Manage Your Tasks on a Windows Phone with Remember The Milk
Windows Phone 7 does not include a tasks application and there's no way to sync Outlook tasks to the device. Even if there were a way to sync tasks, there's no place to store them once they get there. This to me is one of the greatest deficiencies of windows phone.
A few years ago I signed up for a free "Remember the Milk" (RTM) account. At the time I didn't have a prevailing reason to move my tasks to the cloud and there was no windows mobile support for RTM, so I didn't seriously consider using it.
But now with windows phone 7, I had a strong incentive to find a different way to work with tasks on my phone, so I rummaged around and found my RTM login credentials and took another look at this well known, well regarded, cloud-based tasks application. I figured I could at least have access to my tasks through RTM's mobile website.
Then last week, I discovered WinMilk in the Marketplace (in the Productivity category). I downloaded it to my phone, set up my Remember the Milk login credentials and all my tasks information synced beautifully to my phone.
Getting Remember The Milk ready to Sync to a Windows Phone
The easiest way to move your tasks from Outlook to your Remember the Milk account is to install the 14 day trial version of MilkSync to your computer. MilkSync is RTM's Outlook connector.
After you install MilkSync to your computer, you'll enter your RTM Username and Password in the login screen and set up a few parameters to manage how you want to sync your data.
MilkSync runs automatically in the computer's taskbar. You can force a sync or change the RTM Account Settings by right clicking on the RTM taskbar icon.
Notes about Syncing Outlook Tasks to Remember the Milk
- Remember the Milk doesn't use categories, but instead organizes tasks into Lists and Tags. When you sync your Outlook Tasks to RTM, RTM converts the categories that are associated with a task into Lists. When you select the List view (see 2nd screenshot below), you can enjoy filtered views of your tasks.
- If you create tags in your RTM account and attach tags to your Tasks, the tags will be synced back to Outlook and show up as categories with a pound symbol (#) preceding their name (i.e., #Personal)
3. Use WinMilk Task Manager to Sync Your Tasks to your Windows Phone.
WinMilk is a free Remember the Milk client that you can find under the productivity category in the Marketplace. WinMilk lets you view your tasks by date, list, or tag and you can also edit and delete tasks on your windows phone.
Here's some screenshots of the various screens you'll work with on your windows phone:
First screenshot shows the detail of a specific task. If you tap a task, you'll see detailed information about it in this screen.
- When: this is the task's due date
- List: this is the category that is used with Outlook
- Tags: shows any tags that you've associated with the tasks. When synced back to Outlook, the tag information will be included with the task as another category that is prefaced with a pound sign (#).
While in this screen you can edit and delete tasks. These screenshots are not up-to-date, but now when you tap on a task to see the detail you'll see four icons that run along the bottom of the screen that shows a checkmark, an arrow, a pencil (to edit), and a trash can (to delete).
Second screenshot shows the search screen. You can search tasks by selecting the magnifying glass on the tasks, lists or tags screen (see the three screenshots above).
Third screenshot shows the smart add option which is accessed by tapping the plus icon on the tasks, lists, or tags screen.
Before you can use WinMilk on your phone, you'll have to log in to your RTM account from the phone and authorize the application, so the first time you open up WinMilk you'll be prompted to login to your RTM account.
WinMilk then takes you to the Remember the Milk login page where you can input your RTM login Name and Password. The screen is small, so just tap (and keep tapping) the screen to get the screen large enough to see and enter your login information. After you login you'll be asked to grant WinMilk authorization to your RTM account. Afterwards you'll tap the "done" icon on the lower edge of the screen. Then WinMilk will automatically sync all the data in your RTM account to the phone.
WinMilk syncs changes back to your Remember the Milk account. If you decide to upgrade your account to a professional account, which costs $25 a year, you can continue using RTM's MilkSync to sync the tasks back to Outlook on your computer.
I'm still running the trial version of MilkSync on my computer, but since I plan to continue syncing my older windows mobile devices to my computer, I'll probably upgrade my RTM account to a pro account so I can continue using MilkSync beyond the 14 day trial.
Stay Tuned! I've figured out another option you could use to manage your tasks on your windows phone. This other option is a bit more complicated to set up and I'm still working out the details, but it is completely free and integrates nicely with Outlook on your computer. I'm still refining and testing the process and will be documenting it in an article that I plan to post to the blog next week.