Giving up on Things 3 as it is like “Waiting for Godot”

Things from Culture Code is one of those programs that people seemed to love. It was one of the original, big GTD programs. For those who couldn’t wrap their minds around OmniFocus, due to the complexity, there was Things, a nice looking, relatively full GTD program with a bit to be desired a mild trade-off for its ease of use.

Things is also a program that sold well. There was Omnifocus, Things and the Hit List the programs which dominated the GTD task management space. Things tended to appeal to those that just wanted to get their tasks down and done. They did not want to use a manual or take tutorials which was to some degree the case if you really wanted to take advantage of OmniFocus.

The Hit List itself, was considered easy to use but it approached the interface differently and depending on your computing background you either found it very fast and usable or a little tiresome due to its heavy keyboard driven approach.

Things V3 is metaphorically Similar to Waiting for Godot

In the famous Samuel Beckett play “Waiting for Godot” two people wait for a person who never arrives. During the time of waiting though they run into others whom thy engage in conversation and the like but regardless of the patience Godot never arrives.

The play was a success but not for its clarity but for its lack of clarity. Its complexity left it open to numerous interpretations which kept the interest up.

In ways, you could say that Waiting for Things 3 is similar. It was announced over three years ago and the best you can get from the company is it is in beta status and for the public at large they ponder many things. The thing that differentiates the two dramatically, is the number of people who are jumping ship.

Task Management and the Whole Area of Productivity are Always Evolving

Even if Things were the perfect GTD program which it is by far not, you would still want evolution as people’s learning shifts patterns to things that are more workable and richer. The software has to keep up to the consumer. The consumer should never slow down for the software.

If software is no longer working for you, it is best to dump the app as an ongoing routine operating environment. You can keep with you the history of the app if you think that is worthwhile but there is no reason to slow down for a program. There are more GTD styled programs hitting the market all the time and it is likely something would meet your new needs.

That’s not to say, some software doesn’t keep up and advance beyond us then draw our capabilities forward. Todoist or 2do is a good example of this. Neither of these programs lie idle and so they are adjusting to our ever evolving needs. Todoist follows the subscription based model and some people are not comfortable with that due to costs. However, many are and it is always evolving.

2do is similar in that it is constantly moving forward. Its is no longer an IOS program but runs on Android making it, like Todoist cross platform. Yet, this is one powerful program that is designed to meet your needs.

Things is not cheap but it remains ensconced it time. It hasn’t really evolved that much at all. For some this is fine but for others this is a very annoying scenario.

There is stuff (important and not so important) that is missing in Things that could use addressing. Further it is operating as if it was a three year old program that hasn’t evolved where in fact, that to a large degree is absolutely true.. A few tweaks here and there don’t make for new and novel thinking. People are looking for more dynamic enhancements of the software especially as things evolve and they have to manage even more with less.

As one very concrete example, IOS has evolved and thrown off skeuomorphism yet Things was built during a time that this was important to Apple. In hindsight, this was glitchy, distracting and unnecessary nonsense that played an affirmative role. However, today the interface operates with different parameters. Does Things operate that way? I don’t know but my suspicion is without a rewrite it would.

Letting Things Go

Letting Things go and moving to another platform was easier than I had imagined and that really is the role the cloud plays in our lives. Things items can be imported elsewhere or you just keep Things for the historical and move to the new. Simple.

Some new programs are easy to learn whereas others this might not be the case. The goal is to find a platform that is current, works we’ll for you, elucidates your goals and projects without bogging you down in complexity.

I can think of three programs that meet this criteria nicely but I’ll start with the one program I would be reticent to recommend to all but the most nimble and can fight against the tendency of the program. That program is OmniFocus. It is comprehensive but it not only requires a ton of learning but a ton of management. It’s not necessary but it’s hard to fight the natural inclination of the program. I saw an individual’s Youtube video wherein he was putting together a project and it seemed unnecessarily complex and I wondered if he’d ever get to the end of managing his project and just do that with completion as the goal.

Todoist

Todoist is one of today’s nicest GTD programs. It is fully cross platform (Windows, Mac, Android and you name it) which is currently important. It is consistent from platform to platform, has a nice degree of Smartness (Smart Lists) and is easy to learn. The only downside of Todoist: it is a subscription based model and although it’s not expensive too many subscription based models for the purchasing could cause financial problems. Yet, this is very high on my list as an alternative.

Chaos Control

A relatively unknown In this space but one that is budding with development is Chaos Control. This is a full GTD application without the complexity. It is also fully cross platform. It outlines Goals at the highest level with projects and tasks to reach your goals.

It is a nice implementation of GTD and it allows you to Get things Done fast. This is not a complex app and doesn’t come with all the Bells and whistles of many GTD programs. But, by outlining your goals it gives you Clear targets and ways of reaching them.

