I went through an exploratory period regarding my “productivity workflow” (gah, I hate those words) not too long ago. This was less “workflow” and more “How do I make sure I capture tasks when I’m thinking about them in the car?” and “How do I ensure I don’t miss that email?”. I promise, I didn’t change apps for the sake of changing apps.
What I wanted was pretty simple: I wanted to easily ask Siri to add a task to my list, have that task show up in my task app, and have those tasks show up in my calendar app as well. I’m on a bit of a time-blocking kick still (though it has slowed a little recently) and work to ensure my calendar holds everything I need.
Naturally, this sort of meant the demise of Things 3 in my workflow. I’ve used Things 3 since Things 3 debuted. Which is actually a long, long time ago already. The app is almost perfect (no, you still can’t check off a recurring task before it comes due) and it’s officially on the Sticky List for my devices.
But Things doesn’t play as nice with Siri as Reminders does; it doesn’t sync with Reminders, ensuring I could check off tasks inside Fantastical and know they were also checked off in Things; and (at the time), Things didn’t work directly with my email app of choice. (I’m well aware of Mail to Things, but I really wanted a direct integration.)
And so, I did an exploratory experiment. I downloaded GoodTask, moved all my tasks from Things into Reminders and worked with GoodTask for about six weeks.
GoodTask is a great app. It’s a bit overwhelming at first. There are buttons everywhere. Once you start to understand those buttons though, GoodTask can kickstart your Reminders app to a whole new level.
My diligence grew tired in those last few weeks though. I forgot to forward new emails from Spark to GoodTask. Fantastical’s task integration and timed events didn’t grow on me. (I’d like to see a task have the ability to be a timed event with a start and stop time.) And I just don’t like Spark as an email app. Lots of people do. Just not for me.
So, as it goes, I’m back in Things 3 once more. I updated my recurring tasks with updated dates. I eliminated a few areas I no longer need (buh bye “School”!!). And I ensured “Mail to Things” was quickly implemented where possible.
I quickly learned how much I missed Things 3’s impeccable keyboard shortcuts. The
CTRL + CMD + Space shortcut on the Mac is just too easy for quickly capturing tasks. I missed the ability to divide tasks between “Today” and “This Evening”.
I missed the gleeful rollover of non-completed tasks into the next day. I don’t think the colour red should be anywhere in a productivity app. Red is anxiety-inducing and has no place in my to-do list.
There’s something about those sticky apps — the ones which work the way your head works and which never seem to find a true competitor. For me, those apps are Day One, 1Password, Adobe Lightroom CC, and Things 3. Fantastical may end up on that list one day, too. Every new iPhone — every new device — requires these apps to be instantly downloaded, and I fail to even download any true competitor.
This was the first time I turned my back on Things 3 since it debuted in 2017.
I doubt I’ll make that mistake again.