Things 3 is an award-winning personal task manger that helps you plan your day, manage your projects, and make real progress toward your goals. It is only available on Apple devices. I am going to be going over if it is worth the one-time cost of $80 to get it on your Mac, iPhone & iPad. Let’s get into it!
As you can see Things 3 has a very clean look to it. You can clearly see all of the tasks that are due today and the projects or areas they are located in. You have all of your lists on the left and that can be hidden by dragging the bar between the Today view and the list to the left.
When you add a task it goes to the top of whatever view you are in. If you are in a project, it automatically gets added at the top, if you are in the today view, you can see it adds to the top of the today view.
Things works well with the Apple Pencil’s handwriting/scribble to text feature and is very good about using ALL of Apple’s features because they only have 3 devices they have to sync to as opposed to [[Todoist Review|Todoist]] that syncs to any web browser, desktop, and Android phone as well as Apple devices.
It is a lot easier to code an app for 3 devices than it is to code it for 100s of devices.
The biggest drawbacks of things are the following:
- No attachment support.
- Markdown is barely supported.
- Requires A LOT of clicks/taps to get everything entered exactly where you want.
- No web view.
- No headers in areas.
Some of these are nit picky like the headers in areas or the requiring a lot of clicks/taps but they are still drawbacks.
Markdown being barely supported is one of the biggest things that bothers me. For example, this is a task with markdown in the title and description pictured below.
You can see that I used markdown and that it supports it, the link is created and words are bonded BUT it doesn’t hide the markdown syntax like most other task managers or note taking apps. This is why I say barely supported.
One thing I do give it, since I have started using Obsidian (which also does this) is that when you start using the markdown syntax for lists or tasks, and press enter, it keeps that formatting.
If I copy and paste this same information (excluding the Subtasks or “Checklist” in Things 3 terms section) into Todoist, for example, this is what gets rendered:
Now I will say, to get the tasks as “sub tasks” I had to copy those separately and click on “add sub task” and paste them in. I can do this same thing with checklists in Things 3. Which you can see here:
It functions the same way on each and every device. Things 3’s implementation is better as it marked off Task 1 because that is what I had marked off in the description of the original task.
Things 3’s best feature is its deadlines. I help my husband track his school (as he doesn’t use task managers) and it comes in handy. Here is an example of them in use:
You can see I have what Things calls a Project which is something that has a deadline and will be completed at some point in the future. This project has a deadline and that deadline tells me how long I have until that deadline hits. Tasks also have them and they also have start dates which are the days I plan to do the task.
I can also add tags to the project and tasks and add sub-tasks or checklists to each task and add reminders to the tasks.
In projects Things also allows you to have headers so you can stay organized. This is an example I have of them in use:
These are all of my expenses for each month. At the very bottom of this list there is a button that says “hide later” where you can hide anything that does not show up as due within the next 4 days.
If I want to add tasks to any of those sections, I just need to drag the plus to the specific section I want to add to. For example, if I get another subscription, I can press and hold the plus and drag it under the “Subscriptions” header and let go and it will add a task to that section.
Areas work similar to projects, except they cannot have deadlines or “When” or “Start” dates as areas can’t ever be completed.
You can add tags to areas though to organize them a bit more.
You can see in the screenshot above, Things has something called “Someday” and “Anytime”. This is when you can schedule tasks. You can say I can do them “anytime” and also “someday” and then in your sidebar you can see those tasks separate or you can view them in the project or area you scheduled them in.
When you view the Someday or Anytime sections, all of the tasks are separated by area and project. You can then create tasks in this section that are automatically dated for Someday or Anytime (depending on which view you are in) by pressing and dragging the plus.
When you are viewing the sidebar on iPad or iPhone and press and hold the plus, you can get the option to create a new task that gets added to your inbox or create a new project or area.
You can also use Siri to add tasks into Things with its Reminders Inbox.
The last feature that I use A LOT is “Mail to Things”. This means that you can send an email to Things to create a task and allows you to use things like IFTTT and Zapier.
Note: It is disabled in the screenshot because these email addresses are unique and I do not want random people adding tasks to my account 😂
With all of these features, what is the price?
Things 3 is $9.99 on iPhone, $19.99 on iPad, and $49.99 on MacOS. If you have all 3 devices it is $80.00. This is a hefty price though it is a price you pay one time. So it is a lot easier to swallow a one time payment versus a subscription. Since I only have an iPad & iPhone it was only $30 for me which is a lot easier to swallow than $48/year for Todoist, for example.
I believe Things 3 is well worth the price. It has a ton of features, it is a one time price, and it doesn’t have any features you don’t need. After using Todoist, Apple Reminders, & Things 3, I have decided to use Apple Reminders.
The reason why I decided on Apple Reminders is due to a few factors. The biggest one being the fact that Things 3 has not implemented any accessibility features and continues to fail to implement any accessibility features. Second one is that Things 3 doesn’t have a Kanban mode or Columns mode. There is no way to view sections horizontally versus vertically.