Discuss all things Remember The Milk.

How I use RTM for GTD and Managing Projects

jeffrey.smith says:
I've been wrestling with a way to manage projects using RTM. Using tags, naming and smart lists, I have cobbled together something that seems to be working for me. I thought I'd share.

In designing my approach, I had a few goals, mostly based around the fact that I use Getting Things Done (GTD) to manage my work:

-I need a way to see all of my projects in a single view so that I could do my weekly project review.
-I need a way to see items within a given project so that I can focus on that project when I need to.
-I need a way to see my “next actions” by context (@home, @work, etc.).

So here’s what I do.

1. I enter project titles as individual tasks, preface them with two dashes “--“ and label them with the tag, “project”. The dashes let the projects stand out from “regular” tasks in a list, and usually let them sort to the top of a list.

2. For each project, I then create a tag with the “P-“ prefix (to denote project). For example, for my “Revise Budget” project , I have a tag called “p-revisebudget.”

3. I have a set of tags for each context I use in GTD. For instance, I have “@home” for things I do at home, “@mac” for things I need to do on my Mac at home, “@errands” for things I need to do while I am out, etc.

4. Then, when I create a task, I tag it with both the context and the “p-dash” project. For example, my task “Get last year’s budget from the server” gets the tags “@pc” and “p-revisebudget.”

To give me the views I need, I’ve created five different types of lists:

1. I have lists that correspond to each of the high-level goals I’ve set for myself for the year. (David Allen would call these the “10,000ft view” goals, for those that follow GTD.) I have lists for my job, for my photography, the podcast I do every two weeks, etc.

2. I have a set of Smart Lists for each “context” so I can see them at a glance. I have smart lists for “@pc,” “@home,” etc.

3. I have a Smart List called “[Projects]” that is based on the query “tag:project”. I can now see all projects in a single view for my weekly review.

4. To help maintain the integrity of my tagging, I have a Smart List called “2Tag” based on the query “isTagged:false” that shows me all of the tasks I have yet to add tags to.

5. To help make sure I’m using the location field, I have another Smart List called “2Locate.” It shows all of the tasks that should have locations but do not. Items tagged “@calls” or “@web” and such can be done almost anywhere, so locations are not necessary. Project names don’t need a location, either, so the query I use here is a bit more complicated:

isLocated:false NOT (tag:project OR tag:@web OR tag:@calls OR tag:someday OR tag:@waitingfor)

Having used this system a little while now, it seems to work quite well. I get the views I need, and even have a decent way to group and manage tasks as parts of projects. I hope this ends up helping one or two of you out there.
Posted at 8:17am on December 12, 2006
cozmokrmr says:
So you esentially put everything into one list, and through the tagging you view it via these searchs. Is that right?

I'm trying to figure out the best way to apply GTD to this...RTM is awesome. Great use of it.
Posted 17 years ago
jeffrey.smith says:
Not quite. I actually have 13 lists in addition to the Inbox and Sent lists. Each of these lists are different focus areas for me. One is for work stuff, another for my photography, another for "Family," "Health," etc. I like keeping my tasks in these smaller groups; one large list would be unweildy.

However, you are right that I use tags to manage different grouping and views. And I expect that these views will cut across lists. "@Calls" is a Smart List, and might pull items from my Family list, Work list and others.

Make sense?
Posted 17 years ago
erik says:
I take the "one list" approach but then NEVER use the list itself for doing anything (in fact to save space on the screen, the only lists I have are inbox and sent) . I use smartlists for all views of my tasks. I have several main tags like "Work" and "Home" that are used in addition to specific work projects like "TPS Report". And then of course I have context tags like "@calls", "@waiting", etc.

It definitely adds a bit of up front work by making me tag everything with multiple tags, but I believe this provides the ultimate flexibility for ways of organizing now and that I haven't even thought of needing yet. Besides if you were trying to build a personal system wouldn't you use the SMARTList instead of the plain old list? :)

One caveat to the "one-list" approach, you can't share a smartlist, so if you are collaborating with your RTM tasks, you would still want true lists.

