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Anyone using RTM for GTD and CRM?

derek.conjar says:

RTM is working fine with Gmail again, so I'm taking another shot at using RTM for all of my tasks and projects.

This question goes out for anyone that uses a GTD system in RTM to manage sales, service, and marketing tasks.

How is your system set up? How do you label contexts, projects, statuses, etc.? What lists and smart lists do you use?

I've tried using priorities as status-triggers, but it isn't compatible with RTM for Gmail, which is basically my home. I use Gmail to manage contacts and e-mails, gCal (synced with iCal and iPhone) to manage events and ticklers, and I want to use RTM for projects and tasks.

Any insight is greatly appreciated...

Posted at 12:18am on May 4, 2008

bzpilman says:

In my experience, trying to have RTM handle too many levels creates too much micromanagement. I've long given up trying to have everything there, as it's not (and shouldn't be) the best tool for everything.

The RTM/Gmail integration is still too strict from what I found, it doesn't have the flexibilty it would take for a full flegded CRM to be based on it. It does small things, but untill it gives the freedom to attach and detach multiple mails to a task and multiple tasks to a mail (and in an easy, dynamic, effortless way), doesn't forces a workflow of Reply > Complete Task, and maybe offer easier switching of lists, I'm not even considering. What I've set up for now, is the mail I want to relate to a certain project gets labeled with that project's tag, so I have a bunch of temporary "-projectX" labels sitting on top of my label list, and I'm pretty satisfied with it for now. It probably wouldn't be very adequate for CRM though, which is why I use Zoho (free account) for my work with sales. Sometimes tasks from sales go into RTM, but only whet they deviate from the standard tasks I have for Zoho.

So I have Zoho for SFA (it's not proper CRM, who would I be fooling ? ;D); RTM for tasks and projects (though I take a very project and next action heavy approach) mostly consulted during weekly reviews and while I'm in PC contexts; weekly printed PocketMods for daily on the go, runway, down to earth tasks; OpenOffice Draw for goals.

So, sorry for the negative advice, you could very well develop a great system covering all your tasks in RTM (and I'd love to know about it), but I just think it's not worth the effort when working with multiple applications for multiple purposes can be easy when you choose the right ones.

Best regards,
Bern

Posted 6 years ago

derek.conjar says:

Thanks a lot for your help, Bern.

It probably would be ideal if I used Gmail to manage customer relationships and handle projects and tasks through RTM. The only issue is that Gmail is blocked by the network at my part-time job.

Right now I have all of my contacts organized inside Gmail. I use GTDinbox to manage e-mails by project, status, and reference. I also have the RTM for Gmail plugin.

In RTM, I have 7 custom lists:

{Actions}
{Billing}
{Goals}
{Projects}
{Someday}
{Waiting}
{Wish List}

I have several smart lists:

- "!" smart-list to sanity-check for untagged tasks.
- Contexts: @cell, @go (errand), @sf (work), @tu (school), etc.
- The final smart-list is "Next" for next actions.

The downside really is the excessive tagging. I have to manage the progression of a ton of projects, so my task cloud is kind of difficult to manage. I think RTM is an incredible to-do list, but it's not as good at project management and GTD as Vitalist. I think it comes in 2nd place for most GTDers, but a lot of people stick with RTM because they don't want to pay Vitalist's price tag.

I'd like to hear how people handle their tasks GTD-style in RTM. I've seen a lot of different methods, but they all seem overcomplicated. I'm leaning towards Vitalist because it masters the GTD workflow, but it's $10/month and lacks some key features that RTM has. What's your opinion?

Posted 6 years ago

bzpilman says:

I'm really reaching a trusted yet simple system with RTM. As I said, taking a project and na heavy approach.
The thing is each project gets one entry and one entry only, unless it's big and require subprojects (which, in practice, still means each project/subproject only has one entry, but in this case they're related). The entry follows the following format and rules:

action !VERB-outcome

e.g.
take trash out !CLEAN house
get money from atm !GET milk

So first comes the next action, and then the project outcome. When I already want to delimit the next steps (usually there's no need, as told by GTD for most non-complex projects), I create, for that entry, a note titled "next", and write each next step in sucession, one per line, in that note.

