Get Things Done with Remember <br>The Milk

Getting things done (GTD) is the hardest thing to accomplish in a world filled with so many distractions. Keeping track of tasks to be done is not easy. However high your IQ is, it is not a better practice to keep everything in your mind. Right from a moleskin notebook to a sleek iPhone app, there is a number of ways to keep your life organized.

In this review, we will be taking a quick look at one such GTD tool, a web app, that promises to help you get things done.

Remember The Milk Home

Remember The Milk Home

Pricing

All the services of Remember the Milk (RTM) are completely free for all registered users.

Pricing

Pricing

If you want a native smartphone app for your iPhone/Blackberry/Android or to use Windows mobile sync, there is a premium membership available for $25 per year.

Sign Up

Getting started is quick and painless. Just fill out a brief form and activate the account using the link sent to your email address.

Sign Up

Sign Up

Once you have logged in, you can go to the tasks screen by clicking the Continue to Tasks option.

Logged In

Logged In

User Interface

When you first login, you are presented with four lists to start with: Work, Personal, Inbox and Sent. The first two lists are for tasks you are going to create from RTM. Tasks that you email yourself are organized in the Inbox list. If you are working with someone else on a task, then the Sent list wil have tasks shared with them. Overall, RTM sports a nice and clean user interface.

User Interface

User Interface

Adding a To Do

Add To Do

Add To Do

Adding a task or to do is extremely simple. Type the task in the Add new task field and just hit enter. Your new task is now added to the list of personal tasks. Simple, painless and intuitive. You can add as many tasks as you want in the lists that have been created for you by RTM. If you want more lists, you can create them from the settings page.

To Do Added

To Do Added

Editing a To Do

Edit To Do

Edit To Do

Now comes the fun part. Editing a task is usually done by selecting from a drop down or from a calender in most GTD apps. RTM has a pretty cool way of editing dates and other nitty gritty of your to do. For example, let us say that you want to change the task of congratulating John from today to two weeks from now. You don’t have to scour through a calender to find the precise date. Just select the task and in the task details section and type “Two weeks”. RTM will automatically set the task to the date 14 days from now. Similarly, you can use next Friday, tomorrow, a month from now and so on. How cool is that?

Editing Tasks

Editing Tasks

In the same manner, repeat tasks can be scheduled using phrases like daily, every week, every month on the 4th, every week for 25 times and the like. RTM automatically repeats tasks in the cycle you have specified. This kind of flexibility is hard to come by in any other to do app, web based or otherwise.

Task Scheduling

Task Scheduling

You can also add multiple tags to the tasks to make them easier find and complete.

Task Tagging

Task Tagging

Location information, URL and postponement info can also be updated to a task if required.

Setting a Location

RTM offers a comprehensive location mapping features for all the tasks. When you create a task, you can choose to select a place where the meeting or task will take place. Select the location option from the top of the page and set a location on the map shown.

Setting Location

Setting Location

You can use the search box to find locations and save them for future use in the tasks.

Search For Locations

Search For Locations

Adding Notes

You can add notes or talking points to each individual task to keep track of what has to be done precisely.

Add Notes

Add Notes

For single task, multiple notes can be added.

Setting Priorities

One other cool thing in RTM is the extreme ease with which priority can be set for a task.

Setting Priorities

Setting Priorities

Just select the task and press 1, 2 or 3 in the keyboard and the priority & the associated colour code are added to the task.

Settings

A comprehensive settings page is available for users who want to tweak the service to their taste.

Settings

Settings

Creating a List

In addition to RTM created lists, you can create as many lists as you want by selecting the Add new list option.

Creating a List

Creating a List

You can use the drop down list to select the list which you want to be default. Once you login and start entering the tasks, all tasks will be added to this default list.

Default List

Default List

Reminders

Reminders can be set at custom intervals like tasks before they are due.

Setting Reminders

Setting Reminders

In addition, RTM sends a daily email reminder with the list of tasks scheduled for the day.

Notifications

Apart from email reminders, RTM has options to notify you across a variety of instant messaging platforms. Add an IM service you use and RTM will ping when tasks are due.

Notifications

Notifications

Notifications are sent via Jabber, GTalk, AIM, ICQ, GaduGadu, MSN, Yahoo IM, Skype or even through SMS.

Feeds and Calendars

You can view the tasks from within your favorite feed reader, courtesy of RTM’s atom feed service.

Feeds and Calendars

Feeds and Calendars

Also, RTM provides links which can integrate the tasks with the famous iCalender service.

PS: I have deleted this RTM account and hence I’ve not grayed out the image.

