Sorted 3 vs Fantastical 3

Many of us use a task manager to manage our daily workload. Sorted 3 takes a unique approach others don’t. Instead of managing your workload with what are in essence lists, Sorted 3 uses scheduling and claims it’s based on a number of — disputable — psychological effects of procrastinating.

Currently, Sorted 3 is available only on iPad and iPhone, but a macOS version is in the works for a release later this year. Sorted 3 offers a mini calendar with scheduled task icons, a number of viewing modes listed in the sidebar, including Inbox, Schedule, Lists and Tags. There’s also a History and Trash icon. The biggest chunk of your screen is reserved for your daily schedule. In Schedule mode you’ll find each task you’ve entered and scheduled with a checkbox for when the task has finished.

Every task has tags, a date and time, a repetition setting and a duration. You can, of course, set an alarm. It’s when you’re back in Schedule mode and swipe-select tasks the difference becomes visible. When you do that, a time ruler becomes visible in the sidebar which allows you to reschedule tasks. You can also reorganise them, duplicate them, and change the date for them to be done. Best of all, you can schedule tasks that aren’t events (as in calendar events like meetings) automatically. The app then reshuffles the tasks according to a number of obscure criteria.

Luckily, the app has a 14-day trial period before it asks you for an in-app purchase. Initially, I was very enthusiastic about it — probably because it looks very good and the time ruler is a brilliant idea well executed — until I realised you can do everything it does with the Fantastical app as well, although that’s a bit more expensive.

Fantastical 3 beats Sorted 3, however, in a number of areas. First of all, Sorted 3 does not import anything from any competing task manager, so you’ll need to start afresh if you already have one and want to migrate. Secondly, it does integrate with Apple Calendar in that it leaves events alone but that’s it.

Fantastical, on the other hand, integrates fully with both Calendar and Reminders, offering you a very powerful integrated, combined view of your reminders and calendar events. Since Sorted 3 builds upon the scheduling concept, it’s just as easy, if not more user-friendly — and you’ll enjoy just as beautiful a design — to enter ‘tasks’ in different calendars inside Fantastical 3 and to drag tasks to other time slots or days or weeks (or enter different dates if the new one is too far off) as it is to do this in Sorted 3.

A huge advantage of Fantastical over Sorted 3 is that it synchronises well across devices and that it offers a number of Premium features (admittedly for a premium price) that further improve your user experience in ways Sorted 3 can’t compete with. You get a fabulous calendar view and the capability to print it out if you wish on top of that.

So, if I were to have to make a choice, I’d take Sorted only for its Time Ruler, which is really a very nice concept, but I’d go for Fantastical 3 anytime because it’s just so much more powerful while also supporting scheduling as a task management concept.