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Personal Productivity Book Review: “Creating Flow With OmniFocus” by Kourosh Dini

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Personal Productivity Book Review: “Creating Flow With OmniFocus” by Kourosh Dini

Disclaimer: I am a Getting Things Done geek which is a productivity system creating by David Allen. This article assumes that you have a clue of what Getting Things Done is. If you don’t, check out David Allen’s site for more information.

    Over the past half a year I have reluctantly adopted using OmniFocus for my personal productivity system and core Getting Things Done implementation. I use the word reluctant because I don’t solely live in an OS X environment. I actually develop on a Windows machine so not having the OmniFocus client on my main machine has made me quite apprehensive in adopting this awesome tool. I figured that since I had my MacBook and iPad though that I could use these to make OmniFocus work in my life.

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    One of the main reasons that I have decided to use OmniFocus as my personal productivity tool is that it does a great job of automating my projects and next actions for me. To get this type of automation OmniFocus is a little difficult to setup and because of that it is hard to explain just how to do it. This is where the new e-book “Creating Flow With OmniFocus” by Kourosh Dini comes in.

    At first blush

    I first heard ramblings of “Creating Flow With OmniFocus” on the Mac Power Users podcasts as well as a few others and was intrigued to find out what it was about. The cost of the book is a hefty $30 but after reading some of Mr. Dini’s articles about implementing OmniFocus, I had a good idea that it was well worth the money.

    The book is huge. Coming in at 551 pages in the PDF version. It is stuffed full of tutorials and screenshots to show you just how to implement some of Dini’s techniques. The book is typeset beautifully and is extremely well written.

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    When I bought the book I was thinking that it was going to be all about implementation because of what Mr. Dini explains on his sales page. But after getting into it I found that this book was about the practical and even spiritual side of the Getting Things Done method. This was something that was welcomed and a bit of a surprise to me.

    What’s inside

    Like I said before this book is full of useful examples and information and Mr. Dini delivers a “full spectrum” solution to implement your productivity system in OmniFocus. Here are just some of the things that you would find inside:

    • Understanding basic principles like project and task handling, certain view modes, hiding tasks, filters and the Inspector, contexts, and the inbox.
    • More advanced project stuff like focusing, outlining projects, quick entry, creating templates, and using repeats and time information.
    • Setting up a “routine maintenance” plan and strategy, creating basic and advance perspectives, and using multiple clients (iPhone and iPad).
    • Advanced principles like implementing a “Core Design”, handling tasks done today, calendar review, dealing with calls and agendas, and even email workflow.
    • More advanced stuff like prioritization, GTD’s “Horizons of Focus”, attention and time.
    • 20 awesome pages that tie up all the loose ends of the system that is implemented throughout the book.

    Yep. There is a ton of stuff in this book and it took me about a week to get through it all. There was a lot of the basic stuff about OmniFocus that I already knew, but going back and looking at it even for the useful keyboard shortcuts was worth the time.

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    A few qualms

    If you are looking for a simplified approach to using OminFocus this book may not be the best choice. There is a lot to setting up the system that Mr. Dini entails and if you are happy with using simple projects and context of OmniFocus, the manual that ships with OmniFocus coupled with Don McCallister’s excellent tutorial videos from ScreenCasts Online will do the trick.

    Is it worth it?

      In one word?

      Absolutely.

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      This is by far the greatest tutorial on a piece of productivity software that I have ever laid eyes on. It’s concise and straightforward and it shows you just how to make OmniFocus become the most powerful GTD client on any operating system.

      After applying just 10% of what this book offers you will gain a much better understanding of how OmniFocus can support a variety of productivity system implementations and can help you automate your next actions on projects more effectively.

      Not only do you get practical advice in this book about setting up OmniFocus, Mr. Dini offers some excellent advice about productivity and creativity as well. In fact, some of his writings on the understanding of what David Allen means by a “trusted system” and making time for creative actions is the best that I have read.

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      So, if you are an OmniFocus user and you have a portion of uber-geek in you, I highly suggest picking up “Creating Flow With OmniFocus” by Kourosh Dini.

      More by this author

      CM Smith

      A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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      Last Updated on November 25, 2021

      How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

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      How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

      There comes a time when we may be searching online and don’t want the browser to remember our footsteps. The reasons don’t always have to be what we obviously think of as the main reason; for example, sometimes, you may not want Safari to remember your passwords or prompt you to enter your password when surfing the web.

      Whatever the reason, we may think that we are totally in the clear with Private Browsing on Safari and the other browsers on a Mac. However, a quick Terminal command can bring up every website you’ve visited. How do you do this? Also, how do you clear your tracks for good? We will provide both answers and more today.

        What Does Private Browsing Do?

        When activated, Private Browsing on Safari prevents your browsing history from being kept in the history tab of the application. Along with this, it doesn’t autofill information that you have saved in the browser. In this mode, you essentially become incognito and any references of previous use is essentially hidden when you are in private mode.

        For example: if you are on Facebook or filling out a form and some information or your login is already filled in in the spaces provided, this is called autofill. It’s activated by simply clicking Safari next to the Apple symbol in the menubar and selecting Private Browsing, then clicking “OK” to the prompt.

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        The reasons behind private mode differ for each individual. While we won’t go into all of those reasons, one thing that is  important to remember is that private browsing doesn’t forget the websites you visit. As we will see later on, Macs keep a second copy of the websites you visit in either mode. If you are in frantic mode looking for a solution to this, look no further.

        The Terminal Archive

        While Safari does a good job of keeping your search history out of prying eyes in the history tab, there is a less-than-obvious way to view a full list of visited websites on Mac. This is done in Terminal; the command-line emulator that allows you to make changes to your Mac.

        Terminal is located in the Utilities folder on your Mac. Once activated, simply add the command:

        dscacheutil -cachedump -entries Host

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        Once you hit “enter”, a list of the visited sites appear. Showing only the domains, the sites appear in a format of:

        Key: h_name :(website domain)ipv4 :1

        However, there’s no need to fear—there is a way you can clear this information from Terminal with a command that’s just as simple.

        Clearing Your Tracks

        Just as simply as you were able to enter the command to view the websites, you can clear the cache that Terminal showed you with the comamnd:

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        dscacheutil -flushcache

        As the command denotes, this literally “flushes” the domains from Terminal. This does not prevent the record from continuing to be recorded for future sites, however, so if that’s an issue for you, repeat this process regularly.

        Other Browsers and Private Browsing

        Other browsers have this form of privacy mode for their service. They promise many of the same things as Safari, but they do not have the same Terminal issue due to how this command only presents websites visited on Safari (the browser Macs come shipped with).

        If you use Firefox, you’ll notice that its private mode is also known as Private Browsing. Chrome calls private mode Incognito, while Internet Explorer refers to it as InPrivate Browsing. Opera is the newest to the scene, denoting it as Private Tab. Safari is the oldest well-known browser with this feature.

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        As you can see, despite Private Browsing not being 100% private, Terminal allows for your browser to be. In what ways has Terminal helped your life or allowed you to become more productive? Let us know in the comments below.

        Featured photo credit: Benjamin Dada via unsplash.com

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