Things 3 Is Great at Helping You Get the Job Done

Things 3 Is Great at Helping You Get the Job Done


  • Things 3 is a “getting things done” app
  • It’s available on iPhone, iPad, and Mac
  • It’s expensive, but the design is excellent and it works very well

Every single day, we find ourselves saddled with countless small tasks to complete, errands to run, mails to send, and in general — things to do. Almost always, we end up forgetting one thing or another and that wastes a lot of time. We’ve tried a lot of different ways to avoid this — a to-do list in a notebook, basic reminder apps, and even a proper “getting things done” (GTD) app in Todoist.

For various reasons, all of these approaches have failed us eventually. We kept forgetting to write things down in our notebook, Apple’s Reminders app was too basic, and we aren’t big fans of Todoist’s design – or its subscription model. Things weren’t looking good, at least until Cultured Code released Things 3.

Cultured Code’s design prowess is well-known and the company has done a stellar job yet again with Things 3. This writer been using the app on iPhone and Mac for over a month and it’s certainly become a vital part of his life.

When you first fire up Things 3 on any platform, you’re going to notice how clean it looks. You’ll see “Today” or “Upcoming” or the title of your project in a large font size right at the top and all of your tasks below. There’s just the right amount of gap between the heading and your tasks, and between different tasks themselves. It doesn’t feel like these are sticking to each other and it definitely doesn’t feel like there’s a massive chasm between these either.

things 3 iphone projects Things 3

The way Cultured Code has used white space is commendable as it keeps the design from feeling cluttered. Ideally, a GTD app should remind you about pending tasks, but if it’s cluttered it starts to feel intimidating and then we feel there’s a high chance of people abandoning the app altogether. Not with Things 3, where every design choice feels deliberate and tastefully executed.

On the iPhone, Things 3 is a pretty straightforward app. It lets you add tasks, create projects, and you can even use the share sheet to add tasks from other apps. If you’re browsing the Web or watching videos online, you can send the link straight to Things 3 via the share sheet. You can even share your tasks and checklists to other apps.

One of the best features of Things 3 on iPhone is its 3D Touch implementation. If you have an iPhone 6S or a newer iPhone, you can hard press the Things 3 icon hard to reveal a neat widget where you can mark up to two tasks as complete. You can also use 3D Touch to create a new task, jump to the Today page, and jump to Quick Find (for searching within the app).

Things 3 for Mac

We love using Things 3 on iPhone, but the Mac app is where it really shines. Not only have the developers used the extra screen space very well, but they’ve also added a bunch of small features that wouldn’t be possible on iPhone. For instance, pressing Ctrl + option + space in certain apps such as Safari or Mail, opens a Things 3 pop-up with a link to the website or email added. You can quickly add webpages or emails to your to-do list via this shortcut.

things 3 mac logbook Things 3

Similarly, you can use the Ctrl + space shortcut in any app to add a task manually to Things 3. When you set a reminder for a task, the notification stays on your Mac’s screen until you either snooze or dismiss it. We feel any good GTD app should be good at nagging you until you get the job done, and based on our experience of using it to manage work tasks, Things 3 is good at this.

The developers have created neat tutorial projects to familiarise new users with the app and all its features. We found these extremely useful and learned about several advanced features that have now become a part of our daily workflow.

When you mark a task complete, it changes the font colour from black to grey for a couple of seconds, before moving to the the Logbook (where all completed tasks go). This allows you time to uncheck the task if you’ve accidentally marked it complete. When you create a project, the icon is a circle which slowly fills up like a pie chart as you complete tasks under that project. Lots of small touches like this make Things 3’s design feel tastefully designed.

Cultured Code uses its own Things Cloud to sync your tasks across devices. It works just fine and we had no issues whatsoever with syncing tasks and projects across devices.

things 3 mac quick entry Things 3

At the moment, Things 3 doesn’t let you attach images or other files to your tasks. This feature would allow us to attach screenshots or important documents to our tasks, which would help a lot while researching for stories.

It also doesn’t allow you to create repeating reminders on an hourly basis. You can create daily, weekly, or monthly repeating reminders but not hourly ones. That makes it less useful if you want to set reminders for drinking water or to remind yourself to stop working nonstop and take a break.

