4 ways to automate your OmniFocus workflows

4 ways to automate your OmniFocus workflows


There’s a reason OmniFocus is a popular task manager for Apple users—it’s a powerful to-do list app with streamlined navigation and deep integrations with both macOS and iOS.

While OmniFocus is a powerful tool on its own, automation can turn it into your go-to project hub for your work and personal life. Zapier’s automated workflows (called Zaps) help corral tasks from your email, calendar, AI assistants, and other project management software so you can check one simplified, reliable place for your daily to-dos.

Here are the top four ways to automate OmniFocus and save yourself hours of busy work.

New to Zapier? It’s an automation tool that helps anyone connect apps and automate workflows—without any complicated code. Sign up for free to use this app, and many others, with Zapier.

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To get started with a Zap template—what we call our pre-made workflows—just click on the button. It only takes a few minutes to set up. You can read more about setting up Zaps here.

Create OmniFocus tasks from chat messages

If you’re like most modern remote or hybrid teams, many of your new action items originate in chat apps like Slack. Manually copying tasks from one app to another can be clunky and time-consuming, though—and you always risk forgetting to add something crucial to your to-do list.

Automation can take over that busy work for you. These Zaps will automatically send Slack messages matching your preferred condition to your OmniFocus inbox as a new task. You might save important messages, post them to a dedicated channel, or push them directly to Zapier

Or maybe you want to have fun with it and choose a specific reaction (like “👀”) to signal that a message should be turned into a task. Whatever workflow works best for you, these Zaps can make it happen.

Create tasks from to-do and project management apps

Very few people—and even fewer workplaces—use only one productivity tool. OmniFocus is a great app for managing your personal to-do list, but the odds are good that you use other apps at work or to manage larger projects. 

No matter your blend of task and project management apps, there’s a way to connect them and simplify your task management with automation.

To-do list apps

If you had your way, you probably wouldn’t use more than one to-do list app. After all, these apps are supposed to simplify things by letting you brainstorm ideas, organize action items by due date and priority, and then not think about them again until it’s time to act. But if you’re stuck juggling different apps for the different parts of your life, they can be more effort than they’re worth.

If your workplace uses Todoist or Microsoft To-Do, you don’t have to be glued to that app. You can keep using OmniFocus as your main task manager; just use one of these Zaps to automatically copy new action items into your OmniFocus inbox. That way, you’ll never miss important tasks—all without checking multiple to-do lists.

Project management apps

Some platforms are great for planning projects, but they lack the simplicity of a to-do list. If you or your team use a project management app like Asana or Airtable to manage projects, you don’t have to choose between juggling multiple task lists and settling for an overcomplicated project planner as your only productivity app.

Or maybe you’d like to organize your projects in one app and automatically send new tasks to your simple OmniFocus to-do list. No matter your vision, these Zaps can get it done. Every new task added to a specific Asana project or tag, Airtable record, Trello board, or Notion database is sent automatically to OmniFocus. You can even include a link to the original task or project, making it easy to refer to team conversations or linked docs from OmniFocus.

Create tasks from email

It can be frustrating to have a million tabs open during the workday. But managing incoming tasks often means switching between Slack, your email inbox, and your to-do list to ensure you don’t miss any new assignments.

One way to simplify your workday is to automate your email. Anytime you receive a new action item or idea you want to return to later, use one of these workflows to trigger a new task in your OmniFocus account. 

Your preferred trigger might be starring the email in question, giving it a specific label, or forwarding it to your dedicated Zapier email address. Either way, you can create new action items with a click—keeping your inbox clutter-free while ensuring you never miss another important task.

Create tasks from calendar events

There’s nothing worse than organizing your daily to-do list, then realizing your whole afternoon is booked with meetings. One crucial element of time management is building tasks around events that can’t be changed or missed—so why not consolidate tasks and events into one app? 

But copying calendar events into your OmniFocus to-do list can be time-consuming. Instead, use Zapier to keep your calendar and task list synced automatically. This Zap creates new OmniFocus tasks anytime an event is created in Google Calendar. 

Or, if you want an alert a set number of days or hours before an event, you can use these Zaps to set up automated reminders in OmniFocus. Just choose your desired lead time before the event starts, and let Zapier take care of the rest!

Simplify your task management by automating OmniFocus

Unless you have superhuman mental powers, you probably depend on a to-do list to get anything done. A reliable task management system is key for avoiding missed deadlines and staying on top of projects—but juggling multiple productivity and scheduling apps can make wrangling your to-do list an all-day affair.

Instead, use automation to create new OmniFocus tasks from chat messages, emails, and calendar events. You can even automate communication between other task management tools so no to-dos fall through the cracks. You’ll be amazed at how much clearer your mind is when you only need to check one to-do list for your day’s tasks!

And this is just the start of what you can do with OmniFocus and Zapier. What will you automate first?

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