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Aug. 9, 2021, 6 a.m.
How Colter Reed Uses OmniFocus

In this episode of The Omni Show, Andrew welcomes Colter Reed, a productivity enthusiast who’s day job is turning brilliant ideas into beautiful software.

Show Notes:

Colter and Andrew communicate the importance of clarity in our commitments, using automation to template tasks, how to use our time wisely, and the early warning signs of faulty system health.

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

  • Fire Open Source
  • Kinkless GTD
  • OmniOutliner
  • OmniFocus
  • Franklin Planner
  • FullFocus Planner
  • Van Halen Brown M&M's.
  • Gabrielle Collard's OmniFocus Episode
  • Colterreed.com
  • Strides App
  • Transcript:

    Andrew J. Mason: You're listening to The Omni Show. Get to know the people and stories behind The Omni Group's award-winning productivity apps for Mac and iOS. My name's Andrew J. Mason and today we find out how Colter Reed uses OmniFocus. Hey, everybody. Welcome to another episode of The Omni Show. My name is Andrew J. Mason. Today on the show we have Colter Reed, who is a long-time contributor to the forums.

    Andrew J. Mason: You can find him at colterreed.com, an amazing part of this community, very valuable thoughts about productivity in general, and we're here to hang out with him talking about how he uses OmniFocus today. Colter, thank you so much for joining us.

    Colter Reed: Absolutely. I'm glad to be here.

    Andrew J. Mason: My first interaction with you, I believe, was on your blog. There was a guest post by Rosemary Orchard, who talked about a set of plugins that Kurt Clifton had created, and your blog was talking about how to template those or change those into iOS plugins, which was fascinating. But then I found out as I delved a little bit deeper how big an OmniFocus you really were. Zoom us back out and tell us some more about your story and how you came across The Omni Group.

    Colter Reed: Okay. I grew up in Wyoming, not the part that everyone goes to on vacation. That's like the Yellowstone area up in the corner. I grew up in Southwest Wyoming, a part that everybody drives through on their way to someplace more interesting. I attended the University of Wyoming, graduated in 2000, and got my first job out of college and was laid off from that five months later, part of the dot com bubble bursting. I got a job as a database developer for MCI WorldCom. And as part of their spiral into bankruptcy, they laid off all of their contractors.

    Colter Reed: Just in Colorado Springs, that was over 200 people in one day.There were a lot of people looking for work. I ended up working on an open-source project, Fire. It was a messaging app that would lead you do multiple protocols, AOL Instant Messenger, MSN Messenger, Yahoo ICQ. You had one app that would do all of these. Did that for a while. Made some connections. And 15 years ago, one of those connections asked me to send him to send him my resume. I spoke with the interviewer and got hired by a little fruit company out in Cupertino to come write software for them.

    Colter Reed: That was 15 years ago. I'm still there. Still love it. I found out about The Omni Group it might have been kinkless GTD. Might have been the beginnings of it. I know that I use Kinkless. There was a phase where a bunch of us were looking for applications to track GTD, take a digital, and that was one of the options that came up. I was kind of the only one that I knew that was doing that. Others were using other apps.

    Colter Reed: But there was something about Kinkless that I liked, even if it was just the sheer novelty of taking OmniOutliner, which had been written for just a completely generic purpose, and then here you have these scripts to just pivot the way that you're looking at your information and creating another application on top of OmniOutliner. I thought that was just brilliant. I started using that.

    Colter Reed: When the OmniFocus public beta came out, I used that, between the fact that I had OmniOutliner and I was a beta tester and I was taking a night class, and so I got to use an educational discount on top of that. When OmniFocus shipped, I paid like 15 bucks for it. It was ridiculously cheap. I've paid for the upgrade since then, looking forward to OmniFocus 4 coming out. I got my foot in the door with OmniFocus very cheap. I have tried probably most productivity apps that are out there.

    Colter Reed: And every time I've tried another one out, I found myself always comparing it to OmniFocus, and I've always come home.

