Back to Things!

Long term readers will likely know I'm on a constant lookout for the perfect To Do app/system - not that there is such a thing.

I'm also a constant tinkerer and love trying out new and updated apps.

As luck would have it, I was taking a look to see if Cultured Code's Things had been updated recently in the App Store and noticed that not only had the iOS versions been updated, but also the Mac version. Good timing!

The main differences are stability and performance improvements, especially with the Mac version.

One thing I really liked about OmniFocus was the ability to email in a task using their sync service. Whilst this is still not directly supported with Things sync, I did, finally, after much trial and error, get an AppleScript running that will take a task I've mailed to myself in Mac Mail on my always-on MacBook Pro at home and create a Things Task from it, which then syncs to all of my devices. Works a treat. Here's the script if you fancy giving it a try. This triggers whenever I add "addtothings" anywhere in the content of the email I send to myself., but you can set whatever rule does the job for you.

tell application "Mail"
    set newMessage to first message of inbox
    set taskName to subject of newMessage
    set taskNotes to content of newMessage
    tell application "Things"
        set newToDo to make new to do with properties {name:taskName, notes:taskNotes}
    end tell
end tell

One aspect of OmniFocus that was starting to slow me down was that you seem to need to make quite a few decisions when adding a task. Which project does it need to be in? Does it need a start and/or a due date? I know I can just chuck stuff into the Inbox, but I still need to work out where it should really live at some point, otherwise it'll just stay there.

This contrasts with the utter simplicity of Things. I can add a load of meta data to a task if I need to, but on the other hand, I can just tap + in Today and add a task and then carry on with whatever it was I was doing. This is great for dumping ideas into somewhere it's not going to get lost.

I've also always loved the Mac version of Things from a UI perspective. Although I own OmniFocus for the Mac (and iPhone and iPad), I could hardly bring myself to use the Mac version as I find the UI simply horrible. And extremely counter-intuitive, which is not really something you want from a productivity app.

That's all likely to change with version 2 of OmniFocus, but for now, I'm enjoying my revisit of Things.