Todoist and Things are two well-established task management apps. They’re beautifully designed and easy-to-use tools to organize your day, but finding the right task management app can be overwhelming.
In this Todoist vs Things comparison, I’ll show you everything you need to know to find which task manager is best for you. We’ll cover the anatomy, key differences, features, pricing, pros, cons, and much more until we arrive at the verdict.
I’ve created a high-level overview for you below. At the end of this post, you’ll find detailed argumentation, feature comparison, and more.
Let’s get started.
|What are Todoist and Things?
|Todoist is a versatile, cross-platform task manager app for individuals and small teams.
|Things is an aesthetic, minimalist task manager for individuals with Apple devices.
|Organize your work and life into a single space
|Productivity, simplicity, and beautiful design
|Project, sub-projects, tasks, sub-tasks
|Areas, Projects, tasks
|Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Web, Apple Watch, Wear OS
|Mac, iOS, Apple watch (Apple ecosystem only)
|It’s a draw
|It’s a draw
|Task management and project management
|– Easy to use and customizable with filter queries
– Natural language processing
– Powerful quick captures
– Location-based reminders
– Two-way calendar sync
– Emailing tasks with smart dates, labels, and priorities
|– Beautiful & easy-to-use interface
– Powerful quick captures
– Works perfectly within the Apple ecosystem
– Natural language input
– Location-based reminders
– Friendly pricing model
|– I don’t like the task pop-up window; a side panel would be more convenient
– A bit limited collaboration features
|– Only available on Apple devices
– Doesn’t support file uploads
– Limited email-to-task features (doesn’t support attachments and metadata)
– No team features and collaboration
|Best for individuals and small teams who are looking for a more advanced yet simple task manager app that is available on all major platforms.
|Best for Apple users who are ready for some compromise and are looking for simplicity.
Todoist vs Things: Overview
Let’s begin this Todoist vs Things battle with the basics. I’ve highlighted the key features for you. Later, you’ll learn how these to-do list apps were born, how they approach productivity, and how you can make the most out of them.
Todoist is a simple yet versatile task manager with many useful functions for maximum productivity.
- Schedule your tasks with ease by leveraging natural language processing.
- Never miss an important thing with the two-way sync between your calendar and Todoist.
- Create unique views with filter queries.
- Organize your tasks with lists and Kanban boards.
- Capture your thoughts in seconds with Todoist’s quick-add feature.
- Email your tasks to Todoist either with plugins or with your unique Todoist email addresses.
Things is a minimalist task management app developed for Apple devices.
- Quickly capture your thoughts and tasks with Things’ quick entry.
- Use the powerful Today and This Evening sections to organize your day.
- Connect Things to Apple calendar to display your calendar next to your to-do list.
- Use Things with Apple shortcuts to create your workflows.
- Plan your week with the upcoming events.
- Open multiple windows on your Mac and drag your tasks back and forth between projects.
Now, that you have a brief understanding of Todoist vs Things, it’s time to dive deeper into the detailed comparison.
Todoist vs Things: Detailed Comparison
History & mission (don’t skip this part)
Before we dive into the Todoist vs Things battle, it’s important to see where it all started.
Understanding what drives the development of a productivity app helps you make the right decision. Interestingly, Todoist and Things share many commonalities.
Todoist is a real granddaddy of task managers. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Todoist is one of the most well-known (and respected) to-do list apps out there.
It was founded by Amir Salihefendić in 2007, which is the exact date Things was founded.
Todoist has a very loyal user base. They proudly state that 50% of their users have been with them for 4+ years. Importantly, they don’t have a plan to exit or get acquired. So, we’ve all evidence that Todoist will be with us for the next 15 years.
The company behind Todoist is Doist. They’re running a second application, Twist, which is a collaboration app.
Get started with Todoist.
Things has been very popular among Apple folks. It’s developed by Cultured Code, an 11-people German company driven by simplicity and beautiful design.
Few productivity apps do such a great job in manifesting the developer’s mission like Things. People like this task management app exactly for its beautiful design and minimalist setup. The proof is that the Things app received the Apple Design Award twice.
Things is the exact opposite of what ClickUp or Notion are doing: they don’t want to appeal to everyone or replace other tools; they want to keep people productive with simplicity (and seductive with great design). And they don’t hesitate to tell it to the world.
Winner: it’s a draw
Understanding the anatomy of Todoist vs Things can help you work more efficiently. You’ll see that both task managers have a relatively flat hierarchy, yet they offer powerful functionalities.
If you’re familiar with the GTD method (Getting Things Done), you already know that information (tasks) can flow vertically (lists) and horizontally (contexts). Todoist and Things are more than flexible project management software to represent this setup.
Todoist has a four-level vertical hierarchy:
- Projects: Projects are the placeholders of your tasks. Projects can be further structured with sections. You can view your tasks on Kanban boards or lists.
