Will Kelly shows us the basics of using Things, a powerful and flexible iPhone to-do list app that now includes cloud synchronization.
I've often said that the road to productivity is littered with iOS task management apps, but Things from Cultured Code enjoys some staying power in the market due to their long history on the Mac platform. This is an app to check out when you need some more options to manage personal and professional tasks.
Let's take a look at some of the basics of using Things and Things Cloud, their new cloud synchronization service.
Things is a responsive app that includes the following features:
- Today list for showing the tasks you want to accomplish on a given day
- Projects and Areas of Responsibility, which let you setup the Things app to manage multiple aspects of your life
- Focus using the Next, Scheduled for later, and Someday features
- Customizable Tags for assigning priorities and context to your tasks
- Repeating Tasks
- Add due dates
- Review completed tasks in a log book
Get started with Things
To get started:
- Purchase and download Things for $9.99 (USD) from the App Store
- When you open the app, the Lists screen will appear (Figure A)
The Lists screen is a central point for all Things features.
Things lets you create projects to better organize your tasks. I use the concept all the time to organize my tasks for writing TechRepublic posts and other small projects.
To create projects:
- When you tap Projects, the New Project screen will appear (Figure B) Figure B
- Tap the Title field, and type in a name for your project
- Tap Create In, and by default, the project will appear in Active Projects (optionally, you can label the project as Scheduled — as in for a future date — or Someday)
- Tap Save to save the project
The New Project screen in the Things app.
Add a New To Do
To add a New To Do:
- When you tap the plus [+] sign, the New To Do screen will appear (Figure C) Figure C
- Tap on the Title field
- Type in your task
- When you tap Show Details, the Title field will expand with fields for Notes, Tags, and Due Date (Figure D) Figure D
- Tap Create in and then select where you want the task to appear
- Perform one or more of the following options:
- Tap Notes. An Edit Notes screen will appear. Type in a note to accompany the task, and then tap Save.
- Tap Tags. A list of tags will appear (some tags come with Things by default, and others you have to create). Tap on the tags you want to use on the task, and then tap Save.
- Tap Due Date. The Edit Due Date screen will appear. Select the date when the task must be completed, and then tap Save.
- Tap in the checkbox when you complete the task
The New To Do screen.
Add Notes, Tags, and a Due Date to your task.
Focus using Next
To view on your Next tasks:
- Open Things
- Tap Next to open the Next List, which shows a few of your upcoming tasks across your projects and areas of responsibility
- Mark off a task when it's complete
Focus using Scheduled for Later
To view tasks scheduled for later:
- Tap Scheduled, and a view of tasks you've scheduled for later will appear
Create a new area of responsibility
To do lists hep manage multiple facets of our lives. An area of responsibility in Things can include a mixture of projects and tasks for one area of your life.
You have two options to create a new area of responsibility:
- Tap Projects. From your list of your projects, select a project, and tap File (optionally, drag it onto an area in the sidebar)
- Drag a project from the sidebar onto an area
To delete an area:
- Tap the disclosure triangle at the left-hand side of the Area heading
- Tap the respective Area in the sidebar
- Click on the gear button at the bottom of the sidebar, and tap Delete Area
Create a Someday list
Things includes the option to create a Someday list. Whether it's procrastination, billable work taking precedence, or some other reason, a Someday list can record the tasks you would like to get to when you have the time.
To create a Someday list:
- Tap Someday
- Tap the plus [+] sign to create a New To Do
- Tap Save to save it in your Someday list
Review the logbook
Things maintains a detailed logbook of every task you complete. When you mark a task as completed, the Logbook records it.
To review the logbook:
- Tap Logbook to see a list of your completed projects and tasks
- Scroll through the logbook as needed to review your completed tasks
- Optionally, tap Edit, and then you can tap on a recorded task to delete it
Using Things Cloud
A long missing feature in Things was cloud syncing. However, cloud syncing is now available with the introduction of Things Cloud, which stores your to-do lists and syncs them across your devices.
To use Things Cloud:
- Tap Settings
- Tap Things Cloud (Figure E) Figure E
- Slide the Things Cloud slider to On
- From the Account screen, tap Create New Account and complete the prompts to make a new Things Cloud account
- Tap Continue.
- Tap Accept Term to accept the Terms of Services
- The Things Cloud server will send you a confirmation email, and you'll enter the confirmation number into Things
- When you tap Continue, you'll see a thank you message
- Tap Continue, and Things Cloud will sync with your iPhone and return to the Things Cloud screen
Things Cloud screen (cloud synchronization turned on).
Get your things together with Things
Things might have been a bit late to the cloud syncing party with Things Cloud, but this iOS app is flexible, easy to use, and now fortified with cloud synchronizations. It's definitely an app to consider if you're seeking a to-do list with more options and work across multiple devices. What cloud app do you use for creating to-do lists? Share you experience in the discussion thread below.