    Andrew J. Mason: I love the story of how you're one of the original OmniFocus users. There's so much to unpack, but even from versions 2, I remember seeing on your blog a lot of kind of breaking down all the interesting ways that people can be using OmniFocus. You've been doing that for a while. What portions of your life do you find yourself really using OmniFocus for?

    Colter Reed: Upfront, one of the things I do not track with OmniFocus is anything for work, for the day job. They have very strict rules about where you put work-related information, and they do not like it going out on two servers that they do not control. I have to have everything split between I've got work tracked, and I have the rest of my life tracked that. OmniFocus has its fingers in the rest of my life one way or another. I track just the personal development stuff, kind of the broad category of sharpen the saw. The things I do so that I can do what I do better.

    Colter Reed: And that's a tickler for me as much as anything. Just so that as I'm going through and reviewing things, the first thing I come to is, oh, right, what am I doing to improve myself to be a better Colter? I track the goals that I'm working on, at least the next actions for the goals I'm working on. I tried tracking like everything about the goal in OmniFocus. That didn't work out too well. There's a lot of information that goes along with a goal that doesn't necessarily fit in OmniFocus, but it tracks the next actions, the concrete steps I can take towards the goals.

    Colter Reed: I have open-ended projects set up for the different major roles that I have in my life as a husband and a father. Family, investor, there's enough financial related stuff that I was doing under the family role that I wanted to split that out on its own. As a coach, doing the blog for some of the different nonprofits that I've worked with, things like that. The tests that go in there are things that are not... They're not big enough to have their own project to be tracked, but they're still kind of a theme related to...

    Colter Reed: All these one-offs have something in common that I want to be able to track them together, because there's a theme there around it. And then you've got all just the one-off projects that come up and happen.

    Andrew J. Mason: Now, you're just the first I've heard of this hybrid usage. I'm going to call it OmniFocus Plus, where you have this online, offline paper OmniFocus combination. Talk to us about that.

    Colter Reed: OmniFocus is the source of truth for all of the tasks that I have. But then when I go to execute, part of the daily review is I come up with a plan for the day, and then I transfer what my plan for the day is into a paper planner. I grew up using a Franklin Planner, and I still use a lot of those methodologies. I've already made reference to sharpen saw. I'm using the Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt now. And that transfer of the tasks and the calendar into the planner, that's kind of the final filter of, okay, this is what I am committing to do.

    Colter Reed: If it doesn't go on the paper, I'm probably not going to do it. I still create the plan for the day in OmniFocus. So if I don't have my planner with me, I can pull out my phone and check the list for today of the things that I was prepared to do. I still have that, because that's one of the strengths of the digital side of it, is it is ubiquitous and it's always there. You can access it from any device. But then the planner is where I execute from. I execute from the paper. I capture on paper. Paper is just infinitely flexible.

    Colter Reed: It can be whatever you need it to be. I'll capture things on there. And then the next time I do the daily review, I'll make sure I capture anything off of paper and get it back into the digital side, which is the source of truth for most things. One thing that is the source of truth is on paper is the goals. There's some space in the planner where you have all the information about the goals, including thinking about what the outcome is that you want, and why you're doing this, and how you're going to reward yourself when you've accomplished it.

    Colter Reed: The source of truth is the planner for that, but OmniFocus tracks the bigger picture. That's where all the planning happens. That's where a lot of the repetition things I have to do on a regular cadence, that's where that happens. But yeah, using the two together because they each have their own strengths.

    Andrew J. Mason: That really reminds me of something I've heard David Allen mentioned that he does, where there is the archival of events, very digital, even sterile kind of feel where it's just, this is what happened. Here are the facts. And then there's also this journaling modality that he went into at the end of the day, where he's just kind of reflecting. He would get an actual pen and paper and notebook. He talks about this where it's just a different mindset. Do you find yourself using this method to almost go into this? Is there something ritualistic about it?

