Guest Post: Using “Things 3” Apps for 1MTD and MYN, by Charles Olsen | Michael Linenberger’s Blog – Quick Find – Recents

Jan 20, 2023 | seeto

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This way, any deep links created will also activate when clicked on the desktop, taking you straight into the corresponding item in Things for Mac. Things has four primary commands: add , add-project , show , and search. You can toggle between the five main commands, filling in the parameters as it displays the link above.

This can be super handy as entering text into the Link Builder automatically encodes everything, so new lines, spaces, and other characters in the URL can be properly decoded as the deep link is executed. The add command is designed to add one or more to-dos into Things. Plus, you can choose whether Things should reveal the new item after opening. Each of these parameters are optional, so you can add all, some, or none to your deep links if you want.

Adding the time to the date lets you create a reminder to go off at that time — separate it as date time if you want to be notified at that time. Adding Tags: If you want to include tags in a task created via deep link, they need to be comma-separated in the URL. Move it into a list: If you want to specify where to place the to-do, you can use the list parameter and enter the name of one of your projects or areas.

This unique identifier is given to every item in your Things library, whereas two projects might have the same name and could create issues. Task IDs: Things has also added support for retrieving the IDs of newly created tasks, using a technology called x-callback-url, which is beyond the scope of this article. Things lets you add simple to-dos instead of checklists, and you must specify the area or area-id instead of having list and list-id.

With add , you can uniquely add multiple titles , specify a heading , add checklist-items , and show-quick-entry. For add-project , you can uniquely add a new-line separated list of to-dos titles, plus you must specify the area or area-id. Both add and add-project allow for a title , notes , when , deadline , and comma-separated tags. With these commands for adding new items, Things has opened up its database beyond the inbox.

Now you can make automations to quickly add tasks or projects, set up simple templates, and use other apps to dynamically create new items in your task list.

The Show and Search commands, instead of adding content in, are about jumping into Things and going either straight to a to-do, project, area or tag, or heading to the search screen to query the entire list. Search is the most straightforward of the Things commands and only lets you add a query parameter.

With this, you can add your search term and launch into Things to display the results. Show is a more flexible open command for Things, allowing you to show something by its title, show it by its unique ID, or show something and apply a filter on the view by tag so you only see a subset of tasks. ID: Each area, project, tag or to-do in Things has a unique identifier that can be used to return directly to that item. You can create links for tasks, projects, and areas, but not headings or checklists.

Tap that and the full URL into the Things task will be copied to your clipboard, already using the show command. If you tap that link later, your device will open the app back to that item.

But this only works with areas, projects, tags, or using the keyword for the built-in lists inbox , today , anytime , upcoming , someday , and logbook. Filter: The filter parameter for the show command is a powerful addition to the command, letting you apply a filter by tag to the list you open. With show , you are able to use a unique id to be more specific than a title, or you can add a filter to only show results with a certain tag.

With search , you can use a string to query a result or you can use the base command to open the search screen. They enable bookmarks, smart searches, and fast queries — now you can get the benefits of a digital task manager with the focus of a managed to-do list.

In the screenshot below, the first Launcher action in the top row opens the app, and the other three open into my main Areas: The Sweet Setup, Work, and Personal.

I chose this setup because I take advantage of how Things applies tags — if one is applied at the top-most level to an area or project, filtering by that tag will show all of those subtasks as if they are tagged indirectly ; however, if you show the tag instead of filtering by it, Things will only display the items tagged directly.

I have tags for physical contexts like Home, Devices plus more below to be more specific , or Errands that I do apply to every task, so these let me see those all in one tap. The only tag where I use the unique ID is for Automation, since I tag a lot of tasks with that directly. On the iPad, I also set up direct links into the project for this article, as well as my upcoming HomePod review. With a nice little touch, I used the icon for The Sweet Setup, which coincidentally looks great with the crop.

Launch Center Pro, however, has more features that make it an excellent second option for opening bookmarks and triggering launchers to quickly build new bookmarks or adding items. With Launch Center Pro LCP from here on , you have 18 spaces for either single launchers or groups that hold an additional 17 launchers each, for a grand total of potential spots for deep links.

Each launcher can also have custom time-based and location-based triggers. Combining these features with Things lets you create a plethora of bookmarks into your areas, projects, or tags. You could just use the main screen and create a grid of your favorite areas and important projects. Or, you could create a group for each area, each with its own launcher and launchers for the projects within that area. You could also create a group for your areas, a group for your top projects, and a group for different subgroups of tags — whatever suits you best.

This prompt feature opens up the ability to use dynamic add and add-project commands for your Things links in Launch Center Pro too. You could set up prompts for different parameters and have it ask you to enter values at the moment you launch it instead of ahead of time.

After typing in the title, the list prompt could let you pick which area to add your new project to. Launch Center Pro also has a clipboard tool also shown in the keyboard bar when making a new action , so you could set up actions that let you copy some text ahead of time, fill it in as the title, and add it as a task in Things.

Launch Center Pro is probably the quickest and easiest way to set up URLs for Things, letting you keep to prompts and lists to add a level of automation while maintaining a full-screen launch pad for deep linking. Another handy way to quickly add tasks to Things is using Drafts. This scratchpad-style app is handy to keep in your dock, ready for you to open it and start typing right away.

Drafts is a great launching point for creating deep links because it always opens with the keyboard ready. One handy feature of Drafts is Link Mode. When you tap the icon at the bottom of the composer, all of the links in your draft will be converted and made tappable. Here you can add in one or more prompts to pick from your chosen parameters, then fill it all into the deep link and have your task added.