- Sub-projects: You can organize similar sub-projects under a parent project to keep your project list neat and simple. Todoist supports three levels of hierarchy.
- Tasks: Tasks can hold sub-tasks, comments, descriptions, due dates, priorities, reminders, and labels.
- Sub-tasks: Sub-tasks make it easy to break down complex tasks into manageable chunks.
There’re a couple of more interesting views (horizontal hierarchies) in Todoist:
- Inbox: The Inbox is a placeholder for tasks that are not assigned to projects.
- Today view: The Today section displays your tasks that are due today.
- Upcoming view: The Upcoming view shows your scheduled tasks on a calendar feed. You can now view your upcoming tasks on a board and drag and drop tasks between days.
- Labels: While projects offer a vertical segmentation of your tasks, labels provide a horizontal dimension to get your tasks sorted. They’re useful if you want to display tasks from different projects that share the same context.
- Filters: Todoist doesn’t have a traditional filter. You can use filter queries to surface what you need and when you need it. Add those queries to your Todoist sidebar for easy access.
Things doesn’t support sub-tasks and sub-projects, but it’s not a big deal—you won’t miss them badly. The to-do app has a three-level vertical hierarchy:
- Areas: Similarly to Todoist, you can stack your projects into groups (areas).
- Projects: Projects are the building blocks of your workspace. You can create sections to sort your tasks within a project. Importantly, Things doesn’t support teamwork, you can’t share your projects or assign tasks to team members. The board view is not supported, either.
- Tasks: Just like In Todoist, tasks can carry due dates, comments, reminders, checklists, and tags. Things, however, doesn’t support priorities or subtasks. What you can do is use tags as priorities and checklists as subtasks.
Let’s see how you can filter your to-dos in Things horizontally:
- Inbox: A placeholder of tasks that are not assigned to projects.
- Today: This is showing your daily tasks with sections.
- This evening: This is one of my favorite features in Things, showing your tasks that are scheduled for this evening (displayed separately from your daily to-dos).
- Upcoming view: This is a calendar view displaying your upcoming tasks.
- Anytime: This view shows tasks that aren’t scheduled.
- Someday: This is a specific list derived from the GTD methodology, displaying tasks that are vague or not yet on the horizon.
One of the most important aspects of finding the right app is how easy is to capture tasks and how you can organize them downstream in your workflow.
Fortunately, Todoist and Things are both very easy to use and fun to work with.
Ease of use is associated with the Todoist brand. The user experience is superior and coherent across platforms (web application, desktop application, Windows vs Mac).
What I find super-useful is that task notes can be displayed directly under the tasks in a list view. (That’s something Things and Todoist have in common, although I prefer the way Nozbe displays information.)
Todoist supports dark mode, but it also offers multiple basic to premium themes. You can switch themes with a shortcut (O then T), which is cool just like in Notion.
One of the superpowers of Todoist is capturing tasks:
- You can use a global shortcut key to quickly capture any task when you work on another application.
- You can forward emails to Todoist and turn them into tasks either by using the Todoist add-on for Gmail or using your unique Todoist email addresses.
- You can capture websites with the Todoist web browser plugin.
- You can use natural language input to specify due dates. (Don’t forget to turn on this feature in the settings.)
- You can use keyboard shortcuts to capture essential information like assignees, priorities, labels, and projects.
Simplicity comes from Things’ mission, and when they say it, they mean it. The user interface is beautiful and easy to use. And while Things is only available for Apple devices, it’s much more “Macish” than many tools (in positive terms). Things works directly with Apple shortcuts, Apple reminders, and more.
Capturing tasks with Things is a breeze:
- You can email your tasks to Things with your unique email address. Bear in mind, however, that attachments won’t be migrated to the app. This is a big disappointment and fixing the situation isn’t on the horizon, as Things doesn’t support file uploads.
- You can use the quick entry anywhere on your Mac to capture your tasks with metadata.
- You can use keyboard shortcuts to speed up your work in Things.
- You can drag and drop text from your web browser, mail, or Finder to create a to-do item.
- You can drag and drop a file to Things that will link back to your file.
- You can use the share feature in Safari to add selected text as notes into Things.
- You can use natural language input to set deadlines and schedule tasks quickly.
Winner: it’s a draw
Automating mundane tasks can save you so much time and effort. In this sense, Todoist and Things both leave the money on the table as compared to Asana.
There’s no dedicated automation within the Todoist app. What you can do is automate your workflow with integrations.
Todoist directly integrates with Gmail, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Toggle, Evernote, Jira, and a couple more tools. If you want more integrations, you can connect your Todoist account to hundreds of third-party tools via Zapier, IFTTT, or another automation platform.
Also, you can power up Todoist with extensions. Some extensions include the Habit Tracker to track your recurring tasks as habit streaks, the Task Helper to automate basic task operations, and the AI Assistant to make tasks more actionable and manageable.
While Things is a minimalist task manager app by default, you can power up your experience with Apple shortcuts and AppleScript.
