Omnifocus and Siri

January 27, 2014

Apple doesn’t allow 3rd-party apps to integrate with Siri, but The Omni Group has worked around it with Omnifocus. I rely on this every day. Here’s how.

Omnifocus

Omnifocus on the Mac, iPhone, and iPod is my go-to Getting Things Done solution. I wouldn’t get a damned thing done without it these days. In fact, the seamless syncing between the three versions of this app constitutes The Killer App that’s guaranteed to keep me in the Apple ecosystem for a good long while.

Create a task on any of the three platforms, and it appears on all of the others the next time you touch them. there’s a lot of other amazing features, but that synchronization is key.

Siri to Reminders

One big problem; you can’t use Siri to create new tasks in Omnifocus, because, well, Apple knows best, and shut up shut up shut up, OK?

But, you can use Siri to create a reminder in Reminders.app. Saying

Remind me at 10PM tonight to record the Grammys

while driving to work will create the reminder that you expect, in the default Reminders list in Reminders.app.

Reminders to Omnifocus

Now, it’s in Reminders.app. What good does that do you? A lot! Because you can tell Omnifocus to monitor a single Reminders list and “capture” items from there into Omnifocus (deleting them from Reminders). You can even change which Reminders list you want Omnifocus to monitor. I left it monitoring the default Reminders list.

Omnifocus Inbox and Cleanup

These new items in Omnifocus may have a time and date assigned to them, but they have neither a project nor a context. That means that they appear in the “default” container, called “Inbox.” I keep the Omnifocus Inbox clean, so if if I see something in Inbox, I know that it’s a newly-created item from Siri (or some other automated/scripting mechanism) that needs a little TLC the next time that I’m in front of a keyboard. In particular, it…

  1. Needs a Context (See the GTD article).
  2. Needs a Project (Ditto).
  3. Probably needs some spelling / grammar / proper noun assistance.

As to that last item; if I say

Remind me next Thursday to push to Heroku.

, what are the odds that it got “Heroku” even close to right? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

You need to make voice reminders that will have enough information to let you clean them up, WHEN you have the time to clean them up. In my case, my Task will say something about Hokaido. If I read that tonight, I can clean it up to be about Heroku. If I leave it for a few weeks, who knows if I’ll be able to decipher it?

Tags: omnifocus, gtd, siri
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