Apple provides Mac users with certain basics that make up part of our digital life. Safari for browsing. Mail for email. The usual cast of characters from Photos to iTunes, from Calendar to Contacts, and where appropriate, data can be synchronized between Apple devices using iCloud.
Most of the Mac’s built-in apps probably are used by most Mac users each day, but there are times when the basics are not quite enough, and that requires a graduation; a move to more capability, more functionality, a step up to the next level. And, a point where apps need to have similar functionality on Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
So, goodbye Reminders and To Do items in Calendar, and hello, Things.
What has happened to my workflow is what I’ll call the result of experience learned the hard way. Reminders and Calendar’s To Do items work well, enough, but I’ve learned that a task is merely a component of a project, and added up, I have plenty of projects, each with a variety of tasks, both personal and career. That’s where Things comes in.
Things is a task manager that bridges the gap between Reminders and Calendar and professional level project management apps. It works perfectly for simple todo items, but every item is a task which can be collected into a project, and you get to choose which goes where.
Things works well with the Getting Things Done focus method (GTD). The left sidebar lists which items are scheduled to be worked on today, which are next, which are scheduled, future tasks or projects, and all projects.
Start using Things by asking and answering the question, “What do you want to do today?” Then, make a list of items, schedule or organize as needed, and begin the work. New items can be generated with Quick Entry, pulled from email messages, text messages, browser pages or whatever.
For all the basic structure, Things is customizable, too. Add tags for easy search, assign tasks to a project, and organize them to fit your work flow; active or future– you decide.
What’s impressive about Things is the sweet spot between the learning curve and usability. Use it for simple tasks or todo lists, then add tasks to a project, then sync up all the tasks and projects with the iPhone and iPad version. What you update or add to or complete from one is updated on the other. There’s even a Watch app which displays upcoming tasks or to-do items.
If Reminders and Calendars seem a bit anemic to you, then I recommend trying Things. There are many, many to-do list and task management apps for Mac, iPhone, and iPad users. This is the only one I’ve tried which moved me smoothly from the simple to the sublime to the complicated without a rough learning curve. The only caveat here is that Things does not use iCloud. It uses Things Cloud so I’m not sure what happens to the to-do data when it gets synced between devices. Otherwise, Things just works.