Q for Things 3 Users / The When/Start Date

For now I plan to stick with OF but I am experimenting with Things 3. I have a question for former OF users who now use Things. Will a task/project show up in the Someday list each day from the When date to the Deadline date? For example, if I have a task due on Friday and I sent the When date as Monday, I want that task to show up M-F. Will it?

Once a task becomes available, which is any task with a “when” date of today, it will always show up in the “Today” list.

There is also the “Anytime” list which will include ALL available tasks. This includes tasks marked as “today” since they’re now available.

The only tasks that show in “Someday” are the ones explicitly marked with a when date of “someday”.

Also, “when” dates cannot ever be overdue since it’s a scheduling mechanism. Deadlines however can become overdue since they are actual due dates.

So to answer your question… yes, once a task’s “when” date is “today” it will always show until you remove that date or set it into the future.


You’ve got a bit of your terminology wrong so let me know if this doesn’t answer your question:

  1. Things’ “When” is roughly equivalent of OF’s “Start” date;

  2. Things’ “Deadline” is roughly equivalent of OF’s “Due” date;

  3. “Someday” is a special value of “When.” “Someday” is, in GTD terms, the “Someday/Maybe” designation. Assigning “Someday” to a task or project adds that task or project to the “Someday” list and removes it from the “Available” list.

  4. If you add a “Deadline” to a “Someday” task, then on that Deadline, the task or project’s “When” will become “Today.” (Usually a Someday task or project doesn’t have a deadline—that’s what makes it someday/maybe in the first place. But I’ve found adding a deadline useful if there is a deadline to decide whether to undertake the project or task.)

Now, for your question:

If you create a task with a “When” of this Monday and a Deadline of the following Friday, the task will appear in your “Today” list starting on Monday, and will remain there until completed. On Friday, it will get a read “Due” flag with the word “Today” next to it. On Saturday it will get a red flag with “1d ago.” On Sunday it will get a red flag with “2d ago,” etc.

If you want to create a repeating task, then that’s a separate interaction.

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@kennonb Thank you! I’m trying to decide if the overall design of Things 3 is worth sacrificing some of the features in OF, though I’m discovering that saved searches via URLs can serve substitutes for OF Perspectives. I’m going to something unproductive—run both apps simultaneously for two weeks. :slight_smile:

Thanks again, much appreciated!

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Thanks @ciaran, your response is also very helpful. I have to learn new terminology for Things 3. I’m beginning to think that there aren’t as many trade offs moving from OF to Things 3 as I imaged. I’m learning how to achieve many of the same OF functions in Things 3. One that I will not be able to duplicate is OF’s Review feature. The Review feature is not a necessary one but it is helpful.

:joy: I’ve done this in the past and it definitely causes more overhead but it will give you a good look into the limitations as you manage your day to day. In fact I’ve run OF, Things, Todoist, TickTick, and Reminders all at the same time at one point. Boy was THAT a mistake. :dizzy_face:

I have found that Things works best for my mind. Really any task manager works, but I just have clicked with Things now and really enjoy using it.

I have found that the way Things lays out my tasks in projects and areas allows me to review in less of a structure way. I can simply run down my areas every week or so and feel good about what I have scheduled.


I had not considered that, who knows I may like this better.

I’m looking forward to seeing how my experiment goes. :slight_smile:

Losing the Review feature was my biggest concern when I shifted away from OF. But it hasn’t been an issue.

I find that being honest about which projects really are “Someday” projects keeps the active project list manageable and reviewable without the separate “Review” view. Generally, I’ve found that Things does a better job, for me, of making we really think about what gets added and whether it’s “Available” or merely a “Someday/maybe task.

For the mechanics of the reviews, I’ve set up recurring weekly tasks (with internal checklists for my weekly and daily reviews;, and a repeating project for quarterly reviews.

One other hint I’ve found that is very useful in a GTD world is creating a “Waiting For” tag to track tasks assigned to other people. I give those tasks a Deadline, if there is one, and assign them to “Someday” so that they don’t clog up my “Available” view (since they aren’t really available).

