Using Dates and Time in Things

Last Updated: Jun 01, 2017 08:43PM CEST

Here’s how to use dates and alarms in Things to make sure your to-dos come to your attention when needed.

You can accomplish the most if you only have to focus on what’s important to you at any given time. Things allows you to plan your to-dos ahead, add alarms, or even a deadline to make sure to-dos come to your attention when you need them.

We strongly recommend that you take a look at Getting Productive with Things to familiarize yourself with the purpose of each of the default lists that are included with Things. Knowing what each list is for will make it much easier to understand how to effectively use dates in Things.

Today & This Evening: Add structure to your day

The Today list is your command center for the day. Here’s how you can add to-dos to this list:

  • You can create new to-dos here or drag and drop existing to-dos into Today.
  • A to-do will be automatically shown here when its start date arrives, which you assigned via Jump Start.
  • An instance of a repeating template will be shown here on the date you defined in the template.
  • A to-do will be automatically shown here when its Deadline arrives.
  • When you add a Reminder to a to-do, it will be shown here as well.

To structure your day, you can group to-dos in Today under a separate heading called This Evening. This allows you to move those to-dos out of the way which you can only complete later, but not lose sight of them during the day when you need to evaluate how much work is still left.

Here’s how to move to-dos into the This Evening section:

Mac
  1. On your Mac, open Things.
  2. Select any to-do and press ⌘ Cmd + S.
  3. Click This Evening.
iPad

Postpone a single to-do

  1. On your iPad, open Things.
  2. Swipe right on any to-do to reveal Jump Start.
  3. Tap This Evening.

Postpone multiple to-dos at the same time

  1. Swipe left to select multiple to-dos.
  2. Tap Jump Start.
  3. Tap This Evening.
iPhone

Postpone a single to-do

  1. On your iPhone, open Things.
  2. Swipe right on any to-do to reveal Jump Start.
  3. Tap This Evening.

Postpone multiple to-dos at the same time

  1. Swipe left to select multiple to-dos.
  2. Tap Jump Start.
  3. Tap This Evening.
Watch
  1. On your Watch, open Things.
  2. Tap a to-do to open it.
  3. Tap the arrow in the upper right.
  4. Tap This Evening.

Upcoming: When do you want to do something?

In order to rely on your Today list to show you what’s relevant on any given day, planning ahead can really help to ease your mind.

The Upcoming list shows your agenda for the next few days and weeks and allows you see how busy you’ll be. Here’s how to-dos are added to this list:

  • You added a start date via Jump Start. This will most likely happen when you can’t start a to-do just now, but already know when you’d like to begin working on it in the future. Until that date, the to-do will stay out of your way.
  • Your to-do is a repeating to-do. The to-do will be listed on the date when it will be executed next.
  • You added a Deadline to a to-do. You can still do it any time, but the deadline tells you by which date you absolutely need to be finished. This to-do will also be shown in Anytime.

In addition, the Upcoming list can also show your events from Apple’s Calendar app for an even better overview of how busy you’ll be on any given day.

Here’s how to add a start date to your to-dos:

Mac
  1. On your Mac, open Things.
  2. Select any to-do and press ⌘ Cmd + S.
  3. Pick a date from the date picker or just type the date.
iPad

Plan a single to-do

  1. On your iPad, open Things.
  2. Swipe right on any to-do to reveal Jump Start.
  3. Pick a date from the date picker or pull down to reveal Quick Find and type the date.

Plan multiple to-dos for the same date

  1. Swipe left to select multiple to-dos.
  2. Tap Jump Start.
  3. Pick a date from the date picker or pull down to reveal Quick Find and type the date.
iPhone

Plan a single to-do

  1. On your iPhone, open Things.
  2. Swipe right on any to-do to reveal Jump Start.
  3. Pick a date from the date picker or pull down to reveal Quick Find and type your date.

