Producteev vs. Things: Task Management for Mac, iPhone & iPad

Due to the the changing nature of work, managing information and task overload has become one of the most popular and most lucrative markets for programmers and entrepreneurs alike.

Everyone, it seems, wants to help you find ways to stay on top of your tasks, make sense of your workload and generally get more organized.

Are you looking to get more organized? You have an ever increasing number of choices to help manage your tasks, ranging from standalone applications to Web-centered services.

Task Management Software for Mac

Two applications getting a great deal of attention are:

  • Producteev – a web-based task management solution
  • Things – a Mac app that’s won numerous awards for its design and efficiency.

Both have become very popular with their target markets, but the question is:

Which task management tool is right for you?

The answer most likely depends on what it is you’re looking for in a task management solution.

A Shared Vision

On the surface, Producteev and Things have a great deal in common. They are both task management solutions based on the work-life management system Getting Things Done by David Allen.

Plus, they have many of the same features – including an organized task list that focuses on tasks that are due now, recurring tasks, task tagging and task filtering.

Both have iPhone apps.

Side-by-side, the two tools are virtually identically when you look at the features and intended use.

Thinking Different

Even though the two products largely share the same vision and goals, they go about it radically different ways; Things is a standalone Mac application and Producteev is a Web-based service.

This means that, where Things keeps your data solely on your computer and phone, Producteev stores it in the cloud, where it is available from anywhere.

There are other differences between the two tools and they could be the deciding factor as to which you use.

Things for Mac

As a native Mac application, Things looks and feels absolutely amazing. It’s easy on the eyes, uncluttered and lightning quick. It is intuitive and very user-friendly, all but holding your hand every step of the way until using it becomes second nature.

The integration with the Mac OS also brings about other benefits including dock icons, iCal sync and the fact you don’t need an open browser tab to use it. Things stays hidden until you need it and lets you get done what you need as quickly as possible.

However, the choice to go with a standalone app also has its drawbacks. For one, it is only available on the computer you installed it. It can’t be used on multiple systems, will not work on PCs, and it only syncs with your iPhone over wifi, meaning if you forget to sync before leaving your Mac, the tasks on your iPhone will not be up to date.

(*NOTE from AppleSlut* Things will have a cloud sync option in the future, but details have not been released yet. More information at the Things website.)

Also, the only way to interact with the tasks in Things is through Things. You can’t email tasks to yourself, for example.

Finally, Things doesn’t work well with groups or team members. Other than iCal integration, there’s no way to share todos or projects with others.

How Producteev Stacks Up

The Web-based nature of Producteev gives it a leg up over Things. For one, it means that your tasks are available everywhere you have a computer with Internet access – Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, etc. – All of them work perfectly with Producteev.

Second, you can send tasks to yourself via email, widgets, IMs and even sync your tasks with Google Calendar. Producteev is, for the most part, easy to integrate with whatever work-flow you already have and doesn’t force you to use the application itself for every little change.

That being said, the interface of Producteev isn’t as clean or as easy-to-grasp as Things. The learning curve with Producteev is definitely higher and it is all-around more intimidating to use.

Also, since Producteev isn’t a native Mac app, it isn’t as slick or as fast to use. Because Producteev is an online application,  it’s subject to the whims of your Internet access as well as Producteev’s uptime (which so far has been very good).

What’s the Best Task Management Tool for Mac Users?

All in all, the decision largely comes down to your needs. If you work alone and solely on one Mac and one iPhone, Things may be the best solution for you.

If you work in groups, have multiple computers or would otherwise benefit from having your data in the cloud, Producteev (or another Web-based solution) is likely the best one for you.




For hardcore Mac lovers who want software that’s built specifically for Mac, Things is a good option. But for those who either need the greater flexibility of a Web-based solution or simply don’t want to drop $60 on a task management solution, Producteev is the perfect choice.

Guest post by Lior. Lior is a consultant for Producteev and also advises to The Applicants, an applicant tracking software.
Main image by robstephaustralia

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