Things 3 vs. Todoist

I am really, really struggling to settle for Things or Todoist. Todoist was the only task manager app I’d ever used and have a around 2 years of data in it. Inevitably I have lots of projects set up that continue with no end dates. As a diabetic, I have a project on health-related tasks etc.

When Things 3 was released there was so much hype I installed the trial on my MBP. I instantly fell in love with the app, The icons, animation and layout of the app are stunning. I love the headings feature in projects. I pretty much within a few days spent £80 quid on the Mac, iPhone and iPad apps. I also used the opportunity to do a full review of my projects I had set up in Todoist.

However, the more I used the app I began to miss a couple of features of Todoist;

  • Natural Language Processing
    The NLP is Todoist is absolutely outstanding and really allows for easy setting of dates in tasks.

  • The ability to add documents to tasks.
    I like the idea of keeping associated docs with the tasks in the app.

  • Adding data to a task via email
    You cannot set dates, projects, tags etc. when adding to Things via email or something like Zapier

At the moment I’m running both apps concurrently, which really is ridiculous!

So, I thought I’d post my thoughts for two reasons, to try and clear things in my own head and also get feedback from you fab people! :smiley:

So, thinking about the two points above:
NLP is Things is okay. It works for most of the dates I enter.
Document storage, I don’t think in all my time using Todoist I’ve ever actually accessed a doc that was uploaded to a task.
Adding metadata to a task via email, I tend to add all my new tasks to my inbox therefore when I’m reviewing my inbox I can add the relevant data.

This has been a useful exercise for me writing this down and I think it’s helped me make a decision once and for all.

Thanks for bearing with me :wink:

I’d love to hear your opinions and thoughts on the subject. Have you migrated from Todoist to Things? Did you move back? What do you miss? :+1:

I’ve been using Todoist Premium for around two months. I find that for my own uses and sanity I need to keep things very simple - I never have attached a file, I use minimal tags (eg no priority tags), I turn off Todoist ‘karma,’ I don’t mail anything to my task manager, so far I haven’t used the Dropbox/GoogleDrive integration…

I would have tried Things, except you can’t try things on iOS - there’s no trial period. So I struck it off my list.

Strangely, Todoist does not have Start Dates, but I get around that by setting a Reminder for the start date. (An alternative is making the Due Date the Start Date, but I’ve never needed to do that.)

Todoist needs a UI revamp. Things - and TickTick and ClickUp and Taskade and Agenda and NotePlan etc etc - much prettier.

And Todoist pales in comparison to most of those too when it comes to bulleted, dashed, numbered lists or checklists. (Hell, Apple Notes does all those better than Todoist.) Its implementation is awkward as best, which is painful to me as I think in outline/checklist form, and only the web view has keyboard commands for indents/outdents. If there’s one item that could get me to switch from Todoist to something else it will be its failure to properly implement subtasks and outlining.

I don’t like having to type ‘q’ for Quick Note in order to add items in Todoist. The Things date picker is better, but Todoist’s Natural Language parsing is excellent and I depend on it and it doesn’t let me down.

Todoist’s filters and Smart Search is miles ahead of Things.

Todoist is superior for collaboration … but I don’t use that so for me it’s a wash.

Todoist’s availability on Mac/Windows/web-browser/Android/iOS explains a lot of its success.

The killer feature for me for Todoist is its fast and reliable 2-way-sync with Google Calendar, which I live it. (And of course if you use Apple Calendar you can subscribe to all GCs and get them on AC.) When I am able to add a date/time to an item I’ll check to see there’s room in my Calendar, then I’ll add it in Todoist … and it appears as a separate Todoist calendar in GC. The killeriest part of that is that it’s 2-way: I can edit or drag a Todoist calendar item to another date/time, and it almost instantaneously gets updated inside Todoist itself.

Ultimately I’m a satisficer, and with some exceptions (I just can’t use some apps if they limit one to specific embedded fonts I dislike) I make a choice then do what I can to best get along with it … until it’s no longer tenable or something decidedly better comes along. Todoist is promising in upcoming months a reimagining of its UI design and is “rethinking some of Todoist’s core foundations with pretty much everything on the table.”. And they already gave a sneak peek to a Kanban-view that looks really intriguing to me - I occasionally use the free tier of Trello for some things and if I could get that plus a kanban view of my tasks (a la ZenKit and AirTable) they could keep me on board for years to come … as long as they fix subtask and indent/outdent manipulation!


I have been using Todoist premium for several years and I am very happy with it. Like every app I always have the “grass is greener” reaction and I am tempted to try something else (like Things) but I never have done it because I can’t really identify anything (important) that Todoist isn’t doing for me.

I love the NLP and use it a lot. I like the integration with IFTTT and Zapier and use them quite a bit. I like having comments and file attachments (although as with @gerrymcil I don’t think I have downloaded many files from Todoist).

The only thing missing (IMO) is well-integrated project templates. They have a template capability but it is not well-integrated and it is weak. I do use it, however.

