Productive Meal Planning with Basil and OmniFocus

As a stay-at-home parent who is tasked with cooking meals regularly, I had been looking for a way to add that aspect of my home life to my regular workflow. I’ve been using Basil for a while to gather recipes, and recently I came up with a way to use Basil in tandem with OmniFocus to ensure that I don’t drop the ball when it comes to preparing nutritious meals for my family. My meal planning process is fairly simple. After conducting my weekly review on Friday, I’ll take a look at what we have grocery-wise and use Basil to search for recipes that contain what I’ve got on hand. For example, if we have chicken and broccoli, I’ll search those terms. This week I came up with a Curried Chicken and Broccoli Casserole that did the trick.1

I’ll save the various recipes for the week in Basil, and then I use the key to this whole workflow: Mail Drop.

Basil allows you to email recipes, so I use this feature to email the recipe for each day to my Mail Drop address. I change the subject line slightly, adding the day that the meal is to be cooked at the beginning (i.e. Wednesday: Curried Chicken and Broccoli Casserole). Then the recipe arrives as a task in my OmniFocus inbox. I’ll add a context to it (Home) and then give it a start date of the day it is to be cooked. If you have stuff to thaw, you may want to make the start date a day earlier – and I do that every once in a while.

Basil has reinvigorated my love for cooking and this workflow has created the perfect productivityist meal planning solution. If you don’t have Basil (iPad only), I strongly suggest you give it a go. And if you’re an OmniFocus user who happens to use Basil, then I recommend you give it a try (especially if you're using the iPad version of OmniFocus)…and if you’ve got improvements or enhancements to it then please let me know in the comments below.

1 Keep in mind that my wife and I discuss meal planning together. I just do the “technology” side of things when it comes to the execution of the plan.