I always had a love/hate relation to emacs, but recently I found a good reason to start using it a lot again : org-mode.
org mode allows to keep notes and TODO list using a simple text format. Basically you can type what you want and every line starting with "TODO" will be interpreted as a task, every date enclosed by "<" and ">" as an agenda entry, every text enclosed by "[[" and "]]" as a link. (Check the website for more detailed documentation).
It is a very complicated thing to find a way to keep organized and productive, specially when we have to deal with different projects, involving a lot of information.
One thing I did learn from the past is that online tools like google calendar or personal wiki don't work for me. I am just too lazy to take the time to go online to update my wiki or calendar. Very often when I think of a task I have to do, I am already working on something else, and I don't want to spend time going online and getting through a web interface just to write a few lines of text.
Until now my optimal solution for keeping organized was to use :
- A directory containing basic text files, one per project, idea or people.
- A TODO text file.
- A piece of paper on my desk where I would write every mornings the tasks for the day.
- One org file per project I am working on.
- One org file for all my contacts information.
- One org file for other small tasks or ideas (things to buy, etc...)
What I really appreciate with this new system is the fact that I can create TODO or agenda entries from anywhere. Org-mode will automatically harvest all the tasks and agenda entries and create a nice summary for me.
I have been using it for only a few weeks now, but I can already tell it makes things much easier than before.