I think they overlap in function and even in elegant modern German software design. Do they seem redundant to you or complementary?
I agree completely that they are both elegantly designed. As to whether they are redundant or complementary, I reluctantly have to say they are mostly redundant, but that may depend somewhat on your needs. If you’re already a fan of Things and find it handles your task management well, you probably don’t also need NotePlan… and vice versa.
That isn’t to say that they are not different in many ways. NotePlan is a notes app that handles tasks adeptly. Things is a task app. NotePlan allows you to embed tasks within notes, while Things allows you to embed notes within tasks. Things also allows you to add meta data to a task: sub-tasks, urgency (deadline), task-specific notes. You can surround your tasks with this kind of information in NotePlan, but it doesn’t become part of the task itself, as it does with Things. Things also syncs with Calendar and Reminders, where NotePlan interfaces with your Calendar, but does not sync tasks in the notes to Reminders.
Here’s a little exercise demonstration to show the difference between the two:
I sometimes find it helpful to put together what I call an action dasboard when I need to get my head back in the game of an area of responsibility I may have neglected. Here is what an action dashboard looks like in each of the two apps:
The advantage in this scenario goes to NotePlan, I believe, because it is so easy to add wiki links to other undated note pages to flesh out details of meetings, projects and goals.
Here is another image of NotePlan at work:
It may not really be fair to compare Things to NotePlan. Things is a task management app and has no ambitions to be more than that. At that job it succeeds very well. NotePlan is a task planner, but more than that. It is the closest thing you’ll find to a digital bullet journal.
I hope I’ve provided some perspective on Things and NotePlan. As is likely evident, I prefer NotePlan, though I very much admire Things. Unfortunately for me, I spend my office hours on a Windows PC. Consequently, I don’t use either Things or NotePlan as much as I could. But web access to NotePlan data is supposedly in the pipeline. If that comes along, then I’ll be very happy.