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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Using Remember The Milk with Monday meetings

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 by Andrew Conkling

Remember The Milk can be useful for keeping track of what you have to do, as well as what you have already completed. This week's tip, shared by taylor.andrew, discusses how you can use both in weekly meetings to keep things on track.

At work, we recently introduced meetings every Monday morning where we go over our objectives for the previous week and decide on objectives for the new one. It works pretty well, but having it first thing after a weekend means people forget what they've accomplished and what they want to do next. Here's how I've solved that problem by integrating our new system with RTM:

First, I use priorites to categorise things. You could use tags if you use priorities for something else, but let's go with this for now.

Priority 1: things I want done for me (expenses etc)
Priority 2: this week's tasks
Priority 3: things I've been asked to do, but not this week
No priority: things I'd like to do eventually

Next, I have three Smart Lists:

"This Week's Tasks": the main list I refer to while working. The search is:

priority:1 OR priority:2 OR dueBefore:Monday

It catches anything I want to do, have been told to do, or need to do.

"Done Last Week": the first list I refer to in meetings. The search is:

completedWithin:"9 days of Tuesday" AND NOT priority:1

On Mondays, it tells me what tasks I completed the previous week. Every other day, it tells me what tasks I've completed so far thatweek. (This works because on Mondays, "Tuesday" refers to the following day, but every other day it refers to the Tuesday a week later.)

"Next Week's Tasks": this is the second list I refer to in meetings. The search is:

tag:nextweek OR dueBefore:Tuesday OR dueWithin:"6 days of Tuesday" OR priority:2

Again, on Mondays it tells me everything I need or have been told to do that week — the same as "This Week's Tasks", but without my personal objectives. From Tuesday onwards, it tells me everything due the week after. It also includes any incomplete tasks from this week, since I'll presumably want to finish them next week.

You can also create copies of the Smart Lists for weeks starting on a Tuesday (after bank holidays) but personally I find the extra lists annoying.

In the meeting, I use "Done Last Week" and "Next Week's Tasks" to make sure I'm given credit for everything I did and allocated time for everything I need to do. Anything we agree I should do that week gets marked priority 2 and anything we postpone to the following week is tagged "nextweek" and gets added to "Next Week's Tasks".

The rest of the time, I work on "This Week's Tasks". When I remember, I run through my Inbox list on a Friday afternoon and tag things I want to bring up in the meeting with "nextweek", but even if I forget, the Smart Lists catch anything urgent.

See this related tip for daily meetings for another way to keep track of tasks.

Thanks for sharing this tip, taylor.andrew! 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