Getting Things Done®: The 10 Best Apps for GTD®
New Integration: Achieve Your Goals with Task Management App Things
To-do list apps aren't supposed to give you more work. And yet, when you're rescheduling overdue tasks and trying to prioritize what really needs done across a dozen personal and work projects, task management can feel like a full time job. Instead of helping you not forget tasks, it's another inbox with a red icon reminding you how much is left to complete.
There could be a simpler way—one the Things team has tried to find. Its unique take on to-do lists doesn't look so unique at first glance. Like many getting things done apps, it lets you organize projects with lists of tasks and pulls together the things you need to do first. Dig deeper, though, and you'll find an app that understands you're busy, won't hound you over overdue tasks, and lets you jot down things you'd like to do but aren't really sure when you can get to them.
It all starts with the Today view, still the main place you'll spend your time in the latest version of Things. It shows the tasks you need to do today, along with your calendar events so you don't miss anything. Need to reorder something? Drag and drop tasks into the order you want—or on iOS, swipe to the left on a task to bulk-edit tasks at once. It's the place you'll check every morning to remember everything that needs done. And if you can't get everything finished, today's unfinished tasks will just get moved to tomorrow's Today view, never bugging you to reschedule overdue tasks.
New tasks include all the things you'd expect—though with a unique twist on the due dates. There's a When box for your default due date—that's the day when this task will show up on your Today view, the day you should start thinking about it. You can get creative and tell things that something needs done
next year, and it'll figure it out. Or, type
tonight and it'll get put on the bottom of your Today view in a list of tasks to work on this evening. Not sure when you'll get to it? Type
Anytime to add it to your lists—the latter for tasks that need done but don't need done a specific time (perhaps things like washing the car or calling your mom), the former for the more fuzzy ideas you'd like to get to sometime but don't necessarily have to be done.
Have a task that must be done by Friday—one that you should do sooner, but there's no way you can quit work Friday without it being done? That's what the Deadline field on your Things tasks are for. It shows a calendar to select a precise date—or can still understand dates like
next friday. These are the only dates Things will fuss at you about, adding a red flag to tasks past their deadline and putting an extra notifications bubble beside your Today view so you won't forget them.
Tasks aren't always just one thing that needs done. For those more detailed tasks, Things lets you include details on a task along with sub-tasks. Tap a task, and it pops out with a card-like interface so you can focus on that task and its sub-tasks while you're working on it. Or, for more details, you can turn that task into its own project—and Things will show a circle on your menu that fills up as you check off each sub-task. You can even organize projects with headings to group, say, urgent tasks separately from the things you need to buy for a project. And for a bit more order, you can add Areas to group, say, all your work and home projects separately.
It's not that different from other to-do lists, not something you'll need weeks to learn how to use. If anything, it'll feel familiar immediately, just a new design to the same old tasks. But over time, the smart scheduling and organized task groups in projects make Things a nicer place to manage your work. It's the little things that add up over time to make it a less stressful to-do list app—one with tools like its new Mail to Things email address to integrate it with the rest of your apps and the Logbook to look back through everything you've accomplished. Turns out, a to-do list doesn't just have to be a list of tasks.