Integrations

What makes RTM a juggernaut in the web GTD business is its extensive integration with a number of popular web services. RTM is tightly integrated with popular Google services like Gmail and Google Calender. Tasks can be imported into a Google Calender with a single click.

Google Integrated

Google Integrated

Once you integrate RTM with Google Calendar, you will get a blue check-mark above the dates in which tasks are scheduled. Clicking on the check mark pulls up a list of tasks for that day. New tasks can be added from there too.

Using the Remember the Milk for Gmail extensions, you can add a small frame in Gmail with all of your tasks.  Actions performed from this frame are synced directly with your RTM account.

Gmail Integration

Gmail Integration

Most recently, the ability to add tasks via Twitter has also been added. Tasks can be added through direct messages after a quick setup process from the profile page.

Final Thoughts

None of the other GTD competitors match up to the features offered by Remember the Milk. With its tag clouds, custom task lists, geo location, etc., RTM will keep you hooked to the service. After using the service, I have personally seen a visible enhancement in my productivity. So I suggest you take RTM for a spin if you are really concerned with Getting Things Done. I am giving RTM a 9/10 for this freemium web task manager.

We would love to hear your thoughts on RTM or other GTD web apps you might use. Please share with us in the comments below. Thanks!

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Summary

Remember The Milk (RTM) is a free web app with companion mobile apps for task- and time-management, enabling users to follow GTD principals.

9

Responses

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  • Everyone loves RTM but they made a very complicated solution for a quite simple problem. Result = you spend half an hour every day on something utterly boring – your tasklist.

  • Why is your form pre populated with this name and email ? :S

  • I actually gave RTM a try earlier this year when I was desperately looking for a way to have all my tasks on my Macs at home and my iPhone and not have to be on the same wireless network to sync (like with Things).

    Even though RTM has been praised by many and offers a ton of features, there were two things that eventually made me give up on it: the terrible user interface (it’s UGLY!) and the complicated way of entering stuff.

    I am a keyboard person and maybe I was spoiled by The Hit List, but I just don’t want to switch to the mouse (or pen tablet in my case) all the time. Also, I found the way to enter information, to sort it and add additional stuff not as easy as I wanted it to be. After all, as fdeth pointed out, it’s about getting things DONE and not about spending unnecessary time managing lists.

    I ended up with TaskPaper both on the Mac and on the iPhone after reading the review of the mobile app here on iphone.appstorm and I am very happy with the combination. Entering information is simple, it syncs no matter where I am … it may not be suited for everybody (especially if you depend on stuff like push notifications or something), but it works perfectly for me.

  • The thing about RTM is that it can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.

    If you’re a power user, you can even turn the whole app into a GTD system where there are lists for “Today”, “Next”, “Someday”.

    If you just want a simple to do list, RTM is free for you, just start creating to dos in your inbox.

    I have tried many to do lists apps and I find that RTM is really suitable for just about anyone.

  • RTM has been a godsend for my implementation of GTD. The interface takes a while to get used to. The capability to arrange tasks by context will make the GTD purist very happy. Hope in future, there can be some collaberation with Evernote, as only text notes can be stored with RTM.

  • I would use RTM if it weren’t for the $25 it takes ti sync it with my Blackberry. Anyone know of a free solution to sync tasks between mac and blackberry?

  • If you’d like a tool for managing your time and projects, you can use this application inspired by David Allen’s GTD:

    http://www.Gtdagenda.com

    You can use it to manage and prioritize your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    Comes with a mobile version too, and with an Android app.

  • I swear by RTM — the Gmail sidebar in particular is my amazing. I’m in Gmail all day long so it’s incredibly handy to have all my tasks right there next to my email (you can even associate emails with tasks which is very handy for follow up reminders, etc). As others have said — RTM can be as simple or as complicate as you want it to be. The iPhone (and soon to be iPad) app is outstanding. I rely on the push notification reminders to tell me 15 minutes before and then at the beginning of my tasks. Incredibly helpful. Even if you haven’t opened the app to sync new tasks (from the web for example) the badge count will be up to date and the push notification reminders will push the new reminders even without having synced the new tasks to the app itself (thank Apple for not allowing new tasks to sync in the background like they do on Android). I sound like I work for them, but I really can’t say enough good things about them. Well worth the $25.

  • I really like RTM and have been using it for years (as a paid pro account).
    Since getting an Android phone, I’ve been using it even more.

    That said, it’s lacking one feature which is slowly driving me mad more and more – almost to the point of switching. That feature is subtasks. Yes I could just create a separate list – but that means a lot of lists. Or I could do something complicated with tags etc. I would just love for subtasks to become a feature though.