If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my quest to organize my workflow, it is that everyone’s brain works differently. There are almost as many answers to the question “what task management tool do you like” as there are people, and we’ve reviewed a host of those solutions here at WebWorkerDaily.
I’ve struggled for years to try to find the right solution for me. I’ve used a Franklin Planner, a Palm T/X (s palm), Microsoft Outlook (s msft), Remember The Milk, and a few other options. Nothing ever seemed quite right for me, though, and at times I found myself scribbling on paper pads still.
That was the case until I bought my first Mac (s aapl) and started looking for a task list for OS X. One of my friends recommended Things from Cultured Code. I almost didn’t try it because of the price ($49.95 desktop, $9.95 iPhone app). Thankfully, there is a free trial of the desktop application, so I was able to check it out without committing to the hefty price tag. It’s good that there’s a free trial, because I would otherwise have passed it by.
Put simply, Things has been the solution I’ve been searching for. It has revolutionized my productivity. It works with my natural flow, instead of against it.
I like to make long lists of tasks. There are urgent tasks that I have to get done immediately, the ones I need to get around to soon, and my projects and long-term items. Things gives me ways to track all of those items, without them having to be in my face all the time making me feel overwhelmed.
The desktop version of Things is very Leopard in its look and feel. It is simple, uncluttered and intuitive to use. It syncs with both iCal and the company’s iPhone app (via Wi-Fi).
I can easily drag-and-drop my tasks between the Today, Next and Someday lists to prioritize them. I can use tags or areas of responsibility to filter the list to show only certain types of tasks.
It isn’t quite as easy to move tasks around on the iPhone app. Since drag-and-drop isn’t an option there, it takes a few more steps. But the iPhone app is excellent for adding items on the go, or reviewing your current list and marking tasks complete.
One of my favorite functions in Things is the ability to make project lists. For a large project with multiple tasks or steps, I can create a project list of all those tasks and then drag individual tasks to my Today or Next lists while still also viewing them as part of the project as a whole. If a time comes when I am focusing almost solely on a project (such as the trade show I have in a few days) I can use the project list as my main working list.
Scheduled tasks are probably my other favorite feature of Things. For a future task, either a one-time or a recurring one, it is easy to create a scheduled item that will not appear on my main lists until I need to see it. This avoids distracting clutter and keeps me from feeling overwhelmed by tasks that don’t actually need to be seen at the moment.
Task management that fits well with how I think and work is worth the price of Things to me. I am getting more things done, and feeling less stressed about it. That is priceless.
Do you love your task manager? Or are you still looking?