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March 4, 2020, 6 a.m.
How Scotty Jackson Uses OmniFocus

Scotty Jackson — Manager, Information Services at Large Telecommunications Company and co-host of the Nested Folders productivity podcast with Rose Orchard — joins the show to talk about how he uses OmniFocus.

Show Notes:

We talk about Scotty’s shortcuts, his custom Next perspective, how he integrates OmniFocus with other apps, and hamburgers.

Our special co-host this week is Aaron Cherof, Support Human, who wrote the theme music for The Omni Show, and who we welcome back to the airwaves.

You can find Scotty on Twitter @heyscottyj and on the web at

Some other people, places, and things mentioned:


Brent Simmons: 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.

Scotty Jackson: Music!


Brent Simmons: That was so good. I'm your host, Brent Simmons. On the line with me today is Scotty Jackson, who you probably know from the Nested Folders Podcast that he does with Rose Orchard. Say hello, Scotty.

Scotty Jackson: Hello, Scotty.

Brent Simmons: Also with us today is a guest co-host, Aaron Cherof. Did I pronounce that right? Cherof.

Aaron Cherof: Pretty good.

Brent Simmons: “Won't someone please turn that Cher off?” That's how I remember it. Aaron is a support human at Omni and he wrote and performed the theme music for this show. Say hello, Aaron.

Aaron Cherof: Hello, Aaron.

Brent Simmons: All right. So this is the part where we make stuff up. That was our script, now we're winging it.

Scotty Jackson: Awesome.

Brent Simmons: Scotty, what do you do for a living?

Scotty Jackson: So, I work for a large telecommunications company in Canada and we also do a lot of work enabling technology in sectors that aren't commonly associated with telecom and network connectivity. So we do stuff with health, we do stuff with agriculture, we do stuff with smart cars, all kinds of things with connectivity to help connect Canadians with each other and with the rest of the world.

Brent Simmons: And your official job title is Manager of Information Services?

Scotty Jackson: Sure.

Brent Simmons: And I bet that means you just wear a lot of hats.

Scotty Jackson: Kind of. So I work in what would probably be best understood from the outside as a corporate communications business unit. And so, I work to support the build of our internal network, our internal intranet and also a lot of content management and content publishing on our public .com. And we also do a lot of the strategic consultation around how to build the best digital experiences internally for our fellow team members.

Brent Simmons: How big is the company?

Scotty Jackson: Roughly we're about 30,000 strong.

Brent Simmons: Jeez, Omni is… smaller.

Aaron Cherof: Slightly.

Brent Simmons: That's a lot of stuff to do. Wow.

Scotty Jackson: It's a lot of fun though because you get to work with a lot of people. I've actually been with the company… I just turned 20, back in January, which was two and a half months ago now. So I got to reflect on how many different job titles I've had and areas that I've worked in and it's really cool because you can be in the same organization for a long period of time, but you can do a lot of different things and meet a lot of different people. It's pretty outstanding social experiment that way.

Brent Simmons: So, when did you start using OmniFocus to keep things going at work?

Scotty Jackson: I fell backwards into OmniFocus. I got my first Mac in 2005 and it was at that time that I was just sort of giving up on having a PC and all of the fun that went along with that. I was a performance maniac. So I'm nuking and paving my drive every six months. And I'm like, "I quit, I give up, I'm buying a Mac."

Brent Simmons: So it wasn't even enough to defragment your hard drive. You actually nuked it and paved it over?

Scotty Jackson: Oh, every six months because, I don't know, I just found that Windows was like that back in the day. Maybe it's better now. I don't know. But I think it was [Mac OS X] Tiger was the OS at the time and it came packaged with OmniOutliner. So, and it was about that time too that I had also had GTD introduced into my life and I was following Merlin Mann's 43Folders and carrying around index cards, and then I discovered kGTD with the KinklessGTD AppleScripts for OmniOutliner.

Brent Simmons: Oh yeah.

Scotty Jackson: That was amazing. And then that turned into OmniFocus. And ever since, here I am with some experimenting with some paper, digital combination systems on the side, but it's mostly been all OmniFocus all the way since it was launched.

Brent Simmons: Didn't we used to call them the hipster PDA when you carry it around, like index cards or whatever, small notebook, I can't even remember now.

