Things vs Omnifocus

I have tried Things in the past and I’ve loved it’s simplicity vs Omnifocus. I downloaded the apps today and played around with it, but I’m still going to stick with Omnifocus. Here is what I like about Things:

  • The simplicity of the tool. I love just being able to add tasks quickly and not be forced to pick both a project and a context. You can choose one or the other, both or none. This to me is the biggest thing that I wish Omnifocus would do, but it seems against their philosophy.
  • The sync seems much faster than Omni, of course my database was tiny compared to my OF, but from everything I’ve read from heavy users, the sync is always fast and rock solid.
  • I really like the idea of the today view, I have mimicked this by using Flags in Omnifocus, but still really well done.
  • Areas of Focus, I’ve also achieved this with folders in OF, I also like that there is just this one level of nesting. In OF, I’ve gone overboard with nesting folders, which I can undo of course.

What I don’t like about Things and why I’m staying with Omnifocus:

  • Things has due dates, but no time. I think this is a good thing most of the time, but sometimes I have to prepare for a meeting at 3 pm and I’ll set a due date and time an hour or two before the meeting. I’m embarrassed to admit how many times this has saved me from forgetting to prepare!
  • There is no way to email a task to Things. At work I have a PC and I send new items to Omnifocus all day long using email on the PC. This is a true deal breaker.
  • No location reminders, although I don’t use this a lot, I do find it nice to have drugstore as a location search and I just tap Nearby and walk to the closest drugstore, with my shopping list in hand.

I love it that there are companies with two excellent GTD apps. Neither one can fall into complacency and even if I never switch to Things, I will still benefit via the improvements to Omnifocus.

Things sync feature is absolutely outstanding. It’s the best I have ever encountered anywhere, and in several years of using it it never once created duplicates. The CC team are absolutely perfectionists which is why the sync feature took so long to arrive on the scene, and may be why Things 3 is taking so long as well.

I switched to OF from Things because OF2 was such a leap forwards in the task management space, and Things was feeling tired and dated with Things 3 a dot on the horizon. I don’t have any regrets except for the sync feature - OF sync is slower and less robust.

It will be interesting to see what Things 3 introduces. I love to see task management tools continuing to innovate! Competition is good. :)

To me, the biggest deal breaker for Things are its iOS apps. For workflow, there are major shortcomings with it:

  • no way to turn an inbox item into a project (so you basically have to collect and process and organize all at one in order to follow GTD methods, which is nuts)

  • assigning tasks to a project takes selecting the project from a long list (OF allows type-to-find, critical when I store hundreds of projects)

  • saved searches/queries/perspectives, which is where OF dominates, allowing me to create views of my stuff that suit various different purposes

I agree that Things is elegant in its simplicity and its sync is second to none, and I spent a lot of time wanting to want it, but it just lacks the robustness and flexibility of OF.

Outside of the software itself, the OF team is a big differentiator too. Support is awesome, the team is engaged and communicative - heck, you can tweet with the CEO. Cultured Code? Not so much. Or at all.

Lastly, I would say the community around OF is amazing. AppleScripts, perspectives, and methods are available and shared in a myriad of sites/places, which not only showcases the extensibility and robustness of OF, but also supports.

I continue to watch for Things 3 to see what it will bring (if it ever actually happens), but remain an OF devotee.

My two cents,


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I love OF, can’t change for a new app anytime soon!
i just can’t! it’s like an addiction!
things its an nice app, but isn’t enough!

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Things has a nice user interface for folks who need to manage a bunch of next actions. OmniFocus seems more capable of handling multiple projects with action groups (or sub-projects as some people call it). I do miss some of the user interface of Things. I can imagine a workflow where I can work with Things 2.5. But a lot of my Things workflows translated well to OmniFocus.

I like both but I’ve been far more efficient in OmniFocus than Things.

I just recently tried the recent update of Things 2.5. Nice but it wasn’t enough for me to move back. There’s just too much friction trying to go back and forth between the different apps.