    Colter Reed: Yeah. That's where it changes from an idea to a commitment at that point. If it's still an OmniFocus, it's still an idea. I might be seriously considering this idea, but when it goes on paper, that's a commitment. It might still come off. I can renegotiate the commitment, but there is something about that process of even just slowing down and taking time to think of, okay, this is what I'm doing today.

    Colter Reed: Because when you're just looking at a digital list, it's easy to sign up for more stuff than you actually have time to do. The forecast view, am I calling it the right thing?

    Andrew J. Mason: Yup, that's it.

    Colter Reed: The forecast view on OmniFocus where it pulls your calendar events in and it tries to show you everything in one view. If you have your tasks tagged and set up properly, you can kind of get "today's tasks" in that view. But I find that it's not until I'm actually looking at the page on paper where I can see, okay, these are the meetings that I have. These are the blocks of time that I've had to set aside to work on something. And here are all of the crazy ideas that I had that I want to get done today.

    Colter Reed: That's usually the point where I realized I only have 24 hours today and I would like to spend maybe eight of these sleeping. Some of this stuff is going to have to wait. That's the point where that usually happens for me.

    Andrew J. Mason: That phrase, "Here all the crazy ideas of what I want to get done today....." Just that level of thinking, I don't know if it's just digital tools in general, but sometimes there are just so many things. I find myself over capturing to the point where there's no way I can finish it all in a day. That really does remind me of a story that was on your blog post. I know we had mentioned it before we got started to here today. Do you mind retelling this story about Van Halen and the brown M&M's?

    Colter Reed: Van Halen was one of the pioneers of the big flashy rock concert. They did not have just a couple of pieces of equipment. They would completely transform the stage. They had a lot of heavy equipment. They had lights that they had to mount. You had to get power to those lights. And as part of the work, the preparation before the show, they would send you a big long contract with all of their detailed requirements. Like, rigging is this big. It needs to be able to hold this much weight.

    Colter Reed: We need this many power outlets spaced six feet apart with this many plugs in each one. A lot of strict requirements. This wasn't just them being pedantic. There were safety concerns behind this, because you have these large, heavy lights that you have to hang. And if the rigging, if the stage collapses during a show, the band is going to get hurt. The audience is going to get hurt. It's not going to be a good experience for the promoter who's putting on the show. If the power goes out because they overload a circuit, there's all these bad things could happen.

    Colter Reed: In the middle of this huge contract, they inserted this clause that said, "In the dressing room, there is to be a large bowl of M&M's with no brown M&M's in it. This is upon pain of forfeiture of the show. If we find brown M&M's in this bowl, if a bowl of M&M's is not there, if there is a bowl of M&M's, but it has brown M&M's in it, then we have the right to cancel the show, we take your money, but we're not going to perform." That's how serious they were about this. A lot of people dismiss this as, "Oh, those rockstar divas. Their weird and quirky demands."

    Colter Reed: But no, the reason why they slip this in there was because they wanted to see two things. First, did you read the entire contract? Did you take the entire contract seriously? And that was just a real quick check so that they could walk in, they could walk backstage. They could check the green room. They could look for the bowl of M&M's. And if they found the M&M's and there were no brown M&M's, then the promoter had taken all of their requirements seriously. It was something that they could check very quickly.

    Colter Reed: If there were brown M&M's or if there were no M&M's then they would stop things because they would have to go through and they would have to take a close look at everything that had been prepared. There were shows that they canceled because of this.

    Andrew J. Mason: Forgive me if the audience thinks I'm crazy, my excitement level is just off the charts for this, but this is so stinking crazy to me. This idea of the canary in the coal mine is genius.

    Colter Reed: Oh, it was. It kind of makes me wonder who's doing that same sort of thing today.

    Andrew J. Mason: Exactly. Exactly. I had a mentor in my life. He said something to the effect of the level of detail management that you can take on, that's as high as you're going to go professionally in life. Or in other words, you may care about the details, but to other people, if you don't handle your commitments well, it doesn't look like you care. Hopefully this is where we bring it back around since we digressed into the Van Halen M&M's story. But is there anything like that for you?