Scotty Jackson: And you have to have like really stylish binder clips. This is the rookie move to just have your basic black. You need to have red with like an ampersand on it or something like that.

Brent Simmons: Sure.

Scotty Jackson: Yeah.

Brent Simmons: Right. And depending on how ironic you want to be, the ampersand might be Comic Sans.

Scotty Jackson: I don't think anyone's that ironic anymore. Is Comic Sans still allowed?

Aaron Cherof: I think it's come full around and now — It was used ironically and now it's used unironically and now it's like double negative switchback ironic.

Brent Simmons: Oh gosh.

Aaron Cherof: It's tough to keep track.

Brent Simmons: We should redo the website.

Scotty Jackson: There's your April 1st move.

Brent Simmons: Oh gosh.

Aaron Cherof: Is this coming out before or after April 1st?

Brent Simmons: A month before. Bummer.

Aaron Cherof: Still got time.

Brent Simmons: Yeah.

Scotty Jackson: The future is right ahead of us really.

Brent Simmons: So what did you like about OmniFocus? Kinkless came out. You liked that. OmniFocus came along.

Scotty Jackson: I liked that it taught me to think in two really discreet ways about my stuff. I guess, one is here are the projects I have, here are the commitments I have and then two, hear my actions about those commitments. And then past that it just becomes like this massive database to inventory all of my things in different ways so that I can look at it and see what's relevant, but also see what's not. So, OmniFocus’s big appeal to me, is the ability to hide all of the hundreds and hundreds of things I do not wish to see right now, so that I can really look at the ten things that I really do want to see right now.

Brent Simmons: So the focus part is-

Scotty Jackson: The focus part-

Brent Simmons: Critically important, yeah.

Scotty Jackson: Weirdly though, I don't think I ever actually used the Focus feature. I think especially now with the “make a perspectives” that were introduced in OF3…

Brent Simmons: Custom perspectives?

Scotty Jackson: Custom perspectives that have all of the different conditions in them. I can say, okay, show me the things that are due, but also the things that are flagged and available, but also the things that are tagged in this particular way and available, so that I've got this prioritized list of here are the things that I really want to look at next, and I can keep managing myself that way, and I don't have to worry about all the things that do not meet those conditions.

Brent Simmons: Speaking of next, I saw a YouTube video of you talking about your workflows and you have a perspective called Next.

Scotty Jackson: I do.

Brent Simmons: Tell me about that.

Scotty Jackson: That was probably a Tim Stringer's Learn OmniFocus session that I had the opportunity to participate in, and Tim is fantastic. He is doing great work in showing people how to get the best out of OmniFocus. My Next perspective has evolved a lot over time. What I've found that I'm using it for most now, is to look at things that are not tagged. Because I'm now using tags more as limiters rather than descriptors. So when tags were first introduced, I thought, "Oh, this is great. I can apply metadata to all the things. Here are the calls, here are the emails, here are the instant messages, here are all the people." And then it occurred to me that I was using tags, A) too much and too liberally. I had too many of them in using… looking at a list of any given particular tag was not fruitful.

Scotty Jackson: You know like it turns out that looking at just a list of available instant messages that I could send to one particular person isn't a great list to have. That's just not valuable. So, I instead use tags as a way of, saying here are things that I can't do just about anywhere since I pretty much always have my phone and odds are my iPad is not far away and probably my Mac is around too, because I work remotely. So, what are the things that I can't do in that sort of situation? So that's where tags, like being connected to a corporate network, or being in a particular location, like running errands, or being around particular people — that's where tags I find are really useful because I can say, basically a tag is like a reason why I'm not doing something right now.

Brent Simmons: In that sense it's very close to GTD contexts.

Scotty Jackson: It is, except that it's also multidimensional. So I can say, here's the thing that I need to be connected to the corporate network to do, but I also need to be connected to the corporate network at the same time as my boss because we're going to be working on something collaboratively. So, I've got two different kinds of contexts that act as like a bit of a Venn diagram.

Brent Simmons: Okay.

Aaron Cherof: Interesting. That seems like that'd be a useful way of thinking about it, because I think when this feature got introduced and it opens up all these horizons, it's kind of like if you were to move into a mansion, you have all these rooms available and you say, "Oh I have all this space. I could do whatever I want with it." And you don't have any kind of framework for putting stuff here or there and then you end up in a mansion where every room is a mess.

