Todoist vs Things: (Don’t Buy Until You Read This)

Todoist vs Things. Two of the best productivity apps available today are put to the test

Due dates and deadlines are the bane of our lives. If you’re struggling to manage due dates and deadlines then I have put together a comparison of two of the most popular ‘to-do list’ apps around today: Todoist vs Things. After reading this post, you should be able to choose the right app to do your best work and build lasting habits.

Getting things done

Both of these mobile apps are about getting things done, plain and simple. To help with this job, they provide users with a number of task management tools that make it easier to organise small and large tasks.

They have a ton of useful features that make planning and implementing anything from a board meeting to a birthday party a breeze. They also take the stress out of due dates.

Important features of Todoist

Todoist is a popular task management app, and has plenty of important features that help you manage the various areas in your life:

  • Quick Add lets you capture a task you want to get done and get it organised in just seconds
  • Sections and sub-tasks allow you to organise projects into manageable chunks (one of the best ways to ensure you are getting things done)
  • Recurring due dates mean that after you finish a recurring task, you don’t have to do anything extra to reset it for the next due date.
  • Priority levels help you maintain focus on what is important
  • Delegate tasks so you can share the workload
  • Notifications keep you on top of things throughout your day
  • Boards give you a Kanban style view of the task in front of you
  • Labels allow you to find the right task within seconds
  • Filters allow you to customise your task view
  • Email tasks into Todoist for extra ease of use
  • Comment on tasks (including voice comments)
  • Calendar feeds mean you can display your tasks in your chosen calendar (such as Google calendar)
  • Productivity visualizations help you see just how you’re doing against productivity goals
  • Archive completed tasks
  • A full stack of integrations, including Zapier, Dropbox and Amazon Alexa

Todoist vs Things: Useful features of Things

  • The Projects You’re Working On Add the tasks to accomplish any big goal to a Project. When you outline your plan, use headings to keep your list organized. In addition, you’ll find a place to make notes, and a deadline to keep you on schedule.
  • Your areas of focus Make a section for each aspect of your life, such as work, family, finance, etc. As you set your plans in motion, you are able to see how everything fits together neatly.
  • The Today and Upcoming lists, which show your to-dos and calendar events, and help organize everything you need to do. Look at your schedule for today and choose how you want to spend your time.
  • Reminders — set a time and Things will remind you.
  • Repeaters — automatically repeat to-dos on a schedule you set.
  • This Evening — a special place for your evening plans. A great way to separate work from home
  • Calendar integration — see your events and to-dos together.
  • Tags — categorize your to-dos and quickly filter lists.
  • Quick Find — instantly find to-dos or switch between lists.
  • Magic Plus — drag the + button to insert to-dos anywhere in a list.
  • Share extension — create to-dos with content from other apps.
  • Widgets — see your lists on the home screen.
  • Mail to Things — forward an email to Things; now it’s a to-do.

Todoist vs Things: Todoist Review

I’m going to dig a little deeper into Todoist before we get into the whole Todoist vs Things er…thing, and look at the user experience as well as some of the great tools that make it one of the most popular to-do apps around.

With its tagging system and natural language processing capabilities, Todoist offers a simple interface, but a lot of functionality.

Compatibility is not a problem for Todoist. It is available pretty much everywhere, with users able to find it on

  • Browser
  • Mac
  • Windows
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Chrome

Pricing

There are 3 options for Todoist pricing:

Free Plan

  • 5 active projects
  • 5 collaborators per project
  • 5 MB file uploads
  • 3 filters
  • 1-week activity history

Premium Plan

  • 300 active projects
  • 25 collaborators per project
  • 100 MB file uploads
  • 150 filters
  • Reminders
  • Unlimited activity history
  • Themes & auto backups

Business Plan

  • Everything in Pro
  • 300 active projects per member
  • 50 people per project
  • Team inbox
  • Team billing
  • Admin & member roles
  • Priority support

Pro is running at $3 per month, while Business will cost $5 (per user) a month.

The good news about Todoist is that it has the following benefits for anyone who wants a project management tool to help them complete tasks:

  • It’s the natural language processing app that works best. It’s an interesting feature that just works. Create tasks and categories with due dates, tags, personal tasks and projects while typing as fast as you can. 
  • The perfect balance between power and flexibility for mobile devices. You can customize Todoist to fit your personal workflow, all while being intuitive to use. 
  • Add quickly from anywhere. Adding tasks to Todoist is pretty straightforward since you can do it from anywhere. Todoist is available in all major app stores, as well as on many desktop and mobile platforms, through a Chrome extension and Gmail and Outlook integrations.

The bad news:

  • Subtasks don’t work well. Subtasks in Todoist’s Inbox view cannot be indented. I know, it seems petty to gripe about this, but it means something to me
  • I prefer the Mac app over the Windows app. In comparison with Todoist’s iOS and Android apps, its Windows app has a less user-friendly interface
  • The process of creating custom views or lists is a bit tedious. If you want to see your school tasks due the next week without seeing the tasks for your part-time job, you may have to experiment with Todoist’s filters
  • A year’s membership costs $36. If you go with the Todoist Premium version to use the advanced filters, priorities, and calendar synchronization features, it’s a little pricey

Boards

This area bears a little more scrutiny. It’s incredibly useful and isn’t available in most other task manager apps.

A board is a way of viewing tasks and moving them through a workflow in relation to task management. If you had a physical board, it would be divided into columns called To Do, Doing, and Done. In the To Do column, you write tasks on sticky notes, with as much detail as you like. From there you (and your collaborators) begin working on the tasks.

The tasks go into the Doing column as you (and your teammates) begin working on them. A sticky note is moved to the Done column when a task is completed.