Great insight into your system Jeffrey.
Posted 17 years ago
geef says:
Why don't you use any spaces? e.g. “p-revisebudget.”
Posted 16 years ago
fabien.meurillon says:
Great system, i think i'll try to use it my way soon. Thank you for sharing it.
But isn't the location redundant with contexts like @home, @work, etc... ?
Posted 16 years ago
crystal.mckenzie says:
re: geef --- I bet I know why there's no spaces in those tags... it makes for a confusing tag cloud when there's spaces. I had spaces in my tags for only a moment before I realized I'd rather use underscores, or drop them altogether when compactness is more important.

The real reason I'm writing here is to thank erik for saying this: "One caveat to the "one-list" approach, you can't share a smartlist, so if you are collaborating with your RTM tasks, you would still want true lists."

I think I've come up with a solution that really looks like it will work for me, and erik's statement guided its development.

My four real lists are: I_gotta, I_wanna, WE_gotta, WE_wanna, where "WE_" means me and my husband (who I'm soon going to bring onto the Milk Train). I am treating these as if they're mutually exclusive: if it benefits both of us, it's a WE task, even if logically it would be me that would do it. Both WE_ lists are shared. But these lists are not really meant for human consumption -- let the SmartLists and Tag searches do all the work!!

All of the Saved SmartLists draw from the "_gotta" Real Lists. The "_wanna" stuff is best viewed en masse, I think, because "I_wanna" is all about fun stuff for me, and the "WE_wanna" is a mix of fun stuff to do together, and home-related stuff we might not be able to afford yet (but have fun dreaming about). In a sense, "I_" vs "WE_" is almost a kind of context, now that I think about it!

I have four SmartLists:

..Today.@work - for stuff I've gotta do because I am expected to do it (even if it might be physically "@home" where I'm doing it -- I'm a grad student). "Today" actually means dueBefore: tomorrow. Work-related tasks that are marked with any priority are also listed here.

..Today..@other - for non-work stuff I've either scheduled for today, have told myself I've gotta do today-ish (either via a date, or by marking with priority), or stuff that benefits from being tackled in small doses (stuff tagged "-do15mins").

.?.@work - for work-related stuff I've gotta do someday but haven't set a date for. I try to review this often, and incorporate new tasks into the daily grind (the ..Today.@work list) by adding due dates or priorities to things.

.?..@other - for non-work-related stuff that has no due date, no priority, but needs to be done. It can be easily added to the Today list by adding a due date or a priority.

I use Contexts as physical locations or as tags indicating proximity to the appropriate tools (like @home, @campus, @anypc). I'm still tweaking a bit, and considering splitting @home into @homepc and @homenpc, so I can ensure to have a quick search for tasks that I can do that encourage me to get me away from the computer.

I use tags as topics, which are kinda like projects but a bit bigger. My +teaching tag has both the marking "project" and the "project" of preparing myself for the tutorial. These (and I'd imagine any other "sub-tasks" I come up with) are (will be) numbered or lettered in the task description (e.g. Marking tasks are M1, M2, etc.) The home-related tags help indicate what the purpose of the task is: -finances, -health, -family, -maintenance, -cleaning, etc. Somehow, it seems to be helpful to review these tasks in terms of their purpose.

I haven't been on the system long enough to tell how well it's working, but I've at least gotten to the point where I don't feel like I want to tweak it much more -- whew! I was starting to feel so pre-occupied by GTD that I wasn't Getting Things Done! That's always a danger, at least that's what Merlin Mann has led me to understand about myself.