Scotty Jackson: Right. So logically you get that and the first thing you do is abuse it, because human nature kicks in so fast. And yeah, I think I've heard a lot of stories of people going through that sort of arc of, "here's how I thought I would use tags and then here's how I'm actually using tags." And all of them are super relevant. All of them totally employ all the abilities of having multiple tags and that change moving from OmniFocus two to OmniFocus three but in such nuanced and discreetly important ways.

Brent Simmons: What goes into your Next perspective? What are your rules there?

Scotty Jackson: So, that's going to be all this stuff that is untagged. So, I have said I have not deferred it to another point in time and I have not tagged it in a way that says, I can't do this basically whenever. So, that leaves all of this sort of untagged stuff, but that isn't in the inbox. So, I've at least assigned it to a project... It means it's a processed action. So, I've taken the time to think it through. It belongs to a project. I have hopefully given it enough enriched naming so that I'll know what it means later. It isn't just like the number 54 or something silly like that, but it actually has a thought out and processed action about it, and it belongs to a project.

Brent Simmons: So we're going to sprinkle and listen to questions along the way.

Scotty Jackson: Sprinkles.

Brent Simmons: Sprinkles of listener questions. First one is from Ryan Dodson and he asks, "What's your usual Tim Horton's order?

Scotty Jackson: Thank you Ryan. Let's embrace a little bit of Canadiana. I mean, I was a double-double guy all the way, but in the spirit of "new year, new me," and for the last three months I've been being very thoughtful and mindful about what I'm ingesting. And so now I would say it is a lightly sweetened steeped tea.

Brent Simmons: Okay. That's a new year, new you. Very cool.

Scotty Jackson: That's right. New leaf.

Brent Simmons: So, what actually is a double-double?

Scotty Jackson: A double-double would be two cream and two sugar.

Brent Simmons: Okay.

Scotty Jackson: That's sort of like lingua franca here I guess. It's funny what you don't realize isn't common vernacular in all places all the times.

Brent Simmons: Oh sure.

Aaron Cherof: Yeah. I don't think we have... I think there are some Tim Horton's in America. I've never come across one.

Brent Simmons: Or there were, Yeah.

Aaron Cherof: Yeah, up near I think like Northern Michigan there might be some.

Scotty Jackson: There are some in the East. Yeah, Buffalo or something like that.

Aaron Cherof: Yeah. When you mentioned double-double, the only kind of connection I can make in my head was In-N-Out Burger, which I think a Double-Double is two patties and two slices of cheese. And I can imagine that being a hard daily order, like I can't just start my morning without a double cheeseburger.

Brent Simmons: I can't wake up without my Double-Double.

Aaron Cherof: Here in America.

Scotty Jackson: That is amazing. I remember I went my then fiance, now wife, to visit my brother who lives just outside of Portland, but we met in LA, and I saw that there was a Carl's Jr was advertising a full pound burger and I was just thinking that was, that's amazing. I'm totally having that for breakfast. And that was a regrettable choice. But I... Tuition value. I learned something.

Brent Simmons: Yes, so enough Tim Horton's, let's get back to OmniFocus. Shortcuts.

Scotty Jackson: Shortcuts.

Brent Simmons: You like Shortcuts. Tell me about shortcuts. What are you doing with shortcuts?

Scotty Jackson: Holy smokes. I'm a big fan of shortcuts. Shortcuts are really neat because they give a connectivity between all of my stuff that's in OmniFocus and the rest of the world. So, I've got ways of putting stuff into OmniFocus and then ways of getting stuff out of OmniFocus in really neat new ways, thanks to the new actions that have been introduced. So, most recently in 3.5 was Add TaskPaper to OmniFocus, which is really cool because then I can... If I'm in the mood to just sit down and map out this new idea that I've had, I can just nerd out and write in Drafts.

Scotty Jackson: So, I can just write in task paper format and then click a button and bloop. It goes right into OmniFocus, all formatted with tags, flags, dates, and assigned to the right project, which is really awesome.

Brent Simmons: That's tremendous, yeah.

Scotty Jackson: I've got a daily journal shortcut that I use, and that takes all of my forecast tagged, flagged and due items out of OmniFocus and puts them in a note in the Agenda app alongside weather and a list of my calendar items for the day, so that I've got kind of a journaled record of whatever it was I thought I was going to do in a particular day. I mean, I'll blow it up within an hour, but at least-

Brent Simmons: Oh, sure but you start with something.

