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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Keeping track of new music

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 by Andrew Conkling

If you try to keep up with new music, you know it can be a lot of work! Not to worry: in this week's tip, tom.vanbaarle shares a thorough and simple method for keeping up with new recommendations, and for knowing what to buy.

Bob loves listening to music

Besides using RTM for classic task management, I extensively use it within my music evaluation flow. I buy quite some music and try to avoid any buying mistakes by listening to music upfront, rather than just buying on impulse.

How do I go about this?

  1. I get my music recommendations from three main sources:
    • offline reviews, radio, talking to friends, …
    • online reviews (websites, blog posts, etc)
    • last.fm activity (what are my friends listening to)
  2. How do I transform these sources to actionable RTM items?
    • as for the offline stuff, I just send a mail with the name of the artist and album in the subject line to my private RTM address. I do this as soon as I get the recommendation, in order not to forget about it later on.
    • online reviews and listening activity (in the form of RSS feeds) get routed to my Google Reader account. On a daily basis, I check my Google Reader account and browse/read all new items. If I stumble upon something that I (might) like, I send the RSS item to the same private RTM address. Whenever relevant I already add some tags: who recommended the item, where can I listen to it, etc.

    I do this either on my computer at home, or on my iPhone. When using the iPhone to register the item, I do not add many tags at this point of the process.

  3. I regularly review my RTM Inbox, which I really use as a inbox (in a sense that I want it to be empty after I had a look at it): I add some more tags if not done yet, assign a priority and transfer the item to my listening list.
  4. Once a week, I open the listening list, check the item at the top of the list (which is sorted on priority), look at the tags to find out where I can listen to this album online, I listen to it (just once or several times if needed) and decide whether I want to buy this album (electronically or physically). Based on the 'recommender' tag, I sometimes also read the review again while listening. If I do not (sufficiently) like an album, I mark the item complete to remove it from my list. If I do like it, I move it to the appropriate list (buy or download). In some cases, I add some more tags, like the name of the online shop where I plan to buy it. Then I move on to the next item.
  5. Whenever we go out for an 'entertainment shopping spree' (or whenever I feel like ordering online), I look at my buy list (which i can also access on-the-go via the RTM iPhone app), get the listed albums and check them off my list.
  6. Done, enjoy the music.

Thanks for sharing this tip, tom.vanbaarle! 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: 4 Hour Body's Occam's Protocol, Remember The Milk style!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 by Andrew Conkling

It's safe to say there are a number of people trying some new exercises this month, being just after the New Year. :) This week's tip, shared by schoonology, describes how they used Remember The Milk to manage a bit of friendly competition for achieving their fitness goals. Sounds like a win-win situation!

After we read Tim Ferriss' 4 Hour Body, my wife and I made a bet: the first person to a 20lb body recomposition is taken out to a night on the town on the other's dime. Easy enough?

Her goal was to lose 20lb of fat, something she's been unable to do. Ever. My goal, however, was to gain 20lb of muscle, something I've been unable to do. Ever.

For anyone without the book (highly, highly recommended), "Occam's Protocol" is a workout regimen based on two alternating workout routines spaced out by a number of days. These rest periods range from 2 days to over a week, and I really don't want to keep tweaking a calendar every time these periods change length.

Enter Remember The Milk!

The plan was to add one task per Workout:

Workout A @Gym !1 ^Monday *every 4 days
Workout B @Gym !1 ^Wednesday *every 4 days

To explain these Smart Add shortcuts:

  1. Name (which workout)
  2. Location (wherever you work out, of course!)
  3. Priority 1 (if you really want to win!)
  4. Initial due date (the day you're starting to work out for A, two days later for B)
  5. Double the resting period (this is the special sauce. Double the resting period to find the repeat delay, so they'll alternate at the right times)

To each of these tasks, I added a Note describing the target workout. You could, however, use the Workout Checklist tip or a shared Evernote Note URL to keep track of what's going into each.

Every time I need to update the period between workouts, all I do is bump up the repeat frequency (remember that it's doubled!), and push the second task's Due Date out one day.

For example, if I just finished Workout A, and I know I need to wait longer before my next B, I would:

  1. Increase Workout A's "Repeat:" field 2 days. (Example: from "every 4 days" to "every 6 days")
  2. Increase Workout B's "Repeat:" field 2 days.
  3. Postpone Workout B 1 day.
  4. Mark Workout A completed, and notice the due date. (Example: 6 days from now!)

Back in sync, and ready to keep gaining!

Thanks for sharing this tip, schoonology! You're our Tips & Tricks Tuesday winner this week. Hope it's been going well for you both! :)

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

Featured app: Cheqlist

Friday, January 18, 2013 by Brendan Ganley

Cheqlist screenshot

Have you been searching for an application to help manage your tasks on the desktop, but haven't yet found one that seems to "fit in"? Try Cheqlist, an app created by Eric Wendelin with two goals: "make managing tasks very efficient and look sweet on your desktop". Built on the JavaFX platform, Cheqlist runs on Windows, Mac OS and Linux, provides automatic updates, and is open source.

The application is split primarily into two views: Tasks and Lists. From the Tasks view, you can select a task to view and edit its details, or quickly complete a task with one click using the checkbox. Adding tasks with Smart Add and filtering tasks with advanced search operators are both supported from this view, so if you're familiar with these concepts, you'll feel right at home. From the Lists view, you can add or delete lists, and jump to the Tasks view for a particular list.

