Headlines for Thursday:


Priorities - A: high, B: medium, C: low; Status - _: unfinished, X: finished, C: cancelled, P: pending, o: in progress, >: delegated. Covey quadrants - Q1 & Q3: urgent, Q1 & Q2: important
AXCheck out books related to human interface design mess-ups
AX@1100-1200 Q1 Attend lecture in MP134 from 2005.10.27 (mie1407f)
AX@1400-1500 Pick up check from RS214
AX@0630-0730 +write about e-mail overload and using tasks - 641 words (writing)
CX@1900-2100 Join crochet group, do some knitting
CXBe extremely nice and help Yeow Tong recover his data, even if it's from a bloody Windows laptop


1. Planner tip #1: Overcome inbox insanity the Planner way

(641 words)

Overloaded with e-mail? Overcome inbox insanity by using Planner to keep track of what you need to do. If you use Emacs as your mail client, then Planner's automatic hyperlinking can help you capture and organize your tasks.


Create planner tasks whenever e-mail requires you to act. That way, you don't have to hunt through your inbox every time you need to figure out what to work on. If your response to an e-mail will take less than two minutes and you know you won't get distracted, go ahead and act on it immediately; you don't need to capture it. If you want to track your action for completeness, create a task for it. Planner makes it so easy to capture and organize tasks that even two-minute tasks are still worth recording.

Tasks are automatically linked to the e-mail message being viewed, making it easy to return to the original message for more details. You can schedule tasks immediately or leave them on today's page. If you want tasks to be undated by default, set planner-expand-name-default to nil.

Create planner tasks whenever you need to follow up a task you've delegated to someone else. Assign it to a different plan page. If you prefer to use a single plan page, make task sorting easier by adding a keyword to the description (ex: #A _ +waiting for year-end sales report : E-Mail from Jim). This makes it easy to review all the things you're waiting for.

Write clear and concise task descriptions. "Prepare year-end sales report" is a better task description than "Work on this". Planner will automatically add the e-mail author's name as a hyperlink, like ": E-Mail from Kathy".


Using Planner to keep track of your e-mail related tasks also makes it easier for you to organize and plan your day. E-mail doesn't let you specify when you want to work on something, but Planner lets you schedule your tasks onto specific days. It can also carry over unfinished tasks, so you know that nothing will slip through the cracks.

After you've read all your e-mail and responded to everything you could quickly process, you can choose when to work on other tasks that take more time. Review your list of e-mail-related tasks and start organizing them.

You can schedule a task onto a particular day by using planner-copy-or-move-task (C-c C-c) while point is on the task. You can specify actual dates (yyyy.mm.dd, mm.dd, or just dd), or you can use Planner's relative dates features to schedule things for next Friday (+fri), two days from now (+2), or even the 3rd Tuesday after March 1 (+3tue3.1). Use planner-copy-or-move-region to schedule multiple tasks.

You can schedule tasks for particular times as well. Simply add time (ex: @1000-1300) to your task description using planner-edit-task-description (bind this to a shortcut key if you use it often). Modules like planner-appt.el can extract the time information and display your schedule, and you can change your planner-sort-tasks-key-function to sort tasks by time first and then by priority.

And there you have it--an organized way to make sense of your inbox by making it easy to see just what you need to do.

Set up

1. Set up mail for Emacs, if you haven't done that already. If you're

new to Emacs, I recommend checking out http://www.emacswiki.org and http://my.gnus.org .

2. Bind planner-create-task-from-buffer to a keyboard shortcut you can

use from anywhere. For example, add the following line to your ~/emacs in order to use C-c t as your create-task shortcut:

(global-set-key "\C-ct" 'planner-create-task-from-buffer)

3. Load the Planner module corresponding to your preferred mail client:

Gnus planner-gnus.el
MH-E planner-mhe.el
Rmail planner-rmail.el
Unix mail planner-unix-mail.el
VM planner-vm.el
Wanderlust planner-wl.el
For example, add
(require 'planner-gnus)
to your ~/.emacs

Now you can deal with inbox insanity the Planner way!

2. Free Penguin

Categories: None -- Permalink
Free penguin sewing instructions! Oooh, cuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuute!

3. If you throw enough pots, you'll be a master potter

Categories: None -- Permalink
If you throw enough pots, you'll be a master potter.

I got up this morning at 6:30 to write. The idea had been bubbling in my brain all night and I simply had to sit down and get it out of my head. If I write enough articles, if I give enough speeches, if I keep pushing myself to do better, then I'll be a master--maybe not now, but I can wait ten years.

Ten years and 10,000 hours of work. That's all that separates us from the masters. Chess champions, ballet dancers--it's all about practice. Only passion can really push you to go that extra mile.

10,000 hours of work is just three hours a day. I can do three hours a day. I can spend three hours a day learning how to research, how to write, how to speak. It's what I'm supposed to be doing for school, anyway. I can do more than three hours a day.

People ask me if success is a matter of talent. Talent isn't something you're born with. It's something you pay for with practice. All you can start out with is <b>passion.</b> And when you pursue your passion, you'll find that the universe matches your effort.

So I'm going to throw a lot of pots. I'm going to write a lot of articles and give a lot of speeches. I want your feedback, encouragement, insights and advice. Help me make things happen.

4. Reading bursts

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Now that I've given myself permission to buy books I like, my bookshelf is slowly but steadily growing. Here's a great tip to keep ideas fresh and flowing: spend 45 minutes a day reading a chapter each from five random books.

I should tagcloud my bookshelf on Ning so that you can see what's on my bookshelf...

5. Argh. Blog comment spam.

Categories: None -- Permalink
I remember why I put off having online blog comments for the longest time. It's just a lot of work filtering spam. I'm going to modify blogKomm this weekend--add a 1 + 1 question or something--but given that the source code's in German, I might just end up writing my own system...


% Weather 2 - 8'C, 10kph wind, morning clouds. Socks, winter boots, heavy coat.
% Breakfast Oatmeal
% Lunch Omelette (thanks to pll for tips!) and rice
% Dinner Chicken nuggets salad on pita bread that refused to behave like a pocket
% Vitamins Yup, with dinner