Scotty Jackson: That's right. First start, then fail, then try again.

Brent Simmons: Yeah, right. Absolutely. Yeah, Agenda and Drafts are both some very beloved apps. Is their support for shortcuts and automation pretty solid too?

Scotty Jackson: Agenda, as of the time of this recording, is very much able to be interfaced by shortcuts, but only through URL schemes.

Brent Simmons: Okay.

Scotty Jackson: So, they don't have any native shortcuts actions, but their URL scheme library is quite rich, so you can make projects and notes and append to notes and all of these various different things through URL scheme. So, it can be a little bit tedious to build, but then once it's built, rinse, wash, repeat. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Brent Simmons: I'm just so amazed that automation has become such a big deal on iOS, because it was so lacking there for so long. But now, a whole ecosystem is forming and the dream of connecting various apps together is coming together there. We've had that for years on the Mac, but it's good to see it on iOS.

Scotty Jackson: Absolutely. And in this format that I can use, because I'm not a developer, I'm not a programmer, I can't write code. I'm not savvy in those ways, but I can figure out a URL scheme of it. That's probably like the top. That's above my ceiling, URL schemes, but if it can allow me to do that sort of thing, well that's really impressive and we can move away from just being owners of $2,000 super computers that fit in our pants pockets and just using them to make phone calls.

Brent Simmons: Right. [Are] shortcuts like this part of how you communicate with other people. Do you have, for instance, a shortcut that puts stuff together and then makes an email or put something on the internet?

Scotty Jackson: Yeah, I have a couple. The most robust one that I have, that took me quite a while to make, but was so worth it. It takes a notification email that I get when an internal team wants to work with my team. They'll do like a little project request and I'll get a notification email about it, and that email will have a readout of, here's who it is, and here's what they want done, and here's when they want it by, and here's how they are funding it, and so on and so forth. My shortcut will take that text, use a web API to put that content into our online project management tool that our team shares, and then it will also drop a note to myself in Agenda with all of that stored against a new project in Agenda for that project, and it'll create a project in OmniFocus and a set list of tasks in OmniFocus that belonged to setting that up.

Scotty Jackson: So, it builds out this project in those three apps and then crafts an email back saying, "I've got your project, here's who on my team I'm assigning it to, and they're going to be in touch." And it CC's the assigned team member. And then a second email is also generated to the team member that I've assigned to work to saying, "Here's a link to the online task manager task that has been created about this project for you."

Brent Simmons: Wow, that's tremendous.

Scotty Jackson: So, when I did a little bit of time and motion study, doing all of those things manually, including putting all of the appropriate tidbits in the appropriate fields and so on, probably about a half an hour and now it executes in under 30 seconds.

Brent Simmons: Yeah.

Aaron Cherof: That's wild.

Scotty Jackson: That was a really beneficial couple of days of building a shortcut because that, I mean, I go through that process, four, five times a week.

Brent Simmons: That's so gratifying. I mean, at Omni we basically live for taking things that would take you half an hour and turning it down into 30 seconds. I mean that's wonderful.

Scotty Jackson: Oh, Totally. My other preferred way of formatting stuff in the OmniFocus database is to prepare for a meeting that I'm having with either my boss or a member of my team. So I can say, "Hey OmniFocus, give me all the tasks that are tagged with so-and-so's name. Format them into a nice list and draft an email about them with some intro and outro tech saying, 'Hey, here are the things that I want to talk about the next time we're meeting or when we meet later today'," then I can run the shortcut as a preparatory step for that.

Brent Simmons: Nice. So we have another listener question. This one's from Eric Bowers. He asks, "If you could give OmniFocus a nickname, what would it be and why?"

Scotty Jackson: That's a very creative question. My initial thought was Master, but then I thought, no, dammit! Slave. And then I realized, it's kind of my partner because it's tapping me on the shoulder and reminding me like, "Hey, Scottie, here's the stuff you got to be doing." I have very high self management requirements and OmniFocus is kind of the one thing that I've found that can achieve those in the absence of my wife being omnipresent and a stern look.

Brent Simmons: The stern look. So OmniFocus gives you the stern looks.

