Oct 12, 2008

iPhone as productivity tool

On Friday I got my new shiny black 16GB iPhone 3G. I really like this device. I saw many different SmartPhones but none were truly good. They were "not a bad phone" but quite bad in the rest. Normally they tried to emulate computers but they all have a very small screen and extremely small fonts without any anti–alias. Using these SmartPhones is a pain.

iPhone is different, it features good fonts, large letters, screens free of clattering, etc. And what is even better, applications can be added to it easily.

I am using OmniFocus for task management on my Mac. It is very convenient for anyone, who employs Getting Things Done technique for effective workload management. I am very used to OmniFocus. When I am at my Mac and I have a task or an idea, I just press Ctrl+Mac+Space, type task or idea in the small popup window, dismiss it and continue working without a need to memorize this idea. Next, when I have time, I process all such items, sort them into projects and set due dates if necessary.
This all works good while I am near my Mac. But if I am in a shop or on a phone, I cannot do that: my Mac is not near. I have to memorize things to enter them later to OmniFocus. This is bad because:
it keeps my memory occupied by something I do not plan to do right now
I cannot focus on current tasks because I have to remember about something else
I still can forget bits of it

Now when I got iPhone, life is good again. I got OmniFocus for iPhone (oh, ignore that horrible pink background!) from the App Store.

OmniFocus for iPhone is very similar to the Mac OmniFocus: tasks, projects, contexts — all that is available. But OmniFocus for iPhone also capable of sharing and synchronizing its database with other OmniFocus databases! Currently it can synchronize with iDisk (from MobileMe accounts) or from any WebDav–enabled server. I do not see MobileMe as something to pay $99 for, so I just enabled WebDav for one particular directory on my server and made both Mac and iPhone versions of OmniFocus synchronize their databases there. Now I can have up to data OmniFocus task list everywhere. Mac version synchronizes every hour and iPhone version synchronizes a minute after the change. Of course, it is possible to synchronize manually.

So, I am very satisfied with iPhone as a productivity tool. With addition of OmniFocus it becomes a good organizer for daily needs.

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