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In the absence of listcontains syntax - grouping task lists for consolidation

mark.mckinlay Pro says:

I follow a pretty disciplined GTD procedure of tagging with Status and Context, everything in my RTM file. I push to the Inbox and then file according to various lists and tag at the same time as part of my review, that way, for brainstorming and focusing on a particular project, I simply view a Project List for a complete set of tasks.

The problem I have, is it would be great to consolidate multiple"lists", for example, Work or Personal. I regularly update my "Project" lists but have a basic principle of separating Work and Personal lists through the context of "wkP-x" for work related projects and "psP-x" for personal projects.

Now, whilst tagcontains syntax is phenomenal, we do not have a listcontains syntax to make life even easier.

I have therefore produced an Excel file that allows me to....

1. Copy a vertical list of Project Names into a column

2. Use the Excel "concatenate" function to correctly structure the correct syntax for generating a smartlist according to the list in the previous step (i.e. my variable Work Projects)

3. The inverse of step 2 is used to generate a "catch all" list where NOT is inserted against the list (i.e. in theory, now my Personal Lists, regardless of name).

4. A quick manual "trim" of the lists and then a simply copy/paste from Excel to RTM gives me the correct syntax for a new smartlist.

I am unable to upload a sample of the Excel file but should someone wish a copy, PM me but in essence imagine....

- A list of all your desired lists grouped in Column A between A2:A17

- consolidate this list in a single cell (B18) in the correct syntax for RTM using the formula << (=CONCATENATE("(list:""",A2,""" OR list:","""",A3,""" OR list:","""",A4,""" OR list:","""",A5,""" OR list:","""",A6,""" OR list:","""",A7,""" OR list:","""",A8,""" OR list:","""",A9,""" OR list:","""",A10,""" OR list:","""",A11,""" OR list:","""",A12,""" OR list:","""",A13,""" OR list:","""",A14,""" OR list:","""",A15,""" OR list:","""",A16,""" OR list:","""",A17,""")") >>

- Apply your date context to the beginning of the formula, e.g. << =CONCATENATE("dueWithin:""4 weeks of today"""," AND ",$B$18) >>

- Create your inverse list as a "Catch All" using the formula << =CONCATENATE("dueWithin:""4 weeks of today"""," AND NOT ",$B$18) >>

Of course, I now have a monthly repeating task that reminds me to update my smartlists that are also available in my works laptop Outlook account using an iCal feed against these smartlists but are not actually stored in the corporate exchange server.

Posted at 9:37pm on August 13, 2013

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