Scotty Jackson: That's right. It gives me the opportunity to like not earn the stern look by saying like, "Hey Scotty, don't you remember? You kind of committed to this stuff? Don't you think you better be doing that stuff?"

Brent Simmons: Cut it out with all that podcasting — do your work!

Scotty Jackson: Real work.

Aaron Cherof: Given that you've been using OmniFocus since the Kinkless GTD days, how much of your database has carried over from that original version of your use of the app?

Scotty Jackson: Oh none. And I think that's a blessing. I wrote a blog post in January about how I completely redesigned my folder architecture and what all the folders mean to me in terms of how I group my projects, and I think having the flexibility of moving stuff around that easily has been huge. I think about things in entirely different ways now than I did then, both philosophically and tactically too. Because I mean then I was working as an Operations Manager in a contact center. So, the kinds of projects and the kinds of responsibilities that I had were entirely different from the kind of work that I do now. And then, over the years there has been more traditional project management type roles. So again, my use of OmniFocus changed. So the way I organize and store and think about things and having the ability to be okay with those changes, that's a pretty welcome feature.

Aaron Cherof: Yeah, I think that's pretty natural. What you want to do changes over time. And so, just because you have an idea at some point that something's going to be important to you, your priorities change. It's just kind of natural with the progression of time. I think.

Brent Simmons: Yeah. And people's roles change, often enough, kind of mandating that kind of change.

Scotty Jackson: And I think again, like I say, I have high self management needs. I'm thinking about my process a lot. And so I think I'm constantly sort of iterating on some of the nuances of that. I think I wrote at one point about how I agonized over the forecast tag in OmniFocus and what to call it, because words matter. And so for a while the tag was called Next, but then I realized, well that's creating a lot of cognitive dissonance for me because I can't do ten things next. So which one is next? Which one of the Next is next? So then I called it Today, because I thought that sounds nice, but then 10:00 AM rolls around and you look at this list of five Today things, and you realize, okay, well that's not today, so why does it mean that?

Scotty Jackson: And so now I've just changed it to a star. I've given up on using words and just a star to imply some sort of subjective meaning.

Brent Simmons: Right. You could've just literally called it forecast.

Scotty Jackson: Honestly, I'm probably going to do that after this show.

Brent Simmons: I like the simplicity of the star though. I think that's cool.

Scotty Jackson: It's kind of neat because if I hit the space bar in the tag field, it defaults to that, because it's also the top tag in my hierarchy.

Brent Simmons: Oh, nice.

Aaron Cherof: Now it's a feature.

Brent Simmons: Yeah.

Scotty Jackson: I don't know if that's on purpose or if space bar bar just goes to the top tag. Now I don't know.

Brent Simmons: Yeah. Actually, it's one of those things I know when I'm actually using the app, but to sit and talk about it, I don't know.

Scotty Jackson: I hope that everybody listening right now is trying this. Hitting the space bar and saying, "Oh look at that."

Aaron Cherof: Yeah, that's our top tip for episode 57 is use space to auto complete to your top tag.

Brent Simmons: So another listener question. Rose Orchard asks if dog-related tasks live in OmniFocus.

Scotty Jackson: I've heard of her. Yes, absolutely. I even have a whole folder called Areas and in that folder I have single action lists that pertain to all of my kids, Baxter the dog, home and household, car, car maintenance, finances. In GTD parlance, that would be like your 20,000 foot or Horizon Two kind of areas of focus, but that don't necessarily relate to a discreet, trackable outcome that would have a parallel or sequential project. So yes, dog-related tasks are in there. Buy dog food.

Brent Simmons: So do you use the review feature? How do you stay within the rails?

Scotty Jackson: Stay on the rails.

Brent Simmons: Stay on the rails, yeah.

Scotty Jackson: The review feature, absolutely. If for no other reason than for me to make sure that I've looked at all the things. And so the fact that it counts down for me… I mean my favorite move apparently is to procrastinate like heck on doing the review and then just hitting command a and setting the review date to today and then working through it. But that's fine. When I commit to doing a review, the review feature is fantastic because it stops me looking at everything all at once, because I'll hide the sidebar, I'll hide the inspector and I'm just looking at one thing at a time, and then I get the wonderful satisfaction of tapping the coffee cup.

Brent Simmons: Yes.

