<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/intro1.png” />Trying to keep up with your task list? You’ve probably heard of the excellent task manager, Remember The Milk, which has been featured on MakeUseOf before countless times for its cross-platform accessibility (Linux, iOS, bookmarklet, you name it). And now that the basic iPhone app has become available for free (without automatic sync or push notifications unless you’ve gone Pro), more users will be able to take advantage of this extremely powerful application, especially if they follow up with the official RTM blog.
In fact, over at their blog, there’s a very handy feature — Tips & Tricks, which provides a creative tip regarding Smart Lists, tags and everything in between from RTM forum users. Here are five of the more recent tips that I’ve found come in very handy regarding everyday tasks.
1. Minimizing Food Wastage
In order to keep things like vegetables (due to my bad memory, may often go bad in my household) without going to waste, you can use these tips in conjunction (even though they were brought to attention in two different posts):
- Setting an RTM Smart List including vegetable items (that you’re planning to use in the week) that have earlier expiration dates as higher priority, while products that will last longer are set as lower priority.
- Setting the expiration dates to these perishables (as tasks) whenever you’re standing in line at the supermarket waiting to pay. You could also add reminders to eat the food a few days or a week before.
The second post mentions how the user, being a single guy, can be more organized in his kitchen with this system. It will surely help anyone, living alone or not, to keep track of perishables and minimize food wastage.
I often dread cleaning my whole place as I would attempt to have a cleaning day (usually Saturday or Sunday), which meant it would take some really long hours to finish mopping, vacuuming, etc. I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels this way. In fact, one RTM user achieves a very nice system for easing the cleaning chores. You can also implement this system by assigning each of your house rooms in a new ‘housework’ list to a day of the week. Having the due dates repeat weekly, you then list the many tasks for that particular room such as cleaning shower tiles, toilet, changing towels in the Notes section of the room task.
That way, you can dedicate a small and less overwhelming subset of tasks for every day of the week. By Sunday, you can actually enjoy the weekend and not worry about spending countless hours of your Sundays cleaning away.
Of course, you can also divide the cleaning tasks instead of using rooms for task items. You can perform one single cleaning task, such as vacuuming on Monday, clean the toilet on Tuesday, etc.
3. Keeping A Dashboard For ‘Sanity Check’
The Overview tab you may see once you log in to the web app could become more useful if it could combine all overdue tasks and task due today so they can be edited more easily. Good news for you, with this tip from RTM’s savvy users, you’ll essentially be getting exactly that, in a Smart List you might want to address as Dashboard. You can search for terms such as dueBefore:monday to include overdue items, items due today and due within this week before next Monday. Now you’ll just need to hit the Save tab to create the Smart List.
You can also use the Dashboard to monitor items that don’t have a due date. For example, I use the due:never and status:Incomplete search terms for my Dashboard Smart List (excluding items from my other lists).
If I had found out about the next tip, my Smart List search terms would have looked a lot tidier.
4. Excluding Other Items With tagContains
Like I said, this tip offers a way to simplify the NOT search terms. Items that don’t belong in your RTM main task list (e.g. projects, watch, etc) can be tagged with a symbol “+” at the start, eventually becoming tagged with “+projects”, “+watch”, etc. So now, instead of using so many “NOT tag:tag1 NOT tag:tag2“, my Dashboard displays NOT tagContains:+.
If you have several Smart List, this will simplify a lot of typing whenever you want to change their search criteria.
5. Monitoring Bill-Paying Dates
I use a variation of this system because it’s extremely useful for anyone who needs to pay bills, whether online or not. Every time you receive a new bill, either in the mail or you’re notified by e-mail, set up a task for this bill (with the amount in the name as well) and assign the due date to be the day of the month that it’s due (which usually fall around the same time every month but may vary sometimes.) If you set the tasks a priority (any level), which displays more distinctive colors and you don’t regularly use priority levels, these bill reminders (along with a note of the minimum payment) will pop out very nicely.
You could also tag them with bill so a search for tag:bill can easily bring up all your future bill-paying dates.
These are some of the more interesting Tips & Tricks that were featured on the official Remember The Milk. But of course, there were probably more than 50 of these tricks, all of which served highly useful to their respective users. Do you have any you wish to share? Voice your tips over in the comments!