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Aug. 28, 2023, 6 a.m.
How Bryan Roseveare Uses OmniFocus

Looking to boost your productivity and broaden your horizons? Don't miss this enlightening episode with Bryan Roseveare, accomplished pilot, ATO Manager at SIMAERO, and host of the Bryan Air podcast. In a conversation filled with practical insights, Bryan shares how he's mastered OmniFocus to enhance his productivity and minimize anxiety. He translates his aviation experience into life lessons, providing a unique perspective that guides him toward personal and professional success.

Show Notes:

Bryan reveals his passion for continuous learning, from staying on top of the aviation industry to his newfound interest in jiu-jitsu. His open-minded approach to embracing new challenges and venturing down exciting paths will inspire you to do the same.

Some other people, places, and things mentioned in this episode:

- Bryan Air Podcast (Audio)
- Bryan Air Podcast (Video)
- OmniFocus
- Spark Email
- The Checklist Manifesto


Andrew J. Mason Welcome everybody to this episode of The Omni Show, where we connect with the amazing community surrounding The Omni Group's award-winning products. My name is Andrew J. Mason, and today we learned how Bryan Roseveare uses OmniFocus. We'll welcome everybody to this episode of The Omni show. My name is Andrew J. Mason, and today we have Bryan Roseveare. He's an ATO manager at SimAero. He's also an airline pilot and instructor out of Johannesburg, South Africa, as well as the host of the Brian Air podcast. Brian, thank you so much for joining us today.

Bryan Roseveare Andrew, thanks so much, man. It's an absolute pleasure and privilege to be here.

Andrew J. Mason And Brian, I know we just gave a quick little two-sentence introduction there, but do you mind diving and digging a little bit deeper into your life? There's a lot to digest there. Who are you? Where do you find yourself? And what do you do day to day?

Bryan Roseveare Sure, Andrew. Yeah, by trade, I'm an airline pilot. I've been involved in the airline industry for the past 22 years or or so. I've flown for various airlines in South Africa, where I was born and raised. In 2016, I started working for an aviation training organization called SimAero. Simaero at that stage was a relatively small, full-flight simulator housing and maintenance company. I was working two jobs. In the day job was flying passengers around. Then in my spare time, I was at SimAero either doing pilot instruction or various other jobs within the organization. I started to notice that the knowledge gained in the flight deck over the years actually held a bit of value outside the flight deck. I started trying one or two little things. The one area I did go into was the online training side of things. I started a small company called eAerospace. The little training program that I developed is still actually being used by the SimAero group today here in Joburg. It was a nice mini personal success story, but also did quite well financially at the time. When COVID came along, everything, as you know, in the airline industry changed.

Bryan Roseveare A lot of pilots had to go and look for jobs elsewhere, use their transferable skills in other industries. I looked at it a little bit different. I saw it as an opportunity to shift out the flight deck. I had, like I said, 22 years or so in the industry, but there was always this little niggling thing in the back of my head saying maybe I should be doing something else. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy flying. I absolutely love flying, but it's one of those jobs that takes a lot of time. There's a lot of time away from your family, away from your home base. It wasn't something that I saw myself doing when I was 60 years old. I needed something else. When COVID came along and all this chaos was going on around the world, I decided, no, let me go and settle in another direction. I kept developing the online training programs and I got myself into a very nice position inside the SimAero Group. I ended up as the ATO, which is the training organization manager for our facility here in Johannesburg. That's where I am today. I'm very happy to still be in the aviation industry, although not in the flight deck.

Bryan Roseveare I still get to do instruction and I'm a little bit more involved on the commercial side of aviation now. Samero as a group has grown substantially since when I started in 2016. They've got two bases in France and another one going up shortly. There's a base in India and a lot of interest in China as well. A nice big global company, a company that's really looked after me and it's enabled me to grow as a person and as a professional. So very grateful for where I am today inside the Samarrow Group.

Andrew J. Mason That's so cool. I know the tendency for a lot of us is to want to connect the dots in our careers very logically into forming some overall story arc. It sounds like that's actually happening very naturally for you. That's amazing to get to hear that play out. Talk to me about any memory you have of the Omni group when you first came across it. Was it a specific software or was it the group as a whole? I'd love to hear your first interaction with them.

Bryan Roseveare Yeah, it was pretty clear to me actually. Strangely enough, when you're an airline pilot, your life is pretty much looked after by the part of the company that creates your roster because your roster determines everything. You get told when you're flying, what time you're flying, how many hours a month you're flying. Then you can work your life out around that roster. I started to find when I moved out the flight deck that it was a little bit more difficult to actually plan my life. The corporate environment was also quite different to the flight deck environment, where the flight deck environment, you're always trying to maintain the highest levels of safety, but everything is based on following a procedure and making sure that you're a safe pilot, which is, of course, what you should be doing. When you enter, of course, a bit more corporate, then you actually now are competing against yourself every day. You've got to make sure you're better than you were, because if you don't perform, then there's someone else to come and take that position. You're not just trying to maintain high levels of safety, you need to be productive. I realized that entering into that environment a bit later in my career than what some of the others were, I needed to have an advantage.

