Giving “Things” a go!

I have always been hopelessly disorganised. This should come as little surprise to anyone who knows me. I have looked into many different ways to become better organised. Ways to stay on top of my work, “get things done”, improve my “workflow” and other buzzwords or phrases. However, with all of these methods, both analogue and digital, some stick for a while, other not long at all. Interestingly the things that I have become good at keeping organised are technology-based. My devices, iTunes media, films and TV series for example are all meticulously organised by me. However the organisation of the rest of my life often falls by the wayside fairly quickly.

Things App on iPhone 5

Let me be clear, I am trying! My job last year required a massive improvement for my work, such that a planner was given out In the last few months I have bought a Moleskine weekly diary, I use DayOne, a cross-platform journalling app, Vesper on the iPhone and am currently trying to sort out how best to sort, simplify and save articles, websites, advice and other information for recall and access later. The current system of Instapaper and Evernote is not working, at least not in a way I would deem to be watertight or particularly usable!

So, to this hodgepodge of adapted systems, failed ToDos and broken promises, I’m attempting to add a completely new app system. That of Cultured Code’s Things app for Mac, iPhone and iPad which adapts David Allen’s Getting Things Done system. I had previously seen Things on the App Stores and read good things about them, but the prices for each individual part put it way above my price range. Thanks to Jason Snell at Six Colours for pointing out that Cultured Code had a special offer on for the app. Both iOS versions were reduced to Free and the OS X version was reduced by 30% to £24.49. So I picked up all three. They have sat unused on my homescreens for a while, but now I am going to give them a proper go. From the 30 minutes or so I have used them so far, they sync perfectly and look beautiful. They have also introduced a widget into the Notification system on iOS which shows what tasks are in your “Today” panel. It also provides a quick link to the app itself to add a new To-Do quickly.

iPhone Notification Center

The app is divided into tasks, projects and Areas of Responsibility with tasks able to be moved between them. I have so far set up a number of those for the different areas of organisation in my life. From there it is easy to move items to “Today”, the container of all of the tasks you want to do today. The image of the Notification Center shows you the things I intend to do today. Tasks can also be easily searched by their name or any of these different criteria that you have added to them. Even with a little use, the possibilities for this app are huge in my life.

The only potential downside I can see so far is that it will only work with my Apple machines. They won’t work with devices from other ecosystems. While this means that they work well together and sync well, it does leave other devices out in the cold. This might begin to pose a problem if there are any holes in my plan because I’m using other devices. Still, I’m going to give this app system a good shot and see if they can improve my ability to organise myself. Let’s see how it goes, wish me luck!

David x

Originally published on 28 January 2015 at