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or Night Owls! Stop the midnight new-task avalanche - UPDATED (works now!)

erlloyd says:
Hello all! After "discovering" this tip I excitedly posted it right away, but unfortunately it had an error. I'm happy to report that I've come up with a fix and it works like a charm! Read on...

I have a late sleep schedule, so I don't want my "tomorrow" to start until several hours after midnight. I now use a custom search string for my "today" SmartList, which stops tomorrow's tasks from prematurely clogging my screen. All my new tasks now appear at 4am when I'm asleep!

This is especially nice when I am almost done a day's tasks
and want to stay up late finishing the last few. Normally, my lists would be hit by an avalanche of new tasks at exactly midnight. Distracting, and more than a bit overwhelming! Now I can work in peace at night and go to bed feeling accomplished and relaxed with a truly empty tasklist.

Delay each new day's tasks from rolling over early and have them appear on lists exactly when you need them to. You can choose your own day start time, whether that is 2:00am, 4:00am, or even later in the morning.

Here's the search string I use for a 4am rollover (separated into three lines for easier readability):

AND NOT (due:tomorrow AND dueBefore:12:01am)
AND NOT (due:today AND dueBefore:"today 12:01am" AND dueWithin:"1 day of 20h")

Here's how the string works, line by line:

Line 1) Finds all overdue tasks and tasks due that day or in the early hours of the next (rolls over at 4am). Before midnight current time, this will include all tasks due before 4am the next day. After midnight current time, this will still include only the same tasks (overdue and due up until 4am later that same day).

Line 2) Filters out all tasks that come due the next day without a specific due time (RTM's inner workings treat these as due 12:00am). These are the ones we don't want to see until after our rollover set time. At times after midnight, though, this filter won't work; a third section is needed!

Line 3) During nighttime before 4am, this part filters out any tasks due in the *same* day without a specific due time. It includes a workaround to make sure the filer is ONLY active in the first few hours after midnight. These tasks will join the list after rollover happens at 4am (or at your chosen time).

The neat workaround in this search is dueWithin:"1 day of 20h". This criteria looks for tasks due on the same day as whatever day it will be 20 hours in the future. So at 1am, 20h later is 9pm but still the same day and returns today's tasks. At 11am, 20h later is 7am the next day, so will return tomorrow's tasks (leaving the current day's unscheduled due tasks unouched). It worked well as a fix to replace my original dueWithin:4h, which RTM does not recognize.

CUSTOMIZE this search to your own sleep schedule:
1) Choose your preferred rollover time: e.g., 5am
2) Change dueBefore:4am to the new time: dueBefore:5am
3) Subtract your chosen time from 24: 24 - 5 = 19h
4) Change dueWithin:"1 day of 20h" to match your number from step 3: dueWithin:"1 day of 19h"

Use this search string to create one or more custom-timed SmartLists to use instead of the default "Today" list. OR...

Add this functionality to existing smartlists by throwing brackets around the entire code and connecting it to other criteria via. "AND". (Make sure you also first remove any "dueBefore:tomorrow" criteria already in your search string.)

***WARNING: If you use this tip, don't set any time-critical tasks to be due at the specific time of midnight; RTM treats the "no due time" tasks exactly like these ones, and neither type will show up until 4am!

***CREDIT: This tip was inspired by igorrs' custom-timed rollover idea, but takes things a step further by including protection from midnight task-dumps.
Posted at 7:19pm on June 9, 2016
erlloyd says:
Ooooh, I found something tricky here. Seems that this works perfectly on the web app, but not well on mobile (I use Android).

For those using another version of RTM, let us know if it works properly there or not!
Posted 3 years ago
jamesr404 says:
@Erlloyd make sure the time zone configured in your webinterface matches the region you are in. Also your mobile phone time should be correct, but that tends to be OK automatically.

I had some issues with dueBefore: filters whenever I was traveling and changing time zones, sometimes tasks appearing to early or too late.
Posted 3 years ago
emily (Remember The Milk) says:
Hi erlloyd,

This is an awesome use of Smart Lists. :)

You're this week's Tips & Tricks Tuesday winner, and we've added a free year of Pro to your Remember The Milk account.
Posted 3 years ago
aviskase says:
I've included start dates to into my "Today" smart list:

(dueBefore:4:00 AND NOT (due:tomorrow AND dueBefore:00:00) AND NOT (due:today AND dueBefore:"today 00:01" AND dueWithin:"1 day of 20h")) OR (startBefore:4:00 AND NOT (start:tomorrow AND startBefore:00:00) AND NOT (start:today AND startBefore:"today 00:01" AND startWithin:"1 day of 20h"))

But I'm really struggling with how to make a similar smart list for tomorrow (to plan it) =(
Posted 3 years ago
aviskase says:
oops, minor mistake:

(dueBefore:4:00 AND NOT (due:tomorrow AND dueBefore:00:01) AND NOT (due:today AND dueBefore:"today 00:01" AND dueWithin:"1 day of 20h")) OR (startBefore:4:00 AND NOT (start:tomorrow AND startBefore:00:01) AND NOT (start:today AND startBefore:"today 00:01" AND startWithin:"1 day of 20h"))
Posted 3 years ago
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