A year ago or so I posted about my powerful template for Notion for tasks and time management.
Eventually, my task management system evolved and when I finally found out what I needed I decided to find an app that matches my task management workflow.
I've tested probably a dozen of "to-do list" apps and finally moved to Things.
Here is my current Things App workspace setup.
Deadlines and scheduling
Like in my Notion template mentioned above, Things App allows you to distinguish between task deadlines and scheduled time when you are going to work on the task.
That's a crucial feature that is missing in a majority of task management apps for some reason.
What I love about Things is that it takes into account both dates and shows the tasks on Today or Upcoming tasks list screens.
Areas and Projects
For organization purposes, Things suggests using Areas with Projects like directories and subdirectories for lists of tasks.
So the hierarchy is Area > Project > Sections > Tasks
Not an endless nested lists hierarchy but it turns out to be enough for pretty much everything.
I've got the following Areas:
- Work Projects
- Work Misc
- Side Projects
Goals area has only a single project called "Goals overview"
I keep goals separately from other lists, to be able to filter them out from actual "todos".
I divide all goals into sections like:
- this year
- recent years
- next 5 years
- life long
For each goal, I assign a deadline accordingly. Things will eventually show upcoming and failed goals on "Today" and "Upcoming" list screens.
That's a pretty handy feature that reminds me about the most forgotten goals even if I don't visit them.
Quickies has a "5 min" project for all small things I don't want to forget. Tasks that can be done quickly but not exactly now.
I also put in the Quickies area small 1-time projects like a list of things to take in a trip.
All my personal stuff lives in separate projects in my personal area:
- Friends & Family
- Health & Fitness
- Learning and Reading
- Leisure & Hobby
I'm the kind of person that has to set up reminders to gather with family and call old friends. So yes, I've got a lot of reminders here, even weird ones like closing the laptop and getting some rest in the evening.
I use the "Learning and Reading" project for more reminder purposes rather than as a read/learn/watch list.
[[Why not keep reading list in Todo App]]
Work Projects Area
That's the place where I keep my work-related projects.
I usually duplicate my current tickets that are planned for the sprint. Sometimes decompose them in a way that feels more convenient for me.
I've thought about Jira + Zapier + Things integration, but for now, I'm ok with doing it manually.
Work Misc Area
I have only one project here and it's Freelance for freelance-related things like paperwork with invoices, taxes, and so on.
All that is work-related but not related to the work projects directly.
Side Projects Area
The same thing as Work projects, with the only difference being that I keep the whole backlog for my side projects separately.
I've got several projects here where I keep reminders and things that I'm planning to do:
- Home updates
- Household routine
- Vehicle maintenance
Things app has quite powerful nested tags filter features allowing to filter tasks efficiently.
I've got a tags hierarchy that resembles my areas and projects structure.
It allows me to
- Filter goals from all the rest of todos with the "Goals" tag
- Tag goals for a specific area/project and then filter them accordingly.
- Use the goals/area/projects filter for aggregate lists, such as Today, Upcoming, Anytime, Someday, etc.
Sometimes I use "Estimation", "When", "Status", "Priorities" tags for more detailed planning usually during periods when I get overwhelmed and want to get out of all this.
3rd Party Integration
Things App works perfectly with Mac Calendar, which in turn syncs with google calendar.
That allows me to see all the scheduled events in one place right in the Things app on the Today screen which is VERY helpful.