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How to Use Things 3 for Task Management and GTD

Author: Keep Productive Time: 2024-01-27 17:25:01

Table of Contents

An Introduction to Things 3 - A Feature-Rich and Attractive To-Do App

Things 3 is a personal to-do list and task management application available for Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Developed by Cultured Code, it helps users organize tasks and responsibilities into actionable projects and goals. Things 3 combines an elegant, minimalist user interface with robust features for task and time management, enabling increased organization and productivity.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll provide an overview of Things 3 covering platform availability and pricing, key features, using the Inbox and Today areas effectively, adding tasks with tags and reminders, leveraging projects and areas for organization, syncing with your calendar, customizing settings to suit your needs, and more.

Things 3 Platform Availability and Pricing

The Things 3 app is available on Mac, iPhone, and iPad. The Mac version is priced at $49.99 with a 14-day free trial and requires macOS 10+. The iPhone app costs an additional $9.99 and the iPad version is $19.99. If purchasing for all devices, the total cost is around $80 as a one-time purchase with no recurring fees or subscriptions.

Key Features of Things 3

Things 3 shines through its simple yet powerful approach to task management. It utilizes an Inbox for quickly capturing tasks, reliable cloud sync to keep data in sync across devices, intelligent Today view showing tasks for the day, powerful filtering and search capabilities, structured projects with dependencies, and more. Additional key features include fast task entry, tags and saved searches for organization, checklists and notes within tasks, calendar and reminders integration, areas to group related projects visually, excellent iPad and iPhone apps, and a beautiful yet functional design.

Using the Inbox and Today Areas

Two of the most useful areas in Things 3 are the Inbox and Today views. The Inbox acts as a quick capture location for getting thoughts and tasks out of your head. Just tap the plus icon to add a new to-do into your Inbox. You can then process these tasks later and organize them by adding tags, dates, projects, etc.

The Today view displays tasks that you've assigned for today or that have a deadline of today. This intelligent view updates automatically and ensures you stay focused on timely tasks. You'll also see any calendar events from connected calendars (like iCloud or Google) in Today, enabling easy reference while planning your day.

Together, utilizing the Inbox to capture and Today view to plan each day is an effective way to stay on top of your responsibilities in Things.

Adding Tasks, Checklists, Tags, and Reminders

Capturing tasks in Things 3 is very straightforward, but the app enables assigning additional details as needed to make each task actionable.

When adding a to-do, you can set dates, times, locations, reminders, tags, notes, attachments, and more. Recurring tasks can be set to repeat after completion on a daily, weekly, monthly, or annual basis, a handy feature for routine responsibilities.

Tags are a great way to add context and organize tasks without lots of nested projects. Quickly filter tasks by tags to see just those matching a certain tag. Checklists enable breaking a larger to-do down into smaller action steps for execution.

Reminders can be created directly within Things tied to a specific task and time. The reminder will then surface on your Mac/iPhone at the set time and date. This ties your to-dos directly into your daily life for proper timing and notifications.

Setting Up Projects and Using Areas

To organize your tasks and responsibilities in Things 3, projects provide a structure for grouping related to-dos towards a shared goal or focus. Tasks can then be assigned due dates and organized sequentially under projects.

Areas take projects a step further for visual organization, allowing you to group multiple related projects together into buckets like Work, Family, Finance, etc. This enables seeing all of the projects for a certain area of your life at a glance.

Using projects and areas greatly increases organization within Things without lots of cluttered folders and tags. Related tasks and responsibilities are directly connected visually, making execution easier and more effective.

Linking Things 3 with Your Calendar and Reminders

Connecting Things 3 to your existing calendars and reminders ensures proper syncing across the platforms you already use daily. With just a few taps in the Settings area, you can link apps like Calendar and Reminders on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Enabling calendar integration allows you to see today's calendar events right within your Today view in Things for easy reference. Any reminders you've already set directly on your iPhone or Mac will also surface in Things, tying together these tools.

Things 3 Settings and Preferences

Given its wide range of capabilities, Things 3 offers deep customization through its settings and preferences to match your personal workflow.

Options are available to tweak Things behavior, shortcuts, sync preferences, notifications, account linking to calendars/reminders, backups, and much more. Spending a few minutes personalizing Things to your needs goes a long way towards mastery.

Some of the most helpful tweaks include: custom keyboard shortcuts, always-on quick entry window via hotkey to access Things from anywhere, auto-archiving completed tasks, daily task review reminders, long press options to quickly defer or schedule tasks, and more.


Things 3 strikes an impressive balance between simplicity and powerful features for focused task management. It may not have every possible capability under the sun, but its refined set of features are extremely practical for most personal use cases.

The well-designed iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps integrate tightly enabling seamless sync. For those seeking a streamlined tool for staying organized across their Apple devices, Things 3 is an excellent choice with high reliability and performance.


Q: What platforms is Things 3 available on?
A: Things 3 is available on Mac, iPhone, and iPad. There are separate apps for each platform.

Q: How much does Things 3 cost?
A: The Mac app costs $49.99. The iPhone app is $9.99 and the iPad version is $19.99. There are free trials available.

Q: What makes Things 3 good for GTD?
A: Things 3 includes key GTD features like contexts, projects, someday lists, and a quick-entry inbox.

Q: Can I connect Things 3 to my calendar?
A: Yes, you can connect Things 3 to your Apple Calendar to see events alongside your tasks.

Q: Does Things 3 sync between devices?
A: Yes, Things 3 uses Things Cloud to sync your data between all your devices.

Q: Can I collaborate with others on tasks?
A: No, Things 3 is designed for personal use and does not allow collaboration or sharing tasks.

Q: Is there a web version of Things 3?
A: No, Things 3 is only available as native apps for Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

Q: Can I import tasks from other apps?
A: You can import reminders from the Apple Reminders app into Things 3.

Q: Does Things 3 work with Android devices?
A: No, Things 3 only works on Apple devices running iOS or MacOS.

Q: Can I customize keyboard shortcuts?
A: Yes, Things 3 allows you to customize keyboard shortcuts for different actions.