Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Task Lists in The Milk

I think I now have my tasks well organised in Remember The Milk.

After signing up, there are a number of default task lists, some of which are: Study, Personal and Work. I deleted the Study one immediately and started putting tasks into the other two. It quickly became frustrating to be switching between the two task lists during the day. What I needed was a consolidated view of both lists, so I tried out Smart Lists.

Smart Lists are essentially saved search queries. The query language is quite powerful, so it was easy to setup the consolidated view. Unfortunately though, if I was in that smart list and created a new task, then the new task would be created in the default Inbox task list, not one of the underlying tasks lists (Personal and Work).

After some experimenting, it seems that creating a task in a smart list defined by a simple query over one task list works in the desired manner - the new task is in the underlying task list, not the Inbox. However, once the query becomes more complex (I don't understand the rules), a newly created task is place in the Inbox.

The second issue I had was seeing future dated tasks and current tasks all mixed in together. Ideally I want to work predominantly with one task list/view of current tasks during the day.

So my current approach is to only have one task list for all my tasks (I have called it Tasks, surprisingly enough) and two smart lists. The first smart list is my current work (show tasks with no due date). This smart list is open in a browser tab all day and I can pretty much do all my task operations in it, including creating tasks. The second smart list shows all tasks with a due date.

Each day I need to remember to spend a short block of time dealing with tasks that have a due date for that day, by either removing their due date so they appear in the current work task list or postponing them. Perhaps I need to set up some form of automated reminder on days where dated tasks are due.

This system worked well today.

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