There’s a library of Apple shortcuts for Things, but you can create your own automation.
While Things integrates with some Apple tools, you can connect it to thousands of third-party apps via Zapier to automate your workflow.
Task management and project management
This is an essential part of this Todoist vs Things comparison, so read carefully.
Todoist has a slight edge over Things when we consider project management functions:
- Supports multiple channels for quick captures.
- Supports a great GTD setup (projects, contexts, next actions).
- Turns emails into tasks with attachments and lots of customization options.
- Is available on all devices.
- Offers great native integration capabilities and third-party integrations with API.
- Has great offline functionalities.
While Things is great for task management and project management, there’re some limitations as compared to Todoist:
- Doesn’t support teamwork (it’s not a weakness necessarily).
- Apple ecosystem only (doesn’t even have a web app).
- Doesn’t support attachments via email (it’s a big deal for me).
- Doesn’t support file uploads.
In Things, however, you can set up a start date and a deadline to support your project management efforts. And, of course, Things also supports quick captures and GTD.
Advanced functions are lucrative when we speak about minimalist tools. But they exist!
Here’re some of the advanced features of Todoist:
- Filter queries: Learn how to use filter queries to bring your Todoist experience to the next level. You can create lots of special views and customize them with the grouping and sorting functions.
- Location-based reminders: This is what the name implies. You can allow Todoist to notify you when you’re in the right place for completing certain tasks.
- Email tasks to Todoist: Turn your emails into tasks by forwarding them either to a specific project or to your inbox. The newly created tasks will carry the text and attachments of the email, plus you can specify due dates, labels, and priorities in your email subject line.
- Todoist extensions: Turn your task into an incompletable task, track your habits, ask the AI to suggest tasks, create follow-up tasks, and more with Todoist extensions.
- Karma: When you complete your tasks in Todoist, you can earn Karma points that raise your Karma levels. You can both earn and lose Karma either by completing your tasks or losing the battle against your to-dos. Although I don’t like this feature, it can motivate some folks.
Some advanced functions in Things are:
- Workflows: Automate your workflows with AppleScripts or Apple Shortcuts. Create follow-up tasks, find your abandoned projects, set up a rule to process your inbox, and more.
- Location-based reminders: Get notified about special tasks when you are at a certain location (works via Apple Shortcuts).
- Email tasks: Get a link back to your email messages when you’re capturing tasks from email.
- Web highlighter: Highlight text on any webpage and add it to a task in Things.
- URL scheme: Send commands to Things with URL schemes (for tech nerds only).
|Price $/mo (per user, billed annually)
|One-time purchase (Mac app 49.99; iPhone: 9.99; iPad 19.99)
|Number of tasks
|Number of projects
|5 (per project)
|25 (per project)
|50 (per project)
|Yes (via Apple Shortcuts)
This Todoist vs Things comparison couldn’t be complete without mentioning the price plans.
Things is sold separately as a one-time purchase for your Mac, iPhone, and iPad. You can get a 15-day free trial to get your feet wet. Otherwise, there’s no free version.
You can buy Things for $49.99 from the Mac App store. The iPhone app comes with the app for Apple Watch and can be purchased from the App Store for $9.99, while the iPad version costs $19.99. Unfortunately, there’s no bundle available. Things will sync your data between your devices at no extra cost via Things Cloud.
Todoist works as a subscription service that includes mobile apps, web apps, as well as desktop apps. It has a free plan with the only major limitation of creating five projects. If you want more, you need to upgrade to the paid version.
Todoist Pro starts from $4 per month (per user), which is more than enough to get your personal projects as well as your working stuff organized.
Todoist Pros and Cons
- Easy to use and customizable with filter queries
- Natural language support (smart dates)
- Powerful quick captures
- Location-based reminders
- Two-way calendar sync
- Emailing tasks with smart dates, labels, and priorities
- I don’t like the task pop-up window; a side panel would be more convenient
- A bit limited collaboration features
Things Pros and Cons
- Beautiful & easy-to-use user interface
- Powerful quick captures
- Works perfectly within the Apple ecosystem
- Natural language input
- Location-based reminders
- Friendly pricing model
- Only available on Apple devices
- Doesn’t support file uploads
- Limited email-to-task features (doesn’t support attachments and metadata)
- No team features and collaboration (although you can share your to-dos with your family)
Todoist vs Things: the verdict
I recommend Things if you’re working strictly within the Apple ecosystem and can make a compromise: Things doesn’t support teamwork, file uploads, and advanced emailing functions.
If you (even occasionally) work on Windows or want to access your to-dos from your Android phone or a web app, your only choice is Todoist. Also, Todoist offers more diverse functions, which thankfully don’t come at the expense of user experience.
So, to put an end to this Todoist vs Things battle, I can say that Todoist is one of the best task managers for solo work and low-to-medium complexity projects, while Things appeals to Mac users and minimalists.