My first preference would be Todoist however, due to its maturation level. However, those that don’t want to spend a pile of money might do well with this program. Much of task management is personal preference and of course having a good model work with.

2do the System of Choice

I have written much about 2do and have worked with the program long before it has matured to the level it’s at. I have said about 2do you get full everything including GTD and to be on the safe side they throw in the kitchen sink. In many ways, I’m not kidding.

This program is powerful. Yet is is easy to learn. To get the most advantage from it, it’s probably best to work with it, look at the instructions as needed and continue to work with it. Trial and error will taken you down may roads. However, this is a very flexible program. If you just want to create simple tasks you can do it. You can also build quite the complex project made up of tasks to help you reach a goal.

It certainly wasn’t a GTD program from inception but that’s what it has turned into. It also is an app where you can involve people who use Windows and the Blackberry through the Android app.

2do is very nicely finished and it has those polished touches that make it look so interesting. You really can’t go wrong with 2do. It is not based on a subscription based model but rather you buy it and it’s yours. They keep it fresh and up to date. And it’s functionality is impressive without it being non-intuitive.

One Day Things v3 May Arrive but will Anybody Care

We’ve been waiting for Things v3 for so l wonder how many people will have abandoned the product for one of the alternates which are exceptionally good at what they do. If Things is known for it’s simplicity, Chaos Control is known for the same thing but it’s here; it’s new and it is constantly being refined as a full cross platform, very reasonable product ready to meet this need. It is not only simple in it’s approach it is very logical and it is fast at entry.

Then, if you want power and don’t care about cross platform, there’s Things. Finally, a product that could easily outshine OmniFocus based on it’s development, yet which will meld to the style or method that you want to apply is 2do. Not only is this a powerful product but it can be simple too. It is cross platform, with all the functionality of OmniFocus, looks amazing and has that component people like about Things; Simplicity. 

While these choices are there, ready to go, we sit around “Waiting for Godot.”   Why? When we vest something in a product it might be that we feel we are throwing away money; the money it cost to acquire the product and the knowledge to use it. However, the old expression time is money applies very well here. If we are not using something that works as well as it could for us; if it’s weaknesses become too poignant we are loosing more in terms of opportunity costs than the initial investment. It is one thing to be patient but it’s another when there is absolutely no indication of when the product will become available.

7 Comments

  • AJ Mac says:

    Well said. I loved Things and feel OmniFocus is too complex. I have started to play around with 2Do and I think if Things v3 doe snot come out soon, I tie will move everything to 2Do. Hope Culture Code reads your article and lights a fire under itself.

  • Danathar says:

    How very interesting! I followed almost the EXACT same route.

    First I fell in love with Things, then wondered if they were just eating snack chips and doing a line of code every other day. Sure, they came out with the watch app, but it seems their commitment to the main line app was questionable.

    So I tried Omnifocus, but as cool as it is for me it got in the way!

    Then I tried 2Do and never looked back. My only concern with 2do is that it’s ONE developer/guy. What happens if he gets bored or something happens?

  • ksdawson2014 says:

    I’ve thought about that. The one thing about the guy is he seems to know what he’s doing, he’s very committed and this kind of fate can belie anyone. He’s got a good product so I feel let’s just enjoy it while we can.

  • AJ MAc says:

    I emailed our concerns and a link to this story to Cultured Code and here is their reply:

    Thanks for your email! And thanks for the link. I had a look.

    Sorry that it’s been taking so long—we know the waiting is no fun! We had to turn our attention back to Things 2 for awhile, to update its UI, add some new features, build an app for Apple Watch, and roll out some improvements for Things Cloud. So this has slowed down the development of Things 3 a bit, but it is still coming!

    At the moment, the apps are in private beta with a small group (currently just 15 people). We’re keeping it small because we’re working directly with the testers, trialling new things, and getting specific feedback. Since a process like this doesn’t really scale to a larger group, we’re not expanding it to include more people at the moment.

    As soon as we have more information to share about Things 3, its features, or when it might come, we’ll certainly post an update on our blog. You can also follow the progress on our status page: https://culturedcode.com/status/

    Thanks for your patience while we continue the work—we look forward to your eventual feedback!

  • Mark says:

    I received Things 3 beta invites this week. Yes, they’re PAINFULLY late, but all 3 apps (Mac, iPhone, iPad) are looking great. I suspect release is imminent.

  • Kerry Dawson says:

    Very interesting. I suspect people will be quite happy to hear about that.

  • Kerry Dawson says:

    I saw the Twitter release plan and it sounds as if they’re going to release very soon. I have not really talked to anyone who has used the app to know how substantive the changes are but they sure have been a long time in coming. It’ll definitely be interesting to see what they deliver.

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