5 Getting Things Done (GTD) Apps for Mac

David Allen’s Getting Things Done task management techniques have become incredibly popular, inspiring Mac software developers to build applications that help users manage their lives and their ever growing To Do lists.

These applications assist with the capture, management and completion of tasks. Many include iPhone applications that offer syncing and other iPhone specific features, not found in their Mac counterparts. This roundup will focus on five of the most popular tools, each with a different approach and style.

Things

Things

Things

Available on both the Mac and iPhone, Things is an elegant, yet somewhat new application for task management. This application offers a great way to view and organize projects, and a simple way to tag, file and schedule tasks for the future.

Their iPhone app is well designed, but lacks some features available on the desktop version. Also, syncing between the iPhone and the Mac requires a Wi-Fi network, which can be limiting for those who are always on the go.

Price: Mac $49.95 / iPhone $9.99
Developer: Cultured Code
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later / iPhone OS 2.2 or later

Omnifocus

Omnifocus

OmniFocus

OmniFocus is another application which offers both iPhone and Mac versions. It is one of the most developed and powerful applications available for managing To Do lists, but it can be seen as too structured or overwhelming for some individuals without extensive organizational needs.

It also offers the widest options for syncing to external applications, like iCal. Their iPhone application has some breakthrough features, like displaying tasks you need complete based on your location and syncing your tasks through a MobileMe or WebDAV server.

Price: Mac $79.95 / iPhone $19.99
Developer: The Omni Group
Requires Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later / iPhone OS 2.1 or later

The Hit List

The Hit List

The Hit List

The newest application for task management on the Mac, The Hit List, has yet to reach version 1.0. The interface seems more similar to Things than OmniFocus, but integrates new features like a built in timer. The Hit List also integrates smart folders as well as iCal syncing into this great application. They also have promised that an iPhone version is in the works.

Price: (Pre-order) $49.95
Developer: Potion Factory
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later

iGTD

iGTD

iGTD2

This older application is undergoing a refresh, and is still in Alpha (Pre-Beta) testing. The interface is not nearly as slick as Things, OmniFocus or The Hit List, but provides for a quick and easy way to enter in tasks and manage To Do lists. iGTD2 also offers multiple ways to view your tasks, called Workspaces, and offers synchronization between both iCal and MobileMe. The biggest selling point of iGTD2 is it’s price.

Price: Free, donations accepted
Developer: bartek:bargiel
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later

Midnight Inbox

Midnight Inbox

Midnight Inbox

Midnight Inbox provides more of a step by step system for organizing tasks. This very structured environment is great for those who prefer to follow the GTD system religiously. For those who like more breathing room, this might not be the best choice. It does offer a different interface approach and options to add notes and alarms.

One of the most interesting features is it’s ability to tell if you haven’t been working on what you had prioritized through their Yak Timer. They are in the process of developing version 2.0 of the software which should be released soon, as well as an iPhone component.

Price: $35.00
Developer: Midnight Beep Softworks
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4

Conclusion

Each application offers a different approach to Getting Things Done. Whether you prefer the unstructured style of Things (like me), or a more rigid system for input like Midnight Inbox or OmniFocus, you’re on your way to getting organized and complete tasks, on your Mac or on the go.

Feel free to let me know how you get things done on your Mac or iPhone – are you an advocate of an application featured, or do you prefer a traditional pen and paper?


  • http://eugeniogrigolon.com Eugenio Grigolon

    I’m trying Things and so far is working as needed. But the iPhone version still holds a very expensive and “cloudy” to buy it! :P

  • http://www.curtismchale.ca curtismchale

    Things can be sycned by just plugging you mac into the web and then sharing the internet connection in your system preferences. I’m not sure if it works without a connection plugged into your mac but that bit of info alone makes it much more usable.

  • http://www.willwoodgate.com Will

    No mention of TaskPaper by HogBay Sofware then?

    I’ve been using TaskPaper since it first came out and find it super-easy to use for writing quick “to do” lists. I’ve tried applications like The Hit List and Process but always end up back with TaskPaper because it is so easy and fast to use. Ideally you want to spend less time writing lists and more time finishing the items on that list!

    • Quintin

      TaskPaper is a great little application, that I didn’t consider to be put into the review. It might work great for you, but I mainly was trying to hone in on more full fledged applications, which allowed for more control and organization of your tasks.

    • bc

      Agree! TaskPaper is a great little application. Wish it had a print list feature – but part of the beauty of the program is it’s simplicity. One great ToDo List with easy prioritization.

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  • Simon

    Nothing beats the OmniFocus package for me! Suits my needs perfectly due to its flexibility, never missed a thing. Expensive but worth every penny. Don’t buy any of these apps if you haven’t tried OmniFocus…

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  • Peter

    For a simple and elegant solution I personally like Anxiety App. It’s free (but donations are encouraged) and has a great clean interface. It’s no-where as feature rich as Things or OmniPlan but it’s just perfect for a quick to do list. http://anxietyapp.com/
    It seems quite similar to TaskPaper mentioned in one of the other comments but I think it’s interface is quiet a bit slicker.

    • Quintin

      You can even use Anxiety App to sync into OmniFocus, The Hit List, and Things with its iCal syncing. That makes perfect for those who want an unobtrusive capture method.

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  • Dave

    My number one is ‘Together’. Feature rich an accepts ALL kind of files.
    (also worth mentioning: Pluto, Check Off)

  • Arkante

    I feel frustrated that no one of those desktop app sync with RTM (Remember the milk). It is the one criteria which keep me using the web-based interface (as an app thanks to Fluid).

    • http://www.flippingheck.com Katy

      You can get an Adobe Air Application called “Remember The Task” that syncs with RTM. It works as a standard desktop application and is quite easy to use – although the interface could do with a little polishing.

  • http://Www.tylorskory.com Tylor

    I love re hit list! Also they are working on an iPhone app!

  • http://www.iynque.com iynque

    I use a program called Qu-s ( http://www.qu-s.eu/ ). I haven’t tried the others (I’m trying to get into Things) so I can’t really compare, but I like it. It looks nice and lives on the desktop level so it’s always visible. I get a lot of comments about how cool it looks, and it’s a great way to get me to do things because it always catches my eye.

    You can create multiple colorful notes, projects, lists, checkbox items, it stores files and website with a nice preview application.

    My most used note is the “To Read” note where I drop URLs I want to look over, but don’t have the time when I receive the link.

  • tom

    Try out ‘Anxiety’. It’s a very simple (and open source, yey) to do list application that can be toggled on and off from the osx menubar.

  • http://www.simpleleap.com/cram/mac.htm Cram Mac Flash Cards

    I’ve tried both Things and The Hit List, both are top quality apps. I prefer The Hit List, it just feels like it has a tad more finish on the user experience (not saying Things lacks in that category at all)

  • Rick Dobrowolski

    I don’t think iGTD2 has been in development since October of 2008 if you check their blog. Where are there signs of new development? I was hoping the project would be resurrected.

  • Andreas C

    I am using the iPhone-app “Todo” which syncs with the todo-list in iCal. Works perfectly for my humble needs. Link: http://www.appigo.com/todo/

  • Dawid

    IMHO Remember The Milk kick ass and if one of these apps would sync with web RTM (cloud application – sounds familiar?) for sure I would bought it!

    • Quintin

      You can get Remember the Milk to sync with Google Calander, which in turn can sync with iCal through CalDev (free) or SpanningSync ($25 year / $60 lifetime). So you could get RTM to sync with nearly any of these apps, but it’d be a bit of work. :)

      • Dawid

        gonna try this (got THL from MH bundle) :-)

        thx

      • http://davidappleyard.net David Appleyard

        Seems like you’d spend your time getting the flipping thing to sync, and not get a lot done :)

    • http://www.kenengba.com Jason Ng

      oh really?

  • http://www.productivityhacks.com Ben Brooks

    I love OmniFocus, tried Things for a few months, ultimately went back to Omnifocus. Don’t want to link to my post here though.

  • http://www.xqlusive.nl xQlusive

    I have Things installed on my iPhone, but i still need to get some routine with this tool.. I really cant say it’s good or not, but is has a lot of possibilities

  • http://www.ejenks.com Erik Jenkins

    I got The Hit List from the MacHeist bundle, and I have to say, the interface is very nice and easy to use. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a functional, easy to use to-do app.

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  • http://www.zingerding.com Steve

    I love Things and use it daily. I switched from OmniFocus because I believe it to be much more flexible with different kinds of workflows. OmniFocus certainly is more feature rich but Things helps me get things done instead of working on my organization system. Things has less management and helps hone in on my work. The iPhone app is great and the team has continually updated it.

  • anonymous

    I use Things for scheduled/recurring to-do’s and I use the quick entry panel a lot as well. All this gets synced to iCal and also to my ‘ToDo’ widget in the dashboard. I never open the ‘Things’ window, but it’s always running and doing it’s job (through the ToDo widget in the dashboard …)

    best and most practical set-up if you ask me …

  • Jikeb

    I use things, both on my macbook and my ipod touch and it’s AWESOME!

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  • http://www.exiledesigns.com Corinne

    I’m definitely in love with Things. It’s on my 3-things-i-can’t-go without software list :) It’s sleek, practical and intuitive.

  • Ellie

    Midnight Inbox sounds fabu. As soon as they have an iPhone app, I’ll get it!

  • http://www.nburmandesign.com Media Designer

    I’ve been using Things for a few months now, and I absolutely love it. It just happens to fit my way of thinking and how my business works. I tried a few out, including Actiontastic, and Things was the best fit for me.
    I think it’s important to find one that works for you.
    Now I can’t wait to get an iPhone, because there is an iPhone compatible Things that syncs with your desktop.

  • http://freelanceswitch.com Joel Falconer

    I’ve used them all and I have to say: Things FTW. That is all.

  • tim

    Personally am a big fan of Action Method, but i’ve had some good experiences with others as well!

  • http://simplyblog.net Miguel Wickert

    THE HIT LIST! :) However, I haven’t experimented with any of the other mentioned apps in post and comment section.

    -Mig

  • http://twitter.com/bluedoggiant Ahmed

    I have bought OmniFocus and been toying around with Things. Honestly, I have barely used Omnifocus, it seems very complex, but at the same time there are some great features you won’t find anywhere else that is has. Things seems to be much more “mac-like” easier and faster.

    The Hit List seems cool too, but a tad buggy.

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  • raphas13

    i want things but i cant pay for it…

    is there a way to get things for free?

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  • Ravi

    Checkout ThinkRock. http://www.trgtd.com.au/

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  • eddie

    the hit list is awesome! I have use Things for few months.but the hit list shock me.

  • George

    And what application Daylite from http://www.marketcircle.com/

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  • Benny

    Things is the only one for me!
    I have tried in the trial period many of those apps but things was the only one I bought.
    Unfortunately I also bought an appealing looking app called Process but I am now only using it for more detailed projects :)

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    taskpaper should be on the list

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  • Oscar M

    THINGS does it right for me
    Clean Elegant, and easy to use
    Iphone app gret too!

  • Ian

    Anyone heard about a new GTD i app with an auto-contextualiser. Been trawling net andcan’t find it but sounds really exciting. I spend hours tagging and flagging and putting things where they need to be – apparently this does it all. Anyone know? To be honest an tired of organising my organiser

  • bingo

    try looking at Reqall.com.

    I’ve used Things, OmniFocus and the HitList and all of them work well but too much time is spent typing, allocating tags, contexts, locations etc. A few months back I came across Reqall, which I’m using on iPhone, and find that it is a huge time-saver that it understands things such as “Meeting with Jack tomorrow 10:00 at office” as text and *as speech input*. I still keep my long-term “Someday” items in Things but otherwise I use Reqall as my main short term PIM/GTD – it also integrates with Google Calendar and Evernote (a to do can query Evernote for relevant notes) which covers all my bases.

  • http://www.martinvaresio.com.ar Orfebre

    A few months back I came across Reqall, which I’m using on iPhone

  • Ronald Davin

    I found this list quite useful. Thanks for it. I have also found another short list for the to do applications at task management softwares.

    Although I have tried just one or two of these but I think Things is a good one. iGTD has not been continued I far as I know but older versions are still available for download.

  • http://massagistas.org Massagistas

    YEA, Been trawling net andcan’t find it but sounds really exciting.thanks!!!

  • Evelina

    my favorite is ,,Plan” app. it sync with google web calendar.time manager and calendar in one . Simple and quick.Also works with built in calendar.

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/plan/id428005487?mt=8&ls=1#

  • http://www.yourmomlikesmywork.com Judah Fansler

    I’m looking for something like Things or THL, but has collaboration like Outlook, but without the MS bloat. Anyone know of anything?

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  • Don

    I used Palm Desktop for Mac for years, but I bought a new iMac a week ago, and the two are not compatible. Palm Desktop for Mac was perfect, and I have never seen anything like it. The ability to have repeatable To Dos was wonderful, and nothing that I have seen duplicates it. Can anyone help me? Is there something like Palm Desktop for Mac out there?

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