Remember the Milk ROCKS!

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Strongback Consulting

I’ve just set up an account with Remember The Milk. This is a free web site that helps you organize your to-do list, share with friends and family, and integrate with other services. RTM publishes your to-do list in an iCalendar format, which means you can integrate with Google Calendar, Outlook, and yes Lotus Notes.

Now, I’ve used to-do lists of all sorts. I’m a student of the Franklin-Covey products, and maintained one of those journals for years. Then I switched to just using electronic lists. I’ve used Outlook, Lotus Notes, Blackberry, Palm, Google gadgets, and even my own custom applications. A few months ago I started using a small paper moleskine journal. Some people call it a graphite PDA. If paper crashes, you just pick it back up. It needs no batteries, or electricity, and you edit your list while your’re flying without turning it off for take off.

So, while I still like my moleskine, I think I’m going to like RTM. Here is why. There are a few principles that make a list a good list. Your to-do list should derive from your short and long term goals. Those in turn should derive from your core values. This is classic Covey principles. A to-do list should not just be a list of house chores (how boring).

  • Tasks should be categorized.
  • Tasks should have hard, fixed dates. If tasks are derived from goals then so should your goals, otherwise they are just wishlists.
  • Tasks should be prioritized.
  • Tasks should be sortable.

The first and last item are what makes electronic lists better than paper. With RTM, you can sort them by date, by priority, or by tag. On RTM, a task can have multiple tags (which are like categories, or labels as Google calls them). Being able to print them out in the order you need them for the day helps me get over any electronic cons. RTM will also do reminders. It will email you, or IM you (via AIM, MSN, Yahoo, or Google Talk). It can even SMS you on your phone.

I have my account set up with my Google calendar, Google Talk, and gmail, and I am very impressed. No other system does as good of a job at sorting, prioritizing and integrating as RTM. Best of all…its free. Gotta love it.

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