Plan multiple to-dos for the same date

  1. Swipe left to select multiple to-dos.
  2. Tap Jump Start.
  3. Pick a date from the date picker or pull down to reveal Quick Find and type your date.
Watch
  1. On your Watch, open Things.
  2. Tap a to-do to open it.
  3. Tap the arrow in the upper right.
  4. Pick a date.

Deadlines: The date you can’t miss

When you have been given a date by which you need to complete a to-do or face consequences, add a Deadline. Use it sparingly so you won’t numb yourself to the urgency of these tasks. If you just want to be reminded of a to-do, try adding a start date instead.

Here’s how to add a Deadline to your to-dos:

Mac
  1. On your Mac, open Things.
  2. Double-click a to-do to open it.
  3. Click .
  4. Pick a date from the date picker or just type the date.
iPad
  1. On your iPad, open Things.
  2. Tap a to-do to open it.
  3. Tap .
  4. Pick a date from the date picker.
iPhone
  1. On your iPhone, open Things.
  2. Tap a to-do to open it.
  3. Tap .
  4. Pick a date from the date picker.
Watch
  1. On your Watch, open Things.
  2. Tap a to-do to open it.
  3. Tap Add Deadline.
  4. Pick a date.

You can, of course, combine planned dates with deadlines when it’s useful to have a little lead time: for example, pick a start date via Jump Start that’s a few days ahead of the Deadline to avoid nasty surprises.

Reminders: A nudge for time-sensitive to-dos

No one wants to be interrupted by constant notifications and alarms, but there are occasions when a nudge is useful. By adding a Reminder to to-dos that are time-sensitive you can focus on the work at hand, knowing that you won’t miss that important call or appointment.

Someday: Everything that’s not clear yet

Everyone has those to-dos that you want to tackle some day, but don’t have a clear plan for yet. You can safely chuck them into Someday until you have a better idea what to do about them.

Keeping your to-dos without a clear start or due date in Someday is a great way to keep your Anytime list manageable, too, because it will now only show the to-dos you can realistically accomplish next. You can update these lists each week during your weekly review.

Type ahead: Use natural date input

Instead of working your way through a calendar picker (which you can still do, if you want), you can now just type a date or relative date to tell Things when a to-do should be brought to your attention.

You can use natural language in both When and Deadline on the Mac by just starting to type; on iOS, pull down in When to specify your start date.

Here are some examples – notice that you don’t have to fully complete the term for a suggestion to pop up:

  • ”tom” = tomorrow’s date
  • ”eve” = This Evening
  • ”2pm fri” = 2pm on Friday
  • ”next we" = 7 days from the current date
  • ”in 2 mo” = 2 months from the current date
  • "third thur in jul” = 3rd Thursday in July
Mac

Add a start date and reminder

  1. On your Mac, open Things.
  2. Select any to-do, or create a new one.
  3. Press ⌘ Cmd + S.
  4. In the Jump Start popover, type when you want to start this to-do, for example tom 8am (tomorrow at 8am).
  5. Press Return to save the assigned date.

Of course, you can also just add a date, without a reminder time.

Add a deadline

  1. On your Mac, open Things.
  2. Select any to-do, or create a new one.
  3. Click the icon to set a deadline.
  4. Just start typing the date by which you must be done.
  5. Press Return to save the assigned date.

Deadlines are dates by which you must be finished, so you can’t set any reminders for that date. It would be too late. That’s why you can only assign reminders to start dates.

iPad
  1. On your iPad, open Things.
  2. Swipe right on any to-do to reveal Jump Start.
  3. Pull down in the popover to see the Search field.
  4. Type when you want to start this to-do, for example tom 8am (tomorrow at 8am).
  5. Tap Done.
iPhone
  1. On your iPhone, open Things.
  2. Swipe right on any to-do to reveal Jump Start.
  3. Pull down in the popover to see the Search field.
  4. Type when you want to start this to-do, for example tom 8am (tomorrow at 8am).
  5. Tap Done.



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