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

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.

      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 January 13, 2020

      11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

      11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

      Whether at work or at school, people these days are under tremendous pressure to perform, perform and perform! Stress and pressure can have adverse affects on the well-being of a person, and need to be controlled.

      Now, this doesn’t mean you make a dash to your nearest therapist. There are a number of wonderful and smart apps that you can use on your phone. These brain training apps have been scientifically designed to target specific areas of the human mind and control harmful emotions such as anxiety, as well as to improve memory and sharpness of the brain.

      Here are 11 iPhone apps that you will not only enjoy but also find useful in keeping your mental health balanced at all times.

      1. Lumosity

      This app consists of games that focus on improving the user’s memory, problem-solving capability, attention span, and thinking. There are three games in each session, and they challenge the brain by changing every time. The user has to complete the games while playing against a clock.

      Free of trial. $15 per month for the full version.

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      Luminosity Mind training apps-Lifehack

        2. Fit Brains Trainer

        This brain training app has 10 sets of games that work on different areas of the brain and improve memory as well as concentration. A user is required to finish a particular task from each category on a daily basis and the app tracks the progress by a color coded graph.

        Free.

        Fit Brains Trainer Mind training apps-Lifehack

          3. CogniFit Brain Fitness

          Developed with the help of neuroscientists, this fun app improves a person’s cognitive abilities, which includes memory and concentration. The progress made by the user over a period of time can be tracked. Users can also play challenge rounds with their friends. The app also modifies the difficulty level to suit the profile of the user and provide recommendations based on the results. Spending 20–30 minutes a few times every week can give measurable improvement in the performance of a user.

          First four games free, then $13 a month.

          cognifit-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

            4. Brain Fitness Pro

            The makers of this app claim that it can improve the IQ of a user, and improve intelligence and memory. The app is fun and is user friendly, and 30 minutes a day can fetch you results in less than three weeks.

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            Buy for $3.99.

            5. Happify

            If nothing else makes you happy in life, this app will. Well, this is what the developers claim at least. This app comes loaded with lots of quizzes, polls and gratitude journals, which work on the fundamentals of positive psychology. The app also helps to control stress and emotions to make you feel better.

            Free to use.

            Happify-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

              6. Clockwork Brain

              You will like the little gold robot that comes in every time to explain the next game you are going to play. While the games are not much different to those offered in apps such as Luminosity, the look and feel reminds me of a workshop from old times.

              Free.

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              Clockwork Trsin-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

                7. ReliefLink

                Initially created as an app for suicide prevention, it has found its use as a great app for tracking the mood of the user by taking measure of all things relevant to the user’s mental health. In case the user experiences high emotional stress, the app has a coping mechanism that includes voice-recorded mindfulness, exercises and music for relaxation. There is also a map that informs the user of the nearest therapist and medical facilities for mental health treatment.

                Relief Link - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                  8. Eidetic

                  Eidetic is a memory enhancement app and uses a ‘spaced repetition’ technique to help users memorize information such as important phone numbers, words, credit card details or passwords. It also notifies you when it’s time to take a test to see what you remember, so that you retain information in your long-term memory.

                  Eidetic - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                    9. Braingle

                    Braingle helps to maintain the sharpness of the brain and improve the reasoning ability of a person through riddles and optical illusions. It is different from other brain training apps that employ memory and reaction based tests. You can also compete with your friends and family members in figuring out the fun riddles.

                    Free.

                    Briangle- Mind Training Apps-LIfehack

                      10. Not The Hole Story

                      If you have a penchant for solving hard riddles, then this app is a must-have for you. Filled with exclusive riddles along with a simple-to-use interface, the app gives you riddles that you have to solve through a book. You will be given hints along the way, and when you give up, the answers will be revealed. This app will encourage you to broaden your thinking and put your mind to a challenging test.

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                      Free.

                      Not the hole story - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                        11. Personal Zen

                        This fun brain training app follows the journey of two animated characters who travel through a field of grass. Personal Zen is a nice app meant for reducing anxiety and trains the brain to focus on the positive aspects. The developer’s advice is to use the app for 10 minutes a day to see the best results.

                        Free.

                        personal zen- mind training apps - lifehack

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                          Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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