Scotty Jackson: When I'm happy with what I see here. Between coffee cup and broom, there's a lot of good things going on in OmniFocus.

Brent Simmons: Yeah, I love those and we've turned them into emoji reactions on the Slack group too.

Scotty Jackson: We certainly have.

Brent Simmons: Because people like them.

Scotty Jackson: I think it's the prime minister's use of the coffee cup that is perhaps one of my favorites.

Brent Simmons: Yes. So Wilson Ng asks, "Do you ever say no to meetings and would that reduce your OmniFocus inbox?"

Scotty Jackson: Everything you say no to reduces your OmniFocus inbox. I think saying no is one of the most powerful things that you can do to make sure that you're meeting all the commitments that you've already got and keeping distractions at bay. In a large corporation, it can be hard to have that kind of agency over your own calendar. It kind of depends on the role that you're in. But I think that for everyone it should be absolutely fair to be able to look at something that has come into your email inbox and question it and say, okay… I mean anyone can send you any amount of email at any time. And in the corporate network, anyone can probably request you for a meeting at any time.

Scotty Jackson: So, as long as your culture allows for it, being able to say like, "Why are you inviting me? Do you need me for the whole thing? What is the role that you want me to play, and in what way am I going to add value here and what value is there going to be for me by participating in this, so that I'm not sort of…

Brent Simmons: That's super good question to ask.

Scotty Jackson: "…beholden to the entire organization," right? I work for an organization, one of the 30,000 people. That means, 29,999 could be emailing me, whenever. So, you just simply can't do that all. And I think saying no is critical and super important, but I can also understand that, depending on your role and your tenure and the culture of your organization might also be really hard. So, I mean your mileage may vary, but if not saying no, then certainly taking the time to reflect on, or maybe even challenge everything before clicking on the big green except to check mark button, I think is valuable.

Brent Simmons: That's super good advice. So you've been doing a podcast with Rose Orchard, which we mentioned earlier and you're up to episode like 14? 15? Probably more by the time this airs.

Scotty Jackson: By the time this airs we're probably going to be closing in on 18.

Brent Simmons: 18. Wow. So how did that get started?

Scotty Jackson: Well that got started in the OmniFocus Slack, really.

Brent Simmons: Yeah. Of course.

Scotty Jackson: That's how Rose and I connected. I mean, certainly she's been doing amazing work with Mac Power Users and then Automators for a long time, and does a lot of awesome things in the automation community. But I met Rose through the OmniFocus originals group because we were the first… geez I want to say like dozen or so people who got to try OmniFocus three when it first hit beta.

Brent Simmons: Right, yeah.

Scotty Jackson: And we started on iOS, right?

Brent Simmons: I think so. Yeah. That's right. And that came out in the fall, yeah.

Scotty Jackson: That's right. So we got to use all of the very early betas, and chat with the great test support humans and engineering folks and yourself and Ken, and be a part of testing out OmniFocus 3 from its very early inception. It was a really cool experience, and because of how engaged I think that small group was, we developed some great online friendships. There's a word for that…

Brent Simmons: What's the word again Aaron.

Aaron Cherof: Oh parasocial. No, that's not accurate here, because — parasocial relationships. We were talking before recording about the concept of knowing people on the internet, but that possibly being a one sided relationship.

Brent Simmons: Sure.

Aaron Cherof: I think… The term was parasocial relationship. I don't know if it applies here. I think that's more for like if you see Taylor Swift post on Instagram, and you see all of her pictures and you start to get the sensation, "Oh I know Taylor. Taylor and I are… I feel like we have a connection."

Brent Simmons: "We go way back."

Aaron Cherof: Yeah, even though she has no idea who you are. I thinks that's the nature of that type of relationship.

Brent Simmons: So this is just a regular online friendship.

Scotty Jackson: These are just online pals then, okay. This is perfectly healthy. So, yeah. So we talked about the idea of maybe doing a podcast probably about nine months or so. We talked about maybe doing this. And this is the beauty of this someday maybe list, I guess where things need to incubate for a little while before they can all kind of come together and the timing is right. And about nine months of humming and hawing, and three months of really planning and getting down to brass tacks, and then now producing it for the last, geez, I guess six, seven months.

Brent Simmons: I really like the podcast. You guys are great together. It's informative, it's fun and I recommend it to our listeners.

