Task management and to-do list applications are one of the most common applications with a wide variety of different options to suit your taste. We have even written a mega round-up of different task management applications which I’m in the process of updating, but in the meantime, I thought I’d tell you about a recently updated task management application which might be of great interest to you if you are an Apple product user. Things 3 from Cultured Code.
What Is Things 3?
Things is one of the classic getting things done based task management application for Apple products. It is based around the “getting things done” mentality though it can be adapted to different methodologies or variations upon Getting things done. As a quick primer on Getting things done, it is the mindset that you break your projects down into smaller tasks (so make the ninja report might involve, research, organize, the first draft, proofread, etc) and use “context” (home, office, computer, after lunch, waiting, or whatever you choose) to determine which tasks you should do at this moment.
That’s a very brief overview missing out some key elements but should help give you an impression of the system that Things was originally designed around. As such the app features, projects, a calendar with deadlines and start dates.
Let’s start with the way this app looks. It’s stunning. That might not seem like an important detail but a good looking app encourages you to open it up and use it, something vital with a task management tool. A bad looking app will put you off using it. It’s no surprise that this app won an Apple design award this year.
The user interface also assists this point with the magic plus. This is the way to create a new project, inbox item, or item within a project. If you tap the button, you start a new task in whatever view you are in. But if you drag the magic plus button to the sidebar or to a project, it will create a new item where you put it (depending on the location determines what is created). You can also drag it to the inbox icon and that creates a new task in the inbox. This borrows from some of Google’s material design ideas and makes it very simple and familiar for creating tasks.
Today, This Evening and Upcoming
Many task management systems have a few to see the tasks you have today and the tasks you have upcoming this week. Things 3 is no exception with its Today and Upcoming views. Things 3 also adds in a “this evening” option. This is a brilliant way to set aside tasks that aren’t for work but at home and keep these in your perspective. The final perspectives that complete these different perspectives are “anytime” (for tasks with no assigned date) and someday for you “someday maybe” tasks from GTD.
Progress On Projects
Project icons also act as progress bars, showing you how much percentage of tasks you have left to complete. Obviously, you can add more tasks (or remove tasks) and the progress will change but this works ass a great way to see how much more there is to do and makes you feel a sense of progress as you tick tasks off. Something a digital task management tool is great for, giving you a reward for taking action.
There isn’t; anything necessarily bad about Things 3, instead there are good features from other task management tools that you might miss in Things. In some cases, these features are very common and may feel like an oversight from cultured code.
The main feature I feel is missing is the lack of the option for custom perspectives or filters. Currently, you can set up groups, which operate in a similar way to custom perspectives, except they are more limited. For example, each group can have a project created within it or a series of tags associated with it. So, you can set up “Quick and easy” and have a tag for tasks that won’t take a long time to complete. Or you can have “work” and set up different projects you will do at work. What you can’t do is have a group based on quick and easy projects at work. Or other such combinations of variations. This has the benefit of simplicity, but it would be nice to have the option for more complex filters for those of us who want them.
There is also no web service for Things unlike a tool like Todoist or … so you can’t login to the web app at work or use it on a windows PC if you like that sort of thing. At the same time, this isn’t a web wrapper, it’s an actual native app so you can use it properly without an internet connection.
Things is a beautiful and well-crafted task management app. It’s definitely one of my favorites and while it lacks some of the power features of other task management tools, it does a great job for people who don’t need highly complex task management tools. Its clean design also encourages people to use it more.
Value for Money: 5
Things 3 supports iOS and macOS.
You can find Things 3 for Mac here