@bowline – Todoist does support start dates. I think start dates only make sense for repeating items, since for a one-off you just put in the target date. But for repeating items you can say something like “every 6 weeks at 09:00 starting jan 3”


I used to use Things when I had a mac and iPhone as my only devices. I then moved to an Android device and used a chromebook as a laptop for a while and had to find a different tool - Todoist as it supported the GTD style that I’ve evolved.

At work, I use Linux as a desktop, I’m mac / MBP / iPhone now again at home and I do believe the multi-platform support that Todoist has to be a requirement. As well, the integrations into the desktop and into Chrome are great so I can add websites as tasks.

When my wife’s subscription to a different tool expires, she will likely move to Todoist as well so we will be able to leverage the teams aspect for tasks around the house or the grocery list.

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I use OmniFocus’ start dates a lot for one-off items. They’re great for any task that I want to put in my system, but which I can’t actually work on right now because I don’t have everything I need (ie: in order to start this task I need a file from somebody else and they’re not going to get it to be for another two weeks). Using a start date allows me to have the task in the system without cluttering up the list of tasks that I actually can get started on right now.

I don’t understand. If it is a one-off item what is the difference between “March 15” and Starting March 15"?

Yes, my wife uses ToDoist also and has a shared Todo list “Larry’s House List” :slight_smile:

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Becuase the task doesn’t necessarily have to be done on March 15th, March 15th would just be the earliest date that I can do that task.

Still not getting it … but don’t worry about it.

And this looks like it could be an exciting addition…

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That’s what I referred to in my post above. Unsurprisingly, Francesco was able to quickly turn someone else’s tweet into a 5 minute video. :roll_eyes: Here’s the tweet/sneak peek:


Yes. Sorry – I glazed right over that. :slight_smile:

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It’s fascinating seeing how other people use these platforms and hearing differing opinions.

In all honesty, I don’t think I would have ventured into looking at other apps if the UI with Todoist was better. I just find using the app on my Mac and iOS devices a little flat. I’m glad I asked the question because as well as reading differing opinions it’s really made me think. :thinking:

I realize that a lot is down to personal taste and preference and your own use of your todo app.

If Todoist had the UI of Things it would be my favorite app, if Things had the functionality of Todoist it would be my favorite app!! :crazy_face:

I’ve been playing around with Things over the holidays and to be honest, I don’t feel I’m missing out a great deal. I’ve been able to do what I’d normally do with Todoist in a beautiful environment. For me, the key player was the NLP with Todoist but using NLP with Things has yet to let me down (albeit only a week or two and over a quiet period). I have no doubt I will come across Things NLP failing, let’s face it Todoist is the market leader in that area! :sparkles:

To sum up, I will be using Things exclusively and have set myself a review date for 3 months. :calendar:

If all this talk and suggestion about a complete overhaul to Todoist comes to fruition this year, I’ll be back at square one
My Todoist premium subscription is active until April 2020, so I’ll be keeping my ear to the ground.

For now, it’s Things 3 :+1:


I had never heard of Clickup. Checking it out now.

It seems crazy powerful, and the free tier is probably enough for most individuals. They put up a page to specifically compare to Todoist (which I use) and it makes it look quite compelling - although the chart wrongly states that Todoist doesn’t do 2-way calendar sync.

I signed up a few months ago but I’ve been too busy to really play with it yet.

It would not even show up as being available until March 15 if that was the start date.

I have been using Todoist for a year and I switched to Things 3 after a long hesitation (hard to change habits). I think lack of attachment support can be easily compensated with URL schemes (many apps also integrated with it). The clean presentation and the iPad version with keyboard support are what really sold it for me.
I am trying Goodtask after reading how Federico Viticci uses it but only for errands and other simple reminders and I am not sure if it is fit for long term projects organization .

Be careful about following Viticci workflows too carefully; he changes them like underwear. Before he used Goodtask he conferred his attentions to Things, and before he switched to Things he “pledged allegiance to Todoist” in 2014, repeatedly saying it was the best app because he “needed” its collaboration features. (Apparently not!) And before that it was Omnifocus.

And just as he’s flitted from Fantastical to Calendar 366 (and threatens to switch back or to something else), and from various text editors to IA Writer (at last glance), he seems to jump on the New Shiny, tears it up with a dozen articles and podcasts discussing it … then moves on.

I like GoodTask. I used it for around six months but the geeky DIY plumbing involved in getting the most out of it ended up not being for me. But when I need to use Apple Reminders I usually go through Reminder (MacStories article here) instead of GoodTask - to me it’s a solid UI for Apple’s reminders undergirding that that’s better than Reminders itself.

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If a tech blogger never changed their mind about apps, they’d have nothing to write. We’d have nothing to read. This forum would be as boring as all get out. Apple stock would crash. We’d all be so sad.


So how did your trial end? Or didn’t it just and you kept on using Things?