Integrating OmniFocus and Slack

Do you sometimes open up your company's Slack workspace, see a bunch of red bubbles, and immediately feel frustrated or overwhelmed?

You know in your heart that at least some of those messages will require you to do something. You could either do all that work right now so you don't lose it, spend time transcribing tasks into your to-do list, or use Slack's absolute trash can of a to-do list feature.

I've been there, and I've tried all three. None of them are great.

Luckily, we can do better with a little bit of no-code integration!

What we're working towards

Ultimately, I want two steps:

  1. I click the bookmark icon on a message in Slack.
  2. That message (and relevant context) shows up in my OmniFocus inbox, to process with the rest of my equally-important work.

Step 1 - Create a Zapier... Zap

Unfortunately, the only tool I've found that can listen to Slack's bookmark events is Zapier. I'm more of a Make/Integromat fan myself, but luckily this two-step Zap falls within their free plan.

We want to make a workflow that looks like this:

An image showing the Slack to OmniFocus integration

If you want to set this up, I'd recommend simply loading a new Zap from my template here.

The main area where you can customize is in the OmniFocus step. Here's how I've structured mine that works quite well for me:

Zapier OmniFocus step details

Step 2 - Bookmark messages in Slack

When you see an action item in Slack, click the bookmark icon on the message.

Bookmarking an image in Slack

Step 3 - Process your OmniFocus inbox

There's nothing left to do but actually process these items alongside your other work.

Slack doesn't (and shouldn't) have any kind of special priority or pull on your attention. It's just another input source, and you should treat it as such.

I even use this to capture things that I send in Slack. It's a great way to ensure that you're meeting commitments and not letting anythign fall through the cracks.

OmniFocus inbox with Slack tasks

For more Slack tips

I'm cranky about chat apps in general; if you want to read more about my full setup, you can check out A Chat Curmudgeon's Guide to Slack Preferences.