Todoist vs. Omnifocus 2, Which is Better?
Todoist vs. Omnifocus 2, which is the best for you? In this article I will cover a few differentiating features to help you decide which is best for your particular needs.
scratching the surface reveals a myriad of usability and interface details
Todoist and Omnifocus come with their own set of unique features and user interface tweaks to help users squeeze the most out of their time. Superficially, they may appear similar with the ubiquitous overview screen on the left and the task list on the right. However, scratching the surface reveals a myriad of usability and interface details that can often make the difference in choosing one app over the other. It is these smaller details that I want to spend my time on today. If you fancy a full on review then don’t worry as I also have those. Simply call over to the Todoist review and the Omnifocus 2 review for IOS and then jump back here. Its OK, take your time, I can wait.
Omnifocus 2 User Interface for IOS
Todoist user interface
If you are now up to speed with the full reviews of both, let’s now progress to differentiate both products in this Omnifocus 2 vs. Todoist comparison.
Todoist and Omnifocus Platforms
If you are not a Mac or IOS user then you can probably save some time and need not read this complete article. In know that is a really weird statement coming from a blogger but I recognize your time is valuable. That said, my articles are always worth reading for the entertainment value alone! Anyway, the reason why I suggest skipping some sections is this. Omnifocus is exclusively for the Apple ecosystem and if you don’t have Apple products then you will have to find an alternative Todo list app for your needs. That alternative could be a multitude of multi-platform task managers such as Wunderlist, Swipes, Ticktick or in the case of this Todoist vs. Omnifocus 2 article, Todoist. Todoist supports nigh on everything. At the time of writing, Todoist offers native support for 12 different platforms including the usual suspects – Windows, Mac OS, Android, and IOS. So, if you are not solely devoted to the Apple ecosystem you will need to consider an alternative.
Task management methodology
If you are familiar with the Getting Things Done(GTD) methodology then Omnifocus will probably be right up your street for there are many aspects of it that are tailored specifically for GTD. Let’s highlight a few of those.
Omnifocus 2 Reviews
It is possible to define any task or project as needing a regular review. At a regular interval, Omnifocus will then remind you to review all of those project tasks that you have left to gather dust.
Omnifocus context based task selection
GTD advocates the use of contexts to help with task selection. This means you can select task based on various criteria such as,
- Time/Energy available
- Resources available
Omnifocus also supports the context concept whereby you can define certain tasks for certain contexts (work, home, computer etc.) and filter all your tasks to show whatever context you find yourself in. Omnifocus can also show tasks based on location – obtainable from your phones GPS. For the record, Todoist also has location based reminders. Omnifocus also allows for selection of tasks based on the time estimate you entered for the task but in my opinion the best implementation I have seen for this is Nozbe, whereby when you flag your tasks for the day the estimated times are summed to give the total time for all tasks. You can check out the full Nozbe review for details or my Matryoshka To do list approach where I suggested a similar idea.
Omnifocus Next action
Next action can be a life saver to being overwhelmed by a multitude of tasks
Next action can be a life saver to being overwhelmed by a multitude of tasks. The beauty of next action is at least two fold. First, many actions can be hidden and only the next physical task you have to do is displayed. This prevents an overly cluttered task list. Second, the next action concept is a great habit to foster as it encourages you to think in terms of actions to progress a project instead of general woolly ideas. For example, instead of writing “learn Spanish”, as a task list next action teaches you to break it down into small actionable steps that can be executed one by one. So learn Spanish becomes
• Research Spanish course online
• Apply for course
• Pay fee
• Purchase supplementary material
Each of those is an actionable step. Using Omnifocus, all tasks but the first task will be hidden. Each subsequent task will be spoon fed only after the first has been completed.
To enable this feature though the project must be defined as having sequential actions, as opposed to parallel or individual tasks.
Omnifocus Project type – Parallel, Single actions, Series
Todoist vs. Omnifocus 2 Price
Spondulix, moola, bucks. Whatever your favourite terminology is for money, expect to part with some of in return for either of these fine apps.
There is a significant difference between the two here though. To get Omnifocus, you pay money and you get it, that’s is. There is no fancy trial periods or subscription nonsense. For the Mac version, this is $39.99 for the Omnifocus 2 license and $79.99 for the Pro version. The extra $40 for the Pro version buys you three key additional features,
- Focus. Ability to hide all but the selected tasks.
- Custom Perspectives. Create a filtered task view based on task information such as Status, Task duration and so on.
- Scripting. Automate your workflow for repetitive tasks.
Todoist on the other hand offers a completely different pricing model. Like many to-do list Apps a trial version is available for you to try before you buy. In my experience though, and as highlighted in my Todoist vs. Wunderlist article, the free version is simply too limited for serious use. The current cost for Todoist is $28.99 per year which gets you access to all of the platform apps. Various key features are then enabled for the paid premium version including comments, file uploads and location reminders.