Posted 16 years ago
erik says:
Crystal, please let us know how it goes as far as getting your S.O. to buy into the system. In my experience, that's been the biggest struggle for sharing. At one point I did have a separate list for the purpose of sharing (created after I learned I could not share a smartlist!), but I could never get it to take off.
Posted 16 years ago
mcubed says:
Great recommendations, everyone. Thanks for sharing. The trickiest thing for me to figure out is the use of "real lists." Lists in RTM add another layer to a smooth GTD design that uses a combination of tags and smart lists in much the way Jeffrey and Crystal described. That extra layer can be helpful, or it can confuse your thinking. At least, it confused me. :-)

What I'm doing currently is pretty similar to what Jeffrey and Crystal described. But I use just three "real lists," based on physical space. The reason for that is it mirrors how I think of organizing my day. I am living the car-free lifestyle and I largely work from home, except when I have meetings elsewhere. So I tend to plan my day's activities around where I'll be. My lists are "Home," "Local," and "Remote." Home, obviously, is everything I can do while at home, from work-related stuff to chores to (work and personal) communication (email, phone, etc.), and so on. "Local" is stuff I can do in what I consider my neighborhood -- anyplace that's easy to get to on foot or by bike and doesn't take a special journey where travel time is a factor. So things like groceries, dry cleaning, prescription refills, sundries, lunch or coffee with friends or colleagues in the area, etc. "Remote" is anything I have to do outside of my area, like a doctor's appointment downtown, a meeting or date or exhibition or store cross-town, etc. -- anything where I have to think about how to get there, how long it will take, whether to bike or take public transport, and what else I might be able to accomplish while I'm there or en route to & fro.

The "Home" list ends up being overwhelmingly long, but that's okay because I don't really refer to it as such. I use smart list searches by context and status tags to divide up the things I need to do in that location. It is useful for me to have the "Local" and "Remote" lists separated out because I can see disparate tasks at a glance -- tasks that might be so different from each other that they would be awkward to tag similarly. The only thing they have in common is that I can do them outside the house, either in the area or out of the area. I think it's helping me not to forget about certain things when I'm traveling to a location I don't travel to in the course of a usual day.

Anyway, I'm sure it will change over time, but it's working pretty well for me right now.

Cheers, Michael
Posted 16 years ago
jasiu says:
great system, i will try with new year!
Posted 16 years ago
sean.merrill says:
I started to implement Jeffrey's suggestions, then [I think] I just stumbled onto a different approach that might work better (at least for me)... Instead of using tags to mark the context, I've created a new list for each action context (@Home, @Office, @Computer (online), @Computer (offlice), etc). Then I'm going to try using tags to link each action to its project (if there is one)

If this works, I think it will work better for me because I've been able to sync RTM to my blackberry, and on my blackberry app "Tasks", the RTM "Lists" map onto the Category Filters...

If it fails, I'll post again to let you know

Posted 15 years ago
(closed account) says:
Hi folks, another GTD user implementing RTM. Great input here.
Posted 15 years ago
webbj74 says:
I'm playing with GTD and RTM using the following lists: Calendar, Next Actions, Projects, Someday/Maybe, Waiting On; plus two smart-lists: Agenda, Open Loops. The calendar serves as both a calendar and a tickler archive (I really like the repeat-after functionality); if the task has a date or happens repeatedly it goes here. The Agenda shows me my active "to-dos" and scheduled appointments-- this is my daily review list. The Open Loops list shows me everything that's not done which is not an appointment (basically any potentially actionable item)-- I review this weekly. I use the inbox to collect my brain-dump, and clear this to empty as soon as possible. In Waiting For I collect not just actions where I'm waiting on someone else, but actions for projects which require some "next action" first. In the Project list I assign everything a priority so that the item is highlighted. This helps keep the project parent-item distinct from actions related to that project

The Agenda smart-list:
status:incomplete (dueWithin:"3 weeks" OR due:never) NOT (list:Projects OR list:"Someday/Maybe" OR list:"Waiting On")

The Open-Loops smartlist:
status:incomplete NOT list:Calendar

I use tags for context: @work, @home, @computer, @phone, @store, plus per-project tags. If I have something where the context is a person I use _whomever as a tag (sorts it after @tags and before regulartags).

So far this system is working fairly well for me. Open Loops makes sure that nothing gets lost in the shuffle, and also is useful for making sure that I don't have any tasks duplicated. The Agenda collects next-actions and calendar items together. Tag-cloud can always pull up everything related to a particular task or context.
Posted 15 years ago
richgoodman says:
The consideration of importing to do tasks over to my Motorola 9q (WIndows Mobile) it makes sense to have the CONTEXTS as lists in RTM like sean.merrill suggests.

