Why I switched back to Things.

I recently moved all of my task management efforts to Things.

If you have followed me on Twitter, you may have seen that the following events have transpired :

  1. I wrote a book about Things, and then all of a sudden;
  2. Began using its main competitor, only to;
  3. Return to the land of elegant German design that is Cultured Code’s Things.

You may even be asking yourself...

Why did you write a book and then bail on the subject?

When Things 3 came out on May 18th, 2017 it was an enormous upgrade from its predecessor. I have always loved Things starting with version 1 and then with the sync upgrade in version 2. It really served me well, as anyone who has purchased the book knows. Well, just as the book came out I set up shop as a mortgage consultant in my day job. And my world got very busy, very quickly.

Being a business owner who is always looking for ways to automate as much as possible (I have no employees right now), I eventually turned to the power of OmniFocus 3, as it has always been touted as the automation powerhouse task manager. I used custom perspectives, deferral techniques, flagging...you name it. I really got into using it, yet felt bad for not using Things, even while supporting the book with updates to cover additions through Things version 3.4. The good folks at The Omni Group were kind enough to let me write a piece for the OmniFocus product. They really are a superb team with great support and a wonderful product!

But all the while I was keeping up with what was going on over at Cultured Code, and then the feature that I had always wanted came to Things : iPad keyboard shortcuts parity with the Mac. You see, I work primarily in iOS during the day as I am very mobile between meetings with partners and clients, so I use the iPad Pro 12.9" to do a lot of the heavy lifting. Those shortcuts were a nice feature, but I told myself that it would be ridiculous to switch task managers again. I have a lot of information in my task manager of choice, and not only could switching could be a chore, but I didn't want to give into the FOMO that is often associated with the longing for new features and design in competing task managers and other apps within the productivity space.

So, why did you switch back?

Well, a few more months went by, and I continued watching videos on how to best tweak my OmniFocus system. Just when I thought I had everything perfect, I would read something on another way to automate or make tag changes that would really make things easy for me.

Then, in the past few weeks, I looked at where my business was going, and I started to measure my app usage and how much time i was using various apps. It turns out I was endlessly fiddling with perspectives and creating shortcuts and building the "perfect system", which was one that really ended up dragging on my overall productivity and output.

This was not an OmniFocus problem. It was an Eric problem.

I have always liked to tweak and inspect systems, even going back to when I was a kid. That personality trait really has served me well as a musician, too. I could deconstruct songs and figure out the bass parts fairly easily. However, when it comes to simple task management systems, one should not build an overly complicated one just to check off items.

Taking a look at some things recently and wanting to go really minimalist, I actually tried to implement only Apple's stock apps, Reminders being one of them. Reminders was too simple. OmniFocus was great, yet allowed me to complicate my life. Things felt just right.

I did a mind sweep recently into Things. I feel really good these days. I have missed features like "When" - the functionality whereby a task can show in your Today list, but not actually be due. Things is all about a time-based workflow.

Not to get heavy here, but time is our greatest enemy. Why shouldn't your task manager help you spend it wisely?

I'll be doubling my efforts on Things support in the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned to my Twitter page or right here at Bowers Voice.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch!