Using OmniFocus to travel with less stress

Traveling can be stressful. It sure is for me sometimes. But it gets easier when you're in control of what you need to do. So let's explore how to use OmniFocus to travel (almost) stress-free.

The packing list template I mention in the video is part of my ready-to-go OmniFocus project setup.

P.S. This was originally a YouTube video, so please ignore my references to YouTube-related things.

Lesson transcript:
[00:00:00] Do you always travel without stress? Do you always feel like you've got things under control when you're going on a trip? I sure don't. But I do know that things would be a lot more stressful for me if I didn't use OmniFocus to make my traveling and my trips a little bit easier. 

[00:00:16] So for those of you who don't know me, hello, my name is Peter and I teach people how to get more stuff done and how to take control of their projects in a way that saves time and also just feels more relaxing. So today I'd like to focus on the topic of traveling, which is a stressful topic for many people, and a lot of people are not able to enjoy some chunks of their traveling, such as waiting in line at the airport, right. And we can use some tools to make these things easier. And in particular, I'd like to teach you how to use OmniFocus to make your traveling a little bit easier, from packing to making sure that you get everything done on time. So let's go ahead and dive in. 

[00:00:52] I've got my OmniFocus opened up here and the first thing that I would recommend to anybody who travels, let's say even once a year is to create a template packing list and put it in OmniFocus. So I've just got a folder set up called Project Templates, and in there I've got a project called Packing List. Now, if I expand the inspector over here, you'll see that I've actually set the status of this project to be on hold. Now, an active project looks like this, right? An active project, you can say—you see it has, for example, for a parallel project, these little lines over here with the circles. But I want to make this an on hold project, because this is a template project. We don't actually want to want these these tasks here to be visible as available in our OmniFocus until we make a copy of this particular project for a particular trip that we're going on. 

[00:01:42] So let's go ahead and actually set up a new folder and call our folder trips and you can just drag that folder—let's drag it up here. And then what we'll do is we'll grab the packing list, we'll right-click on it. Go copy, go into trips and then we'll go paste. Now we've got a packing list. I see it didn't actually go in there. So let's drag it in there and just click active and then you can say pack for a trip to the USA. 

[00:02:12] So I've got a big road trip coming up, visiting a bunch of national parks in the USA. I'm very excited about this, so I'll use this as an example in this video. And so now I've got my nice and—my nice packing list right here. And all I have to do is I just have to go through and check things off as I put them in my suitcase or in my backpack. And when you have a complete packing list, this is such a beautiful way to travel. You know, you won't always need all these things, of course. So if I don't need you—need my book, LED light, or don't need my money clip, I'll just go ahead and delete it. Right. Just press, delete. Or if I pack my credit cards, I'll check them off like this. 

[00:02:45] And so I love to do this because I don't have to think anymore when I'm packing, I just go through the list and just put everything in my bags. And then at the end, I know I'm done. I know I've packed everything and there's nothing else I need to think about. Now, it does require that you have a packing list. So you can go online and compile your own packing list and put it into OmniFocus. But a really easy way for you to do this is I actually have a resource for you that will help you do this. If you go to, you can find—and I'll put that link in the description below the video by the way—you can find a ready-to-go OmniFocus project setup. 

[00:03:25] And so I created a structure for you to organize your projects and your folders in OmniFocus and you go ahead and get that off my website. And it includes a packing list—it includes a template packing list really pre filled that will work great for you. Maybe you want to add a few of your own unique items that I'm not aware of, you know, but it should be a fully—mostly, mostly complete packing list for you. So if you're someone who doesn't have a ton of time, I would highly recommend that you do that. Again, that's at and I'll put the link in the description below the video. Anyway, you want to have a packing list and for each trip, just go ahead and copy that. Right. 

[00:04:04] But there may be some other things as well that you need to do for the trip. So I like to go ahead and create another project. So just right click and go new project and I'll just call it trip to the USA. So the way I think about it is there's some things I want to do before the trip. Some things I want to do during the trip and some things I want to do after the trip. So if you wanted to, you could actually make separate projects for this. And that's totally fine. I tend to not have that many tasks or actions, as OmniFocus calls them, while I'm on a trip because most of my trips, I'm on vacation, so I try not to—I try to take it easy. 

[00:04:37] So the way I usually do this is I'll—I'll have a task—prepare for trip and maybe one called process trip or something. And then I'll add tasks that I want to do on the trip in between. So maybe I'll be like, pick a time to meet with X, Y, Z friend or something. That'll be something to do during the trip. But then prepare for the trip, this will be a task with subtasks. So I'll just go ahead and click—press enter and then I'm going to go ahead and do command and then the square bracket to the right. So—so to me on my Mac that sits above the enter—above the return key. Yeah? And that will indent the task and make it a subtask of prepare for trip. So again, to me that's—that—that's command and the right square bracket. And it will indent the task like this. I mean obviously you can also go ahead and drag it underneath there like this. 

[00:05:28] And so prepare for the trip will include packing, but we've created a separate packing project. But there may be some other things you want to do. So, for example, it might be check in for the flight and it might also be ask mom to come water the plants, which is something I will do. So and then I like to set a deadline. You know, I'm leaving August 31st for this trip. So let's say I will say August 30th is the last day that I want to have all these things done. And I'll assign that due date to the parent item, to the tasks that have subtasks. And anything I need to do that I need to prepare before the trip, I'll add a due date. And actually now that I'm thinking about it, of course, packing has to happen by that time, too. So I'll just hit August 30th here. Boom. And now the whole project has that due date. 

[00:06:12] So I usually create about two projects for a trip if it's like a bigger trip. Maybe some things you'd like to do after the trip are create a highlights photo album or something like that. Right. And I will defer that until when I get back. I think I land again like September twenty seventh or something like that. So let's say September 28, I'll defer it until then. And again, the subtask here is deferred because it's a subtask of this task. And there may be some other things you want to do right when you get back from the trip. 

[00:06:45] This is, in a nutshell, how I suggest that you use OmniFocus to prepare for a trip, to make sure you've got everything packed and to just keep track of things that you'd like to do and when you really need them done by. And when you have a system like this, it may take you a couple of trips to really fine tune it, but it's so lovely to rely on it, especially when you've got that packing list that's uniquely yours, that's all the things you may ever want to bring. You just have to go down the list and either check things off or delete an item if you're not going to need it on this trip. And it's a completely different experience. Very free of stress does—all around makes you able to enjoy your traveling more. 

[00:07:25] So this is what I do for making travel easier and more stress-free using OmniFocus. I'd love to hear if there are additional things that you do while you're traveling in OmniFocus that are helpful so that we can share it with everybody else. And again, if you want to go and get my packing list, you can go to And I'll put the link in the description of the video. 

[00:07:50] Of course, as always, if you like this video, I would love if you could give it a like and if you'd like to be notified of additional videos, just go ahead and subscribe to the channel. Finally, if you want to really dive in deep with OmniFocus, you'll want to check out my OmniFocus 3 video course that's also available 

[00:08:11] So woosh! That's great. Let me know in the comments below what you thought of the video. Other travel tips that you have for OmniFocus. Please go ahead and share them. Would love to hear from you. And enjoy the rest of your day.

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