Planning reflection

I haven’t posted a planning reflection in a while. I thought I’d think
out loud again after rereading Covey’s _First Things First_ and the
Merrills’ _Life Matters._ This isn’t _the_ way to use Planner. In
fact, I like thinking out loud about my planning style because I love
getting suggestions and advice from others. (This community is
amazing!)

Today I experimented with dividing my tasks according to roles. It’s a
little like planner-trunk.el, but I added the labels manually. This
lets me make sure I’m doing something useful in the roles I wanted to
concentrate on. I would like to eventually move to doing weekly
role-based planning, but I haven’t quite figured out a nice way to do
a week plan.

Here are my thoughts on my planning method so far:

Roles

Bunching my tasks according to roles makes it easier for me to
concentrate and prioritize. You can use planner-trunk to do that
too, or just rearrange your tasks and add blank lines between them.
Blank lines don’t automatically get carried forward, though.

Weekly planning

The main reason I have a paper planner (8.5″ x 11″: weekly calendar +
todo list + notes) is have that week-at-a-glance view. I like iCal’s
interface for planning tasks on a weekly basis, but I’m not entirely
sure how to map that onto Emacs, and I like my daily notes and my
day-view task list.

So now I’m trying to figure out how to do exactly what was discussed
on the mailing list a week or two ago: good week planning. I don’t
think I’ve ever come across an Emacs PIM that made me go aha, yes,
that’s the way to do it, although howm’s searching comes close and
org’s outlining can sort of do the trick. Well, so can Planner with
new plan pages, I suppose.

As I was trying to figure out how to do weekly planning, I realized I
didn’t know a nice, easy Emacs function for finding the current week
number. Would anyone happen to have that handy? Alternatively, I could
use something like Week.2005.09.05 to signify the week starting on
2005.09.05 (depending on calendar-week-start-day).

Maybe I could vertically divide the screen between a week view, with
tasks indicating my priorities, and a day view that shows the actual
goods. Then I can use planner-multi to schedule tasks from the week
view, and page forward and backward on the day view to check my load.

With planner-cyclic and planner-deadline in place, that would actually
be better than my paper planner. =)

I keep wondering whether we should do what everyone else does and
store a task once and only once. I don’t know how to hack that so that
it will let me manipulate the tasks as plain text, though. I like
adding blank lines in the middle of things, or changing the sorting
order, or doing other weird stuff. So I guess duplicated text works
better for me.

Undated tasks

Undated tasks tend to get forgotten, but the
sacha/planner-schedule-next-task code I had in my config was a bit
annoying. When I caught myself unscheduling a task even before
properly reading it, I turned that off in my config.

I think it’s because I need to rearrange the tasks in my plan pages so
that the important ones come out first. I’ve already tweaked
sacha/planner-schedule-next-task to add a new task only when I’ve
finished all scheduled tasks on that page for that particular project,
but it seems that after I finish a sublist of tasks, I feel like
changing contexts.

Maybe I can make a next-actions function that goes through a list of
projects and tells me what the next action is. When I have
unexpectedly free time, I can hit a shortcut to call that function,
and it will list the most important task (and perhaps the least
important as well? ;) ) in various pages.

Hey, that would be a low-cost thing to implement. We already have the
pieces for that…

Publishing

One of the side-benefits of publishing your task list is that
occasionally people will go and do the tasks for you. For example, one
of my TODOs was to write the speaker at a recent convention. I liked
his talk and I wanted to learn more about personal coaching. Because
I’ve been busy these past few days (my mom’s visiting, school’s
starting, etc.), I kept putting it off…

… until I got a note from him saying he searched for his name, found
my TODO, and decided to write to me. ^_^ Yay!