Things 3 is not for everyone. It’s available only on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac. You need to buy it separately on iPhone (Rs. 800), iPad (Rs. 1,600), and Mac (Rs. 4,000), so it’s definitely not cheap. But if you value good design and you need a GTD app for your Apple devices, Things 3 is an absolute must-have.


Mutual Investment is Required in “It’s Their Job, But It’s Your Career”

Robert Segall, author of the new book It’s Their Job But It’s Your Career: The Underground Guide to Career Success, is on a mission.

A veteran human resources executive and founder of human resources firm Career Underground, Segall sent me a review copy and explained his inspiration for the career guide for professionals. He noted that the contract between employee and employer is broken. That viewpoint on the implicit employment contract resounds throughout Segall’s prescription for fixing today’s career ailments. Your employer has a responsibility to you, but so do you for achieving your career.

Being good at your job does not mean you are good at your career. In fact, early on in the book, Segall lists ten reasons why we don’t talk about career, as well as an example of how our collective devaluation of career direction can lead to organizational direction.

He offers an account of human resources using lower salaries because people are seen as a cost. He cautions:

“When we become more value to ourselves, we become more valuable to our employers as well. It’s a mistake to think that we are simply more expensive. Instead, we must remember that our value comes from our effect on the workplace and not just the work product….We have failed to recognize this perspective of career as a mutual investment…..”

I tried to imagine how this book best serves its intended audience. The solutions describe enterprise-level environments in general, but they can fit smaller firms more susceptible to keeping employees motivated when advancement opportunities vary wildly. The ideas can be a starting point to how to develop employees to imagine their careers, even if it may mean moving forward from a firm.

That kind of move in the right context can broaden a network for a smaller firm; a win-win aspect. That perspective permeates the ideas Segall advocates. The end result is a bright tone in between the talks about controlling your career, such as this passage:

“We’re in a world filled with people who have no interest in conflict with one another and would rather agree on nearly everything of substance and matter. We seek to be respected, to be able to come together (or apart) as we please. We want our future world to live as brightly as the golden ages of the past…. This globally integrated world creates opportunities for each of us to connect and do business, if only we have the creativity and initiative to meet the opportunity.”

That win-win perspective enhances any encouragement in taking charge of your networking and skill development:

“…if people around us are generally good and want to help us if they can, then it is our responsibility to engage with them as part of our career development.”

The cost of lost engagement can be high. Segall notes what can result from a dysfunctional process in an organization, such as the cost of a poor recruitment program:

“The dysfunctional employer will have to explain to its remaining workforce why it can’t keep its best talent in its ranks, or if it buries its head in the sand and ignores the absence of its key personnel, the staff will be well aware of the corporate dysfunction and the exit trend will continue.”

I can imagine someone giving this book to an employee to show some ideas to what to expect from career management in general. Or it can be given as an inspiration on what a good workplace should promise to its workforce.

Budding entrepreneurs may also find inspiration in the text. As a matter of fact, I recall a conversation with an interested professional that he felt uncomfortable charging someone for his services – comments from Segall can positively inspire entrepreneurs to get past such psychological hang ups:

“It doesn’t matter what you do for a living. You have skills to offer, and they are part of a solution. The solution you choose to work on shows where your passions lie.”

Entrepreneurs can combine this thought with those from Adrienne Graham’s excellent No You Can’t Pick My Brain.

Regardless of the reason, you should read this book to learn why win-win thinking can enhance and bring value to your teams.


As the Job Market Heats Up, Consider These Bonuses to Keep Employees Happy

Types of Bonuses to Consider

A bonus is additional compensation paid to an employee. As the job market heats up, the competition among employers to attract and retain good workers is growing. Bonuses may be a way for your company to gain a competitive edge in the job market. This is especially true for small businesses that may not offer the same menu of fringe benefits that large corporations do.

Common Types of Bonuses

Signing Bonuses

When you hear the term “signing bonus” you may think about a sports team. Increasingly, businesses are using the concept to attract the best and brightest. According to the Society for Humans Resource Management, only 31.6 percent of employers offered them in 2002. World at Work in 2011 found that it was up to 54 percent. Typically, signing bonuses aren’t paid in a lump sum but over the course of a year or more to ensure that the person hired works out.

