• apps • 9 Mins Read

    Tasks with Things

Things is an iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch to-do & project management app that is absolutely gorgeous. I mean, just look at this:

Go on, admit it… You just want to lick the damn thing, don’t you?

Despite being one in a multitude of similar apps such as Todoist, GoodTask, Reminders, Google Keep and OmniFocus, Things manages to stand out with its beautiful and intuitive interface balanced with tons of features that make it a great personal task manager.

Let’s have a closer look at the iPhone and iPad apps.

Onboarding

A tutorial project is provided to guide you on how best to use the app.

Once you download Things from the App Store it takes you through the various views on the home page. These are Inbox, Today, Upcoming, Anytime, Someday and Logbook.

Homescreen

The main view displays your lists & projects. Projects can be grouped into Areas for additional organisation.

Left: Main Things display. Right: Magic Button.

The Settings button at the bottom opens up the settings page. You can also use the Quick Find search bar at the top to look for a specific to-do, project or tag across the whole app.

Magic Button

This is the blue plus icon that Things uses to create new to-dos and projects. It’s functionality changes depending on where it’s being used:

  • In the home page, it creates a new to-do, new project and a new area, as shown in the previous image.
  • In the Inbox, Today and other views it’s used to create a new to do.
  • In the Projects view it’s used to create new to-do as well as new project headers.

Today

The Today screen shows to-dos scheduled to start today. To-dos in Today can be organised either in any order or grouped by list. They can be rearranged and moved to other projects via drag and drop.

Today view with to-do arrangement options.

Incomplete to-dos get rolled forward to the following day.

To-Dos

Tapping a to-do opens it up in a card that displays the name, checklists, due date, deadlines if any and any tag(s) assigned to the to-do.

To-do display with scheduling options.

A to-do has the following options:

  • Start Date. This can be set to Today, This Evening, a specific date using a date picker, and Someday. Swiping down on the date picker reveal a search bar that can be used to enter a specific date. You can also add a reminder that will show a notification when the to-do is due. Lastly, you can tap the Clear button to remove any dates and reminders.
  • Tags. A to-do can have multiple tags assigned to it, which can then be used to filter to-dos having the same tags.
  • Checklists. Each to-do can have a checklist of to-dos in it. These can be freely reordered and deleted. If a to-do has too many checklists it can be converted to a project, with the checklist items becoming fully fledged to-dos.
  • Deadline. To-dos with due deadlines are highlighted in red and given a separate badge in the Today view.

Tags & checklists.

Additional options available for to-dos include:

  • Deleting the to-do.
  • Repeating a to-do. This can be daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, or at a certain day of the week or month. You can also set a to-do to repeat only after it has been completed.
  • Converting a to-do to a project.
  • Duplicating a to-do. There’s no limit to how many times you can duplicate a single to-do.
  • Sharing the to-do. This provides options to share to another app, or get the link to the to-do for linking back to it from another app.
  • Changing the project that a to-do belongs to.
  • Jumping to a project the to-do is assigned to.

To-do menu actions.

Projects

Projects are a way of organising related to-dos. They share some of the features of to-dos, such as start dates and deadlines.

The menu at the top displays project actions such as setting a start date, a deadline and duplicating it.

Projects also have headlines that can be used to better organise to-dos into groups. These are created by dragging the Magic Button to the left edge of the project view. Headers can be Archived, moved to another project, or deleted, and they don’t appear in the today view or search results.

Creating a project header and its associate options.

Upcoming

This displays upcoming to-dos arranged by date. To-dos can be dragged between dates to reschedule them. If enabled, calendar entries are displayed at the top, with repeating to-dos at the bottom.

Upcoming & Anytime.

Anytime

The Anytime view displays two types of to-dos, organised by project:

  • Those starting today.
  • Those without start days.

Someday

To-dos scheduled for someday appear here, organise by project.

Logbook

This is where completed to-dos and projects are archived. A to-do can be marked as incomplete and returned to it’s originating project.

Someday & Logbook.

Settings

Things Settings.

Things offers a wide variety of settings for customising it to your liking. These include:

  • Siri & Shortcuts. These settings enable adding to-dos via voice or the Shortcuts app.
  • Calendar Events. This enables displaying of calendar events in the Today and Upcoming views.
  • Reminders Inbox, which enables using the default Reminders app as an input method for Things. To-dos imported to Things are thereafter deleted from Reminders.
  • Appearance. Things offers Light, Dark and Black themes, which can either be set manually or automatically based on the device’s appearance.
  • General. Options included here are:
    • Badge Count. This determines what gets shown in the app’s icon.
    • Today. This enables sorting the Today view in either any order or grouped by list.
    • Logbook. This provides options for moving completed to-dos and projects to the Logbook. They can either be moved immediately, daily or manually.
    • Week. This determines which day Things sets as the first day of the week.
  • Help. This provides support and guides for using gestures, keyboard shortcuts, productivity tips as well as creating a tutorial project.
  • Import. To-dos can be imported from Reminders, Todoist and a host of other task management apps.

Help and Import options.

Things Cloud

Things offers free reliable cloud sync across your devices. You can create an account, or log in if you have one.

Log in and sync options.

If to-dos are found in the cloud account, the following options are provided:

  • Merging all to-dos.
  • Deleting local to-dos and replacing them with to-dos on Things Cloud.
  • Keeping to-dos on the device and replacing those in Things Cloud.

Things Cloud sync.

Once sync is completed you can edit your account settings and configure Mail to Things. This allows you to send emails to a specific account, which then get added to your Things Inbox.

Quick Find

Pulling down anywhere on Things opens the Quick Find screen. This enables you to find your to-dos and projects as well as their assigned tags. Additional lists can also be accessed using Quick Find. These include:

  • Deadlines.
  • Repeating.
  • Tomorrow.
  • All Projects.
  • Logged Projects.
  • Recently Viewed lists.

Quick Find pull down gesture & search results.

Things for iPad

The iPad app offers all the above features on a bigger canvas with additional multi window features. Multiple windows can be open at any given time, and arranged in a variety of ways.

Multiple windows in Recent Apps.

Single main Things window with another instance in Slide Over.

Two Things windows arranged side by side.

To-dos can be easily dragged from one window to another. This can be really useful when using the Upcoming list to schedule your to-dos.

You can also pair Things with other apps. Long pressing on the Things icon on the dock and selecting Show All Windows displays all currently open Things windows.

Lastly, Things offers full keyboard navigation as well as Mouse & Trackpad support.

Cost

Things is sold separately in 3 different versions:

Buying all 3 vesions will set you back about $80, which isn’t cheap, at least as far as apps go. The best option would be to get the Mac app trial and use it for two weeks. This will give you enough time to gauge whether you’ll be more productive with the app.

Conclusion

Things is one of the most polished apps I’ve ever used. It’s full of thoughtful features that make task management doable, with a simple intuitive interface that is just delightful to use.

The upfront price, while eye-wateringly high as compared to some of the competition, is subscription free. In this age where everything is going subscription based, that counts as a distinct advantage.

Visit the app’s website, check out what it has to offer, and start achieving your goals.

"Science is organised knowledge.
Wisdom is organised life."