Team Todoist vs. Lone Wolf Omnifocus
Todoist natively supports team working where Task lists and projects can be easily shared with any other Todoist user. Omnifocus on the other hand is more suited to personal productivity and personal tasks. So if you foresee the need to share tasks with other people then Todoist would be the better choice of these two. Naturally, there is a huge choice of other online task managers that have such functionality so you need not limit your consideration to Todoist.
Omnifocus and Todoist Third party support
If you wish to link your Todo list to other third party apps then Todoist has your back. It supports IFTTT, Zapier, Cloud storage providers and Calendars sync. Omnifocus on the other hand does not officially support third party providers. So, if such integration is important to you, then Todoist would appear the better option.
Todoist Bling vs Omnifocus 2 Tweed User Interfaces
In my previous Omnifocus review I likened Omnifocus to a tailor made tweed suit
In my previous Omnifocus review I likened Omnifocus to a tailor made tweed suit. By that I meant that it was very well put together and fulfils the intended application beautifully. While relatively slick, it does not pack as much bling as Todoist. In addition to the smart features Todoist has applied, see next point, there are a few other bells and whistles. For example, one can accumulate Karma points for completed tasks. These can then be summarised in reported to the sum of completed tasks over certain time periods. On the surface this may seem to be an attempt at motivation but I see some useful purpose for it beyond that. The Karma report also shows a simple bar graph, colour coded by project. This gives a rough idea of which Projects you are spending your time on. If some of those projects are important goals, and are not showing up in that graph then something is wrong. The Karma report helps highlight such problems.
You should also know that emoticons have made the jump from your phone to Todoist. Projects can also be labelled with those little pictures to give a quick, visual representation of the project content.
Omnifocus and Todoist Task Filters
I think this is another major difference between Omnifocus 2 and Todoist. In the standard version of IOS Omnifocus 2, the Perspectives give a very superficial level of task filtering. To level up your filtering functionality you have to upgrade to the Pro version of Omnifocus which then enables more advanced filtering for many of the task details such as estimated time, status and so on. So, to get that level of filtering you have to splash out another $20.
Todoist on the other hand offers very advanced task filtering baked in. It is not based on pre-selected options but rather you can define them based on quasi natural language. You are probably thinking what the heck is quasi natural language. Well I just made that up to describe the kind of syntax you have to write for Todoist filtering. Let’s take a couple of examples to explain. Let’s say you want to create and save a filter to show all the tasks that are overdue and are labelled to be done at your computer. Then you create a filter stating “overdue & #computer”. Or, if you want to know all the tasks assigned to you, you can write “assigned to: me”, or tasks that are due in the next 3 days – “3 days”. Hopefully you get the idea now. In the end, it can be a really powerful tool to help your workflow, especially if you are using Todoist for business.
So, for Todoist vs. Omnifocus task filtering, I would give this round to Todoist.
Omnifocus’ Age old wisdom vs Todoist’s street smarts
Both Omnifocus and Todoist want to help you make the most of your time but the way they go about it is fundamentally different.
On the Omnifocus side, it uses the age old GTD methodology to help focus on the task at hand. The ability to zoom in on tasks and filter your task list is enhanced in the Pro version with the use of the Focus and Custom Perspectives features.
Todoist on the other hand employs all of the modern tricks at its disposal. The latest of these is Automatic Rescheduling. When you run late on tasks it determines the most appropriate date to reschedule it to as based on your habits and future task workload. You can check out Francesco’s review of this particular feature in the video below.
Another nice intelligent feature in Todoist is smart date entry. This function parses the task text in search of dates and times and sets reminders accordingly. For example, let’s say you enter “Doctor appointment at 3pm”. Todoist will recognize the appointment is for 3pm and will create an appointment reminder for that. This feature is particularly cool if you use voice entry so you need only speak the appointment and time and the reminder will be set automatically.
Todoist vs Omnifocus 2 Summary
With two great candidates such as Todoist and Omnifocus it would be expected at this stage to start the summary with, “gee whizz it is difficult to decide between the two”. But I need not do that in this case. The reason I can avoid this gut wrenching Todoist vs. Omnifocus decision making is because Omnifocus have courteously decided who should select it – Apple users who prefer the GTD approach.
So, if you fall into said group then the answer would be that Omnifocus would be best for your needs. Todoist also provides apps for MacOS and IOS but if you are wedded to the GTD approach then undoubtedly Omnifocus would be the better choice as it is tailor made for this.
If on the other hand you want a more flexible task management solution that is needed for other platforms then I would advocate Todoist.
Well that’s my 2 cents on this Todoist vs. Omnifocus debate. Let me know your opinions in the comments section below! And, if you found it useful please share on your social network using the little share buttons on the left of the screen. Cheers!