Incredibly torn between OF3 and Things 3

I bought Things 3 about 6 months ago, and have enjoyed using it since then. A coworker suggested if I wanted to “up my game” on GTD then I need to pick up OmniFocus.

I tried the free trial on iOS and loved it so I made the purchase and started using it on my computer as well. I’ve been using it and enjoy it a lot, but I didn’t realize the Mac version would cost me another $80.

Now, because of the price increase next week, I feel like I need to buy it now if I want to really get into it. I’m just not sure if it is worth $80 to me, especially because Things 3 is already pretty great.

Has anyone else been in this situation? What was the deciding factor for you?

Search these forums for Things - there are probably a dozen threads devoted to this topic.

Life changes and your needs will change with it. If you’re comfortable with Things 3 and what it has to offer, dive right in with that app. When you encounter a new situation or life circumstances (parenthood, change of job, status change) then try another app to see if it can fulfill your needs.

I needed the defer dates and the custom perspectives in Of3 to keep up with my needs. I’ve seen Things 3 users emulate custom perspectives (smart lists) by creating Siri Shortcuts to enter search terms for frequently viewed lists. Defer dates helps to keep my eyes from wandering off and looking into the future and just seeing what I need to do now. The OF3 review perspective has been essential in breaking down all the projects I need to review. I could do this in Things 3 by scheduling a day of each week for a small subset of projects but OF3 handles it beautifully.

Almost everything I did in Things 3, I can do in OF3. It looks some time to figure it out how to do it the OF3 way but I’m comfortable.

I can imagine myself going to Things 3 if my life changes. My first rule is to create a productivity system or workflow that can be adapted into any app. If you have a solid system in place, the app is just a tool to help you implement it.

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I do think Things 3 is a unique combination of new design and functionality. So…

Are you a power user? Or will you potentially outgrow Things 3 in terms of how you use it? In my view Omnifocus is more ‘future proofed’ because it is more configurable.

Do you need team collaboration features? It’s in the roadmap for OF3, but I have not found anything in Things 3’s documentation that indicates they will add in in the future.

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The bigger the front, the bigger the back. In my opinion, Things is for a simple-medium kind of life. OF3 is for a medium-busy-nerdy kind of life. It has a higher entry point, you can tweak it in may ways, but once it is mastered it is quite ductile.


The defer date concept and “single-action lists” are two features that are missing from things. Other than that I really like “simple” interface of Things.

But as long as defer dates are an omni-exclusive, I just can’t leave.

I was able to get close to this using Todoist and crafting my filters just so, but still not the same.

I have been in your situation and I think you need to value the time you’re spending analyzing this decision against the cost of the price increase. My recommendation is to pick one, flip a coin if you have to, and stick with it for 3 weeks or 3 months or whatever and then reassess. If you’re still torn, repeat the process.

If OF and Things had a baby app, we’d probably all be a bit more satisfied. It’s my opinion that we have to accept the limitations of both and invest in one. The more you use either, the more you’ll grow to appreciate or be frustrated with it, and that’ll help you in a future decision.


I certainly don’t want to encourage you to leave Omnifocus, but to be fair Things do have defer dates, they’re just differently named. While Omnifocus has defer dates and due dates, Things has start dates (also called When) and deadlines.

I have tried Things both on the Mac and on the Iphone. I immediately liked the application – the features are very nicely presented! – but the more I used it, the more frustrating it became with all its limitations and everything I took for granted while using Omnifocus. There are lots of details in Omnifocus that don’t get the credit they deserve, as Things looks so tempting on the surface, but two features are enough to make me stay with Omnifocus:

  1. True hierarchies – instead of simply having one level of tasks I can have just as many levels as I need in a project. It surprises me that this limitation in Things and other task managers isn’t more discussed. To me, it’s so natural and common to have more than one level of tasks in projects that I would find it very cumbersome to be without the possibility.
  2. Custom perspectives – I can have all projects and tasks filtered and presented exactly the way it suits me, and this is something totally different from what I could do in Things.

I do like Things 3’s UI experience on the Mac and especially on the iPad. Going keyboard only on Things for iPad is a pleasure. But needing to buy Things 3 for iPhone and Things 3 for iPad is also a head scratcher.

I still don’t understand the Things 3 design decision to be unable to check off a completed task earlier. If I want to work ahead of time, I can’t complete it yet.

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