There’s a task funnel I’ve been using more and more – something I call The Productivity Path – and it has proven to remove quite a bit of friction from my work life and life outside of work. My particular path is one that those who have invested in iOS and OS X devices can use, and it’s actually quite simple to adopt.
On my iOS devices, Drafts is the “launching pad” for all of my tasks that don’t come from email messages. If it’s a task – something that is actionable – then it gets entered in Drafts and immediately sent to OmniFocus. I don’t add contexts or anything during this process; it’s all about getting it to the right inbox as quickly as possible. If it’s something that is more of a reference item or isn’t solely a task itself gets sent to Evernote.
So while I capture things in Drafts (both for the iPhone and iPad), they certainly don’t stay there for long.
If a task comes in via email, I’ll forward it to my OmniFocus Mail Drop address. I’ll rename the subject to clearly define the task, but I still don’t add contexts and the like during this phase. I do that when I’m in my OmniFocus inbox. When reference items come in via email, i’ll send it to my Evernote email address.
For OS X, I use Postbox as my email app and that allows me to clip items slated for Evernote to be added through the app’s Evernote integration. Tasks are sent to OmniFocus via my Mail Drop address, just like I do on my iOS devices.
As for direct entry, I’m using Alfred more and more for that. I used to use Shawn Blanc’s Oopsie Focus script to quick enter into OmniFocus when the app wasn’t open, but Alfred has workflows that take care of that now. Even the OmniFocus “quick entry” option isn’t something I use nearly as much now that Alfred 2 is around. In fact, the only reasons I’ll use either of the old methods is because they are so ingrained in my mind. The more I play with Alfred, the more it will become ingrained.
From the browser, I use the “Send to…” option provided for OmniFocus and the Evernote Web Clipper does the trick for my reference and research materials.1
As you can see, I generally use three points of entry for anything I need to keep in Evernote or OmniFocus (the apps I use for reference material and task management). Those are the apps I use, but The Productivity Path can be put in place for a wide variety of other apps and other platforms (Drafts can send captured items to other apps that are alternatives to what I use). I encourage you to find something that will allow you to create The Productivity Path that is ideal for you. You might find that not just knowing where your stuff is supposed to go — but knowing how you are consistently going to put it there — can really take your productivity to the next level.
1 While I have them installed on my mobile versions of Safari, I rarely use them on those devices. Instead I’ll just share links via email and send them to whatever address makes sense.