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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Using the mobile apps to record ideas immediately

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 by Andrew Conkling

When an idea comes to mind, or you remember something you have to do, the moment can be fleeting — and don't those moments always arise at the most inopportune times? This week's tip, shared by jacktuttle, suggests adding a task to your Inbox so you can get it out of your head without forgetting it when you need it. :)

I’ve been making lists for as long as I can remember but, since discovering RTM a few years ago, I have used it virtually every day and my productivity has increased a great deal as a result. I use RTM in lots of different ways and have found the forums helpful in coming up with different Smart Lists. The beauty with it, I find, is that it has become more and more useful the more I use it. However, the greatest use I get from it is by following a relatively simple technique.

I’ve read numerous times that the greatest thinkers in history often carried notebooks around with them so they could record ideas whenever anything entered their mind. This is a theme repeated by many of the top productivity bloggers who I follow. However, carrying a notebook with me when I am out and about often isn't practical, but carrying my iPhone is normal and tapping an idea, however brief, into the RTM iPhone app and creating a new task is easy. It doesn't necessarily have to be particularly coherent; all that matters is I record the idea, whether that is for a new business, a book, an article, an exercise, or whatever.

The new task then automatically appears in my Inbox. Later, when I get to my computer (or using the app if I am, for example, commuting by train), I can go through my Inbox and deal with these idea tasks accordingly. This can involve completing them, tagging and adding them to another list, or adding new next-step tasks. Sometimes I don't get around to dealing with the task for a while, but the important thing is I recorded something which I almost certainly would have forgotten otherwise.

Thanks for sharing this tip, jacktuttle! 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: Making a list of school supplies

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 by Andrew Conkling

If you'll be shopping for school supplies anytime soon, you'll know it can seem like a long list of items. This week's tip, shared by jeanniebean, shows a nice way to keep track of the best place to buy all your supplies.

Bob with his school supplies

My son is starting kindergarten in the fall, and we just got the supplies list. The school has a program which will ship the supplies to the school for $60. (!!) Going through Amazon I've found that I can get all the supplies for $44, but even that seems like a ridiculous amount for a few sets of markers and glue. So I've created a list with each item lists with the amount I found for it on Amazon. As the school supply shops come up I can add a due date and location (store name) to the items to make shopping easy and save myself a fair bit of money.

Thanks for sharing this tip, jeanniebean! 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: Managing others' tasks in separate lists

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 by Andrew Conkling

Using lists it's possible to be very organized and productive without having too many distractions while you're getting things done. This week's tip, shared by kuntal.raval, shows that you can be so organized you can pay it forward and help others with their tasks as well!

My mother has been slow to pick up on digital tech and I end up helping her do mundane tasks faster with digital alternatives. RTM can be a boon to manage this in a very structured mechanism.

I start with keeping a dedicated list for all activities that I do on behalf of my mother, say. This would have tasks like paying monthly bills online, simple transactions in her bank account etc. then, I would tag these using tags like @web, @errands so that when I do my own tasks for these tags I can also do my mother's tasks as needed. I also add monthly recurring frequency for these with repeats on weekends, so that these don't pop-up during weekdays at work.

Thus, using a dedicated list and common tags can help you manage other people's (parents, kids) tasks who might not be comfortable with or have access to tools like RTM.

This makes it easy to help others be more efficient. Do you have tips on how do you use RTM to help others?

Thanks for sharing this tip, kuntal.raval! 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: A simple meal diary with repeating tasks

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 by Andrew Conkling

Eating well is very good for you, but takes a bit of work. In this week's tip, olliebaum started by setting up a task to plan lunch, and ends up with a nice meal diary — useful for making a habit of eating lunch daily, planning a good time for it, and saving money in the process!

I like to be able to visualise my schedule for the day ahead using RTM. An important part of this is seeing how much I will accomplish before and after lunch and also when the most appropriate time to take my lunch break will be.

Initially, I created a task called 'Lunch' that I would alter the due date on as necessary for that day's schedule and then at the end of the day I would postpone it til the next day. (It seemed unnecessary to acknowledge that I had completed my lunch every day!) It allowed me to see in full the pattern of my day from beginning to end. And encouraged me into the healthy habit of planning a lunch break into my busy schedule so I didn't go hungry when I felt there was too much to do.

This suited me fine until – on one of my more creative days – I made a lovely lunch and decided that I wanted to start taking note of what I ate every day so I could have a more varied diet and make a record of any lunches that I might want to try again.

So I created a task called 'Lunch:' that repeats after 1 day and after eating I edit the task name to record the meal I just ate. e.g. Today I had a Bagel with cream cheese, so that becomes "Lunch: Bagel w/ cream cheese". Once I've edited the task name, I can complete it and another task will be set for the next day. Then when I come to plan tomorrow's schedule I can adjust the time as necessary for that day and so on.

It's a nifty way to keep a track of your eating habits. At the start of the day I can type 'lunch' into the search bar and view completed tasks and then based on my recent lunches I can see what meals I haven't had for a while and make a packed lunch accordingly. It not only helps to keep your diet varied and interesting – avoiding the potential monotony of daily eating – but can act as a source of inspiration when stuck for ideas. You might see a good lunch that you made a couple of months ago that went down well and decide to make it again rather than simply have the same as yesterday. I also save money because it stops me falling into the lazy habit of not preparing my lunch at home and buying something from Starbucks instead.

I now use the same method to keep track of all my meals so have repeating tasks named ‘Breakfast’ and ‘Dinner’, and while these are not so important from a scheduling perspective, if you are on a diet and keeping a food diary it is useful to be prompted to make a note of what you’ve eaten, since it is all too easy to forget. And – as above – it’s good to make sure you’re not skipping meals. It also means I have a quick method to hand for planning the next day’s meals.

Thanks for sharing this tip, olliebaum! 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