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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Defining GTD contexts with what's available

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 by Andrew Conkling

David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD) approach is a popular method for organizing your lists and tasks. This week's tip, shared by kyle.faber, suggests a unique way to frame GTD contexts in Remember The Milk, as tools instead of locations.

So using RTM to accomplish my personal GTD implementation (as is the way) leads me to find that my contexts are sometimes (always) defined by the tools I have at my disposal in certain situations vs where I am or what I am doing. Examples of this include websites that don't work in mobile, downloads I need to accomplish or phone calls I need to make when I'm in a noisy environment. So I add context indicators to my tasks that qualify them as tools necessary (or optional) to accomplish a task.

  • PC
  • Wifi (generic for all internet)
  • iPad
  • Mobile
  • Desk
  • Alone
  • Etc.

So I then create Smart Lists that look for Next Actions that can be accomplished using the tools I have at my disposal. Here's a generic example:

Work: tag:na AND (tag:PC OR tag:ipad OR tag:mobile OR tag:wifi OR tag:desk) AND (location:Work OR isLocated:false)

When I'm at work, I have access to a PC & my iPad & my desk & internet, so a lot of tasks show up. But when I'm commuting on the train, I have fewer tools at my disposal:

Train: tag:na AND (tag:ipad OR tag:mobile) AND timeEstimate:"< 35" AND isLocated:false

I want to open my PC, I don't have Wi-Fi for my iPad and I don't have a desk. I also only ride the train for 35 minutes, so I don't want to see tasks that will take an hour, even if I can do them from my mobile phone (like watch a long Netflix video). I also don't want to see any contexts that are location dependent because I don't have a location that matters.

This approach allows me to very quickly figure out how to be productive in new locations and situations because I just look at the tools around me and bang out a quick Smart List with what I've got.

  • Work From Home (same as work, but the location is changed)
  • Airplane
  • Remote Desk (another company office, not my HQ)
  • Hotel

Thanks for sharing this tip, kyle.faber! 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: Prioritizing schoolwork with a Smart List

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 by Andrew Conkling

Entering an entire syllabus worth of assignments into a "School" Remember The Milk list can be daunting to look over afterward. This week's tip, shared by vergenzt, shows a Smart List that can show you just what's coming up — just the due date and priority, and you'll see only what you need to!

In college, many of my classes include information on the syllabus about all of the homework assignments and tests for the rest of the semester. Being the organization-freak that I am, I like to put as much of it into RTM as I can at the beginning. However, it can be overwhelming to see all of the homework I have for the rest of the semester on one list, even if it is sorted by date.

So my solution to this is to put everything into a "Schoolwork" list, and then make a "Todo-School" Smart List that shows much just what is coming up, where more warning is given for higher priorities like tests. I use tags to mark which class the assignments are for.

Todo-School search [broken down by criteria]:
list:schoolwork AND (
due:never OR
dueBefore:today OR
(dueWithin:"2 days") OR
(dueWithin:"3 days" AND priority:3) OR
(dueWithin:"4 days" AND priority:2) OR
(dueWithin:"6 days" AND priority:1)
)

Todo-School search [all together]:
list:schoolwork AND (due:never OR dueBefore:today OR (dueWithin:"2 days") OR (dueWithin:"3 days" AND priority:3) OR (dueWithin:"4 days" AND priority:2) OR (dueWithin:"6 days" AND priority:1))

I can use the priority of a topic to tell RTM how far in advance it needs to show it on my todo list, and anything without a due date will always be displayed until I set one. It's serving me well. :)

Thanks for sharing this tip, vergenzt! 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: Practicing a new language with Remember The Milk

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 by Andrew Conkling

Globe

With our language support (thanks to our awesome translators!), Remember The Milk can be a neat way to test your foreign language skills: just change the language, test out the app, and change your setting back when you're done.

This week's tip, shared by relevart, suggests something a bit more dedicated: entering your tasks in your foreign language, learning and practicing as you go.

Yesterday evening I was thinking about ways of how I could improve my English skills. One of the ideas I came up with was to utilize my regular RTM usage to do that.

I am from Hungary and so far I have been adding all of my tasks to RTM in Hungarian. Today I started to add all of my tasks in English. This takes a bit more time because sometimes I have to think a few moments about the translation or look up some words in an online dictionary, but this way I am practicing English every day without too much extra effort.

I have already learned a few new words and expressions while translating all of my uncompleted tasks to English. At first it's a little odd to see the tasks in English, but I already love this new way of using RTM. If you would like to improve your English skills you should give it a try too!

Thanks for sharing this tip, relevart! 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

Birthday #8

Monday, October 14, 2013 by Emily Boyd

Bob T. Monkey celebrates birthday #8

This weekend we celebrated Remember The Milk turning eight years old. Amazingly, Bob doesn't look like he's aged a bit since October 2005…

We'd like to say a gigantic thank you to everyone who's supported us over the past eight years, with an extra special thanks of course to those who've upgraded to Pro (Remember The Milk couldn't exist without you!).

Quite simply, Bob and the team thank you all for using Remember The Milk! :)

Posted in: Behind the Scenes

Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Planning your day with time estimates

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 by Andrew Conkling

Ever have a time when you take a look at your list for the day and realize you have way too much to do? This week's tip, shared by susani, shows a handy Smart List that will let you know how much you have planned for the day to help you plan accordingly.

  1. Daily or regular tasks: Repeat: "every 1 day"… (use every)
  2. Tag all daily tasks: (tag=daily)
  3. Give all repeating tasks an estimated time
  4. Create a Smart List: a list that shows you daily repeated plus overdue, plus special tasks of the day:

    tag:daily OR dueBefore:today OR due:today

Now you get the total time you need for all these tasks for this list on the right side, when your Smart List is opened.

I like this total time estimation.

Thanks for sharing this tip, susani! 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: Separating timed and untimed tasks with Smart Lists

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 by Andrew Conkling

Managing your tasks can be an all-day affair… particularly if you use your tasks to manage your day! :) This week's tip, shared by robert.ward, offers a helpful process for managing some tasks at specific times and others more generally throughout the day.

A lot of my daily repeating work tasks are little items but they have to be done, so I don't want to miss them. Because of this I have them due at specific times. But they would sometimes get lost in the mix of the rest of my tasks for the day with higher priorities. And at other times they would annoy me because I couldn't do them yet, but they were still hanging out there on my list.

Inspired by the Tips and Tricks post about creating a "Snooze Smart List", I created two Smart Lists for work. One is for tasks due today with a specific time. The other is tasks due today without a specific time.

The search for each is as follows:

  • Tasks with a specific time:

    list:work AND ((dueBefore:now AND NOT dueBefore:"today 12:01AM") OR (due:today AND dueAfter:now))

  • Tasks due today with no set time (note that the list "WkToday" Smart List is the search above):

    NOT list:WkToday AND due:today AND list:work

Now I can look at each list individually and knock out my time sensitive tasks first, then go focus on other tasks for the day.

Thanks for sharing this tip, robert.ward! 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