Things vs. Omnifocus for managing to-dos on the Mac, iPad and iPhone

I switched from Things to OmniFocus a month ago, but now I have gone back to Things.

Omnifocus is too fussy. It really, really wants you to add tasks to projects and areas, and that’s extra work.

Many of the tasks I create in a to-do list come from email, and on OmniFocus, adding tasks from email on Mac is broken. On the other hand, Things handles that easily.

Both Things and OmniFocus will let you forward email to the app – which is great when reviewing email on your phone – but Things adds a nice touch to that process. Things adds a link back to the original mail. So when I’m back at my Mac, I can just click a link in the Things task and I’m back to the email I want to deal with.

Things is a better-looking app than Omnifocus. Reviewers often use words like “gorgeous” and “breathtaking” to describe Things, which makes me roll my eyes so hard I might strain something. It’s an app, not a painting or sunset. Still, Things is a nice-looking app, nicer looking than OmniFocus, and that’s something.

Things makes it easier than OmniFocus to just add all your to-dos to one long list, while also breaking out additional projects and areas where needed. Like I said, OmniFocus really, really wants everything neatly sorted out into projects and areas and stuff, and that’s an unnecessary hassle for the way I work.

Things supports tags, and you can assign keyboard shortcuts to tags, which makes it easy to prioritize tasks.

Because organizing tasks on OmniFocus requires thought, I was letting them stack up in a disorganized pile and therefore I stopped trusting Omnifocus, which is fatal for to-do list software. Friday, I started out the day by writing a note in Apple Notes of what I needed to do. That’s exactly what I need to-do list software for. At that moment, OmniFocus had become effectively useless.

One area where I do like Omnifocus better: You can attach images to tasks. Things does not support attachments, though you can link to items, such as docs stored in Evernote or Dropbox, which is an ok workaround.

I am writing this so the next time I am tempted to try this silly time-wasting experiment I will hopefully just check this note and save myself the hassle.