You can use the list prompt in unique ways, like grouping your tags in smaller batches according to how you organize them. Even more, Drafts has powerful Javascript capabilities that lets anyone familiar with the language execute scripts on their notes. With this at your disposable, people can create all types of tools to build deep links but it does require coding knowledge.

The only thing better than ease of access or quick setup is extreme utility — and with Workflow, you can create an unlimited number of automations on iOS to interlink your apps together, launch commands using deep links, and hook into your most-used services programmatically, right from your phone.

It would normally open a website link into Safari, but any deep links passed in will be opened in their corresponding app. If there are areas of the URL you want to set up to change each time you run the workflow instead of having the information filled in ahead of time, you can use variables. You do this by can adding another Workflow action above everything else, then going back into the spot in the URL action and selecting a Magic Variable token to replace that portion of the link.

NotePlan even adds mentions for specific people. And thanks to its built-in plugin system, NotePlan offers very flexible repeat options. In NotePlan, any repeating task can simply be checked: in the past, present, or future. And it will automatically receive a completion date. NotePlan also allows you to tap a tag or mention to bring up a view of every task with the associated tag or mention.

In Things, filtering tags is restricted to the current view. Another advantage of working with tasks is NotePlan is the option to time box tasks. Adding a time range to a task automatically puts it on the NotePlan calendar. Typing: Work on report or Pick up laundry at 4 pm will block out the task right on the calendar. A plugin even lets you create them as synced calendar entries. Since your regular events are already on your calendar too, blocking tasks lets you plan for a productive day.

People who follow the Getting Things Done G. A weekly review is part of the G. Things does not have a review or filter system but you can manually go through each project. NotePlan, on the other hand, has a dedicated Review with custom filters. You can create a custom view that shows you everything tagged with review, from your calendar notes only, and limited to the past week. Or any other query you want to, for example: only tasks tagged with deepfocus.

Working with images is impossible in Things, while NotePlan allows you to upload images to any note. The same goes for attachments : Things does not allow attachments, but NotePlan does. NotePlan handles images and attachments flawlessly and even lets you choose between linking or embedding.

The note is even updated as you make changes. It makes collaboration easier or just gives you the option to publish a shopping list, meeting notes, or more. In Things, everything stays inside your apps. When it comes to Apple Reminders, Things allows you to import items while NotePlan integrates them into the system. The difference may seem subtle, but integrating with Apple Reminders has a few advantages.

For one, Reminders allow for attachments that disappear when imported in Things. Secondly, Reminders allow you to set a trigger for locations geofencing or when you are messaging a person. While flags and priorities can be simulated in Things, locations and per person messaging cannot. You get the best of both worlds by keeping these in Apple Reminders and showing them alongside your calendar and NotePlan tasks.

Finally, Things may sometimes make it difficult to get a clear overview of tasks. For one, Projects are always collapsed in higher views, forcing you to open a Project separately.

So inside an Area or in Today, you only see the Project title, not the tasks underneath. When it comes to checklists, too, you need to open a to-do item to see the checklist items inside.

As a task manager, Things is focused just on your to-do list and not on the notes or context around them. While you can put notes at the top of a project and inside each note, building a network of ideas, references, or research notes is not really possible. NotePlan, on the other hand, was built on the idea of bi-directional linking. The apps allow you to link to other notes simply by typing [[Note Name]].

By combining notes and dates, you can reference information or tasks from other notes and display them at the top of the current note, including a daily note. It makes it easy to reference other tasks inside projects, other task lists, and more. A recent update to Things has introduced Markdown formatting for task notes. That means you can use standard Markdown syntax inside of a note to jot down information.

A big difference between Things and NotePlan, however, is that Things always shows you the full Markdown syntax. NotePlan shows the syntax as you type, but then renders the text without the syntax as you move the cursor out of the text and syntax.

Things, on the other hand, always shows the full syntax. Many Markdown users feel this makes notes look cluttered and hard to read. Moreover when you insert a link, the complete URL is always shown, which is annoying for long links. Things integrates with your calendar but only shows you the events in both the Today and Upcoming views.

Clicking an event on macOS just brings you to the event inside your calendar app. On iOS events can not be tapped at all. As a result, the Things calendar integration is passive: it displays events but nothing more. In NotePlan you can edit any calendar event right inside the app and even add new events. When you time box tasks, you may want to modify events, too.

It saves you time and effort by not forcing you to switch to another app. Keeping your tasks and notes updated across devices is easy and secure in NotePlan and Things, although there are several differences. As a result, it is possible for a Cultured Code or a third party to access your notes. It also means you can open them inside any application. As a result, NotePlan can integrate with other apps like Obsidian. Another difference lies in backups and revisions.

NotePlan keeps a record of every change inside every note. That means you can go back to any previous version. Things does not have a revision system. For one, you can only undo the last action. Plus, the iOS version of Things does not have a Trash container. So changing a task or even deleting a task on iOS means that task may be gone forever if you forget to Undo it immediately. The elegant design of the applications has garnered several design awards throughout the years.

But the look and feel of Things is a double-edged sword. Much like the structure and workflow the apps impose on the user, the design too is entirely fixed.


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The new Things3 Lock Screen Widgets on iOS 16 — Show List; Today’s Progress and To Do (image courtesy of author). CulturedCode, the team. Things for iOS normally is priced at $ for the iPhone version and $ for the iPad version. To celebrate this promotion, Cultured Code. Things is the product of the development company, Cultured Code, The macOS version offers a day free trial if you download it from.



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