Things is the app for every thing you do. With it, you can organize every aspect of your life—from your daily routine to your long-term goals—and find the clarity that only comes from knowing what to do next.
In about 10 minutes, this guide will teach you some valuable tricks for getting productive with Things – and staying that way.
Let’s get started!
Gather it all in one place
Each and every thing that you want to accomplish needs to end up in one place, and that place is the Inbox.
It’s fine if you haven’t yet come up with a plan for exactly how or when you’ll do these new to-dos. What’s crucial is immediately getting them off your mind and into the Inbox to revisit later. When this becomes a reflex, it’s also a lot easier to stay focused on whatever you’re doing.
Include the fun or interesting things that you’d love to do, too. If you only add your obligations, looking over your to-dos will become a chore.
Taking a second look at all of the new to-dos in your Inbox daily is an easy yet powerful habit that’ll make you feel great. As you do this, decide when you’ll start each of them.
Decide when to get started
There’s too much for you to get done in one day, but that’s no reason to stress. If you organize your to-dos with this fact in mind, you can make it easier to concentrate on doing what’s important right now.
Today is the list for to-dos that you want to start before the day ends. They’re your priorities.
Upcoming is for planning ahead: it’s a timeline of your to-dos, organized by when you’ll start them, when they have deadlines, or when they’ll repeat next.
Anytime is home for all of the to-dos you could start at any time. It’s a good place to look when putting together your Today list or planning your week in Upcoming.
Someday is the place for to-dos that you might like to get to, but you’re not sure when. Regularly review what you’ve added here to decide if it’s time to act.
To learn how to assign your to-dos quickly to any of these lists, check out these tips here as well.
Do bigger things with projects
Every so often, you’ll find that something you’ve added to your Inbox will actually take more than a single step to complete. When that happens, make it a Project instead.
Like to-dos, there are almost always too many potential projects for you to work on at any given time. If you’re not totally committed to working on a project in the near future, put it in Someday. If you want to review a project to see if it’s relevant again on a later date, put it in Upcoming. If you do these things, you’ll always have a tidy, relevant list of the projects you’re devoted to right now.
Define yourself with areas
An Area is for grouping all of your projects and to-dos that support an ongoing ambition.
There’s an area for every hat you wear. Stay in touch with the people you care about by creating a Family & Friends area. Remember to keep an eye on your savings for the future with a Money area. Encourage yourself to care for your body and mind by maintaining a Health area. Tame a busy class schedule with a School area. Work toward new professional heights with a Career area. When you only want to see related projects and to-dos, your areas are a great place to narrow your focus.
If you keep your areas well-stocked, they’re also a way to nurture and grow aspects of your life that are important to you. Take a good, hard look at all of them every now and then. Sometimes, all it takes are a few new to-dos to keep the fire of your long-term goal burning.
Establish your daily routine
A visit with your to-dos early in the day, every day, is the best way to set your priorities and stay on top of what matters most to you. So grab a coffee and spend a few minutes in Today – this won’t take long.
In Today, you’ll see what’s new for the day. Decide what you want to do and postpone the rest for later. Visualize what you’ll get done and in what order, then arrange your to-dos accordingly.
When you take a bit of time to organize your Today list, it’ll no longer seem like each day is merely something that happens to you. Interruptions won’t be so disruptive. You’ll be in control. It’s a good feeling.
A few tips before you go
The faster you can get new to-dos into your Inbox, the faster you can get back to work – so master some time-saving tricks. On your Mac, you can create a new to-do while you’re working in another app by pressing Ctrl + Space. On your Mac, iPad, and iPhone, you can also speak a new to-do to Siri by turning on the feature in Things’ Settings.
With tags, you can categorize to-dos and then shorten your lists to see what‘s relevant right now. To quickly see all of the to-dos with a particular tag applied no matter where you are in Things, use Quick Find to search for the tag’s name.
Use headings to divide ambitious projects into smaller groups of related to-dos. Complicated projects are easier to tackle when they’re broken down this way.
Your calendar complements Things: it’s where all of your appointments and events belong. Plan smart by seeing Calendar entries at a glance alongside your to-dos in Today and Upcoming. You can turn the feature on in Things’ Settings.
You’re ready to achieve your goals
As you start to organize your life with Things, you’ll be surprised how far you can get with these basic tips. And no matter how busy your day-to-day routine becomes, Things has you covered.
Thanks for reading!