OmniFocus may have been voted the best app in 2015, but can it remain the champion?
Last week, I wrote an article called Things vs. Todoist, or Why I Abandoned an Old Favorite App of Mine. In it I discussed the reasons why I stopped using Things and switched to Todoist. (In a nutshell, I did it because Cultured Code, the company behind Things, updates its products far too slowly. It didn’t hurt that Todoist works as well as Things, if not better.)
Today, however, Iâ€™m comparing Todoist with OmniFocus, considered by many the reigning GTD champion (if youâ€™re on Mac, that is: OmniFocus makes no software for PC or any mobile platform except iOS. More on that later.)
Hello , stranger
Itâ€™s not my first time writing about OmniFocus. In a previous article, I analyzed its pros and cons from the perspective of a Things user.
To summarize, I liked its robustness as a GTD app, not to mention the fact that itâ€™s updated more frequently than Things. In terms of specific features, I particularly appreciated that it supports attachments and that it can integrate with your calendar.
On the other hand, I didnâ€™t like its lack of Retina support for Mac (an issue that has since been addressed), its price (a $60 premium over Things when you buy each company’s full suite of Mac and iOS products), and above all, its steep learning curve. I also thought OmniFocus could use a cloud-based interface (but then again, so does Things).
Overall, I didnâ€™t think OmniFocus suited my needs so perfectly that I should stop using Things. But now that Iâ€™m an Todoist user, should I take a look again?
OmniFocus vs. Todoist
Todoist works on pretty much any device as well as on your browser.
As I wrote in my previous article, Todoist is widely acknowledged to be visually striking, yet easy to use. On that basis alone, todayâ€™s overwhelmed office workers would be tempted to favor it over OmniFocus, which looks (and is) more complex.
Thereâ€™s more to it that just looks, obviously. Unlike OmniFocus, Todoist is a cross-platform platformâ€”again, a major bonus for people who switch back and forth between different ecosystems at home and work. Todoist also offers team task management (OmniFocus doesnâ€™t) and supports custom filters that work with Boolean operators (Federico Viticci compared them to OmniFocus perspectives, albeit â€œbased on a simple syntax and entirely under your control.â€ )
No product is perfect. You can only add notes or comments to tasks on Todoist, not to projects. Nor can you add tasks via Siri on your iPhone, not unless you rely on an IFFFT recipe, something which I could never get to work reliably. (Contrast this with OmniFocusâ€™ native Reminders Capture feature, which imports information from Appleâ€™s Reminders app on Siri-compatible devices.) Lastly, OmniFocusâ€™ Weekly Review feature works better than Todoistâ€™s Karma, which I see more as an inspirational feature than a proper reviewing mechanism.)
Is Todoist the new Things?
In the debate as to which GTD platform works best, many people have traditionally focused on OmniFocus vs. Things. The former offers powerful, yet complicated products that appeal to finicky users whoâ€™re managing complex projects (or like to think they are); the latter sells apps that are perhaps lacking in advanced features, yet are faster and easier to use, not to mention more visually pleasing.
But with Cultured Code having become too slow to adapt and evolve, Todoist has now stepped in as a more suitable champion for clean, easy-to-use GTD apps, one that’s not only updated frequently, it also boasts convenient features like natural language support and team task management.
In the end, which app will work best for you will be largely determined by your approach to the GTD methodology. Donâ€™t mind spending time to completely master a new tool or customize it to your satisfaction? You may be happier with OmniFocus, provided you donâ€™t care about being restricted to an Apple environment or don’t need to collaborate with others.
But if you like a tool that works reliably out of the box and requires little to no tinkering, youâ€™ll probably prefer Todoist. Its array of benefits allows it to easily fit into any GTD environment, and its flexibility all but ensures that it will continue to grow. Lastly, Todoist is in line with the new trend towards cross platform, which we at The Tech Now: The Group regard as the way of the future.