I’m thinking of making the jump from Things. I have been on it for a few years now, but I’m starting to hit up against the limitations.
I’m looking to do two things that Things can’t do:
Priorities. I know GTDers hate priorities, but I seem to need them. More precisely, I want to be able to easily group tasks and then list them all together, with the most important bunch at the top, then the next, then the next.
View tags inline on iOS and the iPad. Surprisingly, Things doesn’t allow this. You have to tap a task to view its tags.
So far I’ve taken a look–in some cases, a second look–at the following:
Omnifocus: Does not do priorities or the kind of sorting I’m looking for. That’s surprising–I thought Perspectives could eat that for breakfast. Excellent candidate but for that one thing, but sadly that one thing is a dealbreaker for me.
GoodTask: Ugly. Confusing. Also, repeatedly deleted a task I know I entered—definitely not a trusted system! The whole thing seems held together with glue and Scotch tape. Including metadata as text in the notes in Reminders seems like it’s destined to fail.
Native Reminders: Does not support tags for Big Sur, and I’m not likely to be on Monterey for months. Doesn’t support Projects. Maybe I’ll take another look in six months; I’m likely to be on Monterey then.
Tasks: Nice, but I’m not interested in its Kanban-style design. I may well give it a try.
I also glanced at one that specializes in microscheduling. I can’t remember the name now. I think microscheduling is not for me, but I may give it another try.
I’ve heard great things about Amazing Marvin, but haven’t even looked at the website. It’s supposedly infinitely customizable, which actually seems like a minus to me. And jeepers $12/mo seems like a lot to pay for a task manager.
I’m right now trying ToDoist. I tried it a few weeks ago but bounced off it because it’s not a native Mac app. But I decided to try it again, and it’s lasted me much of the day. I get my priorities, inline tags on the iPhone, and as an added bonus I get ToDoist’s nifty language recognition, I get image attachments, and I can have collaboration too if I ever need it.
So, what task manager are you using nowadays, and why?
You could look at TickTick - lots of features, decent UI, lowish cost.
Marvin is excellent but takes work. It’s $8 monthly if you pay a year upfront. Pricey, but has a lot to it. It’s the most fully featured of all of them. There’s 30 day trial, if you have the inclination
OmniFocus, so I’m probably not going to offer you anything useful for your decision.
I use it because my GTD system is fairly traditional (canonical?), and OF has served me well for that approach from day one.
I obviously can’t speak to the sorting limitation you mention, but couldn’t you use tags in OF to name and assign priorities and build a perspective that groups them? (I’ve never tried this so I can’t envision whatever complexities you’d encounter beyond simply displaying them. I’m sure there’s more to it than that.)
I’m using Obsidian for tasks (yes, still), but I don’t think it’s for most people yet. I will explain how you’d get @MitchWagner’s two bullet points below though.
I celebrate Todoist. I used it for years before OmniFocus and it still tempts me. If it works, stick with it.
Also worth a look:
Adding tags to tasks in Obsidian is literally inline, so that’s that.
To do grouped priorities, you’d set up an embedded search. Something like
will get you all incomplete tasks with the tag p1. Although I think I’d recommend doing nested tags like p/1, using p as a first level, because then it’s easy to find all priorities and tasks that are not prioritized.
Again, not actually advocating for this solution. Just a thought experiment for me.
Not your conventional task manager but I use Trello and am very happy with it. Was previously a Todoist user but they recently cut their free plan to allow 5 projects only and I’m not in the market for a paid todo app right now.
You did say you weren’t interested in Kanban-style design, but I wanted to point out that you could use Trello’s kanban system to do priorities. Trello’s tag system also supports inline viewing. But if Kanban is a deal-breaker then I’d recommend Todoist, provided you can pay for it/you don’t use more than 5 projects
I discovered that when I took a run at this a few weeks ago and found the extra stuff was too much clutter.
@ryanjamurphy I can see the appeal of using Obsidian for tasks if one is already using Obsidian, but I don’t see it as practical for my purposes.
Pagico looks intriguing–and I think @JohnAtl mentioned it Friday in a separate conversation. I may just take a look. And yeah “now” and “not now” and “Thursday might as well be Christmas.” I feel seen!
@ThatNerd Kanban is not a deal-breaker but it’s not something I’m interested in.
I use Obsidian for project tasks. It’s what I devote my daily note to. But I don’t find it optimal for everything.
A while ago I realized something that I think is quite fundamental yet escapes the people being romantic about using a single app for everything. Some of your tasks need archiving. And other tasks are ephemeral.
For project tasks, such as fixing a software bug, quite often I will want record, highly annotated, to go back and reference in future. Something like Things is simply not ideal. It’s “doable”. But it’s not suited to entering history, or browsing it, or cross-linking it.
Conversely, for tasks like “water the plants”, I only want the faintest occasional record of when I completed that. And for more ephemeral tasks still, like “buy milk”, any record at all is such worthless noise that I no longer even complete those my Things but rather delete them on completion. For these tasks, although deleting them or forever tending filters to prevent them cluttering searches and custom views in an archival tool like Obsidian is “doable”, it is again, not ideal.
So I use Obsidian for project management, and by association project task management, and Things for plain task management like errands.
Update: Pagico has this timeline view that I may find useful one day but today is not that day. (That’s an ironic statement, eh?). I’m lousy at estimating how long things take and a lot of my work tends to be push driven–somebody contacts me and I need to follow up. But a lot of my work is predictable and it might be helpful to block that out on a timeline.
At some point. But not now.
Ticktick looks very nice, and I’m looking forward to downloading and trying it. I’ve seen it dissed for being unpolished and a Things ripoff–but it occurs to me that I think I saw that on the Things subreddit, so grain of salt. At first glance, ticktick looks like it might be an upgraded version of Things, or Mac-native version of Todoist, which might be just what I’m looking for.
Hello. Personally Todoist works perfectly for my needs. The natural language capture is great. Works with my other apps — mainly Fantastical and Spark. I use a windows machine at work so having a chrome web extension and website is huge for me.
You might try Dynalist (Obsidian devs) or Workflowy; the outlining plus filtering might fit your prioritization needs and they both do tasks inline well. Of course they’re missing a bunch of other dedicated task manager features.
I’m happy with OmniFocus but I would really like it to support inline tags in addition to its actual tag system.