[kwlug-disc] Todo Lists and task management

John Johnson jvj at golden.net
Tue Mar 16 12:53:47 EDT 2010


Last December Raul Suarez showed, in his presentation on remote 
access, a document in which he jots down notes on a subject or 
project. I have been doing much the same thing in my work, to the 
point where my projects have a simple logfile, usually a simple plain 
text file in which I try to capture todos, notes, bug descriptions, 
fixes, repairs and other items of interest. These log files get messy 
over time but have proven useful. Does CYA ring a bell?

I have started a low priority project where I am looking at blogging 
techniques and scripts to do try to automate the process and allow 
the logfiles to be internally accessible to interested parties over a 
LAN network. This is low priority project, low burn project by which 
I hope I will learn PHP/PERL techniques for maintaining the blog. 
(N.B. This project does not have a "due date".)

The intent is to continue to use a flat text file (w/o graphics) but 
have the PHP scripts maintain a semblance of order.

This project is in its infancy and I would accept ideas, concepts, 
pointers, etc.

Thanks
John Johnson

At 12:31 2010-03-16, you wrote:
>Is anybody else keeping an electronic todo list? Are you finding it
>effective? I'm trying to get a feel for what works for everybody. I
>haven't found anything that works great for me yet, and typically have
>spent more time managing tasks than just doing them (My tasks span
>everything from "Update package dependancies for new version" to
>"Build a deck before winter (deferred from 2009)" with the odd "Sell
>awesome project for billion dollars before 2012" thrown in for fun).
>
>My requirements are pretty simple:
>- Priorities
>- Notes for each task
>- Simple data store I can parse with scripts (e.g. for display in
>conky, count tasks completed last week to guilt me into doing more
>this week)
>
>Things I would prefer, but are not critical:
>- Due dates
>- Completion dates
>- Dependancies
>- Task recurrence
>
>I had been using a plain text file with vim, but I find that once I
>add a few notes under each task it becomes a pain to get a task
>overview, I have to drop to a shell and grep. The other downside is
>that it is computer/console-only, so i have no ability to add or
>review tasks from my phone.
>
>I've just started to switch again, and before failing to adapt to a
>new process (or get such process to adapt to me) I figured I would at
>least see what others are using. Somebody else *must* be doing
>something better. There is so much software out there to tackle todo
>lists ("Getting things Done" seems to be all the rage lately), but it
>all seems to fall flat in one area or another, whether it is a backend
>format that needs a million lines of code and five XML libraries to
>parse, or a complex interface that is a pain to use (thus I will
>"update it later"), or stuck to a specific device that I won't always
>have around.
>
>The current plan I'm considering is using an email inbox with a unique
>address. It gives me a create date, subject, and notes (message body).
>I get an outline in my email client, and can open specific tasks to
>review. I've always got evolution open anyway, and it is an interface
>I am already accustomed to. My mail is pulled to maildir on my
>workstation, so I effectively have all the simplicity features I had
>with the text file. It does give me comparable support on my phone and
>any computer I can access my webmail. It doesn't give me due dates,
>completion dates or dependancies though, and my priority range would
>be limited to important/normal.
>
>So the email option looks rather favourable since it seems to strike a
>balance of simple and hit most of the features I want. But Todo lists
>should not be that hard, and the general rule I follow is "If you need
>to invent something simple, somebody smarter has already done it
>better". So, back to the original question: What is everybody else
>using, and do you find it effective?
>
>--
>Chris Irwin
><chris at chrisirwin.ca>
>
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