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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Use a Smart List to auto-populate properties for super-fast task addition

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 by Emily Boyd

This week's tip, shared by andyjpowell_work, describes a powerful trick you can use to quickly capture tasks with Smart Lists:

At work I often have people phoning, or dropping by my desk, asking me to do things. "Can you check this?" "Can you follow up on that?" I need somewhere to record these reminders, effectively tasks, and started using RTM a couple of years back.

The Smart Add feature has improved my ability to quickly add tasks. Unfortunately I found that I would type the topic into the Smart Add box, hit Enter, and off it would go into the ether. Why? Because I use only Smart Lists, based on dates and tags, to manage my work and, because I didn't type any details in when I was Smart Adding, none of my Smart Lists would pick the task up.

Some might suggest I take the time to enter these details properly, before saving the task, but I found it’s not effective to sit at my desk typing hieroglyphics such as ! @ # ^ * = while I’m speaking to a colleague.

I recently overcame my issue by setting up a new Smart List, called “Quick Add”. Rather than using it to find tasks, I’m using it to auto-populate some basic default details using RTM’s amazing “Inheriting task properties” feature whereby “tasks added in Smart Lists will use that list's criteria”.

The Smart List search criteria for my "Quick Add" list is:
due:today and priority:2 and tag:general and timeEstimate:"10 mins”

So now when I have to quickly add a task, as a colleague is yabbering away, I just click on my “Quick Add” list, type the task name, and hit Enter. I can be assured it will show up in today’s tasks, with priority 2, tagged with "general", and with a 10 minute time estimate. I can then either complete the task today or adjust the details to look at another day.

Thanks for sharing this tip, andyjpowell_work! You're our Tips & Tricks Tuesday winner this week. :)

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