Cheqlist also works hard to make sure that it integrates well with your desktop experience. The app is designed so that it can be minimized to a thinbar and positioned anywhere on the screen, ready to be expanded only when you need it. In addition, there are quite a few color customization options so you can choose a look that fits in with the rest of your desktop environment.

If you'd like to see Cheqlist in action, you can watch the author's introductory video here. He also mentions that the app is full of secret "easter egg" features, which should keep you busy for a while if you don't feel like working on your tasks!

Has Cheqlist piqued your interest in creating your own app that integrates with Remember The Milk? Take a look at our API to get started!

Posted in: Featured Apps

Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Asking yourself questions

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 by Andrew Conkling

Aside from more direct tasks, Remember The Milk can help you keep track of a variety of things. This week's tip, shared by cole.jennette, demonstrates keeping track of questions you want to be on your mind… perhaps as a way of making a decision, something to check on, or just being extra considerate!

Probably one of the most helpful things an assistant has ever done for me was to be persistent with questions. "What have you done about the budget?" "Did you talk to Steve yet about his daughter" Etc.

For some items on my to-do list I don't neccesarily have tasks for them yet. They're just things I need to think about. So I put questions to remind myself.

  • What song are we playing tomorrow?
  • How do we deal with the electricity bill?
  • Have the projector lamps come in yet?
  • What camera did you decide on?

There could be endless possibilities. For me, each day brings tasks, but it also brings questions I need to deal with.

It also helps if you're not naturally considerate like me. For instance, I just put in my list: "How is Mindy (my wife) doing?". As I look through my to-do's I'll remember to check on her and see if she needs anything. (She has a little bit of a cold.)

You could feasibly tag these as questions and make a whole separate list, but I haven't found a need to. They seem to play nice with my other simple tasks like, "Remember the milk!".

Thanks for sharing this tip, cole.jennette! 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: Selling unwanted items online

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 by Andrew Conkling

List of items to sell online

Plenty of us have some things around the house that we could stand to get rid of. Armed with a camera and the internet, that's very easy these days! In this week's tip, yosri describes how they have started working through their pile of stuff by making a list and working through it in their free time.

I use RTM to remember many things, and one of those things is to keep track of items that I would like to sell online soon to make a few dollars and clear up the clutter in my house. I set up a special list in my account for these items, and every time I come across something that I don't need anymore, I add to it to the list. This way, when I have some time on my hands, I can go through the list, take pictures with my camera, and start making ads online. Every time something is sold, I can mark the item as complete.

Thanks for sharing this tip, yosri! 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

Featured integration: Rainlendar

Friday, January 4, 2013 by Brendan Ganley

Rainlendar screenshot

When it comes to your tasks, the balance between keeping them "in your face" and keeping them out of the way can be a tricky one: you don't want to forget about them because they're hidden from you, but you don't want to see them so often that you start ignoring them. If you're having trouble finding that balance, take a look at Rainlendar from Kimmo "Rainy" Pekkola. It's a cross-platform calendar application which aims to keep your tasks and events accessible on your desktop at all times without being intrusive.

To connect to Remember The Milk, you'll need the Pro version of Rainlendar which is free to download and use, but will display "[UNREGISTERED]" in front of each of your tasks unless you purchase a license.

One of the great things about Rainlendar is its very high degree of customization. An instance of Rainlendar is comprised of multiple components, each of which can be moved around the desktop or hidden independently. The available components include several different calendar views, as well as an Events list and a To Do list, among others. The look and feel of the components can be altered dramatically with some very cool skins, too.

To help you keep organized, Rainlendar can contain multiple calendars, each with its own separate Events and To Do items. To create a new calendar that synchronizes with Remember The Milk, open Rainlendar's Options screen, select Calendars, then click Add. You will then choose a list from your Remember The Milk account that will correspond to this calendar's To Do list. Working with tasks from Remember The Milk is just like working with native Rainlendar To Do items.

If you're looking for more ways to connect with your Remember The Milk account, take a look at our Apps page!

Posted in: Featured Apps

Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Upcoming tasks, with a twist

Tuesday, January 1, 2013 by Andrew Conkling

Many are celebrating the new year this month. What better time to take a look at what's coming up? This week, arwild01 shares a nice, simple way to see what's coming up in the next week without getting distracted by unimportant things or forgetting about very important things.

I've been using RTM for several years now. In the beginning I didn't use due dates very well. More often then not, every task would just get assigned to "today". (Mostly so they would all stay in front of me)… anything that didn't actually get done "today" would be simply postponed to the next day.

Of course, this meant spending time postponing tasks each day. Frankly, it wasn't the best way to handle things.

Recently, I've decided to start making due dates more relevant and actually assign them to meaningful days (i.e. when I really msut absolutely get a task done by).

However this means just looking at "Today's Tasks" I might get surprised be an important task on the day it's due.

So now my default view is a Smart List for tasks due this week:

dueBefore:today OR due:today OR (dueWithin:"1 week" OR due:"1 week")

However, some tasks I don't want to see until the day they are actually due. For example, I have a weekly status report due every Wednesday… I want this on my list the day it's due, but I don't want to have an item on my list everyday. Similarly, what about really important tasks that are due more than a week from now, but I want to see sooner?

Tags to the rescue! The two type of tasks get tagged with either a #wait or #warnearly. Items tagged #wait don't appear on the list until their actual due date and items tagged #warnearly show up if they are due within the month. So my Smart List was modified as follows:

dueBefore:today OR due:today OR ((dueWithin:"1 week" OR due:"1 week") AND NOT tag:wait) OR ((dueWithin:"1 month" OR due:"1 month") AND tag:warnearly)

Thanks for sharing this tip, arwild01! 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