Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Get things done... using Things (for Mac and iPhone)

Straight to the point: if you want to get things done efficiently and all the other to-do managers have failed you in the past, give Things a try. Things, by Cultured Code, is for the Mac and has a companion for the iPhone that's slowly working its way up to have the same feature set as the Mac version.

I'll leave the description up to the creators of the program, but I will tell you this: it's remarkably useful and simple to use. It's got a very simple user interface, and there are too many useful features to pick a favorite. One of them is the ability to tag a task with keywords like "15 min" or "easy" or "errand". Since you can also sort by these tags, you can quickly create a "calls" list or an "errands" list or a list of things to do that will take "15 min" or less.

Another great feature about Things is the ability to organize tasks into Projects and Areas of Responsibility. Projects are large tasks that require smaller mini-tasks. For example, I might have a project called "Paint the house" and the mini-tasks of that project might include things like "buy paint", "find some help", and "check the weather forecast".

Areas of Responsibility allow you to group tasks by how they fit into your life. Is it a financial type of task? Relationship? Are you a blogger? Then you might have an area of responsibility called Blogging.

One final feature that sticks out is the virtual shoebox. That is, say you have a task that's just something you'd like to do, but not necessarily today. It can be done someday in the future. But what do you do with the task since you don't want to clutter up your lists with things you'd like to do someday, but not today? Simple. Just put those tasks in the Someday box. Using this Someday shoebox, you can remove those tasks which don't need to be done anytime soon, but still keep them somewhere in the system for reviewing at a later date.

If you own a Mac and an iPhone, the iPhone version is worth purchasing as well. It's not quite as fully featured as the Mac version (yet) but they're working hard on bringing it up to speed and have made many significant improvements to it over the past several weeks since it's been announced.

And now, I can strike this item off my to-do list.

Blog about Things

Ah, that feels better.

Things for Mac: $49.95
Things for iPhone: $9.99