What is everyone's opinion on this?
Posted 15 years ago
stocker says:
I'd like to thank all that shared their GTD toughts, experiences or hacks in this forum. I've taken some time to test them myself, and I've settled for using lists for contexts and tags for everything else. The rationale is that I'm not bound to turn a call task into a read one, nor any other context switching. If I do so, it's rare. Since tags are indeed easier to manipulate (edit/search) I use them to support the Project notion as well as the next, someday and waiting status of a task. Then the magic is left for smart lists. I've assembled a few tips, and use them to detect mistagged tasks, as well as a tickler and a smart next actions list.

I've made a blog post about my thoughts, which includes all smart searches I use, and other configurations. Read it here:

Posted 15 years ago
coachdan007 says:
Thanks for all the insights. They are all and each very helpful. I am just ramping up my RTM. I used the "advanced gtd" blog post, but I am quickly finding using lists for projects to be unwieldy, at best.

I am looking for alternatives. Contexts as tabs and projects as tags seems to have a more positive consensus.

If there are other thread discussions you can point out, please do so.

Thank again folks.

Posted 15 years ago
marc.garcia.marti says:
Hello guys,

after trying the one single list approach I must say I failed misserably :( not only this approach is guilty though, I also didn't quite ever manage to do a comprehensive weekly review. I ended up with an amorphous unwieldy list of zombie tasks.

I'm sort of desperate now and I wish I found the tutorial that most people (I for instance) look for for ages in the Forum. I have installed so far 5 GG scripts but still haven't got around to settling on a certain implementation. Could somebody please summarize a working environment (I know it depends on the person and stuff) that allows you to do a smooth weekly review? Heeelp :(

Posted 14 years ago
marc.garcia.marti says:
BTW what made me fail miserably is the absence of project support (at least out of the box). I need to define a task that belongs to a subproject (every outcome that needs of more than 2 steps), this subproject belongs to a project and it might eventually depend on a major project... of course, this project is part of some area of responsability (or above 20000ft)... At least, to my opinion, RTM fails to implement (out of the box) this approach but on the other hand I think it is very promissing.


Thanks guys!!!
Posted 14 years ago
(closed account) says:
I adore this forum, I've gotten such great ideas from here. I just wrote about my approach... you can see it with screenshots, etc... at

Let me know what you think.

Posted 14 years ago
mjwood0 says:
These discussions are great. While I've only been at it a week or so, I find that RTM is working great for me. I really feel that these forums are the key to my success thus far as they show insight into how different people implement their workflows.

For me, I need to separate work and home. I don't care what David Allen says, if I didn't, I'd go nuts! Simply too much to do at work and I don't want to bring that home with me or even look at those items when I'm not here. Therefore, I've broken tasks down as follows:

1. Lists. I use actual lists for Work, Home and DigitalNotions (my webpage - Thanks to the wonderful GreaseMonkey script A Bit Better RTM -, I can show my task list on the left side of the screen instead of the tabs. It also allows me to hide lists I don't want shown.

2. Contexts. I have a context for @phone, @workdesk, @homedesk, @yard, @vehicle. Pretty standard. Every task gets one and only one context.

3. Projects. Since I work up to 6 different work projects at a time, I find it imperative that all tasks fall into a project. For those tasks that don't quite fit a formal project, I have -Household and -Workmisc as the catch all projects for all those one shot tasks.

So, with all my tasks sorted, I created the following smart lists to make my life easier.

.Bills <-- no one likes them, we all have them.
.ToDo <-- everything BUT work.
_WorkWeeklyReport <-- list of every work task done in the last week

Keywords. I also tag items that will take less than 15 minutes as "quick" and tag next actions as "na". In this way, I can set my smart list for .ToDo as all items either past due, due today or tagged with "na". Works well so far.

I also have goals set that I will assign tasks as necessary.

I realize the naming isn't optimal, but I wanted them to show up in a certain order and be grouped by Work and non-Work.

