Replacing OmniFocus with 2Do - a comparison

OmniFocus has been a stalwart of my workflow across all of my devices for a long time. It’s never let me down but the fact that it sometimes seems to make harder work of recording and organising tasks than is necessary has been grating recently.

The catalysts for me considering a change of Todo app are actually the iPad Pro and Airmail [1]. Now that the iPad normally gets chosen for my travel bag rather than my Macbook, two particular issues have been bugging me with OmniFocus.

Firstly, many of the tasks I want to chuck on to my list are relatively trivial, miscellaneous tasks that I want to get on my list as quickly as possible, without any friction. I want to say, - ‘Hey Siri, remind me to back up my Son’s phone tonight’ and for that to end up on my todo list without any further interaction or categorisation. In OmniFocus I have been getting fed up with having to go to the inbox and allocate this to a project. I might add 20 or 30 Misc tasks in a day and I don’t want to allocate them one by one to a project.. which gets me to my second issue..

Batch processing. I didn’t notice this when I was using a Mac [2] but on the iOS Omni client, when you want to change the state of a task (such as a due date) or process an inbox item, you can’t select a bunch of them and do them all at once. You have to do them one at a time. I often find that a change of plan mid way through the day leaves me wanting to change the due date on 15 - 20 Misc tasks (that were on that day’s todo list) to my next free day. Having to do them one by one rather than all at once on my iPhone is real friction.

Spurred by Federico Viticci’s article on 2Do I thought I would give it a go. I put 2Do on my Mac, Phone and iPad. Replacing OmniFocus is a big ask for any app - for me it’s akin to moving house but here’s my early days key pluses and minuses:

Plus points of 2Do compared to OmniFocus

  • You can tell the app to automatically allocate tasks to a default specific list (project) and day
  • You don’t need to use the inbox[3]. You can get stuff straight onto your todo list
  • It’s very malleable and flexible - its feels like you can work to your system rather than one being prescribed for you
  • You can batch process tasks on iOS - Move 20 tasks with two taps!
  • The phone app is a triumph. It’s not intuitive but once you’ve watched the Youtube tutorial videos there is nothing you can’t do with it
  • If you use your main iCloud CalDAV account as your sync engine - the integration with Reminders, Siri and other apps like Fantastical is really good

Minus Points of 2Do compared to OmniFocus

  • The Icon. Seriously, this almost stopped me before I started - It looks cheap and amateur on iOS and compared to the lovely purple Omni tick, hurts me every time I look at my phone dock.
  • No Watch complication. I am used to being able to glance at my wrist to see how many outstanding tasks I have on any given day. The developer has hinted that it’s coming. It is essential
  • Emailing tasks into the app is a faff compared with the benefits of Omni having their own server
  • You can’t put attachments (like PDF’s, word docs etc.) onto Tasks as you can with OmniFocus

My jury is still out but I am certainly going to persevere with 2Do for a couple of weeks further before I decide whether to move my task manager house permanently.

  1. Before Airmail on iOS, I always felt I needed a Mac Laptop to triage my email, now I can do it faster on iOS.  ↩

  2. Batch processing on the Mac version of OmniFocus is fine.  ↩

  3. Unless you are emailing in tasks which causes the 2Do app to turn on the inbox without a choice. Nuts.  ↩