I like to use RTM for two things (well, one thing but in two different ways): 1 - to remember one off tasks that I need to do, and 2 - keep up with recurring tasks (mowing the lawn, changing air/water filters, etc).
I like to see my tasks for the upcoming two weeks: " dueWithin:"2 weeks of today" ". That works well, but it doesn't show you tasks that are overdue, or tasks that have no due date. So, you can do this by: "status:incomplete and dueWithin:"2 weeks of today" or dueBefore:today or due:never"
This works well, BUT - it creates a problem with tasks that are repeated more frequently than every two weeks, like mowing the lawn, or cleaning the bathroom, or taking out the trash (for me). This is a problem for two reasons. First, you never feel like you get the task done because as soon as you finish it, it's right back on the list. And secondly, it can get confusing if you have already finished the task, but it's still on the list. "Did I check it off?... now I don't remember, maybe I didn't do it this week, ugh!"
So, to fix this, I only like to see repeating tasks 2 days in advance. "isRepeating:true AND dueWithin:"2 days of today". This will only show you repeating tasks that are due within two days of today.
BUT, now there is another problem. What about birthdays? You *do* use RTM to remind you to buy gifts, right? Well, I want to know about upcoming birthdays a month in advance so I have plenty of time to buy presents. So, you need to add " "birthday" AND dueWithin:"1 months of today" " to see any tasks with the word 'birthday' in the title that are due within the next month. (You could also do tag:birthday instead, but I don't use "birthday" tags, I just put 'birthday [name]' for birthday reminders.)
So, to put it all together:
(status:incomplete AND (dueBefore:today OR due:never)) OR (isRepeating:false AND dueWithin:"2 weeks of today") OR (isRepeating:true AND dueWithin:"2 days of today") OR ("birthday" AND dueWithin:"1 month of today")
The first set of parenthesis will show anything that is overdue (or has no due date) and is incomplete. This is to insure nothing 'falls through the cracks'.
The next set of parenthesis shows anything that is NOT repeating and due within two weeks. The third set of parenthesis shows anything that IS repeating and due withing 2 days.
And, lastly, the fourth set of parenthesis shows any birthdays that are coming up within a month.
You can easily add more stuff - like a Christmas list - by adding "OR (something here)" to the end of the search parameters. For example: " OR (christmas AND dueWithin:"1 month of today") ". You can also exclude things, such as 'work' tasks, by adding " NOT tags:work " to the end.
Posted at 10:22pm on April 30, 2012