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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Moving house with a list of tasks

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 by Andrew Conkling

Moving is an ordeal unto itself, and comes with a variety of tasks both small and large, important and urgent, and plenty in between. This week's tip, shared by julio.bree, suggests breaking down your list of tasks so they stay organized and straightforward, keeping you level-headed!

Hello everyone, I'm a huge fan of RTM and I use it everyday. That's why I got an idea to use it, when I moved together with my girlfriend:

I created a list called "move" and used it for all the different assignments and tasks I would have to cope with, when moving into our new flat. This includes painting, putting down a new floor, cleaning and (of course) buying a lot of new furniture.

In order to gain an overview of all the different needs for the rooms (mine were 6: kitchen, living room, hall, study room, bath, sleeping room), I started to add the tasks in a certain form:

The first term was always the room, e.g. "kitchen", then followed by the actual task (i.e. painting, cleaning etc.) or the required piece of furniture (e.g. base cabinet).

By doing it that way, I had a fluent list of all my rooms in "blocks" due to the alphabetical order of the tasks in RTM, when there are no dates or priorities.

To illustrate it:

  • Bath: Buy new toilet lid
  • Bath: Buy small carpet (max. 40cm x 60cm)
  • Bath: Buy base cabinet for under the sink
  • Bath: Clean tiles, mirror
  • Hall: Put down laminate
  • Hall: Paint walls in white
  • Hall: Nail the hall-stand to the wall
  • … etc. etc. etc.

RTM also allows to assign links to the tasks, so remembering the right piece of furniture, paint etc. was no problem at all.

Sometimes some tasks are more urgent than other ones, so what I simply did was adding a date or a priority to the task. When that was done, the list (according to its urgency) reorganized itself, so that the important tasks were on the top of all tasks, but still in alphabetical order.

That way the move was easy, fast and without any problems and thanks to RTM, we didn't forget anything and live together happily.

Thanks for sharing this tip, Julio! 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: Using priorities to measure progress

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 by Andrew Conkling

Sometimes bigger tasks can seem to pile up, which can be discouraging or distracting. This week's tip, shared by hiteshnh, suggests distinguishing in-progress tasks with priority 1.

Using RTM for my project management role, I came to realize that it is not uncommon for tasks to be piled up in any list or Smart List. Sometimes, I am not able to strike off a task from a list even though I have made some progress in it. For example, I’m halfway through the task of reviewing a report or preparing a presentation.

I figured it would be better to use priorities as a measure of progress made in a task. So I assign priorities 2, 3 and N to tasks having High, Medium and Low levels of urgency while reserving Priority 1 for showing tasks in progress.

You could also assign these numbers to varying percentages of completion like 75% – Priority 1, 50% – Priority 2, 25% Priority 3 and 0% (Not started) for N.

Thanks for sharing this tip, hiteshnh! 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: Keeping track of work projects

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 by Andrew Conkling

When you're balancing your day-to-day work with future projects and ideas, it can be tricky to juggle everything. This week's tip, shared by adamrakich, describes a nice way to keep your projects on your radar without them cluttering up your daily work.

At my work, I have my day to day meetings and appointments, but I also have a lot of longer term projects (from my boss and also my own ideas) to keep track of.

I use RTM to keep them out of mind until I have time for them!

I have a #project tag within my Work list, and whenever I think of a good idea, or get assigned a non-time-specific project (often!), I put it in against #project with a due date in the distant future.

Then, whenever I don't have anything to do, I can go into the Work Projects Smart List I've created, see what's there, pick one and set the date to today, and off I go!

This way, I don't forget anything, but projects don't take up my list (and my thinking!) when I don't have time to deal with them.

Thanks for sharing this tip, adamrakich! 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: Keeping track of produce

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 by Andrew Conkling

Bob eats bananas all the time — but for the rest of us it may take a bit more work to make sure we're eating our fruits & vegetables. This week's tip, shared by niemansj, puts the "produce" in "productive" by suggesting a list to make sure you eat it before it goes bad.

Bob keeps track of produce, especially bananas

Moving to a big city has made fresh produce and meats much more available to me, but it's easy to forget about certain items and find them after they've gone bad. :(

To prevent this, I created a list called "Perishables".

Every time I get home from the store, I take a minute to create a task for each perishable item I bought.

The due date is set to the expiration date. Many fresh veggies don't come with a date, so I do a quick google search to determine the average shelf life and set it to one or two days before just to be safe.

I tag each item with its location in the fridge or the cabinet or the countertop, and I use the notes to include the link to any recipe I might be using it in. If there's ever a certain recipe I want to make quickly due to it involving things that will quickly go bad, I set it to high priority to bring it to the top of my list.

From here, I regularly check this list to make sure I'm choosing my meals while keeping expiration dates in mind. It's a very useful reference as the items are ordered by date which allows me to cook things in the right order and avoid forgetting about my produce!

Thanks for sharing this tip, niemansj! 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: Keeping track of reading assignments

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 by Andrew Conkling

For those in school, it can be tough to keep up with assignments and readings. This week's tip, shared by polindsay, suggests keeping track in a list so you can pull it up when mobile or at a computer, or even print it out for an easy stash in your textbook. :)

Bob T. Monkey keeps up with his reading

RTM has been a life saver for me when it comes to keeping track of homework and assigned reading for my college classes. At the beginning of each semester, I make a list for each class. I gather all of my syllabi and enter the tasks into their assigned list. It's a little tedious for a day or so, but it's much easier than pulling out my binder to check the syllabus when I do homework, or to try to record everything in an agenda which I'm bound to lose. It's great to be able to pull out my phone, look at the widget on my home screen to see what I need to work on, and watch the list shrink as I complete tasks.

But what about those times when I don't have my phone, or if I'm in a class where the professor assumes I'm not paying attention? I found a solution for that too!

On the RTM web app, I go to the list I want and then click Print in the upper right hand corner. That takes me to a print-friendly page of my list. I load a piece of card stock (resume paper works well too) into the printer and hit print. If the list is longer than one printed page, I flip the page over and send it back through to create a double-sided page. Then I fold the paper so it's small enough to fit in my textbook and voila! A bookmark with all the important assignments and test dates on hand!

Thanks for sharing this tip, polindsay! 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: 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

Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Managing your financial life

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 by Andrew Conkling

Managing your finances can be a big task — or list of tasks! This week's tip, shared by bynbutterfly, outlines a very thorough method for keeping up on all aspects of your finances.

Bob manages his finances

I felt overwhelmed to manage bank accounts, especially multiple credit cards and debit accounts. By using Remember The Milk, I can maximize the benefits from cashback credit cards and avoid paying fees. Repeating tasks are used heavily in managing bank accounts.

There are many many many scenarios I use Remember The Milk to organize financial life. Here is my own experience in recent 2 months. First I need to mention my rules of managing personal finance.

My rules of personal finance:

  1. Even if banks and HR can do a lot of stuff automatically for me, I should double check everything by myself.
  2. If I made a financial mistake, I should think about how to avoid this mistake in the future.

With those rules in mind, be sure to read the full post for details about keeping up with your credit score, debit and credit accounts, statements, and receipts.

Thanks for sharing this tip, bynbutterfly! 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