I am curious about opinions regarding Omnifocus vs Agenda for saving Tasks and miscellaneous notes.
It seems every review I read discusses Omnifocus as being the clear winner in this category, albeit at a considerably higher cost than its competitors.
That said, I have tried a few times to learn Omnifocus and it has always seems too complex for the mission, with only marginally convenient syncing capability.
I came across Agenda recently and have been blown away at least on initial trial over the last couple days. Much more intuitive to use, very well-done syncing and Sharing capabilities (both in and out of Agenda), plays very well with Hook, very innovative linking to the Mac Calendar or to other Agenda notes. And a pricing plan which exudes confidence in their software - free to use except a subscription to pay for extra features.
In short - it seems to me at least on initial use that Agenda wins over Omnifocus on virtually every comparison point. If so, why the huge fan base for Omnifocus?
That certainly is a competitor - looks nice overall though at first glance it does not seem as well integrated with the Mac Calendar as Agenda is and it looks like Agenda is better for detailed notes including better linking capability.
I have seen a few other comments in this regard and I am a bit puzzled. On iOS it seems just as easy to add a new new note to Agenda or to OmniFocus. On the Mac, s you can have an “Agenda Link” to any desired Project Hook can drill down to a specific Note. Combine that with Keyboard Maestro and you can assign any keystroke you wish to instantly add a note anywhere you wish within Agenda. How does OmniFocus make this easier?
I experimented with Agenda and I like it but I have dedicated myself to using markdown for all notes. While Agenda can have tasks, it is not a task manager. I mastered OmniFocus, setup custom perspectives, etc., but ultimately moved to Things 3. I find Things 3 has all of the functionality I need while making it easier to maintain a bird’s eye view of my projects and for my use case, gets out of the way better than OF does. My simple setup, which works wonderfully for me, is as follows:
All notes and research are stored in DEVONthink. I write all notes in markdown using Drafts. IF/WHEN DT gets a suitable mobile app I may use it to take notes but for now, I use Drafts and send the notes to DT.
I use Things 3 for project/task management and use DT links to link to notes in Things 3 (and other applications) as needed.
I use Apple Calendar for calendar events.
I’m experimenting with Obsidian for research. My Obsidian vault is maintained in DEVONthink so that I have access to the research notes from both apps.
I use Ulysses for blog, long form, and book writing.
This is a streamlined, simple workflow that has several advantages:
Less cognitive load
“Future proof” notes and I can convert, OCR, and export files with DT easily.
Requires only a few subscriptions (though the upfront cost of Things 3 and DT is relatively high)
Fair question. I seldom use or need images in my work notes. However, if for some reason I need an image for a work related note I create the graphic or add the image in another application (e.g., Apple Notes using the Apple Pencil or Keynote) and then add it to DT. I then copy and add the DT link as needed to other applications and notes. DT handles any file type, including images.
OmniFocus is the most customizable and powerful personal task manager on the planet. It’s intimidating, not very inviting, can be frustrating at times, but nothing compares to it. I am using all the features it gives me (custom perspectives, internal linking, automation) and Agenda, as Noteplan and all such apps, is simply light years behind (but it’s fine - it’s supposed to be a different kind of app).
Agenda vs OmniFocus is like comparing Keynote to Illustrator. Yeah, you can do some simple design in Keynote and it’s amply sufficient for many needs, but the point is, a) you need serious design, you use Illustrator without hesitation b) Keynote is actually a different class of app.
Not everybody needs that level of complexity, though, and for many people, it can even be a disadvantage, where using something simpler would be far more enjoyable and therefore productive.
Agenda and OmniFocus are really very different products. Fundamentally I think the decision here is whether you want a notetaking app that can do some task management or a task manager that can have basic notes attached to tasks. It sounds like you’re looking for the former.
No need to involve Keyboard Maestro, for one since OmniFocus has quick entry with a universal keyboard shortcut. Another advantage of a dedicated quick entry feature like OmniFocus’s is that once you hit return to add the task, you’re immediately back in whatever application you were using before so it’s quicker to get back to what you were doing before.
I’ll try to a post more in depth response soon but I think the key workflow for Agenda is in working hand in hand with Calendar and Reminders. When you couple Agenda with those two apps it becomes a bigger powerhouse. Especially if you have projects that are longer running and you need to track what you did over time. “Moving the needle” stuff. Agenda excels there for me.
But really 85% of what I do is tracking routines and making minor progress across a few major projects. So Agenda is a bit cumbersome in that capacity. But it is workable. It just depends on your needs and wants.
OmniFocus = See a criteria-based list and check off tasks
Agenda = Write notes about the tasks you’re checking off
There’s obviously more to it than that but that’s the majorly clear distinction for me.
Thank you - I think that answers my question exactly. Honestly what I need is a notetaking app which is more sophisticated than Notes. But I prefer to avoid Markdown since I tend to insert lots of images/screen captures in my notes and generally I prefer WYSIWIG while writing. Notes particularly does not meet my needs since it does not work well with Hook so it is hard to reference notes within other applications. Agenda works on all counts.
Hmmm, after using Agenda since it was launched, every time I try out Noteplan 2 or 3, I soon end up dumping it in favor of Agenda. Agenda has a really solid integration with Calendar and Reminders with more robust features (than Noteplan 3) for creating and modifying events or reminders. When I try these things with Noteplan I get very frustrated. It does not spark joy at all. Just my opinion – but Noteplan is not a pleasant experience.
NotePlan 3 is actually better in my opinion and it is also great for actual planning of tasks. Agenda is great, but once you have more concurrent projects, it gets messy and confusing.
I personally settled on TheBrain+DEVONthink+iA Writer+Todist+Toggl and Margin Note for specialised case research. Everything I do is synced to Mac and iOS/iPadOS and I have a great overview of past and active projects with fast access to relevant files/tasks.
But if I had to choose a note taking app that can also function as my task manager, I would go for Note Plan 3 You open your daily note, plan your day and assign tasks and events.
To answer why I don’t suggest Agenda in place of OF, I use Agenda and OmniFocus every weekday and they feel complementary to me. While I appreciate the reminders integration exists in Agenda, its task tools feel more like ways to enhance the documents I’m writing and quickly scan for previously completed NAs when I’m returning to a note category. Whereas OmniFocus is like having an executive assistant hand me the most important things to do that cut across all projects and non-project areas of concern.
Both apps have fantastic value as aspirational purchases, though, and we all know aspirational purchases are both the glory and shame of this community.