How to get started with Things 3

Hardeep Nagra
Hardeep Nagra
How to get started with Things 3

Things 3 is my favourite personal task manager. Using it has changed my life over the past 18 months. In this blog post, I show you how the basic features of Things 3 so you can get started with it too.

What is things 3?

Things 3 is a personal task manager that helps you organise your tasks or projects, so you can be clear on what it is you need to do and when.

It’s a great tool to use as a simple task list for those who find they have lots to do but don’t know where to start. It can also be used for more complex projects where you might have various tasks under different areas of focus.

Things 3 is Apple devices only (sorry android users). There are plenty of personal task manager apps available across the various platforms (check out TickTick), but Things 3 is by far my favourite personal task manager. It costs around $50 for the Mac version and $10 for the iOS version. It’s not subscription-based, which I prefer, as once you’ve purchased it’s yours for life.

If you’re worried about paying an upfront cost and finding that Things 3 isn’t for you, they do provide Mac users with a trial period version. So, you can have a play with it first before committing.

Once you download it and have it installed, they’ll take you through a little tutorial on first run. But in case you missed it, I’ll take you through some basics features of Things 3.

The basics


Things 3 organises your tasks into lists. There are some default lists that Things 3 provides you with:

  1. The inbox — this is where new tasks will go by default. Think of it as your letterbox, where all new income post gets sent to before it’s organised away or looked at. The first step of the Getting Things Done (GTD) productivity system is to Capture; the idea is that you don’t think too much about new tasks as they enter your mind, but you capture it as soon as possible into your inbox. If you want to find out more about GTD, check out a brief introduction to it here, or watch my Skillshare class on applying GTD with Things 3.
  2. Today — this is where you see all of your tasks that are due on that particular day. Tasks will automatically appear on the correct day, presuming you’ve added due dates to them.
  3. Upcoming — here you can see all your tasks due in a scrolling day-by-day timeline.
  4. Anytime — here are tasks that don’t have a specific due date that you might want to do if you find yourself with some free time.
  5. Someday — tasks that aren’t time sensitive and not particularly important or a priority can be specified as due ’someday’.
  6. Logbook — where you can view all completed tasks.
  7. Trash — self-explanatory.

You can also create lists for particular projects or areas of your life. For example, I have lists for projects I work on, such as for this blog and Skillshare. Any tasks related to those areas of my life can be moved into those lists, so they’re organised away.

How to create new tasks

There are several ways to create tasks in Things 3. Anywhere in the app, you can click the ‘+’ icon, and it’ll create a new task in the list that you’re in. Add details, such as what the task is and when it’s due, and hit enter. You can also set up recurring reminders and notifications to get alerted when your task is due from here. You can also create tasks using Siri or import them from Apple reminders.

Creating headers to organise bigger projects

Let’s say you’re working on a more complex project that has a number of different stages or areas of focus. Rather than dumping all your tasks into that list, you can add headers within the list to better organise your tasks.

For example, in my task list for blog posts, I have headers for Ideas, Drafting, Editing etc. This helps me breakdown my projects into chunks and I know exactly what I need to do for each stage, allowing me to focus on one stage at a time.


That’s all you really need to know to get started with Things 3. It looks simple on the surface, and that’s partly what makes it such a joy to use. But you can get more advanced with it by applying a productivity system like GTD with it. As mentioned, if you want to find out more about GTD, check out a brief introduction to it here or watch my Skillshare class on applying GTD with Things 3.

Not on an Apple device user? Then be sure to check out the task manager I use at work, TickTick. I have a Skillshare class for that too. Don’t have Skillshare premium? Use this link and get access to a whole load of premium content and classes.

Until the next one,


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