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Much Todo about To-Dos

June 25, 2006 · 1 comment

###Using Markdown and Quicksilver to manage project To-Dos
I’m a compulsive list maker. I have sticky notes posted on the wall by my front door, Rhodias everywhere, and a Moleskine always in my pocket (grid, not lined, please).

I loved 43 Folders description of the Hipster PDA and have been pouring through Merlin’s other To-Do list tips.

###Other approaches to project and time management
Believe me, this is someting I’ve already explored in some depth. Although, I’m already a firm believer in LoFi task management approaches, I’m a total failure at planner systems like Franklin-Covey. They are just too structured when working with highly dynamic projects that change from day-to-day let alone hour-to-hour. I can’t always accurately predict what I will need to do the next day until I see the morning’s email.

I’ve also tried bending bug and project tracking systems like Bugzilla, Mantis, and OmniOutliner to meet these tasks. Bugzilla I find to be heinously over-complicated with no clear way to dumb down the interface. Mantis shows promise but I just don’t have the time to invest in making it work for my needs. OminOutliner is a beautiful app but needs a few small additions like DAV publishing and iCal, auto time-stamping and iCal integration to make it truly indispensible.

I’ve also written my own XML/XSLT fully databased system. This works well but I hate writing XML and have yet to get around to writing an interface. Lots of To-Dos just to get my To-Dos up and running.

###Using text files
In the digital realm, I’ve always used plain text files to manage these lists. Inspired by some tips at 43 Folders, I’ve decided to stick with the this system but make it more structured and parseable by converting them to Markdown. I’ve also started integrating them into my daily workflow (above and beyond always having them open in their own Xemacs frame) using the phenomenal CLI/GUI integrator Quicksilver.

###Advantages/Disadvantages
This approach doesn’t (yet) give me such things as time-stamping, reporting, email integration, or advanced sharing/publishing that some of the systems listed above might provide. In addition, I have no way of easily dispatching a completed task, assigning it to someone else for followup, or the creation and searching of archives.

On the other hand, this approach has a low barrier for its use, is text-based and amenable to processing with Perl, and can be integrated into my daily workflow through the use of Quicksilver.

###Requirements
* A directory to store my ToDos (~/todos)
* A series of suitable ToDos like ( ~/todos/wormbase.txt, ~/todos/travel_goals.txt, ~/personal.txt)

###Things that would be swell
* Automatic publishing and MediaWiki integration
* Email integration
Parse incoming email (perhaps preface subject with “tag=” structure and append to the appropriate list.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Rohan July 19, 2006 at 4:34 am

Have you seen org-mode for (X)emacs?
Publishes to ical, html, text etc. Has an agenda reporting mechanism, and it is all in text files.

http://staff.science.uva.nl/~dominik/Tools/org/

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