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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: A better "Upcoming" list

Tuesday, February 2, 2010 by Emily Boyd

This week's Tips & Tricks Tuesday winner, RTM user davidscottweaver, explains how he came up with an incredibly useful "Upcoming" Smart List using the advanced search options:

Since I only like to see tasks in my main lists (@Home, @Work, and @Car) that are due, overdue, or have no due date, I created a Smart List set aside just for upcoming tasks. The list only includes specific tasks I believe are worthy of a lead time, and provides a "gentle reminder" of something, well, upcoming. That way the list is always relevant and stays uncluttered. The lead time tags I use are: 3d, 1w, 2w, 3w, 1m. The code behind the Upcoming list looks like this:

(tag:3d AND dueWithin:"4 days of tomorrow" NOT dueBefore:tomorrow) OR (tag:1w AND dueBefore:"1 week of tomorrow" NOT dueBefore:tomorrow) OR (tag:2w AND dueWithin:"2 weeks of tomorrow" NOT dueBefore:tomorrow) OR (tag:3w AND dueWithin:"3 weeks of tomorrow" NOT dueBefore:tomorrow) OR (tag:1m AND dueWithin:"1 month of tomorrow" NOT dueBefore:tomorrow) OR (tag:2m AND dueWithin:"2 months of tomorrow" NOT dueBefore:tomorrow)

By putting "NOT dueBefore:tomorrow" in the code, a task drops off this "Upcoming" list when it's actually due and ends up on my other "main" lists. The lead tags can be changed to suit your needs, but I find those times sufficient. For example, if I need to buy a gift for someone who is hard to shop for, I normally put a 1m tag on it. Where if it's someone who's easy to shop for, a 2w tag is sufficient lead. The 3d tag isn't used too often, but nice if I'd like a gentle reminder for tasks repeating every couple weeks or so. For paying bills, I usually have the due date set to the actual due date of the bill, but the lead tag set to correspond to the date the bill is "available for payment" (usually 3 weeks prior, but not always) so I could pay it early if I want to. The list should be sorted by date.

Lastly, I have a repeating task to check my Upcoming list (repeats after 1 week). I usually check the list anyway whenever I'm on the site, but if I have a task there, I won't go more than a week in case I forget. Hopefully you find this system helpful to you as well.

Thanks for sharing this tip, davidscottweaver!

Do you have a suggestion for our weekly Tips & Tricks post? Got an interesting set-up or idea? Head over to the Tips & Tricks forum, add a new topic, and let us know how you use Remember The Milk. Each week we'll give away a 1 year Pro account to the user whose idea inspires the Tips & Tricks Tuesday blog post for that week.

Posted in: Tips & Tricks