Todoist vs. Omnifocus 4

I was previously between Goodtask and Things 3, using Trello for more of my big picture planning and those other two apps (first Goodtask, then Things) for the more day to day task planning. That worked relatively well for me for a long time but I found having to replicate my projects across systems a little frustrating.

Ultimately, I ended up switching to Todoist despite also noting it’s non-native feel (though not necessarily finding it ugly, its integration with the OS is more limited). There were a few reasons for this: first, I work in a fast-paced clinical setting and found that I didn’t have the time/cognitive space for maintaining overlapping systems. I also am partnered to a non-Apple user, and we’ve used Todoist for shared tasks for years. While there are fewer OS integrations, having Todoist integrate well with my multiple email accounts and be accessible from hospital computers was a plus.

But probably the thing that really makes me stay is the board view. Being able to have smaller task lists and life tasks in the same place as my kanban boards for my research and writing output has been amazing. It’s particularly been great with the new task view. For each writing project or conference talk, I make a non-completable task that has core information and a description of the project. I use subtasks to define stages of the project with nested sub tasks underneath them. I use the comment function as a kind of working log of when I’ve done things for the project, and I also heavily make use of links (to google docs or ulysses groups, zotero collections, obsidian notes, or mind maps). The end result is that I have a main board for my publications in progress and another for conferences and talks. These give me a big picture overview of what’s on my plate and what stage each project is in. By clicking on the main task for a project I’m then able to see essentially everything for the project in one view without clicking around. This has really helped me feel more on top of the status of everything I’m working on, and then I can just work out of my daily or weekly lists when I’m not in that big picture planning mindset.

I’m not a Todoist evangelist, and there’s many things I love about Things as well! But just figured I’d share how having the boards has helped my workflow.


I just started using Todoist this week, after years on Things 3. So far I’m enjoying it. Yes, I wish it were native, but it has so much more functionality than Things. I’ve started to question whether Cultured Code are still working full time on Things 3. The feature updates seem relatively minor and mostly on things that don’t advance the ball for me. If they have a plan for Things 3, it escapes me.

I have used Omnifocus 3 in the past, but wow is it ugly and not pleasant to use. Omnifocus 4 doesn’t seem to be focused on fixing those issues.

So far, Todoist seems like a nice middle ground. Visually pleasing like Things 3, but many of the functions found in Omnifocus. Todoist also seems to be under active development, with new features added routinely, user feedback implemented, etc.


Can you explain what functionality it has that’s missing from Things?

Four of the most notable, at least for the way I use task managers:

  1. Ability to sort by various criteria.
  2. Saved searches (called filters – like Omnifocus Perspectives)
  3. Sub-projects and hierarchy.
  4. Ability to put something directly in a section from the capture dialog box.

Would be adding 2-way calendar sync to that list.

I don’t need/ use a Kanban view because I use my task manger for personal tasks. If you want to use collaboration features in todoist it might be useful.

On iOS I agree with the usability of Omnifocus, on macOS I like how Omnifocus looks and functions. With Things 3 I had the opposite feeling… very nice on iOS but not great on macOS. It’s very hard to make an app that is equally pleasing on both iOS and macOS. Omnifocus has so many features and the UI gets cluttered on iOS in my opinion. OF 4 is a step forward, but it will probably never become like Things 3 on iOS.


I think similarly. iPhone struggles to present everything you can do in OF for Mac, and probably always will, since OF for Mac is not done evolving. Although, I do think both 3 and 4 are good at the 90% of quick mobile tasks (showing what’s due today. quick entry, pulling up a list for shopping.)

iPad is better, and version 4 will be especially nice since it can be a full three pane app and should have complete keyboard shortcuts.


I don’t need/ use a Kanban view because I use my task manger for personal tasks. If you want to use collaboration features in todoist it might be useful.