Scotty Jackson: Well, thank you. We have a really good time doing it. We enjoy it a lot and it's on things that we care about talking about too. So, that's what makes it fun.

Brent Simmons: Yeah. So on Twitter, Matthew Lee asks, my question is, "If you could add one new feature to OmniFocus, what would it be?"

Scotty Jackson: Oh boy. I think the core feature set for me anyway is really there. The one thing that I would love to see, and I think has been hinted at in the 2020 roadmap as well, is a bit more ease of navigation, particularly on iPad. So, I look at Mac and it has Quick Open, for example, as a way of quickly going to tag or a project or a folder or a perspective. I would love to see something like that on iPad, a way of quickly getting to a particular view or particular list. I think that would be pretty awesome.

Brent Simmons: You know, I have to agree. I'm a big fan of Quick Open myself, so yeah. That'd be super useful.

Scotty Jackson: If I could have two...

Brent Simmons: Okay. Why not? It's a podcast. You can have as many as you want.

Scotty Jackson: Oh, boy. How long have we got here? Hang on.

Brent Simmons: We don't have another recording scheduled till 9:00 AM tomorrow morning.

Aaron Cherof: Well, that's about all the time we have for today…

Scotty Jackson: I'd love to be able to modify content through shortcuts as well, even if it's like adding notes to an existing task, or retitling a task, or being able to grab a task, or a list of tasks based on certain condition, pull them out, modify them in a certain kind of way, and then put them back.

Brent Simmons: I see. Sure. So, add a tag to every task that has the word "refrigerator" in it, or something, yeah.

Scotty Jackson: Right.

Brent Simmons: Got it. You have another listener question. This again from Rose. She asks, "What's the craziest task in your OmniFocus right now? The craziest one.

Scotty Jackson: I end up with weird stuff in my inbox all the time. Right now I have "Google dude who only eats bananas."

Brent Simmons: Okay. That's pretty good.

Scotty Jackson: I met with my team back in February in Toronto, which is at the other end of the country from where I am, and one of my team members brought up that they had watched this video of this guy who lost a whole bunch of weight and apparently became a healthier version of himself by only eating bananas and I thought that was… bananas.

Brent Simmons: Yeah, really is.

Scotty Jackson: So I'm going to — that was a little on the nose — but I'm going to look that up at some point. So that's sitting in my inbox, "Google dude who only eats bananas."

Brent Simmons: He's not getting enough nutrition though. I mean, you really do need to mix stuff up.

Scotty Jackson: That can't be right. I don't understand how that works. I'm pretty sure people don't work that way. I think you need more nutrients than just what bananas have to offer.

Brent Simmons: Yeah. Bananas are great, but only as part of a balanced diet.

Scotty Jackson: Part of a nutritious breakfast.

Brent Simmons: Yeah, right. I mean, you still need your rice Krispies or something.

Aaron Cherof: Yeah, up there with Eggos and Pop-Tarts.

Brent Simmons: Yeah, right.

Scotty Jackson: That's right. It's part of the balance. The other side of the scale.

Brent Simmons: I wonder if there's a dude somewhere whose entire nutrition for the day is just a steady stream of double-doubles.

Aaron Cherof: Which kind?

Brent Simmons: I'm not sure if I'm thinking of American or Canadian. The American version there probably are.

Aaron Cherof: Just bounce back and forth between the two.

Scotty Jackson: If you live close enough to the border, I mean, that's a TLC special just waiting to happen.

Aaron Cherof: Yeah. What is the northernmost In-N-Out Burger, and what's the driving distance to the southernmost Tim Horton's?

Brent Simmons: That's a good question.

Scotty Jackson: I'm sure it's still a long way because I don't think that there are In-N-Out Burgers… Are they in Washington?

Aaron Cherof: There's none in Washington. They just opened up one sort of south of Portland, Oregon. There was one on the southern border of Oregon between Oregon and California, and now it's sort of creeping up the coast. They also opened up ones in Texas, but that doesn't really get you any closer to the Canada border.

Scotty Jackson: The south of Oregon, that sounds like probably the closest.

Brent Simmons: That's what? Six hours on a train from Vancouver?

Aaron Cherof: So it's doable.

Scotty Jackson: Their burgers are great, but I don't know if they're "six hours on a train" great.

Brent Simmons: Yeah, then you have to come home and that was your day.

Scotty Jackson: That's right.

