a change of scenery is all...

photo credit: yomo 13 via flickr cc

Are you absolutely sure you’ve processed all your inboxes?

New systems can be wonderful for helping to manage our complex lives. But they can bring yet another channel for potentially relevant and meaningful input. The more inboxes you need to process, the more likely you’ll overlook one of them. The impact can range from inconsequential to disastrous depending on what you missed. David Allen has often said, “you can only feel good about what you’re not doing when you know what it is”. You can’t get a complete picture of your options if there is stuff1 lurking in an inbox that you’ve forgotten to process. Fortunately, this is easy...

The business model canvas in action

Download this free template to unlock innovative business models

The business model canvas has become an important part of my toolbox since I discovered it in Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur’s excellent book, Business Model Generation. It’s the simplest tool I’ve found to explain the complex interplay between a business, its suppliers, and its customers. The canvas condenses a business model to a single-page diagram that anyone can understand. Business model components The business model canvas identifies 9 essential elements that together make a business work. The right-hand side of the canvas is about creating value for customers. The left-hand side is more efficiency-focused and describes the resources, activities,...

Spark icon

Spark: the innovative way to fly through your email

You’ve just finished a brutal day of back-to-back meetings, only to find a burgeoning inbox that you’ll need a machete to hack through. That was an all-too-common scenario for me. Mailbox was my preferred tool for thinning out the backlog. But Mailbox is no more. It’s the latest in a growing list of popular but ultimately unprofitable applications to be killed off by their creators. Since the February 26 shutdown was announced I’ve test-driven various iOS mail clients in the search for a suitable replacement. What I liked about Mailbox: swipes and snoozes Mailbox may not have been the first...

Jukedeck: the simple way to create a soundtrack you can be proud of

Jukedeck: the simple way to create a soundtrack you can be proud of

The growing popularity of video means more of us want to use music as a backdrop for our productions. Finding suitable music you can legally use can be a real challenge. The Jukedeck team have focused their musical, machine learning and software engineering prowess to solve this problem. The result is an ingenious service that only takes seconds to compose original music you can lawfully use in your creative works. A carefully orchestrated soundtrack creates atmosphere and brings the scene to life. Consider the foreboding inevitability that the repeating 2-note motif in the Theme from Jaws instills. Or the sense...

Nathan campus Red Zone

The high-tech space that will make you see red

Last June, Griffith University opened the doors on the Red Zones — two of the most unusual facilities you are likely to see. These spaces apply innovative design and technology to showcase the University’s research and teaching expertise. I had the privilege of managing this ambitious project and wanted to record my experiences before the next big project consumes all my time. This post reveals the ambitions, design considerations and some of my favorite content pieces. I’ll explore some of the many lessons a project as complex as this provides in a future post. The project combined the skills of...

Solarized theme example

Create stunning diagrams with these free OmniGraffle stencils

Ethan Schoonover’s Solarized color palette is popular in software development circles, but it’s spreading to a more diverse range of applications. Designed to reduce eye-strain, the carefully selected palette is easy to read despite the low-contrast color choices. I find Solarized easier to work with than the common black-on-white color scheme. Despite its text-based origins, Solarized also works well for presentations and diagrams. OmniOutliner includes templates based on the Solarized palette, but there isn’t anything similar in OmniGraffle. Stenciltown and Graffletopia both offer a good selection of stencils if you’re looking for a head-start on a project. I was surprised...