Also, an active next-action/project pair gets priority 2, a Waiting For project (on hold), gets priority 3 (and the person/event I'm waiting on gets written before the "!"), a someday/maybe gets priority:none, and a weekly priority project gets priority:1 (at each weekly review I choose my weekly priorities).

My most used smartlist is simply: "priority:1" (which I call "mit", most important tasks)

There are some more tricks but I risk making my post unreadable here, so these are the basics of my system, and it has been working wonders so far. Because of it's very nature, it doesn't get along too well with the Gmail integration as it is, and that's why I said some improvements in the Gmail extension are needed before I can consider using it more extensively.

p.s. You say you have a hard time managing your tag cloud, peharps you have yet to look at this topic ?

Posted 6 years ago

derek.conjar says:

Thanks again!

I like the idea of using action !VERB-outcome for each of the actions and setting the timeframe by priority. I may do the same and just separate the timeframe by lists so that it's usable in Gmail.

I've decided to definitely opt out of Vitalist, mostly because it looks like they've completely forgotten about their customers.

I may decide to use GTDinbox for GTD, GCal for appointments, Gmail for a datacenter/CRM, and RTM for dated and/or timed tasks. This could work out because I can access all of these without leaving Gmail, or even having to open a new tab. Another option is to do the same, but use RTM for GTD and GTDinbox just for e-mail management.

In RTM, I think tagging gets overcomplicated when you have a lot of pending projects in several different fields. My task cloud is well organized, but HUGE. I think the way your doing it might be a lot easier. This is what I'm currently doing:

- I have GTDinbox installed to turn Gmail into a complete datacenter.

- I have the RTM plugin installed in Gmail.

- I have Jott links to Gmail, Gcal, and RTM.

- I have Gcal integrated into Gmail using Gmail Addons, which has been greatly improved.

- I still have smart lists for all timeframes, because I think it's best to keep them on separate lists (i.e. {Actions} {Goals} {Projects}, etc.

I was using priority to set next actions, but am now using a -next tag because it works in RTM for Gmail. I manually go in RTM and change my next actions to priority-1 so they move to the top of action lists and contexts. I liked Vitalist because it really mastered the GTD workflow (except for next actions). I'm may to try to implement a similar system in RTM.

I also felt like Nozbe was pretty straight forward for GTD, but it has some awful flaws. They just announced that their turning into a full-fledged company and will be making a ton of updates, so it might be getting better. I can't see myself using Toodledo. Omnifocus isn't an option until they release an iPhone app, especially since it looks like their Toodledo sync stopped working.

I guess I'll keep trying to configure RTM until I find the perfect system. I just hope I don't forget the milk in the process...

Posted 6 years ago

derek.conjar says:

On second thought, RTM is definitely off the hook!

I'm using three Greasemonkey scripts: RTM enhanced, keyboard shortcut key, and tag cloud colorizer. I think the mental "tagging" issue I was having was because the different types of projects were becoming cluttered in the task cloud and difficult to organize.

I now have sections for contexts, timeframes, and actions, and may divide the projects up into separate labels so they are more manageable. I am also using letter prefixes (i.e. t-, c-) for my labels so that they are easier to use in RTM for Gmail.

I'm also pretty happy with my filtering techniques. My context smart lists display all next actions with a particular contexts. Next actions are filtered to include items that are labeled -next or marked priority:1. Actions include items marked -action, -next, or someday/tickler tasks due within the next month. I also have a "payments" smart-list to track payments that are owed to me, and those tasks enter waiting when they are due.

I'm still working on getting it perfect. I'm hoping to have an almost perfect system by Friday. I hope that's not too cocky...

Posted 6 years ago

mrcoat says:

I like your enthusiasm derek, but I'm starting to realise how complicated this GTD thing can get.

My take on it is you can use gmail with GTDInbox for GTD, so that sort of makes RTM superfluous.

RTM can't send me SMS messages for some reason (Australia) so it makes the SMS feature on gcal a little more appealing.

All in all I'm slowly getting the hang of things but miles away from a flawless system.

Posted 6 years ago

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