By Bryan Schmiedeler on Fri, 10/09/2009
iPhone Life is planning a series of blogs and articles on the top Getting Things Done® apps for the iPhone.
Getting Things Done on the iPhone (Bryan Schmiedeler)
OmniFocus (Cindy Downes)
Things (Bryan Schmiedeler)
reQall (Bryan Schmiedeler)
Cultured Code’s “Things” is a beautiful, polished Macintosh and
The first step in using a GTD® system is “off loading” all your to dos into the tool. For Things this is the Inbox. Using a system-wide shortcut on the Mac client brings up a quick entry panel. Type in your task, click “Save” and the new to do is put in your Inbox. Not requiring you to switch apps means you don’t lose focus, a key element of GTD® . Unfortunately, there is no real equivalent to the quick entry on the
Things Quick Entry Panel
Things is the only GTD® application that gets contexts right. To dos have “tags”, which can be used for the location (home, work, school), priority (high, medium, low), or even the difficulty (easy, hard) of a task. Tags are user-defined (unlike some GTD® implementations) and can be sorted or searched against. This flexibility hits the sweet spot between to do managers that devolve into a jumble of unsorted, unprioritized and uncompleted tasks and overly rigid software that force you to conform to it instead of the other way around.
Things provides five lists for putting your to dos into focus: Today, Next, Scheduled, Someday, and Projects (see image at left).
To dos with date assignments fall into the “Today” or “Scheduled” lists, and ones without any date in the “Someday” lists. “Someday” is one of my favorite elements of the GTD® approach to task management – a place for tasks, goals, dreams that you want to do someday. The Next list is where you will find the next task on multi-step Projects (see image on the right).
Breaking large tasks (Projects) into smaller subtasks sets Things apart from many other task management systems that have no hierarchal structure and is indicative of how well the program follows the GTD® methodology.
Another important feature of any robust GTD® implementation is delegation of tasks. In Things any person in your address book can be added as a Teammate and have tasks delegated to them. Tasks have two elements, what the task to be completed is and your responsibility to ensure that task is completed. Unfortunately Things does not synchronize the delegated task to the other user’s Things, or send an email – you are supposed to tell them yourself, which somewhat defeats the point of delegation.
Synching works via Wi-Fi, and is easy to set up. Simply identify your
The Mac version of Things can sync with To Dos in iCal, and then sync iCal to your
Things’ flexibility and simplicity is its greatest strength. A new user can start with simple to do lists and then add more functionality as needed. Some additions that would be helpful include capturing when a new event is added and allowing a user to enter a note when an even is completed.
Some features of the desktop version are still missing on the
Cultured Code claims that Things is the most popular to-do/task manager for the