Originally Posted by Finlay Boo
Having initially used OF before switching to Things for 9 months, before switching back a couple of months ago, I've realised that there are various features that only OF has that make it the product for me.
Out of curiosity, I've played with THL for probably around an hour or so in total and aside from the lack of sequential filter (already mentioned) the following make it an 'interesting' development but not one that I could actually use:
Getting things in - As an example, many of my tasks come from email (via Mail.app). In OF, there is nothing lacking in this respect. With two key strokes I get the whole message stored in notes and a link back to the original. Processing emails is a joy. Quick entry boxes are prevalent in both Things and The Hit List but they should be the minimum in such applications. I think only OF has taken them further.
Reviews - I can see that THL (via smart folders) can let you build a perspective type 'view' but only OF (as far as I can see) gives thought the the actual review process.
Focus - When I used Things, it started to look cluttered. I can see the side bar in THL taking on that burden as well. A simple focussed list that the 'Focus' button in OF gives me, is exactly what's needed sometimes.
I felt the need to chime in. I've used Things and THL for several days (not just a few hours) as my main system to see if they offer a better planning system and workflow. Initially, I thought Things and THL would serve me better, but I'm back to using OF; so, that should tell people something.
Over the years, I have come to realize that I spent too much time planning and not enough time doing, and some of the books I've been reading lately confirmed my realization wasn't delusional (ZTD and The Power of LESS). So, I need a system that is quick and flexible for me. As far as flexibility is concerned, there is nothing that beats OF. I understand that it doesn't have multiple tags, but I don't really miss it. It goes back to spending more time planning, not acting. I can quickly find things in my list and organize my list effectively so that I can focus on a few things I need to be working on each day and get those things done. In fact, I would argue that the minimalist approach to tags would be better, not worse. For those of you think I only manage or work on a few projects or tasks, well that's not the case, I have more than 30 projects in my OF, and most of the projects have several items already.
There are a few things that I find OF that is superior to Things or THL. 1. Review - this is a critical step in my system. Given many projects, I need to review my projects at least once a week (at different times of the week for different projects) to make sure I'm making progress on all my life areas. OF makes this "easy" whereas I can't find an easy way to do this in the other two. The smart folder in THL doesn't help when it comes to this. 2. Perspectives - this is where the power to filter your projects/list so that you can focus. As I said before, I need to focus on a few things each day rather than trying to do zillion things; so, the ability to focus would be important. THL does a good job doing this, but right now I can't filter based on my projects or hoist (focus on) certain projects; so, it's still lacking in my book. 3. Ease of Entry - both Things and THL offer quick entry and other methods of entering data into the program, but I have always found OF to be the quickest and most efficient in entering my data into the program. Again, I don't want to spend "hours" capturing items (back to planning vs action), and OF allows me to enter things quick and forget about it via keyboard shortcuts, smart fill, etc. Furthermore, I think OF so far has the best integration with other programs (e.g., Mail, Safari, etc.).
The only thing I think missing from OF that THL offers that I find it useful is Smart Folders. With Smart Folders, I think I can use OF as repository of certain information so that I can organize information the way I want it do use it. So, hopefully, with 2.0, OF will have this feature, and I can get rid of other program I'm using to do this now -- Tag. For some of you think I'm not being consistent (given what I said about tags), yes, I do find tags useful, but not as a planning tool, but as an information organization tool.
Just my perspective on planning/action and getting things done in your life.