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Web App Review: Let’s Remember The Milk in 2011

Web App Review: Let’s Remember The Milk in 2011

Remember the Milk has been a staple to-do list web app for many years now and has been known to be one of the best and even most reliable. It’s known for a clean simple interface and sometimes forgotten about power under the hood. Remember The Milk (RTM from here on out) can also be used for GTD (you know, if you are into that sort of thing), yet flexible enough for any other productivity system you can throw at it.

But, even with such a excellent and stable track record, RTM has made some significant improvements in the past year with the most notable being their brand new iPad app.

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Look and feel

At first glance RTM is a simple and very clean interface. If you are a white background, dark text kind of person, then RTM is the type of interface you will enjoy. Users are given an Inbox and Sent items list at first blush and adding todos to your inbox is extremely easy. Once tasks are created you can check the task and change the due date, the repeat of the task, a time estimate, tags, location of the task, or a URL. Completing the task is as simple as checking it and pushing the complete button.

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    You can also assign the task to a different list but it is somewhat counterintuitive. You first must create a new list by going to Settings and the Lists tab. This is a good place to create your contexts if you are a GTD type. Once you have some lists you can go back to your tasks by choosing the Tasks option. Adding a task to a list is done by checking the task and clicking on the More Actions dropdown and choosing the list to switch it to. Even after many years of using this workflow, I still feel that it is unintuitive and could be changed to allow for a drag and drop to tab type of interface.

    The task settings “float” to the side of your lists and with the settings bar you can change an individual task’s settings or even check multiple tasks and group the settings together. Also, the note field is on the right where you can add multiple notes per task. You can also select tasks by choosing all of them, the ones that are due today, due tomorrow, overdue, or none at all. This is a nice way to mass edit settings or even complete or postpone a set of tasks.

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    Features

    Remember The Milk is truly a full-featured web and mobile application with versions for the web, iOS, Android, and even sync with Outlook. Let’s take a quick look at some of the many awesome features:

    • Full web, iOS, Android, and Outlook for Windows synchronization ($25 a year premium account needed for some pro features)
    • iPad version with a truly unique interface and user experience
    • iOS and Android version take advantage of location based tasks and alert you based on your user settings
    • “Unlimited” list and task creation (I haven’t fully tested this, but I have never had an issue with too many tasks or lists)
    • “Smart Lists” allow you to save searches based on any criteria that a task may have allowing you to create customized views of your lists
    • Awesome “smart add” feature which allows you to add a task straight to a list, add a due date, tag, or even location while you are typing it in
    • Offline support with the deprecated Google Gears
    • Add tasks by Twitter or email
    • iCal service, RSS feeds for your lists, and the ability to create public lists for others to share
    • Active user community and developers that aren’t too shabby

    Gripes

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      Like I said, RTM is a full-featured and completely a mature web and mobile application. There are only a few gripes that I still have to this day, including no subtasks or linking of tasks into projects, no start dates to help hide repeating tasks, annoying logo that can’t be hidden at work without an add-in for your browser, and out of control tabs for your lists.

      Besides those four things, I have to say that RTM is still one of the best web apps out there for helping you stay productive. The one thing that RTM has over many other task management apps on the web is its maturity and speed. The app is really darn fast while using Firefox or Chrome and hardly (if ever) crashes on me. Another thing is that sync is incredibly fast between multiple devices.

      Also, with the new iPad app and its gorgeous new interface, RTM is definitely worth another look if you haven’t checked it out in a while. So, head on over to the RTM homepage and sign up for a free account or login to your old one if you haven’t been around for a while.

      More by this author

      CM Smith

      A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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      Last Updated on February 15, 2019

      7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

      7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

      Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

      Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

      Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

      So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

      Joe’s Goals

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        Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

        Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

        Daytum

          Daytum

          is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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          Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

          Excel or Numbers

            If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

            What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

            Evernote

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              I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

              Evernote is free with a premium version available.

              Access or Bento

                If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                Conclusion

                I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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