Bryan Roseveare I took a bit of an interest in productivity in general, looking at all the YouTube videos and that that are out there, there's so much information that can be learned. But one of my favorite podcasts, Modern Wisdom podcast, Chris Williamson, the host, they have an episode once a month or so, was a laugh hackepisode. One of the life hacks was OmniFocus. When they were talking about it and chatting about what they use it for, the penny just dropped and I thought that is exactly what I need. After that podcast finished, I downloaded it, I paid for it, and I've used it every day since. That was about 2018. Yeah, very, very clear and vivid memory.

Andrew J. Mason My gosh, that's awesome. Where does OmniFocus sit in your current workflow? How big of a slice is it? Do you have other software that pumps input into it and export data out of OmniFocus? Where does it sit in your overall system? What sorts of things do you use it for?

Bryan Roseveare Yeah, sure. I use OmniFocus every day, but I don't look at it every day. I try and limit myself to once, maybe twice a week. More often than not, it's on a Sunday. My workflow is pretty straightforward. I use Spark email and I've got a keyboard shortcut. If I see an email that I need to read but I don't quite have the time to do it now, then I keyboard shortcut it to my Omnifocus inbox and I leave it there. I don't go and look at it. On a Sunday, I go through my Omnifocus and I start trying to sort those emails out, either read them and discard them, or if they're things that require a few more steps, then I either turn it into a project or I add it to an existing project. It's pretty straightforward. My getting things done Sunday is my fantastical calendar app opened with OmniFocus and with my Spark email. That's what I've been doing for the last year and a half or so. I've tried one or two other ways, but I always end up coming back to the same workflow. It's pretty straightforward. It's not overly complicated.

Bryan Roseveare But the big thing for me, and also with having the podcast that I didn't mention there earlier on, the podcast plays such a big role in my life from a self-development point of view, because I think our listeners, or one of the aspects that we talk about every week is a little advisory segment where we like to throw something out there that's either motivational or productivity, whatever it is. As you know, Andrew, if you don't know something well, it's actually quite hard to talk about. You think you know it well until you start trying to talk about it. From a workflow point of view, if I get an idea, I might be, as an example, sitting now at work or about to go into the simulator to do a bit of training, an idea pops up for the podcast later in the week. If I don't get that idea into my OmniFocus, I know that that idea is gone. I've become quite diligent with making sure if something comes up and I think, Right, I can't quite get to that now, I just put it into my OmniFocus. Workflow is pretty simple, but the inbox section of the app is highly useful for just collecting my thoughts and ideas, either for work, the podcast, or, of course, personal life.

Andrew J. Mason That's hilarious, Brian. Actually, you have just described my exact setup from Spark into OmniFocus. And then not the timing, not the weekly timing, but I think sometimes we conflate complexity with usefulness. And the more complex a setup is, then therefore, the more useful it must be to me. And that's not always the case. Correct. I'd love to get your advice on what's a good first go-to set of steps or tips for somebody that knows they need to do something. They're keeping it all on their head, like you mentioned about the flight simulator where it's like, I'll remember it later. What advice do you have for somebody who's just starting out to say, I need to do more than what I'm doing now, which might even be nothing, but what should I do next?

Bryan Roseveare Yeah, something that I didn't realize at the time I got into productivity because very obviously I wanted to be more productive. I wanted to stand out at work. I wanted to succeed. But what I didn't realize, and something that's far more important, I didn't realize how much of an impact having all these projects and things to do in my head, how much of a negative effect that had on me emotionally. I only realized at the time, by getting the thoughts and ideas into a program where I can look at and sort out in my own time, the reduction in my anxiety levels overall was quite profound. I think that's why it's become such a major part of my life because it, of course, helps me from a productivity point of view, but just from an emotional stability point of view, it's helped me significantly. What I would say to someone looking at starting is you don't even have to look at it like a project management tool. Just look at it as a place to store your thoughts and ideas. Then from there, think about, Right, what's the next step I can take? What's that saying?

Bryan Roseveare You don't need to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. That's how I see OmniFocus. It's just get it in there. Then in your own time, go and work out, Is that a project? Can I sort that out in the next five minutes? Is this something that's going to take a bit longer? I think you'll be pleasantly surprised the impact it has on you from a stress point of view of just getting those thoughts and ideas or those little niggly emails that you know you should have got to that you haven't got to, but it's almost too late to get to now. Just get it in there and then you can figure it out in time. That's hugely useful.