My day is pretty simple. Add tasks to the Inbox as they are brought to my attention. Periodically, I review what's in the inbox and assign one context, one project, keywords and goals as needed and move the task to the appropriate physical list (work, personal, digitalnotions). I work out of either the .ToDo list or the .WorkToDo list. If I complete what's there, I go to the physical list or click on the project in the tag cloud and tag another item with the "na" (next action) tag.

It's not perfect, but works pretty darn good thus far!
Posted 14 years ago
grant says:
This thread has been amazingly helpful. I patched together my way of integrating projects, RTM and GTD (most of which was taken from Jeffrey's methodology.). I initially started writing it for myself, but I figured somebody else might get some use out of the system I have set up:

Location Tags:

@keitai - anything I can do on my mobile phone, which is with me 99 percent of the time.
@home - anything to be done at home
@computer - anything that can be done on a computer (whether at work or at my own home computer)
@outside - Anywhere that is not at work or at home!


Home Maintenance - Any type of task to be done at home

Corrospondence - Any type of interactions with other people (emails, setting up dates to meet people, replying to a phonecall, sending a postcard, etc)

Finances - Anything that includes getting or giving money

Work - Any task that is given to me from work (again, I know it's been echoed from David Allen that this shouldn't be its own distinct category, but when I get home, I don't even want to think about what I have to do tomorrow).

Learning - Anything that involves me acquiring new information (from looking up a new restaruant to researching a better footing techniques for bouldering, to remind myself to practice playing a new Beatles song on my acoustic guitar.)

Japanese - anything to do with my Japanese studies.

Grocery List - Stuff I need to go out and buy

Community - For the greater good of mankind! (donating books, starting an English club (I live in Japan), etc.

Fun - Pure excitement and joy. Vacations, reminders about upcoming concerts, and whatever other seretonin-inducing activities that could be included)

Tickler - Future projects!

Waiting - straight out of GTD

Smartlists: (Pretty much Jeffrey's setup)

Projects - The exact same setup as Jeffrey's
Tag Me - The same as Jeffreys, but I'm excluding anything in my Tickler list.

notag list can EXCLUDE anything in the Tickler folder

Project handling: the same as Jeffrey's. Just re-written so it's more clear for myself.

-each project name gets its own task: --projectname
-this gets the tag "project"
-it gets put in its respective list

-each item of a project gets a tag p-projectname

As areas of my life acheive and lose focus, certain lists will be added or deleted. For example, if I decide to get very heavily into photgraphy, I will make it its own list instead of just throwing it into "fun". Conversely, If I decide I no longer need to put as much emphasis into my Japanese studies, I will delete the Japanese list and simply put those tasks into "Learning" (I figure everybody should keep learning throughout their entire lives, so this will be a list that will never be deleted).
Posted 14 years ago
grant says:
I apologize for posting again: after an hour or so of though, I have refined what I think will work best; there are a few tweaks here and there. If you have just read through my previous post and just realized you have to pretty much read it AGAIN, I sincerely apologize. (RTK doesn't allow its users to delete their own posts!!)

----Refined Version-----

Location Tags:

@keitai - anything I can do on my mobile phone, which is with me 99 percent of the time.
@home - anything to be done at home
@computer - anything that can be done on a computer (whether at work or at my own home computer)
@outside - Anywhere that is not at work or at home!


Home Maintenance - Reminders to vacuum, clean out fridge, etc.

Corrospondence - Anything that requires me to interact with somebody.

Finances - Anything that includes getting or giving money

Work - Any task that is given to me from work (again, I know it's been echoed from David Allen that this shouldn't be its own distinct category, but when I get home, I don't even want to think about what I have to do tomorrow).

Learning - Anything that involves me acquiring new information (from looking up a new restaruant to researching a better footing techniques for bouldering, to remind myself to practice playing a new Beatles song on my acoustic guitar.)

Japanese - anything to do with my Japanese studies.

Shopping - Stuff I need to buy. Everything is tagged with where I should buy that item (grocery store,, hardware store, etc).

Errands - Anything that has to be done from outside of my apartment or work that has no involvement with the other lists.. examples: going to the international center to donate books, having to visit the DMV and update my drivers license, going to the travel agency to book a flight to Korea, etc.

