Traveling With OmniFocus and OmniOutliner

I don’t travel a lot, so when I do I invariably find that I’ve forgotten something important (9 PM the night before: “say, dear, where are we boarding the dogs?” “I thought you were doing that!”). I wrote an AppleScript to copy items from an OmniOutliner document to an OmniFocus project so that I never have to forget again.

I love OmniFocus. It runs my life. But it lacks any kind of a template systems to let you quickly churn out copies of a project. That’s exactly what I needed here, though. Fortunately OmniOutliner fills that gap and gives me a nice way to describe that project. Here’s how mine starts:

List of things I want to remember

When I run the AppleScript and say “I want to travel on June 24”, it creates actions like “Call the vet to make pet boarding arrangements, with the Phone context, due on June 3 at 5PM”. I add everything to this list:

  • USB gadgets to charge
  • Toiletries to pack
  • Things to remove from my messenger bag (so I don’t find myself in line at security and realize I’ve still got my pocket knife)
  • People to notify, such as telling my credit union that I’ll be using my debit card in some exotic place like Topeka and please not to block it as fraud

A magic moment for me was hearing Merlin Mann’s suggestion to add an “update this list” action:

Reminder to update the list

A couple of days into my trip, I get a reminder to add anything new I’d forgotten or wish I’d done differently. This turns my template into a living document of exactly my own personalized requirements.

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