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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Finding next actions that you haven't acted on

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 by Andrew Conkling

GTD can be a real revelation when it comes to organizing your life. (Check out Doug Ireton's how-to post on our blog if you're just getting started.) However, it can sometimes be difficult to keep on top of how things are working for you. This week's tip, shared by momachilles, offers a simple suggestion: look out for next actions you haven't done in a while.

'Failed Next Action' Smart List

I have a list named "Failed Next Action" which contains the Next Action tasks I didn't complete the last two weeks.

I expect to complete the Next Action tasks in the next 2 weeks, so I want to know which ones I didn't complete and they will become my failed next actions.

Thus, I created a Smart List with:

tag:na AND status:incomplete AND NOT addedWithin:"2 weeks of today"

And that's it.

Thanks for sharing this tip, momachilles! 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

Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Keeping up with friends

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 by Andrew Conkling

It can be hard to keep up with friends and what's going on with them, especially if they live far away or you don't see them often. This week's tip, shared by liffer, suggests keeping track of what's going on with your friends, so you can stay in touch with each other in the most caring way!

I'd like to be the friend who remembers everything about her friends and asks the correct questions the right time, but it is a hard job for the brain to keep track of and remember it all.

So in a true GTD-way of organizing my thoughts and concerns I write down also stuff like "send message to X and ask about how that health check went" and other important things into RTM.

More detailed: say I'm talking to a friend and he/she tells me about something important in her life, like "next wednesday I'll found out if I got that job I applied for!" or "in two days I'll get the results from the health check" and so on. I then immediately write it down briefly in my rtm-inbox. The tasks looks like "friendxx new job wednesday" as I mostly don't have time to write it down properly.

In the evening I empty my inbox and I change these tasks to better sentences "Call friendX and ask if she got that new job on companyY" and set the due date to the date I need to make the call.

I also set the task into a context (@call, @computer, @work for example) and I also use the sleep tags discussed in other topics here. I then use Smart Lists as my daily to do lists and I don't have to see these tasks until I can do something about them.

Thanks for sharing this tip, liffer! 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

Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Looking ahead in school with a Smart List

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 by Andrew Conkling

It can be overwhelming to look at an entire semester's worth of work when in school, but on the other hand it can be hard to keep up with upcoming assignments or exams where some extra preparatory work can really help. This week's tip, shared by andrewlilja, shows a simple way to keep up with things in the near future and also to see exams that are more distant.

Bob T. Monkey focuses on his studies

I'm a student in college and I have to keep track of all my class assignments and exams, plus all my extracurricular and personal stuff. That can get pretty overwhelming, so I put together a Smart List that organizes an outlook.

dueBefore:"1 week of today" OR (dueWithin:"2 weeks from today" AND tagContains:school AND name:exam) OR (due:never AND NOT addedWithin:"1 week") AND NOT (isRepeating:true AND dueBefore:tomorrow)

Basically, it shows me all my tasks due within a week of today, any tests that I have coming up in the next two weeks, or anything that I didn't give a due date to but haven't dealt with for a week — sometimes I have tasks floating around without a set due date that I forget about. There's also a little bit at the end that only shows the soonest repeating task, so the list doesn't get to cluttered.

Thanks for sharing this tip, andrewlilja! 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

Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Auto-tagging via Smart Lists

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 by Andrew Conkling

Managing a lot of projects or different spheres of life can be tricky. This week's tip, shared by george.shank, provides a few simple ways to use Smart Lists to streamline your organization.

Hey guys! I love RTM and have really begun to see just how flexible it can be. I think part of the beauty of RTM is it can be as complex as you like or simple too.

One thing I found I was doing often was tagging tasks in a very similar fashion so they would catch in certain Smart Lists. Items such as #@home or even more specific tags like #unpacking were getting repetitive and annoying to enter in. This was after the GTD guest post (phenomenal if you haven't read it) and so I made some minor alterations.

Any "project" list or large task list that I know will take place primarily in one venue or in a certain "tag environment" I simply create a Smart List as opposed to a normal list.

Say I want to finish unpacking after moving? I create a Smart List that has criteria tag:@home AND tag:unpack. Now any task I add in here will have those tags automatically. Not only that but now I can just do a simple #na or #wait and they will pop up in my @Home or Wait-Personal lists respectively.

Using mostly Smart Lists for my projects has greatly reduced my need to constantly use common tags but at the same time allows me to keep everything organized as well as getting great input from my tag cloud!

Thanks for sharing this tip, george.shank! 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