Tickler - Future projects!

Waiting - straight out of GTD

Smartlists: (Pretty much Jeffrey's setup)

Projects - The exact same setup as Jeffrey's
Tag Me - The same as Jeffreys, but I'm excluding anything in my Tickler list.

notag list can EXCLUDE anything in the Tickler folder

Project handling: the same as Jeffrey's, though he didn't mention where he includes his tasks that just include his project lists. After a bit of thinking, I've reasoned that most projects are going to span across more than one of the categories I have defined for myself. For example, if I have the project of "going to korea", this is going to involve researching exactly where I want to go (list: learning), going to the travel agency to book my flight (list: errands) and making a phonecall to confirm that my hotel reservations have gone through (list: Corrospondence). So I have decided to leave the names of all the projects in the Inbox; they are to diverse to be placed in any one list, and it isn't worth creating a list just for the names of projects.
-each project name gets its own task: --projectname
-this gets the tag "project"
-it gets put in the Inbox

-each item of a project gets a tag p-projectname

Posted 14 years ago
yann.dautais says:
Great stuff.
I just have one question for you guys: How to relate a task to an e-mail? Somehow, there is redundancy between tags I create in Gmail (GTD ones + and project type) and tags in RTM. I have not found a neat way to avoid duplicating work here.
Posted 14 years ago
mehardin says:
I just copy the url from a particular gmail message, and insert it in the url field of the task. I don't do much labeling of email.

The rtm gmail extension is supposed to let you create a task from an email and it links them, but I've found this feature is broken more often than it's working, so it's easier to just paste a link for the email's url.
Posted 14 years ago
kelsangatisha says:
RTM allows you to email yourself a task, and the body of the email is stored in the "notes" section of the task. This effectively allows you to put emails into your task list. Instructions are here:

One potential problem is that **you have to add 3 hyphens above the forwarded email**

As the help says: "Notes can be included at the bottom of the email, but need to be separated with '---' (three hyphens)."

WHat this means is that even if you try to add RTM tags (like priority) in the email, if you forget those 3 hyphens, RTM will not recognize the RTM tags when it gets the email.
Posted 14 years ago
(closed account) says:
Hi all. So, this is my first post here and I'm quite excited! I just finished a post on my blog about how I leverage the GTD methodology by integrating Remember the Milk with Evernote. I hope you enjoy!
Posted 13 years ago
lcalvin says:
I use evernote as well and all the tips posted here are really insightful. Also, if Imay just suggest a website that helped me worked around my confusion with GTD in the beginning. It's called

This site really taught me so much on accountability and I really felt the concern in helping me. For a time, I had difficulty grasping the idea surrounding GTD and I could say the site
made me work out the confusion. So for some people who are going through the same dillema of complexity of GTD, the website would really be worth checking out.

Hope this helps.
Posted 13 years ago
austin.bowers says:
doesnt matter
Posted 12 years ago
xxjohnboy says:
Hi all,

This is a copy and paste of my word document. Hopefully the formatting works. Obviously no screen shots here either. It is a comprehensive method for using GTD with RTM. The only weakness which can be fixed using the methods above is that my projects were not linked to tasks and therefore weekly reviews were a pain. Using the P-project tag I believe this problem will be solved. It doesn't quite solve the sub project problem but gets one step closer.
The other thing I am considering doing is adding the time estimate to the task so that I can spend a day pruning my Next Actions so that the list becomes more manageable.

• Physical In Tray
• Entered on my Phone in “IN BASKET”
• My Email inbox

• Gmail - Emails that there is any chance I may want to view later are archived. Anything I know is not needed is deleted. I don’t copy much from gmail to my computer as the gmail search function works pretty well anyway. Gmail Tags currently are
o Bills,Invoices,Receipts,Tickets 2010-11 and Before (for tax year)
o Bills,Invoices,Receipts,Tickets 2011-12 (For tax year)
o Friends and Family (Emails from friends and family)
o Funny or Interesting and Random (Jokes and other things I might forward to friends – maybe dirty)
o Funny or Interesting and Random – Clean (Jokes and other things again but ok for kids)
o Important Documents (If I happen to remember to label these it helps)
o Tax 2010-11 and Before (For anything Tax related including receipts and invoices)
o Tax 2011-12
• Computer Files
o A to Z
o Use alot of sub-headings instead of sub directories. This makes files much easier to find. E.g.
 E.g. Music – Guitar – Learning

instead of

 Music
• Guitar
o Learning
• Physical Files
o Same as computer files


• List in RTM. This contains a list of all current projects. Notes sections contains criteria for project completion. URL is used to link to support docs in google docs.