I should have clarified: I was curious if the kanban view has been a game-changer for anyone in terms of helping them to conceptualize personal works-in-progress/waiting-on/on-deck/backburner tasks more so than helping to organize collaboration. I realize you can use OF tags and perspectives to get lists based on these categories, but I am interested in way that a board-view lets you visualize all this in one-glance and have (potentially) a better sense of what is on your plate, where you’re getting bogged down, etc.

My guess is that it isn’t hugely relevant on a day-to-day level, but I wonder if can help when you have to accept or decline a major commitment, how to allocate a sudden influx of incoming resources (funding, manpower, etc.), etc.

In addition to the above, Things also does not have:

  • attachment support
  • location based reminders
  • multiple reminders per task
  • multiple themes
  • a gmail plugin which todoist has
  • ability to resize font
  • sharing list
  • truly multi-platform
  • true IFTTT support
  • API: which is how fantastical built support for Todoist

Not an exhaustive list because I don’t use Todoist. I use Things and have been for almost five years now.

For me, it’s not about which one is feature rich. It’s about which one I will enjoy using and has sufficient features for my needs. For now, Things barely wins hence why I am still there.

Hope this helps.

Not Todoist, but for me a board view is hugely helpful.

I don’t use it for tasks, but rather for projects – at various times I may have a dozen projects underway in some form, but I try to keep really active on three or so at a time.

I _can_use an ordinary list of three, and others for all the rest. But it’s much more effective if I have columns of cards, one for each project, organized by inbox, active, dormant, etc.

(FWIW, I usually use Obsidian’s Kanban plug-in for this, but I’m hoping NotePlan will get similar functionality before too long.)

Although I like and use Things, the one thing that bugs me is its line truncation. Why can it not simply wrap the task title?

The best feature of Things is its integration with the OS and other apps. Attaching documents or emails is not necessary when you can link.

I would say that Things is great integrating with other apps on your device and Todoist excels on integrating with stuff that is running on someone else’s cloud service.


Can’t seem to find this?

The one main negative for me with Todoist is the lack of deadlines. I like that in Things I can set a deadline with a setting of how many days before I want this to appear. I know this can be sort of achieved using tags and filters, but it’s quite a manual workflow.

I do appreciate that all this is “horses for courses”. But I have lots of deadlines and know I need x number of days to meet that. This gives me confidence that things will appear on my today list at the right time.

I believe you may be referring to my post on the subject (main post). Whilst there is a bit of fiddling to set up the dashboard in the first place, after that, any new tasks simply need any one of a series of tags to be added and they will appear on your dashboard that number of days in advance and remain there until completed.

The dashboard can also be set as your default home view.

Obviously this is not ideal or right for everyone, but it is quick to use once set up.

Yes. It’s a really good way to do it, but adds more steps than I would like. I’m so used to deadlines with the days before setting in one dialogue.

This was also helpful on start date with Todoist

Todoist font size on iOS is linked to the system font size which you can increase or secures as. iOS also now has app specific text settings which todoist enabled but Things did not.

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I’ve been running a Todoist setup alongside my Things3 setup and must admit Todoist has certainly improved in the last year. Works really well. I’ve also re-installed the OF4beta and been playing around with that. Which is much better than it was at the turn of the year.

There is however one nagging issue, cost. Todoist Pro is $36. Omnifocus $99 and if you want web access as well (included in Todoist $36) it’s another $49. That $150 per year! Over 4x as much as Todoist. Is it offering more for that huge amount? To be honest, I’m not going to spend that much when other tools do such a good job.

This doesn’t change your point much, but Todoist Pro is going up to $50 soon. And OF’s $99 fee is just one-time, with a $50 recurring fee for Windows/Android access (essentially).

Again, your point still stands. It would take 3 years for Todoist to match one year of OF. But if you don’t need the web, OF wins.

If you went for OF traditional it’s $99 for macOS, but then you need to pay $50 for standard on iOS or $75 for pro, plus of course $50 for the web version (subscription only).

All told not cheap whichever way you look at it!