    Andrew J. Mason: The canary in the coal mine that says, "It's a guard rail, my system hasn't overloaded yet, but these are the blinking warning lights, the check engine lights that if I noticed this, I knew that things are going to go off the rails soon. I better take a look."

    Colter Reed: One that I can point out, just because I have learned to identify to myself, I do it more often than I want to admit, but if I ever catch myself thinking, okay, what do I need to do, and I'll start to check OmniFocus, I'll check the planner, and I'll catch myself and say, "Okay, that's good. But no, what do I really need to do?" That's a big danger flag, because that means that I'm starting to keep track of everything in my head. I've got two separate lists at this point.

    Colter Reed: There's the curated list of, this looks good, of the things that I need to be doing, but then there's also these other things, these hidden requirements on my time that for whatever reason, I haven't wanted to write them down. Maybe it's just because they're boring or they're embarrassing. I don't want the record of it. But life happens, and life has all of these little requirements. It takes time. We can't split into two and have the person that takes care of the professional good looking tasks and the person that takes care of all these mundane little trivial tasks.

    Colter Reed: We are only one. We have to take care of it. It's a requirement on our time. We need to have everything down. If you try to keep track of the real task list in your head, you're going to forget about things. You're not going to be able to remember what you've actually done and what you still haven't done. So even when you do something, it doesn't bring any peace to your mind. You still have this list running around in your head because you don't remember what you've done and what you haven't done.

    Colter Reed: Your brain wants to make sure that you don't forget anything that you still need to do, and it can't let go of anything. Your brain doesn't want to forget about anything that you still need to do, and so it doesn't want to let go of anything that you've done, because it has a hard time telling the difference.

    Andrew J. Mason: Oh man, the hidden requirements of my time. If you heard my keyboard clicking in the background here, it's because I'm actually taking notes. Colter, you said regardless of whether it's boring or embarrassing, but for whatever reason, I haven't written them down, golly, that actually represents a significant system leak for me, because there are things that I do that do require time that I don't track simply because the context or environment reminds me to do them.

    Andrew J. Mason: But if I'm not taking that time slot into account, then I have the potential to overestimate when I can actually complete in a day.

    Colter Reed: Yep. Exactly.

    Andrew J. Mason: Golly! That is good, Colter.

    Colter Reed: You might have it written down that you need to call a client. That's an important thing you need to do. That is written down, but you don't have it written down that you need to call and follow up on test results with the doctor. But the call the doctor pushes out the time to call the client. You're supposed to call the client at 1:00, but you were still on the phone with the doctor. And so now you're calling client late.

    Colter Reed: That's how one of these little hidden requirements that we don't actually write down can start to push out the important things, the big rocks, that we do have written down.

    Andrew J. Mason: You mentioned big rocks, what about that as it relates to templating? Do you utilize any kind of recurring templating or not so much, or some sort of a blended solution? How do you handle the level of automation that shows up in your system?

    Colter Reed: I do a lot of stuff that is automated. I love the fact that OmniFocus has had a robust Apple script interface for a long time. That goes back to 1.0. That lets you integrate and do stuff. I have had a daily maintenance script that runs on a cron job at 6:00 AM every morning, just to do some little daily cleanup things, so that I don't have to worry about doing that every day. As far as the templating goes, I used to do it more, but I've been converting those more and more to the Apple script and now it's the omniJS. That goes back to paying rent.

    Colter Reed: A couple of years ago, I couldn't remember if I had actually paid rent for the month. I pulled up OmniFocus and I checked and, oh, there's a cross off pay rent task. Good. Great. I already did it. A couple of days later, the office tapes a piece of paper to our door saying, "Hey, you haven't paid your rent yet. Now you owe us this much." Oh no! I had looked at the crossed off task from paying last month's rent, not this month's rent. At that point, I stopped using repeating tasks and templates so much.

