Remember The Milk still can't beat Toodledo

I just spent a week with the new and improved Remember The Milk. Here's what happened. Under the rubric of Rule 2 (Always have a...

I just spent a week with the new and improved Remember The Milk. Here's what happened.

Under the rubric of Rule 2 (Always have a Plan B), I keep accounts active on multiple task management services. Remember The Milk is a particularly popular one that recently underwent a massive facelift. I finally got a chance to play around with the Pro version for a while.

The good news is, it’s better than it was. The bad news is, it still can’t IMHO beat Toodledo.

To force myself to take my latest trial of RTM seriously, I actually deleted tasks from Toodledo that I’d migrated to RTM. This meant I had to use RTM and redevelop how I manage my tasks, which in turn required me to study it enough to develop a new workflow.

On the good side:
  • The UI is fast, responsive, interactive, and quite functional (although I think it still requires “too many clicks”).
  • The UI is also quite well laid out. Things are where they ought to be, and the use of screen real estate, fonts, and colours is such that a nominally-abled person like me has no trouble finding stuff.
  • The essential functionality seems soundly implemented and acts as one should expect it to act.
  • Screen updates (e.g., at midnight when the date changes) are very smooth, fast, correct.
  • RTM’s Smart Lists are bug-free, as far as I can tell, and quite powerful.
On the bad side, though:

  • Subtasks are almost always “collected” under their main task, which means they only appear after you select the task. The exception seems to be if the subtask has a higher priority than the main task - which doesn’t make sense to me personally. There has been significant outcry over this in the RTM forums, and I join them. Convenience is the biggest single reason for using an online app rather than a paper book for task management. To hide subtasks as RTM does is just a pain in the ass.
  • The pane that shows the content of a task (e.g., here) is arguably difficult to parse visually. While the rest of the UI is quite clear, this component routinely slowed me down. I had a particularly hard time finding (and editing) items in this view. It’s clear that they’ve tried to present a uniform interface for tasks and for subtasks, but they missed the mark.
  • They claim integration with Evernote, but in my experience, it’s spotty. It’s supposed to work like this: you connect your RTM account to your Evernote account, then you just add a reminder to an Evernote and the note is supposed to appear as a RTM task, where the note’s title becomes the title of the task. A small Evernote elephant logo is supposed to appear in the task content pane. In my experience, this connectivity worked less than half the time. I could detect no rhyme or reason to cases where it worked.
  • RTM does not support sorting by Importance. Toodledo has this amazing feature that combines a task’s ‘star’ with its due date and priority (the formula used is given here) to give a single value of task Importance. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by Toodledo, but I just cannot figure out how to sort RTM tasks in a way that’s meaningful to me without Importance.
Putting it all together, this means that RTM is just not right for me. The problems with RTM just slowed me down too much. So, for now at least, I’m going to stick with Toodledo. At root, Toodledo provides the flexibility I need in a task management app. It fits me; with RTM, I found that I had to fit the app.

(To be fair, Toodledo recently underwent a redesign too, and that’s not without some serious problems. But they don’t outweigh the benefits for the way in which I work.)



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The Trouble with Normal...: Remember The Milk still can't beat Toodledo
Remember The Milk still can't beat Toodledo
The Trouble with Normal...
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