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Organizational Nirvana finally being realized

handust says:
I've been using RTM for quite some time, a couple of years I guess, and it helped me in many ways. However, I still struggled with a number of things due to not quite knowing how to set things up effectively. Recently I've been putting more time into tweaking various things and I feel like I'm finally getting somewhere.

For me the key has been in finally making good use of RTM's comprehensive repeating abilities, coupled with combining RTM with a couple of other programs. As a wife and mom with ADD, it's been of the utmost importance to have workable lists at my disposal, but I found if they weren't "set up right", I would avoid using them.

For the first time, I feel like I've got my system DOWN. For years I've attempted to do a variation of the FlyLady routines, but I've expanded it to encompass a lot more than housework -- basically my whole life, both personal and work, is scheduled. It wasn't until I fully understood the repeating functions that everything began to click. RTM's are the most powerful and flexible I've ever run across in a program, and I've used a LOT of them.

For instance, with FlyLady's stuff, she has you divide stuff up into 5 zones that take place during the month. Unfortunately, this wreaks havoc on most systems, because you can't say "every 5 weeks" or even "after 5 weeks". There seemed to be no way to tell it that every 2nd week of the month, I want to focus HERE, etc. That all changed when I discovered RTM's flexibility on saying things like "every month on the 1st", and after a month on the 3rd Sunday, etc. For the first time EVER, everything is appearing on my lists exactly when they should.

Now I'm using it for everything that can be scheduled -- refilling the car with gas every Thursday, replacing filters on the air conditioner every quarter, retouching my hair every 6 weeks, etc.

The second discovery I made to help this all fall into place was using Dial2Do.com. Now every time I think of the least little thing, I can literally phone it in to RTM. I deal with my Inbox once a day to do any sorting that might be needed, which takes about 1 minute.

I used to struggle with setting up a good system for grocery shopping as well. Our biggest problem around here was just forgetting that we were out of something. No one keeps track of that kind of stuff except for me. I tried leaving a list clipped to the inside of the pantry which was completely ignored. Finally, I figured it all out and it's working beautifully. I use SplashShopper (which is similar to HandyShopper) and want to continue to use that to keep up with prices, to sort by aisle depending on the store, etc. But even that seemed to be an issue for capturing what needed to be purchased as I noticed it -- I just wasn't getting the info in there.

So I set up a Smart List called "Groceries", and whenever I think of anything that needs to be purchased, or whenever the kids or hubby tell me we're out of something, I use Dial2Do, and say something like "Groceries. Buy milk, eggs, peanut butter, Clorox wipes, paper towels, and bread". I can list several things at once as I think about them because I'm not too concerned about a neat-looking list; I just want the reminders in there. Later, when I have the time, I sit down with my iPhone, look at my Groceries smart list, and check everything off that is needed in SplashShopper. This has significantly cut down my shopping preparation time because I don't have to sit there and think "now, what were we out of again?" It's all there ready and waiting for me. Although it may sound like a lot of steps, it literally takes me maybe a minute or two.

For the first time, everything is finally clicking. I'm continually tweaking, but only because I think of new ways to use RTM, not because things aren't working. For someone with ADD, this is HUGE. People actually think I'm organized now, and it's finally occurring to me that I AM! :)

Handust
Posted at 9:06pm on July 4, 2009
handust says:
I forgot to mention one of the ways I'm using RTM for work. In my jewelry business, it was sometimes difficult to keep track of orders, all of which are custom, and remember when they needed to go out, if there were any special instructions, etc. Now as a new order comes in, I create an email to my Orders list in RTM with the order number as the subject, establish the due date, and then I cut and paste the invoice (from my shopping cart software) into the notes section of the task.

Now I can always see which orders are coming due first and look at any necessary details of the order in the notes. My jewelry also has two different categories (two types of jewelry), so I've created tags to differentiate which kind of jewelry order it is. Now when I sit down to work, I can instantly see which orders are sterling silver orders (which require a different process), and which are not. It is already saving me tons of time because I don't have to open each order on my computer to see what's involved in the order. I love it!
Posted 9 years ago
andrewski (Remember The Milk) says:
Thanks for your description; it's always so neat to see the ways people use RTM. I too remember when I first understood that RTM would work even better by putting everything in it; that was probably my biggest epiphany in my own organization.

Thanks again for sharing!
Posted 9 years ago
darkarmani says:
Thanks for the awesome tips.

I've recently self-diagnosed myself as an adult with ADD, so something you said brought back some research i've read:

"No one keeps track of that kind of stuff except for me."

If you have ADD your children have a 30% chance of having it too, even if the symptoms are completely different/hidden. (i've just gotten medication and it makes such a huge difference, but i still need coping mechanisms like RTM)
Posted 9 years ago
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