    Colter Reed: I started converting stuff more to programmatically repeated tasks so I could have it instead of just pay rent, it could say pay April rent, paid May rent. So I could tell the difference between these tasks, because some things, it doesn't really matter. Like every week I need to set the trash cans out. Okay. I'm not going to get confused about which trash cans it is that I need to set it out, but paying rent, there's an important distinction there. Which rent are we talking about?

    Colter Reed: I've been switching more and more stuff over to being created by scripts, just because then I can tell the difference at a glance, okay, which occurrence is this referring to?

    Andrew J. Mason: You mentioned checking off the task at the wrong time, and then fall asleep believing that it was done. There's actually a reverse of that situation, which was hilarious. In a Gabrielle Collard's episode where she talks about not checking something off and then feeling like she hasn't done it yet. I think it was in regards to something she was trying to sell on eBay and accidentally tried to sell it twice. But when it comes to that level of tearing off a fresh sheet of paper digitally, just saying, "Okay, here's the new version.

    Andrew J. Mason: Here's the new version," are there any other aspects of your system that feel like they're unique? You really did kind of hit on that or touch on that so far, but what else might be unique to your system that the standard OmniFocus user might not be aware of?

    Colter Reed: Sure. One of the things that I do that I've had a number of people comment on is the main way that I tag stuff is with temporal tags. Because the point of GTD is that you're focused on, okay, here's the test I need to do. What are the resources that I need in order to accomplish this task? Well, when David Allen wrote the book, he didn't always have a phone in your pocket. You didn't always have a computer accessible to you. A lot of those original GTD-esque contexts don't make as much sense today. But the one resource that you do have to think about is the time.

    Colter Reed: When am I going to do this? I use tags in OmniFocus to set up like, okay, what am I going to do this month, next month, in September, in October, in November? What am I going to do this week, next week? What am I going to do today, tomorrow, on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday? I can take a task and I can assign it specifically to a specific day that I'm going to do it on. I tried doing this with using the due dates and the defer dates, but those already have meaning.

    Colter Reed: A defer date is simply, it's not available up until this point, and then I can start working on it at any point. It doesn't have to be that day. It can be any point after that. A due date is a deadline. If I don't get it done by this date, there will be some penalty. There will be a negative consequence that comes about because I didn't get it done.

    Colter Reed: As soon as you use the due date, which is why I see most people do, as soon as you use the due date for anything else like, "Oh, this is the day that I want to do, D-O, do this task on," you have completely destroyed the meaning of the due, D-U-E, due date. And you can't trust it anymore. Because then any given task... When you look at any given task, you don't know whether that due date is the deadline or if it was just when you were planning on doing it. Can you push it back safely or not? You lose that. I spent some time thinking about this and I realized that...

    Colter Reed: One of the things I really love about the Franklin Planner is I could flip forward to a future month and I can say, "Okay, in October, I want to do this." I just write down the master task list for that month. Or when I sat down to plan the week, then I can say, "Okay, I'm going to do this on Monday. I can do this on Tuesday, this on Thursday," and spread out the tasks over the week. That way, I can make sure that each day is kind of balanced and I'm not overloading everything on one day. I do a lot of weekly planning.

    Colter Reed: That's kind of the primary way that I plan. And then the daily planning is just a quick check-in. But with the weekly planning, I have a tendency to say, "Oh!" I'll get excited and I say, "Okay, I'm going to do all of these things on Monday." I might finish that list of tasks up by Wednesday, because I just get excited. I get ambitious. I just oversubscribe myself. If I can look at the week and just kind of spread those out more so that I'm not trying to get everything done on Monday, then I have a more sustainable plan.

    Colter Reed: By setting up these temporal tags, it kind of turns OmniFocus into a tickler file where, going back to GTD concepts, it turns it into a tickler file where I can say, "Okay, I'm going to do this. I have accepted this task. It's an idea still. But I think I am going to work on this task at this point in time." As the tags get closer, I start rotating the tags while those tasks gradually come up closer. I can drop something into OmniFocus that I'm going to do six months from now, and then it will bubble its way up through the tags and it'll get done.

