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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Catching up on tasks using Smart Lists

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 by Andrew Conkling

Sometimes your tasks can get the better of you, and suddenly looking at your to do list feels overwhelming. However, this week's tip, shared by bookworm, describes a way to break your list of tasks into smaller, more manageable lists.

I keep separate lists for tasks relating to different jobs/areas, so my normal lists are Household, Research, Study, Teaching, Volunteer, and I use Inbox for everything else.

Lately I've been quite behind on a lot of tasks, and the amount of catching up I needed to do was quite overwhelming. The first step in catching up was to go through each list and set realistic due dates (where possible). The second was setting up Smart Lists based on the due dates:

Smart List tabs

  • Immediate: dueBefore:tomorrow – all the things that HAVE to be done today. (Tasks due today and overdue tasks.)
  • Shortly: dueWithin:"2 days of today" – all the things that I have to be aware of today.
  • This week: dueWithin:"7 days of today" – a picture of what I have to do in the next week.

Between my lists and my Smart Lists, I can now focus on tasks from one area (e.g. the Volunteer list), or make sure I'm not getting behind on any tasks from any area (the Immediate smart list).

I'm almost caught up on all my work now, thanks to being able to just focus on two days' tasks ('Shortly' Smart List), which keeps the long list of tasks from being too overwhelming. And the 'This Week' Smart List allows me to easily look further ahead across all areas of tasks so I can plan which tasks to work on when.

Thanks for sharing this tip, bookworm! 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