Andrew J. Mason Gosh, that's so true. It makes me think of Dave Allen's quote about the last thing a fish notices is water and how we can be in the midst of all this. You don't realize the pressure that you were feeling until it's removed from your environment. This is just a whim thing, but would love to know what role did checklists play in your life? I always think about flight checklists. It makes me think of the checklist manifesto book where they talk about if a surgeon doesn't follow a checklist, people could die. It's like checklists are so important, and I imagine doubly so in an industry like flight, talk to me about where that shows up for you and how it plays out.

Bryan Roseveare Yeah, sure. Aviation, as you know, must be one of the most regulated industries in the world. It's all about following checklists and following procedures. If you follow those checklists and procedures, then you tend to be a safe pilot. A pilot that's reckless that doesn't do a before takeoff checklist because he thinks he knows the aircraft well and then takes off with the wrong flap setting is likely to go and kill themselves. Obviously, the things that I've learned in the flight deck I've tried to carry through, but I've seen a lot of similarities by using OmniFocus in this case with the checklist. Something simple that I think most people can relate to your annual tax return. It's something that takes a bit of time. You have to gather your expenses and that together and send them off to your account and whatever procedure you follow. But the reality is that procedure doesn't change much. Since I started using OmniFocus, that procedure, I refine it every year, but when it's time for my tax return, I basically pull out the tax return template from last year and I just go and copy the same thing for the current year.

Bryan Roseveare I use checklist quite often. We use checklist on the podcast to make sure that everything is up and running. We run through like a before start checklist on the podcast. I don't think it's for everyone. I think when you're coming from that background and you're used to using templates and checklist, then it's highly useful. But I can see that that might just be a hindrance for some people that just want to dive right into it. From my personality point of view, I like to actually make sure everything is correct, everything's ready, and then go for it. One of the features that I really like with OmniFocus is the ability to actually go and review something, have a look, how did it work, and then make it better for the next time. I find a lot of value in it, but I would say that I've actually drawn a lot of that inspiration from the aviation industry.

Andrew J. Mason Brian, is there any part of your career thus far? I love the progressive nature of your career, and it sounds like it's all heading in a really great direction. But in the spirit of continuous learning, somebody that's a mile or two behind you and sees the decisions you've made in regards to productivity or how to do your best work possible, is there anything that you've come across where you tried it out and it didn't necessarily work out the way that you had hoped or intended? As advice for somebody who is possibly behind you in their career, you might say to them, If you're thinking about it, just maybe go ahead and skip this slice of it all.

Bryan Roseveare Yeah, it's a good question. I'll revert back to my podcast now. The podcast that I started during the pandemic was something that we decided to do. With my best mate that I started it with, we said, Right, why don't we do something that we use as a learning tool? We use it as a tool to learn something new. In other words, we knew nothing about media. Were nothing about sound and video. But I had this idea and I had this thought that things were moving in that direction. You needed to be able to advertise, you needed to be able to know how certain software works, and you needed to be able to communicate. We thought let's use this as a training tool. We started this thing basically just on the Richard Branson, screw it, let's do it situation. Let's just try something. Let's make this work. Let's use it as a learning tool. It was so successful from a self-development point of view. The person that I am today is very different to who I was when the podcast started in 2019. I wish that I had done that more in my younger years. It took me, I was 38 years old before we went and started the podcast, and it was the first real time that I had done something for myself with the intention of developing myself.

Bryan Roseveare I look back and I think, Well, if I had more opportunity earlier on, I should have done more of those things. Since then, I've started doing other things. I've started jiu-jitsu and things like that based on the same thing. Let's learn a new skill. I know nothing about it, but let's see where it takes me. I think there's so much value in that just by learning and never stop learning. If I had a chance to do it again, I would do more things. I would take more risks, but do things with an end goal of, Let me just learn about this new thing. It might not be the answer you were looking for there, but that's what comes to mind anyway.

Andrew J. Mason That's perfect, Bryan. That's where I'll leave it. If folks are interested in connecting with you or listening to your podcast, how can they do that?

Bryan Roseveare Thanks, Andrew. Yeah, man, it's been a real privilege being here today. If you want to find me, easiest way, probably my website, Bryanroseveer. Com, you'll find links there to the podcast. A weekly newsletter goes out as well. Otherwise, the Bryan Air podcast, that's where we chat every week. It's a weekly show. Either Bryan Air or my website, you can find both there, brianroseveer. Com.

Andrew J. Mason That's perfect, Bryan. Thank you so much.

Bryan Roseveare Thanks so much, Andrew.

Andrew J. Mason Hey, and thank all of you for listening today, too. You can find us on Masterdone at theomnishow@omnigroup.Com. You can also find out everything that's happening with the Omni Group