Thursday, June 12, 2008

Remember The Milk worth all the cookies

I live and die by my To Do list. I'm a multitasker by nature, so I always have too many things going on at the same time, and a To Do list is the only way I can keep from diluting my focus too much.

I used to use the Yahoo Task list that's integrated with their Calendar, but I wanted to move to Google's Calendar so I looked for an online replacement.

That search led me to Remember the Milk, what I call the best Web 2.0 application out there, as least for usability. Here is why I love Remember the Milk (or RTM). I was going to rank these, but that was too hard.

* keyboard shortcuts: Like GMail, RTM uses single stroke keyboard shortcuts. If I want to start a new task, I hit "t" on the keyboard and then start typing the task name. After hitting return, I hit "d" and put in the due date, then tab through the list until I get to tags, enter then, hit return. Then I hit a number key to prioritize the task, then "n" to select none and move on to the next task. That may sound like a lot, but I can do it very fast and not touch a mouse. If I'm looking at the lists of tasks, I can move my cursor up and down the list by using the "j" and "k" keys, hit return when I'm on the one I want, hit "c" to complete it or "p" to postpone it. It's a very keyboard-centric app and I avoid using the mouse whenever I can. It's very fast.

* Selecting Overdue and Postpone: This, unfortunately, is used every day. Each morning, I check my tasks, click the "Select Overdue" link and then hit "p" to postpone everything that was last yesterday to due today. Almost too easy. Sigh.

* Time/dated notes: You can add notes to tasks about partial completions, or add other information as needed. Since the notes are timed and dated automagically, you can use the notes as a log of your work on a particular task.

* Integration with Jott: Jott is a voice-recognition site that I can call and dictate a task to be added to my list. (Also works with Google Calendar, I Want Sandy and others.) The downside is it adds the task to my "Inbox" which I rarely use, so I sometimes miss them. Feature request: Be able to add the voice task to a specific task list.

* Repeating tasks: Some tasks I have to do weekly. Setting as a repeating task will put it at the top of my list on the day I have to do it, then I can complete the task and it will creep up the list again until the day it is due.

* The tag cloud: This may not be a big deal to everyone, but I really like the tagging of task. There is a tag cloud that gives me an idea of the complexity of my current list and what subjects in that list will denominate my time. Clicking on the tag gives you a quick list of all the items in that list.

* The mobile platform: Remember the Milk won best IPhone Web Application at the most recent WWDC, and I do subscribe to the Pro RTM so I can use the iPhone version, and it is really cool and pretty, and, and, and ... and I still use the regular mobile phone version. Sorry guys, the iPhone version is really pretty, but the regular version is easier to use and faster. Maybe once I get the G3 iPhone, I'll change to the "i" version.

* Integration with Google Calendar: This was a huge deal for me when I was looking for a replacement for Yahoo, but I find now I don't use my task list that way anymore. I keep at Firefox tab open to RTM all the time, along with another for Calendar, so I don't really need them together anymore. But I still think it's cool that they integrate.

* So I've gone on and on, but there is tons more to RTM that I haven't used: Sync, Groups, Locations (Google Maps), Offline (Google Gears) and more.


cmheisel 8:43 AM  

Try using Prism, with RTM.

It lets me Apple-Tab over to RTM and I can close browser tabs at will without worrying about closing RTM.

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