For a long time, I wrote my To-Do list on an Excel spreadsheet.
Not very sexy, but it did the job.
I then got into the habit of putting my To-Do list in the notes app on my phone.
Pretty low-tech, but again, it got the job done.
However, since I am now dedicated to finding the best tools for managing my time, I thought it was time to explore the many options out there and one of the first ones I tried was Remember The Milk.
The Remember The Milk (RTM) app has been around for years – since 2004, in fact – and as far as I can tell, is one of the oldest To-Do list apps available and the user interface, while quite simple, seems to be popular with many.
It has a free version with a number of really useful functions, such as sharing tasks and lists with others, setting reminders and integrating with Gmail, Google Calendar and Evernote. (I am assessing Evernote soon and will present my opinions on Time Hack Hero at a later date.)
The Pro Version unlocks a number of additional features, such as being able to break tasks down into sub-tasks, colouring your tags to make your lists more organized, reminder notifications to mobile and unlimited sharing of tasks.
I did not upgrade to Pro, because the functionality was sufficient for my needs, plus I am still testing other apps.
But if I were using only one To-Do list app, would I upgrade to the Pro Version?
Well, the only additional feature I think I would need that isn’t covered in the free version is the push notifications for mobile devices (the free version can send reminders via email, IM, text and Twitter).
But at $40 per year to upgrade to Pro, I think it’s a little bit pricey. I don’t know, maybe I’m a cheapskate. I suppose that’s only three bucks a month but I’m passing on the Pro version for the time being, as I’m still in the process of trialling various other similar apps. I may revisit this later.
I’ve been using the RTM Android app, which has proven to be useful when I’m out and about and tasks come up that I need to add to my list, but I’ve also been keeping the Web app open when I am logged in on my laptop.
Tasks can be organized into different lists. I only used three – work, blogs and personal – but many people may need many more lists than that.
In addition, you can set up Smart Lists, which are special lists created based on your own single or multiple criteria and are automatically updated as your tasks change. For example, you can set up lists that only show tasks this month or tasks with high priority or tasks that are overdue. It’s a filtering system, basically.
You can also add tasks by sending an email and using what they call Smart Add syntax in the subject header, which is quite a nifty function if you don’t mind taking a few minutes to learn the shortcuts and how it works.
That being said, if I am sending an email, that means I either have my phone with me or I am using my laptop and I could just as well add the task directly to the app, so the function was a little bit redundant for my purposes. I guess it might be useful if you are using a work computer.
If you use Gmail, you can download an add-on that lets you add tasks directly to RTM without leaving your Inbox, which saves you opening a different tab. So, if you receive an email that requires a new task to be added to your To-Do list, you can click the little RTM icon in the taskbar and an RTM sidebar slides out that allows you to add that task from there, rather than go into the app separately.
This is a useful feature, especially if you time-block your activities and don’t want to tab between applications during that period.
The Daily Digest feature sends an email to you at a time you specify with a list of tasks due for the day.
You can also specify that the digest includes overdue task, tasks due at a later date, etc. If the first thing you do each day is to check your email (I don’t – check out how I manage my Inbox here), this is quite a useful feature.
The user interface is quite intuitive and it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. If you’re stuck, the help section is easy to navigate and I found I was able to solve any queries and problems I faced when using this app.
- Simple to use
- Supported on several platforms
- Recurring tasks
- Daily notifications
- Free version has most of what you might need
- Includes some collaboration options
- Works offline (Pro Version)
- Poor sorting function
- A lot of manual input required
- Pro-version quite expensive at $39.99 annually
- No location-based reminders
Time Hack Hero Takeaway
I like its simplicity and I feel that it is possibly quite an underrated app these days since more multi-functional apps such as Evernote, Nirvana and Notion (to name a few that I have tested so far) have come on the scene.
I’d recommend trying out the free version if you don’t use an app currently for your To-Do list. The Pro Version has a number of add-ons, so for many people, an upgrade might be worth the money.
Check out Remember The Milk for yourself here.
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