Monday, December 31, 2007

Because it's been a while since I blogged about productivity tools

For the last few weeks I have been using a great online "to do" list application, Remember The Milk. The more I use it, the more I like it.

In my opinion, its best features are the following:

It talks to Google products. You can integrate it with Google Calendar, or (my personal favourite), with Gmail. In Gmail your to-do list then becomes a right-hand column, so that someone like me who checks their email obsessively has no excuse for forgetting the tasks for the day.

It is super easy to add tasks. You can do it from within your Gmail account, from within Google Calendar, by sending the program an email, or on the Remember The Milk site. Minimally, it involves one click and typing in the name of the task. (You can add much more info about the task if you wish, though, including priority, due date, location, etc.)

The application is smart. For due date, for example, you can type "today", "tomorrow", "Wednesday", "1 Jan", "Jan first", etc, and it recognises all of these and converts them to its standard formats. If you are adding a task from within your email account, and include the name of one of your contacts (e.g. "call Richard"), it uses your email address book to auto-complete.

It probably has many more features I haven't explored yet, but one of the things I like about it is that you can get started straight away using a very minimal subset of what it can do, all of which is totally intuitive, and only begin using the more advanced settings and features if and when you find them helpful.


ScienceGirl said...

Aw yes, I just started using this one too; it is pretty nifty as far as I can tell. I love the "Postpone" button that also counts how many times you've postponed a task. It is great for those short-term do-it-by-this-day type of tasks. What do you use for tasks that take longer (like research)?

StyleyGeek said...

I try to break research down into smaller tasks that can be done on a day-to-day basis, and I include these in my to do list. E.g. for today my to do list reads as follows:

Call property manager
Cancel gas contract
Email Mark
Clean out storage cupboard
Read a chapter of Crystal 2006
Draft sections E2 and E3 of grant proposal
Find revision notes for vol paper

The final three items on that list are tagged "uni".

ScienceGirl said...

Thanks for the reply - I am always on the lookout for research productivity tools.

AliceAcademic said...

Have you tried Toodledo? I'm a big fan. Here is a link that compares it to other programs:

StyleyGeek said...

Nice comparison table, but since most of the stuff toodle-do does that Milk doesn't isn't functionality I would use, I think I'll stick with RTM for now. (Also, I think their table is a little out of date: RTM's firefox extension and gmail incorporation are new features).

Badaunt said...

That sounds like . . . like . . . HELL.

I prefer having to-do lists I don't have to look at. They are too frightening.