GTD b..y with emacs org-mode

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On GTD Times today there is a discussion about Kelly Forrister’s Mastering Workflow seminar, and an illustration of thinking about projects from a-z.

The post describes the project as ‘Z’, and your next step as ‘A’, and discusses how you document any other steps which may need to be done *after* your next action to get to ‘Z’ (i.e., project completion). There are some ideas about where you store these extra ‘next next’ steps.

Because emacs org-mode allows you to turn a heading or bullet point into a next action through a simple key combination (\^C\^T) I find that something along the following lines works well for me:\

** Project A 
*** DONE Create project costing                                      :Laptop: 
*** NEXT Ring Jim to check the costings are OK.    : Phone: 
*** Check  we can fit the project into June/July      :John: 
*** Hand project over to John 
*** Check project progress SCHEDULED: <2008-6-30 Mon>`

As you can see, the beauty of org-mode is that

  • you can store everything related to a project together (which was one of the discussion points in theGTD Times post)
  • both my next steps and ‘next’ next steps are visible to me when I do my weekly review.
  • Only the NEXT action will come up when I use the appropriate key combo (‘\^Cas’ in my case, which is one of my org-agenda-custom-commands and pulls up anything which is a NEXT action and which has a work-related tag, such as :Laptop: etc).
  • finally (and this, i think, illustrates why org-mode works so well), when doing the weekly review, if I have made the phone call, I hit \^C\^T on the NEXT line to convert it to DONE, and then make a decision if one of the other steps is a next action. If it is, just move onto that line and hit \^C\^T. Seamless.

Now the post also discusses the problems with cluttering up your lists with stuff you don’t need to focus on at the moment, but with org-mode this isn’t an issue as you can set up your various filters to show you as much or as little as you want.

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