Remember the Milk: Now with iPhone and Gmail integration

Of all of the software-based GTD “solutions” I’ve managed to get my hands on, there’s a fairly common theme among all of those that didn’t really cut the mustard: they simply tried too hard to build something that encompassed each of the main tenets of GTD, but have very little flexibility. In other words, these apps shoehorn you into the “canonical” GTD configuration without giving you room to customize the system to best suit your needs. Thankfully, Remember the Milk has managed to not only hang in there (for 3 years now), but pull ahead of the pack through integration with other products and services. And, as of this past month, these services now include Gmail and the iPhone.

RTM’s new native iPhone application (which requires a Pro account at RTM, which will set you back a scant $25 per year) is what got me to switch from my previous solution (OmniFocus on OSX + iPhone). The app is an excellent first release, much moreso than most of the other 1.0s that appear in the store. Launching and synching are both blazingly fast, unlike most local-storage-heavy iPhone apps. It also supports landscape mode for just about every view, which is a killer feature for me. It lets you fully manage the service, all from the comfort of, well, wherever you are with your iPhone.

The other new feature that really cinched it for me is the availability of an in-Gmail gadget where you can add/edit/complete todo list items without leaving Gmail (where many of my tasks and projects originate, which I’m sure is true for many of you). This is exactly the type of integration that really puts RTM a cut above the rest of the list management applications I’ve used. Couple this with the excellent Twitter integration, and RTM is never more than a few clicks/taps away, no matter where I am or what I’m doing.

One great OmniFocus feature that I’d truly love to see in RTM is the ability to incubate tasks or projects until a given date/time. For example, if I know I need to send a birthday card to my Mom in 3 weeks, OmniFocus would let me set a start date for the project, so that it (as well as any associated tasks) wouldn’t show up in my lists until that date. A consistent weekly review would make sure this type of thing doesn’t sit fallow in your task list for weeks before it is actionable, but I’m a lazy programmer who likes to let computers do the thinking that I don’t really feel I have to do.

Honestly, there isn’t much I’d change about RTM’s current set of features, other than perhaps some SMS integration, but that problem is solved easily enough with the Twitter integration. Otherwise, I find it to be quite useful – not to mention a total bargain, and well worth some investigation if you’re a productivity-minded technophile like myself.

Brett Kelly is a sometimes-independent writer, software developer and productivity nerd from California. You can read more about his unending adventures online at, or you can just follow him on Twitter.

16 Comments for “Remember the Milk: Now with iPhone and Gmail integration”

  1. posted by Jason Kratz on

    You can do what you want. Set a due date and create a smart list. The help for advanced searches, which you then turn into a smart list, is pretty good:

    For instance you could set the due date and then do a search dueWithin:”1 week of today” or dueAfter:today. I have a “tickler file” that I created using a search of dueWithin:”1 week of today” tag: tickler. I think its pretty obvious what that does (anyting 1 week out) 😉

    I also have a search that is just tag:tickler

    RTM is pretty good and the iPhone app is really good. Very pleased with it. I’ve always wanted to use OmniFocus but its pricey and I can’t use my Mac at work so it makes more sense to use something web-based.

  2. posted by Daphna on

    I really enjoy that “TPS Reports” were the next item on the list. Office Space fans rejoice 🙂

  3. posted by Robert Dyson on

    I’ve been using the RTM iPhone-optimized website ( for a while now, and just downloaded the iPhone app.

    The app is great and offers more functionality than the website (location-awareness, more options when adding a new task) but the syncing seems to be lacking. I’m sure this is something RTM will be working on, but twice now I’ve added tasks on the web and not seen them in the iPhone app, even after a few hours. The great thing about the iPhone-optimized website is that there’s no syncing required…you’re working with the website directly.

    All in all a great app, looking forward to future improvements and enhancements.

  4. posted by Scott Elias on

    RE: The “missing” feature you mention, I’ve got this taken care of by creating a tag called “.tickler” which I assign to things I don’t want to see until a certain date.

    I can then use the smart list feature to exclude anything tagged with “.tickler” until it’s due date (which, for this purpose, will be the date I want to actually start seeing it in my “Today” list).

    So I put in “Send Mom a bday card” with a due date of 3 weeks before her bday. I assign it the “.tickler” tag which hides it until after the due date. It takes a little bit of up-front logic in setting up your lists, but it works like a charm for these kinds of things as well as those recurring tasks that I don’t want to see until the day the need to be done, like “Change the water in the fish tank” which has to be done bi-weekly.

    YMMV, but it works for me!

  5. posted by Matt R. @ on

    I love RMT because of it’s integration. It’s important to me to have my to do list available where ever I am (phone) and have it available alongside my email.

  6. posted by Meghan on

    I am so over the TPS Report joke. UGH.

  7. posted by Phillip on

    I agree that it’s a great app and have been using web-based RTM for a while now, but unfortunately I think it’s bogus to require a premium account. What if you don’t need one? Are you supposed to pay $25/year just for the app? I’m hopeful they’ll change that requirement.

  8. posted by Jason Kratz on


    You’re also paying for the various other tools they offer as well as the iPhone-specific website.

    In this case you do need a premium account….to get the app.

    Seems pretty fair to me.

  9. posted by Scott Jones on

    I’ve been very happy with RTM, and am particularly happy that they finally released an iPhone version that can be used offline. I had tried a couple of other syncs-with-RTM iphone apps, none of which work nearly as well as the official one.

  10. posted by Jack on

    I’ve been using RTM in my gmail for months now. I’m pretty sure that’s not new.

  11. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Jack — The sidebar functionality with Gmail just started at the beginning of November. At least according to Remember the Milk’s website.

  12. posted by XXX on

    I am so over people being so over the TPS report joke.
    Just use this cover sheet and you’ll be fine.

  13. posted by Alex on

    If you’re a power user $25 per year doesn’t sound that bad for task management, but most mere mortals are still waiting for the day that iCal’s To Do list can be synced with the iPhone. This should be one of the most basic functions of any PDA, yet Apple has consistently ignored implementing this feature. I’ve never read a convincing explanation of why this is.

  14. posted by Another Lori on

    The Gmail/RTM thing — I was confused at first, too, because I had it in Gmail as a Firefox extension months ago (but uninstalled it cos I never used it). But this article refers to the new RTM Gmail Labs Gadget.

  15. posted by Peregrin on

    There’s another pop culture reference: “Take over the world”…

    They’re dinky
    They’re Pinky and the Brain…(narf!)

  16. posted by Denise on

    I’ve been using RTM for a long time and when they came out with the pro version to work on my iPhone I didn’t think $25 was too much especially considering the cost of other similar software. I’ve had OmniFocus since it’s beginning, but it just gets too complicated (my things to do are pretty straight forward) but the iPhone app it $20. Also, I have Things, which I like a lot for it’s ease of use and simplicity, but when it’s out of beta it will cost about $40 and the iPhone app costs $10.

    The only thing I wish RTM would have is the ability to see all my tasks at once and edit them. Constantly switching between lists causes me to miss items occasionally so then I start putting everything in one list.

    Also, RTM has been on GMail for a long time but recently it was updated and didn’t work quite right at first. I like that feature a lot too because I can star mail and it goes right to my things to do list. And I can see the tasks on my GCal.

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