I don't use
Remember the Milk and therefore can not give you special tips how to use that system.
A general approach, that I'm finding very helpful to
- note all important things to avoid forgetting them and getting a "clear mind"
- to get reminded about the right things at the right time in the future without always having to scan a very long list of TODOs
is the one from Michael Linenberger:
I've already mentioned it here: http://productivity.stackexchange.com/a/1880/566
Manage Your Workday Now (formerly Total Workday Control) is an alternative to GTD: see: http://michaellinenberger.com/ there is
also a free ebook "The one minute todo list" from the same author,
which explains the basics of M. Linenbergers system:
I highly recommend reading the free ebook and if it sounds good to you, his longer book "Master Your Workday Now" is also worth reading.
I'm using a similar system:
- a "scheduled" date in the future lets the items appear on my task list at a certain day.
- a "deadline" date is only used, if there is a real "hard deadline" defined for the task or project
This is kind of an electronic tickler file, as TODOs can be sorted by date and will appear (as described by M. Linenberger) at a certain date in my "field of view" and if its not yet the time to do them, I change the date to the future again and defer the task easily. (that's, what Linenberger calls strategic deferral )
For your tickler system, it is IMHO a question of available technology.
I also find it important (and that is also one of the key aspect's in Linenberger's method) to NOT let tasks stay hidden in your e-mail inbox in mails still marked unread although you've already read them, etc.
If you read an e-mail, directly extract the tasks from it and note them in your "system" etc. More about the workflow can be found in Linenbergers book.
My system, which I'm very happy with: I'm using
Emacs org-mode for keeping notes and managing my tasks and projects.
Each task or note can have an attachment directory, where documents are stored, so for larger projects I then link the corresponding directory and can easily access it with one keyboard shortcut.
Thougts about e-mail handling:
Furthermore (I have to use MS Outlook for e-mails at work) I have an Outlook macro which copies a Hyperlink to the selected email(s) into the clipboard. I can insert that Hyperlink into a task in org-mode and thus access e-mails later very quickly.
At home, I've started moving e-mails out of the e-mail-software (MacOS X, drag&drop to a folder) to store them directly with other information of a project.
Having e-mail separately makes managing lots of projects in parallel very difficult.
Drag&Drop also works with MS Outlook on Windows, however I'm still having problems with the created filenames (which are often long), so I'm working on a VBA macro to easily save e-mails on disk and at the same time clean the filename and prepend the current date&time of the e-mail to the file name for easier sorting.