Things

Hu
Hugh
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Tue Dec 04, 2007 3:35 pm Post

I'm writing in praise of a new task-management application called Things from Cultured Code (http://www.culturedcode.com/things/). At the moment it's still in alpha-testing and is not yet feature-complete, but I expect it will be released before too long.

There are three reasons I like the version I'm using:

- its UI is Leopard-ly pretty

- rather than being "Getting Things Done"-slavish, its MO is based around tagging. I believe Getting Things Done is not much help with Getting Things Written, but GTD methods, if loosely applied, can help with all the other daily tasks that come one's way. Tagging supports just the sort of loose GTD-ing I've been looking for.

- it has a "Today" view. Many new to-do applications don't, because true GTD isn't supposed to work that way, and one has to bend them out of shape to produce a list of "things I need to do today". Things is different.

There's still work to be done on the software, but I recommend anybody who finds other similar applications either too complex or too simple to keep an eye out for it.

BTW I have no connection whatsoever with the developers.

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George the Flea
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Wed Dec 05, 2007 8:13 am Post

If you'd like more information about Things, there's always the developer's website, or you could watch the Things screencast (brought to you by your's truly) and see my comparison of how Things stacks up with the other GTD options.

Cultured Code has said that they're shooting to release the public preview of Things before Christmas, so hopefully you'll be able to try it soon. I've been using it as my task manager for a week or two, and even in its feature-limited state it's pretty cool.
Find me online at Beckism.com

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antony
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Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:16 am Post

George the Flea wrote:the Things screencast (brought to you by your's truly)


That was you?! Ha! I watched that a couple of weeks ago (linked from either DF or 43F, can't remember which). Informative, and almost convinced me to start using it. Well done ;)
Antony Johnston
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cr
crimewriter
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Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:17 am Post

Thanks for the pointer, Hugh. Things looks flexible enough to be useful to a writer who's trying to cope with interruptions (paying the electricity bill, dealing with a dripping pipe, phoning a daughter) while planning the new book.

And loved the screencast, GtF.

cw
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Ro
RobertB
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Thu Dec 06, 2007 1:21 am Post

It's down to Things and Omnifocus for me. I like them both though... decisions, decisions...

Ma
Maria
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Thu Dec 06, 2007 5:39 am Post

RobertB wrote:It's down to Things and Omnifocus for me. I like them both though... decisions, decisions...


Yes, both look nice. I also love the simple Task Paper and think, Omnifocus is too detailed and rigid for someone like me. As soon as the price for Things is clear, I will decide for either TaskPaper or Things.

Maria

And yes GtF: Nice screencast!

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George the Flea
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Thu Dec 06, 2007 7:23 am Post

Glad you all enjoyed the screencast! Thanks for the kind words.
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Siren
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Thu Dec 06, 2007 10:50 am Post

Looks nice. But I am going to be jolly annoyed if it turns out to be the one for me, because I have just switched over from iGTD and coughed up the cash for OmniFocus! I would get a lot more things done if I didn't have to spend so much time learning and evaluating new Getting Things Done applications ;-)

Hu
Hugh
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Thu Dec 06, 2007 11:17 am Post

Siren wrote:Looks nice. But I am going to be jolly annoyed if it turns out to be the one for me, because I have just switched over from iGTD and coughed up the cash for OmniFocus! I would get a lot more things done if I didn't have to spend so much time learning and evaluating new Getting Things Done applications ;-)


:lol: Ha! The latest form of procrastination!

To be honest I do think Things when complete will be better for my purposes than OF (which I've also tried), mainly because Things is simpler. But then I haven't sunk any of my hard-earned in OF. :?

cr
crimewriter
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Thu Dec 06, 2007 11:50 am Post

I've just ordered GTD (the book) from Amazon so that I know what the rest of you are talking about. At last.

:?

cw
Some quiet night when you've shirked your work because of fatigue or distraction, open a window of your house and listen. Do you hear that distant clicking sound? That's one of your competitors, pecking away at his keyboard in Paris or London or Erie, PA

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Siren
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Thu Dec 06, 2007 12:40 pm Post

crimewriter wrote:I've just ordered GTD (the book) from Amazon so that I know what the rest of you are talking about.

I have read the book (not too keen on it), but I don't actually follow that methodology. I just do my own thing. But I would love to find a software app that does my own thing, too, so I suppose I am looking for an app that is not too rigid, while still allowing me to set up my own enforced structure to keep me on-topic.

By the way, I haven't seen any mention of repeating tasks in the Things stuff I have read. Does Things handle this well, and flexibly?

Ro
RobertB
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Thu Dec 06, 2007 12:52 pm Post

Siren,
Things can't do recurring tasks yet (I think) but they are on the to do list for an upcoming release from what I can tell.

cr
crimewriter
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Thu Dec 06, 2007 12:53 pm Post

Maybe that's a feature that will appear later: I haven't come across it yet.

So far I've used it for a long project -- writing a novel -- with an end date next year. I've divided it into sub-projects -- planning, first draft, final edit. I've guessed how many weeks each section will take or how many thousand words I'll write in a week, then coupled the sections together so that, if I'm running late on planning, say, I can see when the revised end-date will be. Or how many more words I'll have to get through each week to keep to the original schedule. I don't know if it will affect the amount I achieve, but it gives me the illusion that things are under control, and helps me answer awkward questions from editor and agent.

The effect is like the planner I used to keep on my wall, which did the same things (green squares for planning, blue for 1st draft and so on) but which I couldn't update when I fell behind the schedule. Then, either I threw it away or else felt a failure every time I looked at it.

cw
Some quiet night when you've shirked your work because of fatigue or distraction, open a window of your house and listen. Do you hear that distant clicking sound? That's one of your competitors, pecking away at his keyboard in Paris or London or Erie, PA

cr
crimewriter
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Thu Dec 06, 2007 12:58 pm Post

Maria, I use Taskpaper as a simple to-do list. I jot down things as they occur to me, mostly in the project labelled 'Today'. Things works best as a visual representation of what I have to do for the next six months.

Back to work.
Oh, it's lunchtime.
cw
Some quiet night when you've shirked your work because of fatigue or distraction, open a window of your house and listen. Do you hear that distant clicking sound? That's one of your competitors, pecking away at his keyboard in Paris or London or Erie, PA

Hu
Hugh
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Thu Dec 06, 2007 1:12 pm Post

crimewriter wrote:I've just ordered GTD (the book) from Amazon so that I know what the rest of you are talking about. At last.

:?

cw


GTD?


- make an exhaustive list of all the things you have or want to do;

- defer those tasks that you want to defer and schedule these tasks that must be scheduled;

- split big tasks into bite-sized, and order the bits logically

- if you can do a task from the resultant list within a couple of minutes, do it. If not...

- allocate each a place or context where it can be done most easily (e.g. at your desk, on the phone, at the computer etc) but do

not prioritise;

- in the approriate context, work down the appropriate part of your list and for each task "just do it";

- revise your list and repeat daily, and keep it and your more long-distant goals under regular review;

- errr, that's it :wink:

P.S. RobertB is correct; Things in its current limited form doesn't have a "repeat" function, although it does have a "postpone" function which amounts to nearly but not quite the same thing. But as Robert says the developers have acknowledged the gap and have promised to fill it.