Getting Things Done (and getting your data out of Cultured Code’s Things.app)

I’m a big fan of David Allen’s book Getting Things Done. When it comes to effective organization you could probably read this book and be done, it really is that good.

One issue I have with the book though is that it’s very paper centric. As a Yard-O-Led fountain pen and Rhodia notebook loving scribbler I have to say I can dig that. I really can.

But the thing that irks me with a paper based workflow is that eventually, at some point, I know I’m going to have to type my paper notes up!

To that end I need some good software to organize my TODO lists.

For years I’ve turned to Cultured Code’s Things. It’s a beautifully designed application but has not been without its problems. In the early days of productivity software Things was relatively alone in the marketplace. Today things are very different with Asana, Todoist, Wunderlist, TaskPaper and a whole myriad of other entrants crowding up the productivity suite market.

Things hasn’t kept up and it’s high time I switched. Unfortunately Cultured Code hasn’t seen fit to put any sort of decent export functionality into Things. Thankfully however they do offer AppleScript functionality so an evening of hacking led me to produce a script which pulls the data out of their database and sticks it into a nice CSV.

From there you can copy and paste it into the task app of your choice or alternatively import it using your own script-fu.

6 thoughts on “Getting Things Done (and getting your data out of Cultured Code’s Things.app)”

  1. Hi! Tried this script and got this error:
    error “Can’t make «class tspn» id \”CCDC5F7D-211E-4100-BC3D-602C90C80ECD\” of application \”Things\” into type Unicode text.” number -1700 from «class tspn» id “CCDC5F7D-211E-4100-BC3D-602C90C80ECD” to Unicode text

    I don’t know the first thing about AppleScript except to paste it into Script Editor and click the Play button. any ideas what to do?

  2. Having errors with this script. My comment was removed, maybe? just hoping you may have an idea of what I can change to fix it. I definitely need to export from Things! Thanks, Leon!

  3. I recently updated to Things 3. I don’t like it. I would like to be able to export my tasks, which I’ve accumulated since 2008, and move to another software platform. I tried running the script but received an error. Can the script be edited to work for exporting from Things 3?

  4. It probably could but you’d probably have to pay someone on Upwork or Freelancer to do it. Otherwise the commenter above posted on Twitter about how she did it. I think she ‘printed’ her tasks out into PDFs and then imported them into another app.

    Just checked Things 3’s dev guides and seems it still supports AppleScript so it’s definitely possible. Here’s their latest dev guide:
    https://culturedcode.com/things/download/Things3AppleScriptGuide.pdf

  5. Hola! Thank you for this script, which Notebooks guy kindly put me onto. I copied your script and set it loose on Things2 that has everything back to early days of Things. You mentioned it was slow. It has now been going on for about 6 hours. Of course time will depend on size of Things2 dbase, but should I expect this to continue on for days or weeks? I would be grateful for any comments. Thanks for your time on this!

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