Retention Bonuses

These are much less common than signing bonuses. They’re made to keep a key employee with the company during a critical project or at other desperate times. I’m presenting this because they exist. However, there’s been a lot of criticism about retention bonuses; decide for yourself.

Incentive/Performance Bonuses

As the name implies, these are paid as an incentive to employees to achieve a benchmark in performance. These are common for those in sales, but can be used for any type of employee who completes a project on time and within budget.

Year-end Bonuses

Year-end bonuses are the most common type of bonuses in the workplace. What’s going to be paid this year? It’s too early to tell, but expect that the range will vary by industry in general and by employer in particular. In past years, year-end bonuses may be small tokens of appreciation paid at holiday time (do you recall the Jelly-of-the Month in the movie “Christmas Vacation”?) or meaningful cash payments (e.g., equal to a month’s salary).

Some companies delay the year-end bonus until they’ve had an opportunity to close the books and see what they can afford. In a sense, these companies are paying a profit-sharing amount to employees who helped with their success.

Other Types of Bonuses

While the ones discussed earlier are the most common, companies can use bonuses for any good business purpose. Some examples:

  • Suggestion bonuses are for providing ways for the company to do things better, safer or cheaper.
  • Referral bonuses are for suggesting a new employee. The payment is made if the referral is hired.
  • Spot bonuses are out-of-the-blue payments for something special, such as a particularly good job by a worker. They function like a performance bonus, but they’re not announced in advance to serve as an incentive.
  • Task/mission bonuses are also like incentive or spot bonuses paid for a job well done, but typically they are awarded to a team rather than a single employee.

Financial and Tax Considerations

How much to pay depends on various factors. For example, when it comes to a signing bonus, the factors include what you can afford, the level and talent of the employee, and whether there is a scarcity of talent for the position you’re trying to fill. A rule of thumb for signing bonuses is 5 percent to 10 percent of base pay for professionals and middle managers.

From a tax perspective, it’s easy: bonuses of all types are taxable compensation. Withholding can be done in either of two ways:

  • Add the bonus to regular compensation and figure withholding in the usual way.
  • Withhold separately on the bonus at a flat rate of 25 percent. (For bonuses over $1 million, unlikely in a small business, the flat rate is 39.6 percent.)


It’s good business practice to review your policy on bonuses to make sure you’re staying competitive. Then determine the amount you can pay and who on your staff will receive them. Work with your CPA or other financial advisor to make sure you’re doing the right thing.

Bonus Photo via Shutterstock


Bengaluru Man’s Magazine-Style Resume Gets Him London Job, Hold the Interview

Bengaluru Man's Magazine-Style Resume Gets Him London Job, Hold the Interview

For his special ‘hire me’ request, Sumukh Mehta put his money where his mouth is by not merely stating he was creative, but actually proving it.


  1. Sumukh Mehta just got hired by GQ magazine’s London headquarters
  2. His resume is made in the sort of layout usually seen in a magazine
  3. The special ‘hire me’ request is both unique and unforgettable

Most working professionals looking for new jobs spend hours perfecting their resumes – from the language to the font used, showcasing one’s credentials needs work. Here’s a story that demonstrates the power of a truly impressive CV – meet Sumukh Mehta, a 21-year-old from Bengaluru who just got hired by GQ magazine’s London headquarters without an interview, solely on the basis of his resume.

For his special ‘hire me’ request, Mr Mehta put his money where his mouth is by not merely stating he was creative, but actually proving it. The management student made a GQ-style “20-page magazine resume” for the marketing team, making his attempt an unique and unforgettable one.

Mr Mehta’s resume comes complete with a cover page, table of contents and even a special editor’s note – the sort of layout usually seen in a magazine. He shared his experience, educational qualifications, hobbies and more, all on his special resume.

“A 20 page magazine resume which managed to impress the Editor-in-Chief of British GQ, Mr Dylan Jones who has offered me to work at their London Headquarters without an interview process. It took me more than 3 weeks to make this resume including the photo shoots, graphic designing and content writing,” he wrote on Facebook, sharing pages from the resume.

If you want a lesson in creativity, this may just be it. Take a look at Sumukh Mehta’s resume below: