Empty green boat

Redoing My Daily Workflow for 2013

I’m a big fan of David Allen’s Getting Things Done. GTD is a personal organization system based on distributed cognition that accepts that:

  • Keeping your mind clear makes you capable of doing your best work.
  • Things change a lot. Keeping organized requires that you accept that.
  • Delegating happens. A lot.

The key to making GTD work is having a system you can trust for recording tasks. In 2012, I tried using Google Calendar. Inputting task and notes just takes too long. Eventually, you stop trusting Google because you always think getting the task or appointment down will take too long. In 2013, it looks like I’ll be travelling a  little more for DirectEmployers, so I’m going to have to gear up to be a little more mobile… so In 2013, I’m going back to Emacs Org-Mode. Org-Mode is an extension for the Emacs text editor (if you use VIM, there’s an org-mode for that) uses a simple text file.  Making a new top priority entry for a task is this simple:

** TODO [#A] Turn In Health Insurance Claims       :OFFICE:PERSONAL:
   Deadline: <2013-01-30

Likewise, an appointment is a simple text entry:

** APPT Meet Erik and Paul for Lunch          :PROBLOG:
   <2012-12-31 Mon 11:30-13:00>

Making new entries is easy, and with the Mobile Org app, you can integrate with Google’s calendar on your Android device. OrgMode syncs via DropBox, Ubuntu One, WebDav or SSH (after trying a few different choices, SSH is the winner).  So in 2013, I can manage my stuff in Org-Mode and interact with the Google apps I use on a daily basis. Fast, trustworthy data entry for stuff I have to input. Easy push button “Yes – I’m attending” for things other people send me. Perfect.


I like to blog a little when I have the time (actually, I like blogging so much I started Professional Blog Service with Paul Lorinczi in 2008). WordPress is not helping. The built in visual editor makes way too many assumptions and has issues when you highlight text and try to apply a tag from the dropdown. Half the time, it’s easier to just use the Text tab instead of playing whack-a-mole with the Visual tab.  Note to CMS developers: If you are going to have a wysiwyg editor, makes sure it sucks less than typing HTML by hand…

So instead of sticking with WordPress, which sucks and makes me mad, I’m going to move over to Mezzanine, which I think is more in line with my own technical interests (for starters it’s based on Python and the excellent Django framework).

Development Tools

I’ve always admired developers who are masters of their vcs. Developers where you read commit history and things just make sense. Since most of the coding I’ve been doing the last year has been in Python, things have pretty much been bliss. The only plan I’ve got for change is to really focus on my personal use of git. I need to branch more often and commit smaller chunks of code.  Which reminds me: org-mode files make great project management files if you use git…


0 thoughts on “Redoing My Daily Workflow for 2013

  1. I saw you posted on an old slashdot thread about “life organization with free software”, where at the time I was really hoping to mention my Free product but it wasn’t ready for anyone to use. Now it is, if someone doesn’t mind reading the screen and some instructions. 🙂 Speaking as a former lightweight emacs org-mode user, this is easily the best personal organizer & knowledge manager I’ve known of. So I’m trying ways to find a few users to try it. Like I said, ignore this freely. I’ve been using it on Debian and OpenBSD, but the system has generalizable instructions, & if a handful of Windows users were interested I’d even test the installation there and provide specifics (now the instructions are more general); I hope to not need a local DB in the near future, but really want to gauge if there is *any* interest, now.

    http://www.onemodel.org : record, manage and share any knowledge, efficiently, with one data model: Free and open.

    And, for “what it is today” with details, & links to more about the future: http://www.onemodel.org/1/e-9223372036854622523.html

    It is text- and keyboard- only , highly efficient to navigate, and everything you need to know at any given time is on the screen. Vision, in buzzwords: outlines + mind mapping + evernote + wikipedia + knowledge management + *spreadsheets/apps* + PIM, you decide what to share or import.

    Thanks & best wishes,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *