I use the Things task manager to keep track of what I need to do. I use the Focus pomodoro timer to help myself focus on a task that I’m actively working on.

Focus integrates well with another task manager, OmniFocus: you can drag an action from OmniFocus into Focus to create a task to work on, and that task will have a button that links back to the original OmniFocus action. Super convenient! It doesn’t play well with Things, though. If you try the same process, you’ll end up with multiple separate actions for each of the Things to-do’s various properties.

For example, this to-do has the title, note, checklist, tags, when, and deadline options filled in:

A Things to-do with lots of options set

Dragging it to Focus creates a whole mess of random tasks:

Focus with 8 unrelated tasks

That’s not helpful. We can do better.

First, I wrote a shortcut using Things’s shiny new Shortcuts actions. For each to-do currently selected in Things, it uses Focus’s URL scheme to create a Focus task with the item’s title, notes, and due date, and a link back to the item in Things.

Second, I made a Keyboard Maestro hot key macro, available only in Things, that executes my shortcut. When I select the to-do item above and press “option-F”, I get one single task with all the details set:

Focus with 1 well-configured task

If I click the link icon next to the task’s title, Things opens with that to-do selected.

Ta-da! The workflow is slightly different than with OmniFocus, but only a little bit, and the result is just as useful.