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Buying Groceries with RTM

mehardin says:
This isn't a new idea by any stretch of the imagination, but I'd like to share how I've fine tuned it to make it work better for me.

First, I have a separate static list for groceries. My normal day to day tasks are kept in a list called -Actions if they are indeed next actions, or -Projects, or -Someday, etc. If you've looked at Getting Things Done (GTD) then you are familiar with these concepts. I prefix all my static lists with "-" so they sort before the smart lists. My grocery list is titled "-Groceries".

The next thing I did was take my smart phone to the grocery store where I do most of my shopping and create a "task" for each aisle, including the aisle number and what the signs say are contained on those aisles. These "tasks" are all tagged "aisles" and never get deleted. They simply serve as place holders. Then when I make the list of things I want to buy this trip I prepend each item with the aisle number AND A PERIOD. I don't use a period after the number on the aisle descriptions, but I do before the individual things I want to buy. This makes each item sort under its aisle header. My current list looks something like this:

02 bread and coffee
02. peanut butter
02. dinner rolls
02. coffee creamer
04 pickles, ketchup, dressing, canned veggies
04. green beans
04. corn
06 rice, soup, pasta, spaghetti sauce, canned meat...
06. kraft macaroni and cheese
34 Dairy, meat, produce
34. sliced American cheese
34. bacon
34. bananas for Bob
G General Merchandise
G. Shampoo
G. Dog food

I should say my grocery store is WalMart. All the grocery aisles are even numbered, the odd numbers are saved for the general merchandise side of the store. I haven't bothered to try to label all the general merchandise stuff. I just group it all together as there are seldom more than two or three items I'm buying from that side of the store. How you set yours up will depend on the layout where you usually buy groceries.

I've used RTM to keep a grocery list for a long time, but I was always scrolling up and down the list to see what I needed when I was in a given area. This helps me to have all the items that are close together in the store also close together on my list. It takes a little bit of time to remember to add the right number in front of the item you want to buy, but having the aisle numbers in front of you when you are planning helps. And the nice thing is you only have to enter each one once. When it's time to go shopping again, just look at your completed items and mark incomplete the ones you need to buy again.

Once you have your list made, you don't really need the aisle descriptions. They just make the list longer. You can mark them complete to get them out of the way, and just plan to mark them incomplete when you get ready to make your list again. What I did was create a smart list called Groceries with the parameters "list:-Groceries NOT tag:aisles." I use the static list for easy entry when I'm planning, and the smart list to get the aisles out of my way when I'm shopping.

Please let me know if this helps you, and how you see that I could make it better. Thanks.
Posted at 9:46pm on December 20, 2013
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