During my OmniFocus trial period, I knew I had to do something about the look and feel of the Mac app. Out of the box, it's chaotic and not even remotely easy on the eyes. Fortunately, OmniGroup saw fit to make it pretty customizable. Here are the changes I recommend:
Install a theme
There are tons of OmniFocus themes out there. A great resource is at OmniFocus Themes, which has more themes than you could ever possibly use. The good news it that you only need one. I'm using one called Light Theme, which uses a combination of my favorite typeface ever, Helvetica Neue, and large type. Out of the changes I made, this is probably the most important one. Find a theme you love and stick with it.
Don't live in the Style preference pane. You will destroy hours of time, and gain nothing. Trust me. Find a theme you like and move on, quickly.
Hide the View Bar
I hate this bar. SHFT + CMD + V is your friend, and will rid you of this hideous bar. If you ever need it to create a fancy perspective, you can always show it quickly, then hide it when you're done. There's no need to look at it all day.
Clean up the toolbar
There are a lot of icons on the default OmniFocus toolbar that aren't really needed. Here are the icons I have on my toolbar:
- Focus / Show All
- Next Actions (Custom perspective)
I removed the Inspector shortcut – CMD + SHFT + I is much, much faster for when you need to bring up the Inspector. Any time you can cut out the mouse / trackpad, you're increasing efficiency.
The Sync shortcut is also gone. By default, OmniFocus for Mac syncs once every hour. If I want to manually initiate a sync for some reason, CTRL + CMD + S does the trick, without the icon.
Set up your Perspectives
Group Actions By: Context
- Sort Actions By: Due
- Availability: Next Action
- Status: Any Status
- Duration: Any Duration
This is the only custom perspective that I currently have set up. Once I get more comfortable with how I use OmniFocus, I can imagine adding one more. I won't set up 5 or 10 custom perspectives though – that just adds too much complexity.
The entire purpose of this perspective is to make sure each and every project I have is moving forward. This perspective shows the next task from every single active project I have. That's it – just one task from each project. That way, even if I have no due dates or flags set for Project X, the next action is visible in this perspective.
That's about it. The interface still doesn't hold a candle to Things.app. I'm gradually accepting that, given the huge advantages that OmniFocus has over Things. These little tweaks did help make it more pleasant to use. Hopefully they give you a few ideas.