It’s easy to check on what I’m waiting for just by searching for the “waiting for” tag (which is especially fast, since you can just starting typing “WF” and hit return to see the results.


I like that approach for the review. I’ll set that up.Thanks!

I’ve used the “Waiting For” tag a long time. I usually add the person’s name as a tag as well.

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For “waiting for” tasks I just put the name as the first part of the task:

John - to provide initial draft of brief

Still searchable for names, but it makes the review of the “waiting for” list easier to understand at a glance

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@ciaran would you mind giving me an example of how you have this setup? How do you identify the which projects or tasks to review weekly and quarterly?

Sure. First, my approach in Things ended up being different from my approach in OmniFocus. I don’t assign (or even really think about assigning) a specific review interval to a project. Instead, I have daily and weekly review tasks:

perform daily review (repeats every MTuWTh, due same day)

  • review calendar for today and coming week and add items to inbox
  • review email and add items to inbox
  • review “waiting for” tasks and add items to inbox
  • process Inbox
  • review and process Today list
  • review Anytime list
  • review Upcoming list and plan work for tomorrow

perform weekly review (repeats every Friday, due following Sunday)

  • collect notes from desk and add items to inbox
  • review Drafts and add items to inbox
  • review iCloud inbox and add items to inbox
  • review this week’s calendar and add items to inbox
  • review next week’s calendar and add items to inbox
  • review email and add items to inbox
  • review “waiting for” list and add items to inbox
  • review “Today” list
  • process Inbox
  • review each area and project
  • plan work for Monday

I set these up as tasks with checklists rather than projects so that my Today list stays reasonable.

The closest bit to an OmniFocus-style review is the “review each area and project” item in the weekly review. For that, I tend to just go down through the side-bar one by one, adding tasks to projects as necessary, or shifting the project to “Someday” or a specific date in the future if it is not active.

My quarterly review is a project (and also a work in-progress) but it’s then that I review the Someday projects to see which I want to activate for the next quarter.

This is great, thank you! You have certainly jump started my process. I owe you. :slight_smile:

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Can you show me how this is set up… My Brain is still in OF and I am not sure I have it right :slight_smile: The terminology is different on the set up for a repeating task.

Also, I do love OF… BUT, the watch sync and the ability to use 2 watches is the deal breaker for me. The experience on the watch is pretty bad in OF… Things syncs with the cloud directly, I believe.

I will ask the question. If you already have a system that is working for you why try to shoehorn that functionality into another app? It seems like you are spending considerable time trying to find OmniFocus equivalent features in Things when seemingly just sticking with OmniFocus is the simplest solution.


That’s always where I end up after my occasional diversions into thinking Things will be better than OF.

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I love Things. It’s beautiful and intuitive. But I’m in the process of switching away from it (to Todoist), for two primary reasons:

(1) Todoist can handle attachments. The closest one can come with Things is file links, which wasn’t working well for me.

(2) It’s easy for me to get tasks into Todoist, with links back to the email. Spark is my primary email client, and that works well with Things; Things will open the linked email in Spark, as it should. But I only deal with my work email in a GMail client or the web interface (if I didn’t keep it separate from my other email, I’d be going down that rabbit hole on nights and weekends). Though I could of course forward a task to Things, Things would try to open the link in Apple Mail, which I don’t use.

None of this is an argument against Things, which is a great task manager. It’s just not working well for some of my workflow.

There’s one thing to be aware of, though: if Things has an export function, I’ve yet to find it. So the transfer of tasks to Todoist will have to be manual. Sigh.

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Not sure if this will help, but there’s a CLI that GitHub user Alexander Willner built that allows you to export all your tasks to CSV. That might give you more freedom to edit them into a compatible format and upload to Todoist.

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Thanks for the heads up!

Here’s how to set that up. It’s definitely not as intuitive as it should be, but it works:

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