• List in RTM. This contains a list of all projects or tasks that I might like to do in the future

• List in RTM. This contains a list of all projects, tasks or items that I am waiting for which I have delegated.

• Lists on Remember the Milk. Organised by context.

• Mozilla Sunbird is my calendar. It gets populated by iCal feed from tasks in rtm with a specific due date. (use iCalender(events)) . The lists that are on my calendar are “Birthdays”, “Events”, “Important Events Needing Preparation”, and “Next Actions (any date)”.

• Lists such as checklists, books to read, music to listen to, movies to watch etc. The list name is entered with the tag –otherlist . A url is added that links to page in google docs that is set up for this list.

• Any project support material or lists or anything relating to tasks is added into a google doc and the link is added to the task.

• This is a plug in for Mozilla or Chrome that improves the RTM interface so you can drag and drop etc. For me it works best in Chrome. I don’t need the drag and drop, but the neat list down the side is better than the default rtm layout. I now use chrome for the sole purpose of RTM and Google Docs and other browsers for everything else.

• This gives you a list on your desktop which you can tailor.


TAGS (Used for events/birthdays or context e.g. @computer, @outandabout, @shopping, @agenda)
Once a task is given one or more contexts it becomes a next action. Without a context, the item is not a Next Action.

• Birthday – For birthdays, mothers and fathers day
• -otherlist - For checklists or lists such as “Books to read” Music to listen to” “Holiday packing List”
• Event - For any events that are not actions that are not already tagged “Birthday”
o Some events I give a priority of 1 if they need plenty of preparation time – such as a uni exam which I need to study for.
• @agenda – For any task that requires people and meetings
• @anywhere – For tasks I can do from any location with at most just a pen and paper
• @calls – For any calls I need to make
• @computer – For any tasks that can be done at a computer
• @bribie – For any task that can be done at while at the folks place in Bribie
• @memotoself – For personal reminders such as “Remember 80/20 rule” etc that are not actually actions
• @outandabout – For any task that requires going out and about
• @readreview – For anything I want to read or review as soon as possible
• @shopping – For anything that needs to be bought while out shopping
• @sunnybank – For any tasks that can be done from Lana’s place in Sunnybank Hills
• Project – This is a current project which involves multiple tasks. Current or not
• SomedayMaybe – Is a task or project that I might like to do in the future. Used to move projects to someday maybe list as well as next actions
• Waiting - This is a task, project or item that I am waiting for
• Tickler – This is a reminder for a task that needs more time before action can be taken. For example – if I have to make a call at a non specific time in the future, but not within the next 3 days, I could use the tickler tag to add the task with due date of 3 days. This stops the task from showing on my calendar as a time specific task. When I see a tickler tag on one of today’s tasks, I can delete the tag and it becomes a normal next action.

(“@something” lists are used for contexts)

