Review – Things 3 by Cultured Code

I love well written software. It’s one of my 3 wishes if I ever get abandoned on a deserted island. You get three right?

What is Things 3?

Things 3 is a task or to do manager developed by Cultured Code. A task manager gives you the ability to “empty your brain” of all pressing issues, so you can get onto getting things done.

Once you are ready to tackle some work, simple open it up and start working on the most pressing item.

Things 3 is loosely based on David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) system, which was made popular in the 90’s and is still going strong today.

How did Things 3 get here?

Cultured Code are known for their design chops, winning numerous Apple and design awards for their apps. I was a Things 2 user for a short time, and while it did attempt to shoehorn you into their custom GTD system, it mostly worked.

The Things app has always had a loyal following, but in more recent years you’ll find many twitter users polarised by the company in general and the release of Things 3.

The number one complain was not in the quality of the app or its design. It was in the glacial pace of updates from Cultured Code. I personally didn’t find any issue with their release cycle, as they ensured any Apple OS updates and features were always added soon after their release. Many users felt the updates not groundbreaking enough and moved onto other apps.

That was the past though, and this is now. It does seem that it’s getting better now with Things 3. They have already released 3 updates with a few features that didn’t make it to launch day, which is great to see.

What do I like about it?

Design

Wow is all I can say. You open up Things 3 for the first time and you are greeted with white space and beautiful fonts, it’s almost chocolate for your eyes (You can use that phrase, just flick me a free coffee).

There is a reason it won the 2017 Apple design award, and it’s a real joy to use. There is a very nifty add button in the bottom right hand corner on iOS that you can then drag up to where you want your to do to go.

Things 3 is excellent at letting you grab ideas as you have them, and giving you quick access to these ideas later, with a clever “always running” search that can be activated when you start typing on the Mac app and a quick pull down on the screen on iOS.

Today View

The today view ingeniously incorporates any tasks you have due today as well as your calendar appointments across all of your calendars. I know it doesn’t take much to check my calendar, but it’s a really “nice to have” once you’re used to it.

Projects & Areas

Projects? Oh we’ve got projects. It actually breaks up your different lives, work, home or whatever, into designated areas, which you can then focus on. Very clever.

Once you’ve got an area, projects or tasks can then be added. It has a nifty recurring project and task feature that can then populate your lists for you, for those that are afraid of running out of things to do.

Is it good for my business?

How well you can incorporate it into your business really depends on the type of work that you do. I believe that anyone can get some real benefits out of Things 3, even if you have a larger app or ecosystem to run your company.

For those running a business solo, or a consultancy type business, you would have no problems incorporating Things 3 into your daily workflow.

If your tasks rely on being shared to other team members, things may not be what you are after. See my next point.

What doesn’t it do?

Things 3 doesn’t play well when trying to share it with others. I find this ok, as I have Trello for that. Your mileage may vary though.

Another “issue” that I found a little annoying is that you can’t save attachments easily to it. It does accept rich links, that can be then clicked on to open up the app. Again I use Trello for this type of project work, so no big deal for me.

More importantly, I think the entire design language of Things is to cut down the distractions and give you a very simple, easy to read, and therefore easy to dotask manager.

What platforms are available?

Things 3 is available on all Apple platforms, MacOS, iOS (iPad + iPhone) and even Apple WatchOS. A nice added bonus is they all sync super fast and without any loss of data.

For those Windows and Android readers, I’m afraid this is where the deal might break for you. It’s only on the Apple ecosystem for the moment, and I can’t really see that changing any time soon. They’ve made their bed with Apple and it’s not a bad strategy, seeing Apple customers are more than happy to shell out their hard earned cash more than Android customers.

How much does Things 3 cost?

This has also been a bit of a sticking point for existing and new users. In recent years, developers building apps for the Apple ecosystem have generally built iPad and iPhone apps into the one price. Allowing customers to pay for one and get both. It’s a nice system and I’m always surprised when an app is priced differently depending on device.

It doesn’t have to be this way though.

I would like to note that there has been a rush to the bottom for many app developers in the past few years, and it’s a worrying trend that developers aren’t paid their dues.

A lot of time and effort goes into making apps and credit must be paid where it is due. A good developer will ensure their iPad app brings different features to the table than it’s iPhone sibling, not just a different view.

Enough excuses, here is what you’ll pay for each app:

Mac App – $79.99

iPad App – $30.99

iPhone App – $14.99

So there you have it. If you want to invest in everyTHING, then you are looking at $125.97AUD. Yikes. It’s not cheap. I must confess I use the phone and Mac App more than the iPad app, though that’s changing now that I’ve got my iPad Pro 10.5 inch and iOS11. Another post about that soon.

Where can I get it?

You can get all the apps on the Apple App Store and the iOS App store respectively. Here are the links

Mac App | iPad App | iPhone App

What are my other options?

How long do you have? haha When it comes to task management apps there are more than you can shake a stick at. These are my favourites though:

  1. Omnifocus – the one that started it all, and the most featured of all Task Managers in my humble opinion. Mac Only
  2. ToDoist – a very popular alternative to Omnifocus, and Things, and it’s deliciously cross platform.
  3. Apple Reminders – This comes bundled with any Apple software, and while it doesn’t have the best feature set, it’s solid, syncs across devices and those that you share with and is free.

Buy or not to buy?

This ultimately comes down to you, there is a free trial for the Mac app which I would recommend.

I think it’s a great no nonsense, but well organised To Do Manager that has saved me countless hours and having to hunt around for what to do next.

I have no hesitation in recommending it.

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