If you’ve ever used Trello, you will know how this works. I think it’s a great part of the ToDoist toolset, and a definite plus if you like a more visual approach to your task management.

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Todoist vs Things: Things review

The first issue with Things that you’ll need to know before you consider it is that it is only available on Apple devices. This may be an issue for you, it may not.

Apple is very much behind it, and have presented two Apple Design Awards to the Stuttgart team behind the app. Apps for the iPhone, iPad and Watch can all be purchased via the App Store.

Pricing

Things runs on a one-time purchase model, rather than the subscription model that Todoist operates with. On the iPhone, you can expect to purchase things for $9.99. For the iPad it’s $19.99 and for the Mac version it’s $49.99.

Remember that you pay once and that’s it. So it will eventually turn out to be less costly than Todoist. You can get a trial version (with full functionality) from the developer’s website, which gives you 15 days of full usage.

The good news:

Things simply looks fantastic. There’s no other way of describing it. This kind of makes sense when you remember that Apple prizes the app. It has that style and feel that the California brand exemplifies.

Adding a task couldn’t be easier. Once you have given the task a title and a description you can add dates and times and move the tasks round the screen in order of importance. You can also add tags so that your tasks are organised and easily retrievable.

However, Things really comes into its own when you start to use the Projects functionality.

When you have a large task to do it becomes a project. Projects have a number of sub-tasks attached. If you have to arrange a major presentation at work, for example, breaking down the preparation and then the creation of the presentation makes sense. You can have the whole project chunked into smaller steps, which is a lot more motivating than just one task that says ‘Presentation’.

One of the better features that Things has is the Start Date feature. You can have a task you need to take care of, but it needs to be planned for some time in the future. With things, you can assign a start date for the task, and you’ll receive a reminder at the right time to make sure you get things moving when you need to. It’s a small part of the whole process, but it adds tremendous value and becomes even more useful the more organised you get.

Areas of focus

Another real benefit to running Things in your life is Areas of Focus. Here, you literally get to define areas of your life, your responsibilities and goals. It makes for a lot of fun as you start to divide up your life into different areas, and gain a real understanding of what is important to you.

For example, you can make ‘school’ an area of focus, and assign tasks to that exclusively. Then, you can make ‘hobbies’ another area, and so on. In each area you can assign tags to further drill down into the various elements in your life. This is where Things becomes more than just task management, and starts to encroach into the goal-setting field.

Upcoming, Anytime and Someday

Things does a great job of organising tasks into these areas when you are planning or reviewing.

Things has views for each of these:

  • In the Upcoming view, I see tasks with a start date or a deadline.
  • Using the Anytime view, I can see a list of tasks that are not related to a date, which are grouped by project and area.
  • Someday displays the tasks I haven’t committed to yet but may do eventually

The Someday feature of Things allows you to pick up tasks and projects that may need to be done eventually without cluttering up your working list. When these items are displayed in a project, the checkbox is less visible and at the bottom of the list.

Logbook

A tab called Logbook should make you feel better if you get nervous whenever a completed task disappears. When they don’t have visibility on completed tasks, some clients I work with get very worried. Because of this, Logbooks are a great feature.

The Logbook tab contains all completed tasks. You can check it any time you want. It’s a great way to just remind yourself that yes, you did complete that project two weeks ago.

Todoist vs Things: What’s the verdict?

Todoist is a superbly productive app largely because it’s full of features, but never feels overly complicated. The UI is simple and straightforward. In your first few days of using the app, you will quickly learn how to use all of its core features, including creating tasks, scheduling due dates, adding comments, and marking tasks as complete. But the more you use Todoist, the more features you discover.

For recurring tasks and due dates, you can use Todoist’s natural language input. Todoist will create a new instance of a task due each Monday when you mark the previous one complete if you type “ev Mon” right alongside the task name.

As well as “tomorrow,” it can also read “every other Friday,” “every 15th,” etc.

By using shorthand, you can add further details without picking up the keyboard. Use the # symbol before the project name when assigning new tasks to a project. Add a + sign before someone’s name when assigning a task in a shared project. Labels can be added with @.

Creating a project in Todoist will let you invite collaborators. A Todoist account is required, but Premium is not required. 

A collaborator who accepts your invitation to join the project has the power to assign tasks to you, and you can assign tasks to them as well. Your collaborators should have access to information about any task. If you do not want to be informed about every little change your collaborators make, you can customize the alerts you receive.

When it comes to Things, you cannot invite team members. That is a big deal if you’re working on projects that are more complex than a simple list of tasks you need to get done.

Interestingly, Things doesn’t have subtasks either. This is a truly fundamental part of getting large projects completed, and I was a little disappointed to see that this was taken out of the equation.

One of my favourite features in Things is not available in ToDoist. Being able to see tasks that have been completed helps with knowing where you’re at productivity-wise, as well as having ‘proof’ of what you have been doing.

Here’s a table that outlines some of the broad differences between the two apps.

With thanks to Successunscrambled.com

Todoist vs Things: Conclusion

I see Things as being better than ToDoist in many ways. It looks better, and I really liked the Areas of Focus and the log of completed tasks.

On the other hand, Todoist has greater collaboration functionality, as well as boards.

They are both solid apps. They both have pluspoints, and when it comes down to it, both would be perfect for anyone who wants to get things done. 

I think the only thing that would help ToDoist over the finish line against Things is the fact that Things is only available on Apple devices, which is, in the end, quite restrictive. So when we’re talking about Todoist vs Things, Todoist may be the contender.

As an affiliate, I may get loads of good stuff if you sign up for Todoist. Just saying.

Author: Sal Ashraf

I'm a freelance writer. This site is all about getting more business, and keeping that business, whether you're a solo entrepreneur, or a large company.

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