• -otherlist
o tag:-otherlist AND NOT tag:somedaymaybe
• @agenda
o tag:@agenda AND NOT tag:somedaymaybe AND NOT dueAfter:tomorrow
o (etc for all contexts)
 tag:@something AND NOT tag:somedaymaybe
• Birthdays
o tag:birthday AND NOT tag:somedaymaybe
• Current Projects
o tag:project AND NOT tag:SomedayMaybe AND NOT dueAfter:tomorrow
• Events
o tag:event AND NOT priority:1
• Important Events Needing Preparation
o tag:event AND priority:1 AND NOT tag:somedaymaybe
• Next Actions (isRepeating:false)
o (tag:@shopping OR tag:@bribie OR tag:@sunnybank OR tag:@computer OR tag:@outandabout OR tag:@agenda OR tag:@readreview OR tag:@calls OR tag:@anywhere OR tag:@memotoself) AND NOT tag:somedaymaybe AND isRepeating:false AND NOT tag:tickler
o This list in only used to export tasks to my Calendar. I do not use this list within RTM itself
• Next Actions (any date)
o (tag:@shopping OR tag:@bribie OR tag:@sunnybank OR tag:@computer OR tag:@outandabout OR tag:@agenda OR tag:@readreview OR tag:@calls OR tag:@anywhere OR tag:@memotoself) AND NOT tag:somedaymaybe
• Next Actions (Today and Tomorrow)
o (NOT dueAfter:tomorrow) AND (tag:@shopping OR tag:@bribie OR tag:@sunnybank OR tag:@computer OR tag:@outandabout OR tag:@agenda OR tag:@readreview OR tag:@calls OR tag:@anywhere OR tag:@memotoself) AND NOT tag:somedaymaybe
• Someday Maybe
o tag:SomedayMaybe AND NOT due:01/01/2001
• Unprocessed
o isTagged:false
• Waiting For
o tag:Waiting


Shows project with Google Docs Project Support file in URL. The notepad symbol means I have added a note to the task. I use the note field to add in Project completion criteria.

Google Docs

Mozilla Sunbird

• Set up RTM with smart add
• To enter dates in a task name but not actually have a due date for the task you can use the format of 16JAN or 5FEB and this is not picked up by smart add.
• You can use priority 1 tasks as reminders. They work well as they sit at the top of your lists if you set RTM up this way.
• Use one browser as a dedicated RTM browser. It makes it easier to get to. I use chrome. My startup page is set to two separate RTM Tabs
• Don’t waste your time on the google calendar and the yahoo calendar. They are glitchy. I have sunbird set to open on startup.
• The search feature in RTM is awesome once you start getting lots of tasks on there
Posted 12 years ago
xxjohnboy says:
Well it looks a bit ugly, but I can't be spending time re formatting the whole thing. I believe it will still be very useful to some of you.

I just want to emphasise a couple of things. Linking to a google doc from RTM is great, so much easier then having project support materials in a file on a computer.
Secondly, the tickler tag is great for uncluterring the calendar.

Posted 12 years ago
xxjohnboy says:

I have uploaded my original document here for public viewing

The formatting is alot better. Hope you like it.
Posted 12 years ago
debellator says:
Thanks for uploading that! Found it really useful. I have a question though. I'll try make an example.

I would like to separate tasks that i have to due a specific date (ex. deliver a birthday present) and tasks that i have to due before a specific date. (ex. buy the birthday present)

Lets say i have a reading assignment due in one week. It can be done in anytime before this date, but has to be done within the due date. I don't want to schedule this task for a specific date, just be reminded of the due date.

How would this fit in to your system without cluttering the calendar? Which lists would these be added to and how?

Hope this was understandable.
Posted 12 years ago
xxjohnboy says:
Hi Debellator,

What I would do is add a task with the "event" tag for the date the task is due.

i.e. Reading Assignment Due #event ^1 week

Glad I helped you.
Posted 12 years ago
rawearth says:
A big help for me, thanks everyone.
Posted 12 years ago
azclaire says:
I've been using RTM for a couple years - I started on a Blackberry which, at least at that time, didn't support multiple tags. I've ended up with lots of real lists and very few tags. Now that I have an iPhone I can use a lot more RTM features. So, I knew I needed to start from scratch and I came to the forums to see how other people managed their tasks. After reading this and a few other threads, I've ordered a GTD book so I can understand what you were all talking about!

I've learned a lot about GTD from inference and I think I understand enough to create my new platform. I've picked through all the different approaches; I've decided I need to use a bit from all of them.

So, all of you are responsible for my new beginning and I thank you!
Posted 11 years ago
ben.bland says:
Day One. Here goes...
Posted 11 years ago
radiance7008 says:
How do you know which projects are missing a next action?
Posted 9 years ago
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