Evernote, Remember the Milk, Google Tasks, Apple Reminders…
There are a plethora of productivity apps available on the market. In fact, just about all the big players out there have their own apps to help you get things done and remember the little details of life.
Over the years I have tried dozens of these options, always on the hunt for the ever-elusive “perfect app!”
Well, I have yet to find it.
About a year ago, however, Things did a major overhaul on their app. I had tried the original version and found it clunky and unhelpful, but thought I’d still give the new one a spin. To my surprise, the design finally looked more like something I would actually use. It also integrated with Siri (I love using Siri and Alexa voice commands) and with all my Apple devices: watch, phone, laptop, and desktop.
The company called the new Things app “Things 3.”
5 Things To Love About “Things 3”
Here it is, a year later, and I am still using Things 3 as my 7-days-a-week tasks app. I cannot live without it!
Briefly, here a few of my favorite things about Things 3, and reasons why you might want to give it a try if your productivity and organization need a boost.
1: Capture Your Thoughts
Because my brain is always going a mile a minute, and not always in productive directions, my short term memory stinks. This is where I use the app a lot. I don’t want to dwell on a thought when I should be focused on something else. As soon as something of interest enters my mind and I start to dwell on it, I’ll pull out Things 3 and jot it down (this new version makes it super easy). You can follow the “Getting Things Done” guidelines and put it into the “Inbox” and file it later, or just put it into the Today section. Whatever is easiest for you and how you do things! I have found this to be one of the best ways to keep my stress level low as well. Once it’s captured and I know I won’t forget it or lose the thought, I can move on with my day!
2: Skip the To-Do’s
I use project management tools for my business. Those big tasks have start and end dates as well as discussions with my team. Yet for the misc. tasks, ideas, and so forth that hit me throughout the day, both business-related and personal, I need a good place for a brain dump! The problem I had with many of the other productivity apps I tried over the years is that I would get overwhelmed seeing all the tasks I did not get done that day. It would make me feel guilty! “You forgot to take out the trash for 3 days now…. You never did read the last chapter of that business book, did you?”
As a default, Things 3 is just a simple tasks manager that organizes what needs to get done today, tomorrow, or someday. If you want to throw in a deadline and know when something is coming up and/or overdue (must-have deadline), you can do that.
Most of the time, however, I don’t use that feature. I am a list guy. I just like to review the things I want to get done each day. I absolutely love checking the completed button too! Who doesn’t like checking off completed tasks???
3: Today Screen
The Today screen is based on the book “Getting Things Done.” It encourages productive people to use a Today list. A perfect and productive start to a new day would have you open up Things 3 and spend 1-2 min (5 max) organizing your Today menu. You’d quickly move things from your inbox (thoughts from the previous day) into the Today, Tomorrow, or Someday section of the app. Then you’d drag up or down whichever tasks will be done in a certain order (if you want). That’s basically it! If something is not a high priority and will just clutter up your Today screen, click and move it to “someday.” It’s that simple. By the end of the day, I normally have a couple tasks left.
I also have gotten into a good habit of looking at it a couple times a day, but if I need a nudge about a reminder, I’ll opt-in for that and get it at a certain time.
4: Recurring Tasks
There are so many things in my life that are recurring, but I don’t like to be guilted into completing tasks that really are not important, especially if they’re more of a goal than a strict to-do.
As an example, I have a daily goal of walking for 20 minutes, on top of any exercise I do at the gym. If I don’t do it, it doesn’t get marked overdue. It’s just there the next day waiting for me to view it, do it, and check it off. You might end up using it to write a sales goals down like “Sell $10k today!” Whatever floats your boat or helps you feel good about your day!
5: Things At Home
To piggyback on recurring tasks, I use Things for home maintenance and personal bills, too. I have it set up as a reminder for certain times during the month or year when I need to check things, like changing my AC filter, adding salt to my water softener, oil change in my car, etc.
Because I have spent the time putting these tasks into Things 3, I can rely on the app to help make my life so much more simple. It really has helped free up my mind to focus on my business or whatever I am doing at the moment. I’d much rather quickly toss things off my mind and into the Inbox to think about later.
Let me know what app(s) you all are using to help you be more productive and get things done. Have you tried Things 3? What do you think about it?