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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Razor-sharp focus with Smart Lists

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 by Andrew Conkling

It's handy to collect your tasks in a bunch of lists from all spheres of life. It's also handy to use
Smart Lists to collect sets of tasks across all your lists so you can group them together in different ways.

This week's tip, shared by clziegler, shows how to strike a very specific balance: finding just the tasks you want, just when you want them.

I really LOVE the fact that Smart Lists can be created to show EXACTLY what you want to see — no more and no less.

I do our household finances at home on Tuesday nights.

I have a Smart List that lists all the tasks that are due today @home. I also have a Smart List that lists all the tasks that are related to finances on a separate Smart List.

It really, really, really drove me nuts to see the finances tasks on my @home list because I only needed to see them when I sat down to actually DO finances. And when I sat down to DO finances, I didn't want to get distracted by all the OTHER things I needed to do.

I also recently added a life insurance list which I also wanted to show up on the finances list but NOT on the @home list.

I had a hard time nailing down the syntax to get exactly what I wanted, and Brendan on the Remember The Milk team helped me nail it down.

I share my two lists because I think they really showcase just what you can do.

I'll warn you — the syntax is pretty organic — I just kept shoving things on the end as I clarified what I wanted to see. There is probably a much more elegant way to phrase them… but again I think that highlights the beauty of RTM. [Looks good to us here! Bob approves. :)]

Here is my Today @home list syntax:

(list:NEXT_ACTION AND location:@home) OR (tag:monthend AND dueWithin:"3 days of today" AND location:@home) OR (dueBefore:tomorrow OR tag:Next) AND location:@home AND NOT list:finances AND NOT list:"s_life ins"

Here is my Finances this week syntax:

due:never OR (tag:monthend AND dueWithin:"3 days of today") OR (dueWithin:"1 week of today") AND location:@home AND (list:finances OR list:"s_life ins")

Brendan, I will bless your name every Tuesday night for many years to come!

Thanks for sharing this tip, clziegler! 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