    Andrew J. Mason: Now, I'm curious, do you mind getting a little bit more granular about the tags? Is that in reference to a relative segment of time, today, tomorrow? Or is that like a specific date, October 22nd, and there's a tag for 2021?

    Colter Reed: The closer it is, the more granular it is. This week is a tag itself. I want to do this at some point this week. And then underneath this week, I'll have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, as well as tomorrow, because it's nice to be able to say, "Yep, I'm going to do this tomorrow," and just put things there. You don't have to think about like, what day is today? What is it? I say, "Nope, I'm going to work on this tomorrow. And then similar, I've got this week and next week, and then this month, next month.

    Colter Reed: I have 12 folders or 12 tags for each month underneath next month. And then same thing for this quarter, next quarter, fourth quarter 2021, first quarter of 2022. I don't go more than a year out on any of these. We're getting into some day. But there are things that we do on an annual cadence that we do need to track. We pay our car insurance premium twice a year, and so that goes out in November is the next one, and then it'll bubble up.

    Andrew J. Mason: That is a really cool way to approach this. I love how metaphorically you're flying over the clouds and things are fuzzy. Hey, that's six months from now. And then as you're getting closer to really landing down on the runway, it's like, we've got to be specific about that. We've got to put the landing gear down and nail down a date.

    Colter Reed: Yeah. I mean, six months out, I don't know what day to day is going to look like six months out. I don't know the details of what's going on. I have an idea of what a typical... Well, six months out, January. I know what a typical January looks like, but I don't know what January 2022 is going to look like specifically. It makes sense. This is going off six months from now. And then once you get closer, that's when you need to start making the decisions, okay, what day exactly am I going to do this?

    Andrew J. Mason: I love this question, we ask it all the time, especially in the OmniFocus arena, but what advice do you have for that beginner? That person that's listening to this saying, "Okay, tags are great. Brown M&M's, love them. But I haven't even started with task management. OmniFocus is a relatively new concept for me." How do you suggest somebody just kind of start things off?

    Colter Reed: Do not start with Apple scripts that are triggered on cron jobs to try to automate your system. Do not start there. You will get to that point, maybe, depending on how nerdy you are. Start where you are. I mean, the two-edged sword of OmniFocus is that yeah, it is a very powerful tool. You can organize your tasks in many different ways. It has a lot of features. You don't need to use every one of those features right out of the gate. Just open it up for the first time, dump what's on your mind into the inbox, and then sort it.

    Colter Reed: Maybe create two or three projects to group things together. Otherwise, just say, "Yep. I've thought about this. I'm going to do it," move it out of the inbox. Even if it doesn't have any more structure than that, get it out of the inbox. Create one or two tags just to see what they're like. But don't worry about custom perspectives or anything like that. Just get a feel for the app. Start where you, and let the complexity of your OmniFocus system grow as you start using it more and you start to see what works for you.

    Colter Reed: You can look at blog posts and look on YouTube and get an idea for what other people are doing, but a lot of it is that's what's worked for them. Now, maybe that'll work for you, maybe not. But don't feel like you have to jump in and use every one of the features right out of the gate. Most people I would say start with the basic licensed OmniFocus. Unless you have a very specific plan for a specific feature of OmniFocus Pro, stick with the basic. Don't overwhelm yourself with everything that Pro can do. Keep it simple.

    Colter Reed: Because the best tool to track your productivity and track everything you need to do, the best tool is one that you're going to use. Don't get as OmniFocus and unlock everything and put everything in it, and then get scared of it so that you never want to touch it again, you don't want to open it, because of overwhelm. Create a tool that you're going to use.

    Andrew J. Mason: That's so All the time, we have these grand ideas and overload our systems and, "I want to do this, and we can do that." The sky's the limit because of productivity, and therefore I can accomplish anything, and over time realizing, oh my gosh, I've created Frankenstein here. Now I'm afraid to look at these lists. I know that's a mistake. Talk to me about any other mistakes that either you personally have made or you see being made all the time in the area of either OmniFocus or task management.

