Trying Things 3 for Two Weeks

Trying Things 3 for Two Weeks

(Justin DiRose) #1

Originally published at:

I’ve been an on-and-off user of OmniFocus for the last half a decade or so. I got pretty excited at the release of OmniFocus 3’s iOS beta earlier this year. Omnigroup always does a great job with their software. However this time around, even after release, there are areas of OmniFocus 3 I felt needed…

(Wilson Ng) #2

There are a few other posts that discusses Things 3. Here’s a few links from fellow Guild members who have posted on this topic.:

One reason why some users have a need to switch is to nuke their entire task and project list and start fresh. It basically becomes a large review process to get everything up-to-date. I’ve used daily and weekly reviews to keep my system up-to-date and I don’t have the need to nuke-and-rebuild. I also have a monthly and quarterly review to check my higher horizons of focus - goals and general direction for the next month of next quarter.

I did read somewhere that a person used Keyboard Maestro and created macros that would auto-type the search query for them. This could become a form of saved search. Not elegant but as long as it works.

You could probably do something on iOS using Siri Shortcuts. Say “Hey Siri, what can I do at home?” and it could trigger a Siri shortcut to open Things and search for the Home tag.

OmniFocus 3 also has this feature. Go to Projects then drag and drop the “plus” button to a spot in your projects to create a new task there.


You’re right here. Although I also use “Headings” to get another level of planning. This way I can do something along the lines of:

  • [Area] Work
    • [Project] Web Project
      • [Heading] Database
        • [Task] Install MySQL
          • [Checklist] Install Homebrew
          • [Checklist] Run brew doctor to ensure system is working correctly
          • [Checklist] Run brew install mysql
          • [Checklist] Run service to start mysql with the system

That seems to give me enough planning depth for stuff like this.

True. This can be a pain. I generally leave almost all of my Areas open by selecting “Show Later Items”. I also have a quick CMD+OPT+K shortcut I setup to show/hide these “Later / Someday” items so I can see my projects more clearly.

Yep. I use Keyboard Maestro to jump to specific areas in the app quickly. I also make use of lists in Keep It to quick review different areas in Things.

A tip I saw over at MPU was to make a “meta-area” for saved searches with tasks and then put the saved search into the notes.

I’ve also got a few select location alerts setup in LaunchCenter Pro to quickly open my “@ Home”, “@ Work”, “@ Store” tags in case I have stuff I need when I get there. Honestly though location tasks are nearly worthless for me, so it doesn’t bother me to have them outside of my task manager. Every once in a blue moon they’re nice to have.

(Wilson Ng) #4

Aha! It was you, @kennonb. I’m becoming forgetful. So many channels (Twitter, Discourse, Slack, Facebook, etc.) to check and I am forgetting where I remembered little tidbits.



:joy: Ha, believe me, I forget so much from all the different sources I read as well. I definitely don’t need credit for every little thing I type all over the internet. :wink: Everything is a remix anyway, right?

(Jeremy Wells, EA) #6

I too love the headings feature in T3. You can go two ways here:

  • T3 “Project” as project: Headings become sub-projects/mega-tasks.
  • T3 “Project” as goal: Headings are projects.

I’m currently trying to decide which, if any, of these approaches I prefer.

I recently had a chance via Twitter to lay out some of the biggest improvements I think Todoist could make to be on par with OF3 and T3:

(Wilson Ng) #7

The heading does look more distinctive and pronounced in Things 3. OF3 has a “heading” but it’s very subtle and doesn’t stand out. Sometimes, I’d like a theme editor to tweak the fonts and styles for my own personal use.

I do like trying out other apps and see if I can learn from a different perspective. I’ve often trailed other software and find ways to emulate a workflow that I liked in other apps.

(Wilson Ng) #8

A clever chap was able to do something of a review in the Automators forum. Check it out here!

(Simon) #9

Thanks :pray: for the interesting posts. I went all in with Things 3 for a while on Mac and iOS and migrated my whole database from Omnifocus 2. My experience was broadly similar. Things 3 is nice to use, but lacked some features that made a big difference for me. I use the GTD approach and could not find a way to review actions in a simple list by context . Things 3 seemed to insist that I review actions in a project format . I missed the ability to collapse and expand information in the way that I can with Omnifocus. Notes is a good example . I don’t want to see a possibly extensively populated notes field at the top of my project and be unable to hide it. The Things equivalent of Forecast view in OF is neat but I like the interleaving available in OF3. I returned to Omnifocus and have made the transition to OF3 . Have to say that I really love the OF3 experience on the Mac, it’s the best I’ve had with any task manager - and I’ve tried a few . So, a worthwhile experiment with Things, but it’s back to
Omnifocus for me :slightly_smiling_face:

(Justin DiRose) #10

If I have to hack a software as critical to my system as a task manager with a 3rd party tool to do something I find necessary, I think that’s a little too far. But that’s just me :D.

Ah yes! Headings. I forgot about those.

Headings were great, but they bugged me. They function almost as “mini-areas” in a project, versus a grouping of tasks. Seems like a great feature for bigger, long-term projects.

Good thoughts here. I really like Todoist, too.

Basically, it’s no better of a time to live than now for productivity junkies. There are so many great, mature apps out there for varying different needs.

(Justin DiRose) #11

This is very much the case. I love opinionated software (do the thinking for me please!), but it’s gotta be the right opinions :smile:


Haha! That’s how I feel currently about OmniFocus. :joy:

(Wilson Ng) #13

I’ve felt this resistance before. But no app will follow what we want in our own workflow. That’s why we have AppleScript, Keyboard Maestro, Siri Shortcuts, Hazel, TextExpander. and other automation tools.

I’ve dipped my toes into automation. I did small shortcuts or macros to speed up common actions. I started with simple automation workflows. After I developed confidence in my Keyboard Maestro skills, I’m starting to create some higher level macros that I never would’ve thought to do.

Once you get into AppleScript, Keyboard Maestro, Hazel, Siri Shortcuts, TextExpander, or whatever automation tool, you’ll open up a whole door of opportunities. You’d never be able to imagine a Mac or iOS device without any of these tools.

Siri Shortcuts is a game changer in the iOS world.

It’s a matter of getting past that initial resistance. You’ll never be able to live without third party automation.

I’ve already purchased @Sparky’s Siri Shortcuts Video Field Guide. It’s in my queue to watch as soon as i’m done with the OF3 Video Field Guide.

(Justin DiRose) #14

Oh yes. I totally use these. My point is for a feature I feel is key to my use, I’d rather use a tool that has it built in vs. having to make the feature myself.

3rd party automation is so vital. I don’t know how many hours I’ve saved this week with TextExpander and Keyboard Maestro.

(Justin DiRose) #15

And that’s why we have lots of tools at our disposal! :smiley: everyone’s needs are different!


Totally. For me I found I don’t need perspectives, or really even tags. They just bog me down. But for someone who needs perspectives, it’s definitely better to use something with it baked in. :+1:t3: