Projects in Things are used to organize to-dos related to a specific outcome, like changing the oil on your car or submitting a report for work. We use the GTD way of defining a project: any outcome that requires more than one To-do (next action) to complete.
If you have a one-off to-do that doesn’t require several steps to complete, then you may want to add it to an over-arching Area of Responsibility.
Projects in Things are flat lists of to-dos. The project itself can have tags, a note, and a due date. Projects can be also made to be repeating (we will cover to-do and project repeats in another article).
Projects can then be organized by Area of Responsibility after they are created. Organizing them by Area of Responsibility is a great way to organize projects as well as identify which area of your life may need more attention or even to quickly see how overloaded you are.
Creating projects in Things is a simple process:
There are three main ways to add a project in Things using your Mac.
At the bottom left of Things, click the + button and then click New Project.
Or, in the Things menu, click File > New Project.
Or you can create a new project with the keyboard shortcut ⇧⌘N from anywhere in Things. If you use the keyboard shortcut to create the project, the project will be automatically created in the list you have opened (the Projects list, an Area of Responsibilty, Someday, etc.)
On the iPhone, go to your projects list by tapping Projects.
From there you can fill out the Title, Notes, pick Tags, and set a Due Date.
Further you can tap the Create In selector to select the list you want to create the project in.
Creating projects on the iPad is very similar to the iPhone.
Go to your projects list by tapping Projects in the left sidebar. Then in the top right of the screen, tap the + button. From there you will get a popover where you can fill out the Title, Notes, pick Tags, and set a Due Date.
Organizing Projects by Area of Responsibility
In the first article in this series, we took a look at how to create and organize your Areas of Responsibility in Things. After you have some Areas setup, you can use the Areas to organize your projects. For instance, if you have a project like “Get an oil change” you could set this Project’s Area to “Personal” or “Car Maintenance” depending on how granular your Areas are.
To set the Area for a project:
Go to your project and drag and drop the project onto the Area of Responsibility that you want to move it to.
After this, you can click on the Area of Responsibility and see all of the projects in that particular Area.
The reason we recommend sorting your Projects by Area of Responsibility is to create a better organization structure in Things. This can also help you gauge how busy you are in a certain Area of your life and if you need to create more projects or to-dos in another Area.
The Quick Way to Review Project Activity
Reviewing any productivity system regularly is an important to keep your actively working on projects and tasks. One of the cool built in features of the Things interface is the ability to quickly see how many to-dos are undone in a project.
On Mac or iOS, go to your Project List and you can easily see how many to-dos are left in the project:
To the left of the project item, you can see how many to-dos are left in the project as well as a “status” bar of the completion of all of the to-dos:
By using projects and Areas in Things, you can create a more nested structure and organize your projects any way that you’d like.