Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How to Remember the Milk

 I have to tell you about my newest organizational tool. It is called Remember the Milk.
Just Lu who is having a McGyver Housewife challenge on her blog, recommended this a while ago. She writes a regular feature called Wednesdays on the Web at Housewife Eclectic. She highlighted several to-do list programs that are available.

I love making lists. I've been a list maker since I was a tiny girl. My idea of playing house was writing up weekly menus, chore schedules, names for my dozen+ kids (I've always been an overachiever) including their birth dates, etc. The problem with making lists in my grown up life is I tend to lose them. I'll jot a to-do list down on a scrap of paper and then carry it with me as I accomplish said tasks, but then the paper disappears.

Not so with Remember the Milk. All my little notes are stored right there on the computer. It runs in my web browser but many of the functions work offline as well. I haven't even tapped the surface of what you can do with this program. I like that it's not just a simple list of things to do but each item can be tagged, given a due date, a time-to-complete notation, etc. You can also add URLs.

For instance, just now I read an article about making homemade laundry soap. I pulled up my RTM tab on my browser, wrote out "find ingredients for laundry soap"  as my task and then I pasted the URL in its little slot and now,  when I start calling around to find those ingredients, I'll have all the information at my fingertips.

You can set up certain tasks to repeat. I have a task called staff meeting on my orphanage list. This staff meeting task is set to repeat every Tuesday at 2 PM (when we have the meeting). During the week, if I think of something I need to discuss during the meeting, I pull up that task and add a note. It really saves me time and energy.
I have a task for each of my shopping locations (Mansa, Lusaka, U.S). When I think of something we need, I add it in a note to the location where we'll need to get it. When I make my shopping list each week it is easy as can be to pull up the Mansa task and look at the notes I've made throughout the week.

If you're like me, life tends to get in the way of knocking every last item off the to-do list. RTM has a postpone button. I will not confess how often I use it but let's just say I know exactly where it is. 

You can email reminders to yourself using the unique-to-you email address. I've given this address to Tom so that instead of nagging (not that he does that!) he can simply email a task to my inbox and I can send it to the correct list. Remember the Milk can also be added to your smart phone if you move beyond the free version and pay $25 a year. If I ever get a Blackberry or I-phone, I would gladly pay the extra money to have it on my phone.

One of my favorite features is that the program keeps track of all the things you've completed. At any given time you can look over and see the running total of tasks completed. If you click on that number you'll see exactly what day you did everything. Now if Tom asks, "So what did you do today"? I can simply pull up my RTM program and show him the list or even print it out. Oh, yeah!

And I have been known to do something and then run to the program to add it to a list and then mark it complete. I need the validation. Tell me I'm not alone in this.

I could go on and on but I know that many of you actually have lives. Plus, I really wanna get this published so I can cross it off my list. Write blog post. Done!

What organizational tool gets you all excited?

I was not compensated in any way, shape or form for this plug. I just freakin' love it!


  1. My problem is that once I get on the computer to see my 'to do list' I end up checking my e-mail and blogs and the news and waste a lot of time. I need a timer next to me so that I can get on for x amount of time and get off when the buzzer sounds. The phone one might work for me though....I'm going to have to check it out!
    My personal favorite organizational tool are my kids. They are also my biggest hinderance!
    For some reason it is not letting me log on with my google account so today I will be anonymous!

  2. I will have to check this out. I need a better system for remembering stuff that needs to be done, bought, etc.

  3. The Type A personality in me was SMILING through this post, can't wait to check it out! :)

  4. Wowza! I knew RTM was awesome but I've not used it enough to know it was THIS awesome!

  5. I would recommend checking out http://www.Gtdagenda.com for an online GTD manager.

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote, and also comes with mobile-web version, and Android and iPhone apps.

  6. Thanks for sharing this little gem! Sometimes I feel like I need a list in order to function properly. If I don't have it written down, there's a good chance it won't get done.


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