Brent Simmons: My oh my. Tell me more about Baxter. What kind of dog is he?

Scotty Jackson: Baxter is a bulldog boxer cross and we adopted him last summer, just towards the end of the school year. My wife and children, mostly my children have been hounding me for the last five years. Can we get a dog? And I said, "No, you got a little brother. Enjoy, go play."

Brent Simmons: You could take him outside. He'll fetch.

Scotty Jackson: That's right.

Brent Simmons: Maybe.

Scotty Jackson: He doesn't really listen. He's not very well trained. But I finally gave in and said, "Okay, let's," because my wife would constantly text me, "Oh look who's up for adoption at the local humane society," and I… "No." But then she texted me these two puppies that were part of a litter of seven that had come in to our humane society from Northern Alberta. And I said, "Well, I mean we wouldn't be able to go on a summer vacation." And my wife is like, "Don't be a jerk." And I said, "No, I'm not actually being a jerk right now. I'm actually trying to figure out like, could we do this?" And so we decided we'll go, and she's like, "Okay, but we're just looking." I said, "Okay, I don't think you know how my daughter works. Okay, or how puppies work for that matter." So of course, in about 0.8 seconds, my daughter was forever in love with this puppy. And…

Brent Simmons: Yeah, that's how puppies work. Yep.

Scotty Jackson: Yep.

Brent Simmons: And daughters.

Scotty Jackson: So, we were told he was a medium dog, and here we are as he is month 10 and goodly over 70 pounds.

Brent Simmons: Oh boy.

Scotty Jackson: He is no longer in the class of medium, but it's fine. I think I'm a big dog convert. He's a pretty good dog.

Brent Simmons: Yeah. That's fair.

Scotty Jackson: You know that John Wick meme of like, dad doesn't want dog, family gets dog anyway, and then he's running guns a-blazing with a dog on his head.

Brent Simmons: Not seen it but—

Scotty Jackson: That's basically me. Can we put that in show notes?

Brent Simmons: Oh yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Scotty Jackson: John Wick meme.

Brent Simmons: Okay.

Aaron Cherof: And a Bulldog Boxer. Wow. Now, how did you discover his passion for boxing?

Scotty Jackson: He is a very handsy dog. I've not seen dogs use their paws like the way he does but he—

Brent Simmons: Well, does he wear the gloves or no?

Scotty Jackson: Oh no. He's a bare knuckle fighter all the way.

Brent Simmons: Oh, okay.

Aaron Cherof: Oh, that's great.

Scotty Jackson: Yeah.

Brent Simmons: Marquis of Queensbury rules or… does he have any kind of a code he goes by?

Scotty Jackson: Is that the Queen's preferred…?

Brent Simmons: I think so.

Scotty Jackson: I think because I'm pretty sure he's a royalist, so.

Brent Simmons: Yeah. We'll give him that. He's Canadian. That's all right.

Scotty Jackson: There's a little bit of history there, eh?

Brent Simmons: Baxter, how did the name Baxter come to be?

Scotty Jackson: It was sort of the first name that the five of us didn't yell at each other in disagreement about. We named him before we had adopted him too, because we couldn't complete the adoption when we met him. They said it was too late in the day to do it. We had to go back the next day. So, on the way home it was guns a-blazing and we were throwing down names, and that one we just kind of landed on.

Brent Simmons: Yeah, it's a good name.

Scotty Jackson: Baxter, the boxer bulldog.

Brent Simmons: Yeah.

Scotty Jackson: Triple B.

Brent Simmons: Well, thank you Scotty. How can people find you on the web?

Scotty Jackson: On the web, I can be found at, or on Twitter and Instagram by the same name. And then of course people can also join Rose and I at which is the home of our Nested Folders endeavors.

Brent Simmons: And frankly, people, you should listen to that podcast. It's quite good. I'd also like to thank our intrepid producer, Mark Boszko. Say hello, Mark.

Mark Boszko: Hello Mark.

Brent Simmons: And I want to thank Aaron for being our fine co-host this evening, afternoon.

Aaron Cherof: Always a pleasure.

Brent Simmons: Thank you Aaron. And especially, I want to thank you for listening. Thank you.

Scotty Jackson: Music!

New Speaker: [MUSIC PLAYS]

Brent Simmons: Thank you. That was beautiful.