    Colter Reed: Running with that ball, putting everything into OmniFocus. I've tried tracking habits in OmniFocus, and it doesn't work real well for that. Right now I'm using Strides for habits. It has an application that is purpose built for tracking habits. It's not a general purpose task manager. Those are two different things. Another thing that OmniFocus does not do well is if you have to share information with somebody.

    Colter Reed: A specific example of something I recently did that I did not use OmniFocus for was a couple of weeks ago, we took a trip to Tahoe, and this was largely my kids' idea. I wanted to involve them in the planning process. And if I were the one planning the trip, then yes, I would have put it in OmniFocus, set of everything I needed to do, and taking care of it on OmniFocus.

    Colter Reed: But my kids don't use OmniFocus yet, and so I just grabbed a sheet of paper and wrote Tahoe Vacation across the top of it, put on some check boxes and some lines, and then sat down with them and said, "Okay, these are the things that we need to do to get ready for our trip to Tahoe." We wrote everything down and who was going to do it. And then this was something that I could sit down with them and review and get them excited about getting ready for the trip and helping to get ready, being involved in the process and seeing what goes into it.

    Colter Reed: Something else that I have realized I can't keep in OmniFocus is the someday/maybe list. A lot of people do it. It's very common. You just have a project that's on hold, that's someday/maybe, and think go into that. But I see it too often and I'm constantly reminded of like, "Oh right. I wanted to do this at one point." And then I'm finding myself constantly re-evaluating like, okay, do I still want to do this? I'm trying to make too many decisions over and over again on it. I've had to move the someday/maybe list out of OmniFocus.

    Colter Reed: I've got an OmniOutlier document for that now that I can check when I want to specifically check the someday/maybe list. But until then, I'm not accidentally bumping into these tasks and spending mental energy trying to make these decisions over and over again. The third most common mistake that I see people make is when everything's important, nothing is. If it's just flagging everything because it's like, "Oh, this needs my attention. This needs my attention," or you're looking at a list with 21 items on it and 20 of them are overdue.

    Colter Reed: I'll ask them like, are these actually overdue, or did you just want to do them? Oh no, I just needed to do them. I wanted them to nag me to get them done. I'll ask like, "Hey, do you have any idea when these tests were actually due?" And they don't, because they're artificially moving the deadline up just because they want to try to give themselves a little bit more accountability to get them done. Well, it's not working cause you've got a list of 20 of these things that still say there.

    Andrew J. Mason: That's right. It's well intentioned, but now you've got this false sense of urgency in the sea of red and, oh my gosh, I'm overwhelmed.

    Colter Reed: It's got your attention, great, but what are you doing about it?

    Andrew J. Mason: And that's the challenge. Colter, how can folks get in touch with you? If they're interested in connecting with you or seeing what it is that you're up to, how can they do that?

    Colter Reed: If you want to know what I'm up to, go to colterreed.com. That's my website. You got the blog there. If you want to see what I'm doing on YouTube, there's a YouTube link up there. I'm working on a course right now. I just started filming a course on how to create a personal mission statement. I'm calling it a personal compass to help guide you toward... To make sure that you're taking your life in the direction you want to take it. Information for that will be there, so everything is at colterreed.com.

    Colter Reed: I'm on Twitter. I'm on Instagram. You want to reach out and say hi, I'd love to hear from you.

    Andrew J. Mason: Colter, thank you so much for your time. We are honored to have you a guest, and I know our community is going to have so much huge value out of this.

    Colter Reed: Thank you, Andrew.

    Andrew J. Mason: Hey, and thank you all of you for listening today as well. Hey, we're curious, are you enjoying the shows? Are you enjoying learning how other people are using Omni software and products to get things done? Drop us a line @theomnishow on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you there. You can also find out everything that's happening with The Omni Group at omnigroup.com/blog.