In Things, you control when to-dos come to your attention. Curate what you see in Today, plan ahead to keep moving towards your goals, and store vague ideas until you have time to review them.
The Default Lists
Things comes with default lists that organize to-dos by when they can be done. Every to-do belongs to one of these lists:
- Today (including the optional This Evening section) lists everything that needs to get done today.
- Upcoming contains all the to-dos you can’t work on now but have planned for the future.
- Anytime holds all to-dos that can be tackled “at any time” – they aren’t blocked by a lack of resources or a start date.
- Someday is for everything that’s not clear yet but might become actionable at a later time.
What’s the purpose of each list?
The default lists cannot be renamed, removed, or re-ordered. However, if you prefer, you can work directly out of areas or projects.
To add, modify, or remove dates and reminders, go through the When date picker. It allows you to assign to-dos to any of the default date-based lists. Here’s how to access it:
- Hit the calendar icon inside a task if it doesn’t have a date yet.
- Hit the date assignment inside the task if it’s already scheduled.
- Or select a to-do and use ⌘ Cmd S on Mac or iPad & Vision.
The date picker offers shortcuts for Today, This Evening, and Someday. By selecting a start date from the calendar grid, the to-do is assigned to Upcoming. The Clear button removes any existing schedules and assigns the task to Anytime.
The date picker answers the question of “When will I start working on this to-do?” Unlike a calendar, where you schedule your appointments for durations, a start date in Things merely indicates the day on which you want to begin work on a to-do. For example, a task with a future start date hibernates in Upcoming until that date arrives and then hops over into Today to remind you to tackle it.
In addition to selecting options from the date picker, you can also use natural language to quickly set a future date, or keyboard shortcuts to circumvent the date picker entirely. Follow the links below to learn more.
Sometimes, a gentle nudge can be helpful to remember that it’s time to begin work on a project or task. Add a reminder and receive a notification when that time arrives.
Deadlines are added through the flag button. Contrary to start dates, which describe when you want to begin working on a task, deadlines define the date by which you must finish the to-do. Usually, deadlines are tied to external pressure, and missing them could incur negative consequences: Haven’t paid a bill? There might be late fees. Didn’t finish the report for your boss on time? It might come up during your yearly review.
Tasks with a deadline remain active in Anytime. If you need more than a day to finish them, add a start date a few days prior to the deadline.
To assign a deadline:
- On Mac: Click the deadline button inside a to-do.
- On iPad & iPhone: Tap the deadline button inside a to-do.
- On Mac, iPad, and Vision: Use a keyboard shortcut or natural language.
To remove a deadline from a to-do or project, tap the deadline and hit the Clear button inside the date picker.
In addition to the default lists, Things also has two special date-based lists that you can access via Quick Find:
- Tomorrow limits your focus to the to-dos you’ve planned for the next day.
- Deadlines shows all items with a deadline, in chronological order.