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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Adding a bit of fun to your Eisenhower matrix

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 by Andrew Conkling

We recently shared an Eisenhower matrix that helps you organize your tasks by importance/urgency. This week's tip, shared by fabian.kurmann, adds a fun twist: adding some, well, fun tasks into the mix so you enjoy being productive that much more.

I think the Eisenhower method is pretty useful, but what it is lacking is to mix in some fun. Important and urgent tasks are seldom fun, so here's my suggestion to a revamped Eisenhower matrix applied to RTM so you don't get grumpy.

I use tasks' priorities for importance:

  • 1 – Due today or very soon and you have to complete the task before going to bed on that day. (Don't pick too many tasks here.) This is also for unplanned and very important and urgent tasks (buy medicine when sick, etc.).
  • 2 – Due whenever they are due, likely postponable, but important
  • 3 – Not important but fun tasks, with or without due date
  • 0 – lame and unimportant tasks

Urgency is easily managed by due date. If a task is unimportant or important it will show up in the Today view, the This Week view, or your customized time Smart List and automatically be urgent. Set due dates when they are really due, not too early, and certainly not when it's already too late.

Now if you need a break or some fun, choose one or two (not 10! ;-) ) due or random category 3 tasks between the important stuff. You can subcategorize the fun using tags like #rlyfun, #bitfun, etc.

Set a recurring important task to clear out the lame and unimportant tasks and you are set.

Every day you will achieve some important tasks at all cost, manage some important and enjoy some unimportant. As long as you control yourself on the category 3 tasks, your day will be both productive and entertaining.

Have fun! :-)

Thanks for sharing this tip, fabian.kurmann! 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: Following TV shows with repeating tasks

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 by Andrew Conkling

Now that Bob is done catching up on the rest of The IT Crowd, he's been watching more current TV. This week's tip, shared by derboti, is very handy for him and maybe for you too — derboti shows a simple way to keep track of when your favorite shows are airing.

I have a few TV shows that I like to watch as soon as they air, but because of irregular work schedules I never got into a habit of watching TV regularly. To help me keep up with new episodes, I use RTM.

When a release date for a new show or season is announced, I usually enter it in RTM this way:

  • New episode of 'Mad Men' ^4/13 *weekly #tv http://epguides.com/MadMen/
  • New episode of '24' ^5/5 *weekly #tv http://epguides.com/24/

On the day of, the task reminds me of the show. I complete the task once I either set up my DVR or watch it on TV that day. Sometimes I'll postpone the task right away to the next day, if I know I'll have to watch this episode on demand the next day.

And the task automatically repeats itself the following week for the next episode!

Especially with network television, some shows don't air regularly because of hiatus or other repeats. That's why I add a URL to the task that points to that show's episode list. I like epguides.com, but you could also use IMDb, Wikipedia, or the show's official website.

When the task comes up, I can quickly jump to the URL and check the episode list if there's a new episode scheduled for today. If not, I delete the current task and always answer the "continue repeating?" question with "yes", so the task reminds me to check for a new episode next week.

Thanks for sharing this tip, derboti! 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: Focusing on time with Smart Lists

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 by Andrew Conkling

We're always interested to see how users use Smart Lists to break up their tasks into manageable chunks. This week's tip, shared by pescacebes, demonstrates four Smart Lists that use tasks' priorities and due dates to keep track of tasks that matter today, this week, and what else is coming up.

In order to tackle the "big rocks" in a timely manner, I have created this system:

First, I only have two input lists: Inbox and Info. Info is exacty this: things to remember and not actions. It acts as a reminder. Inbox is everything else. Most tasks have a due date and/or a priority.

My day starts by checking two Smart Lists: "Today" and "Focus".

  • Today: due:today OR dueBefore:Today
  • Focus: (priority:1 OR priority:2) AND ((dueWithin:"1 week of today") OR due:never OR dueBefore:now)

The most relevant is "Focus". It contains everything really important and shows me what I have to do in the next week that matters most. For me, priority 3 can be overdue. For you could be also 2 or none… you may easily adjust this search.

Another helpful Smart List is "Week": (dueWithin:"1 week of today") OR (due:never AND (priority:1 OR priority:2 OR priority:3)) OR dueBefore:now

Notice that this Smart List also captures items that have a priority but no due date. You may prefer to give those a due date too!

Lastly, in order not to miss anything, I have the Smart List "No Date": due:never NOT list:Info

If you add some tags and/or locations to your tasks, I think that this system is clean and clear enough to navigate through a sea of tasks quite easily.

Thanks for sharing this tip, pescacebes! 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