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Project Management for Living Life, v0.7.1, 2019-09-24


Not all features have been implemented yet. I use this day-to-day, but really, it's alpha-level software.


I have used todo lists to manage my workload for many years. I have also found several good programs for managing my todo list, particularly when using a flat text file (a la todo.txt) Recently, after hearing many good things about Getting Things Done, I picked up the book. As I understand it, he recommends that your todo list actually become more of a 'next items' list, derived from your project list. I couldn't find anything particularly suited to this, so I decided to write something myself.


Manage my project list, and from this derive my todo list.


A couple of philosophical notes that are built in to this project:

  • where possible, data should be stored in text files. Furthermore, these text
    files should be editable on the go with a simple text editor.
  • a 'project' is some end goal that requires more than one action
  • by writing everything that needs done down, I can spend my mental energy on
    projects other than remembering what needs to be done. This only works if it is easy, at a glance, to review what I need to do next.
  • if something exists that does the job well, there is no need to rebuild it

Programming Language

Python 3.7 on Windows.

jrnl Integration

jrnl is a command line program written in Python. It allows notes to be written in plain text, and has various importers and exporters. The thought is to write a note in jrnl about a project, and include todo items as part of the note. The though was to use the checkbox style used on GitHub.

So an entry might look like:

[2015-07-20 20:34] Project Update -- July 20

All about my new project...blah, blah, blah.

More about my project.

- [ ] something that needs done
- [ ] some other todo item


Todo items in an entry would automatically be assigned the creation date of the entry, and any tags on the entry would apply to the todo items in that entry.

Pelican Integration

Pelican integration has been depreciated in favour of Sphinx, which now allows jrnl content to be written in Markdown, but allows more powerful control of the rest of the site presentation.

Sphinx Integration

Sphinx is a static site generator, originally conceived for generating Python documentation, written in Python. Currently, entries from jrnl can be exported to Markdown formatted text files, and these text files can then be fed to Sphinx to create a blog using the ABlog extension. prjct can build on this behaviour. For each defined project, a page, similar to a tag page, will be generated. This page will list the project overview, a list of the open todo items, the recently completed items, and then a list entries tagged with the project name.

todo.txt Integration

One of the goals of prjct is to allow other todo.txt clients to manage the todo list. To this end, a todo.txt and a done.txt file will need to be maintained. As well, items that are added directly to the todo list (rather that through a jrnl entry) will be directly added to the todo.txt file.

When run, prjct would add new items in jrnl entries to the todo.txt file, and update completed tasks from the done.txt file listed in jrnl entries.

To cross-reference todo items in jrnl entries and on todo.txt, I propose adding a 'key' to each item. I haven't decided what format to use for the key. One option is using a UUID (128 bits, base 16, typically 35 characters). Another option is to use base32 crockford which could be variable length, but packs 5 bits per character instead of 4, decreasing key lengths by 25% for keys in the same sample space.

The advantage of using UUID's is they look like numbers because they have so many digits in them. In either case, we may be by referring to items by a shortened version of the identifier, a little like git treats commit ID's.

So a todo item might look like this:

2015-07-20 Some item that needs doing +my_project due:2016-01-01 t:2015-12-01 prjct:d95ff071-9443-49f0-8f11-b2787649a481

(due refers to when the task is due; t refers to the "threshold date", i.e. don't show this task before this date; prjct is our added key (in this case, an UUID)).


This is a file listing all projects. Format somewhat based on todo.txt. One project per line. Projects with the context @someday will not be considered when the user reviews project, unless he explicitly asks to review them.

Packaged Format

In three stages:

  1. Python script installable via pip
  2. self-contained Windows exe (still command line)
  3. self-contained Windows exe with GUI (although that GUI was effectively be a website)

Libraries / Supporting Programs

  • Python
  • jrnl -- useful to store general notes
  • topydo -- todo list manager
  • click -- for managing command line options
  • todo.txt
  • Sphinx -- static site generator
  • ABlog -- blogging extention to Sphinx
  • Travis-CI -- for automated testing

Data File Structure

  |- .prjct-config                  (configuration file)
  |- jrnl.txt                       (jrnl entries)
  |- todo.txt                       (todo items)
  |- done.txt                       (completed todo items)
  |- prjct.txt                      (list of all projects)
  |- source\                        (used as the Sphinx source files)
  |    |- _static                   (folder for storage of images, etc)
  |    |- docs                      (folder contain documenation for
  |    |                              getting prjct, including
  |    |                              philosopy, started, etc.)
  |    |- jrnl                      (temporary folder holding Markdown
  |    |    |                         export of jrnl entries)
  |    |    |-
  |    |    ` ...
  |    |- prjct                     (temporary folder holding reST
  |    |    |                         export of project overviews)
  |    |    |- my_project_name.rst
  |    |    ` ...
  |    |-                   (Sphinx main configuration file)
  |    `- index.rst                 (source page for website front
  |                                   page)
  `- build
       `- dirhtml                   (Exported Sphinx site)
            |- index.html
            ` ...


Project Management

  prjct [options] [options]
  prjct usage           Displays this screen and exits
  prjct review          Review all projects listed in in the prjct.txt
                            file to ensure they all have a next item.
                            If there is no next item, you are asked to
                            either select one of the existing todo
                            items, or add a new one
  prjct (ls | list)     List all projects in the default prjct.txt
  prjct add <project>   Add a project to the list
  prjct rm <project number>
                        Remove a project from the list
  prjct someday <project number>
                        Move a project from the default list to the
                            someday list
  prjct goal (project number | project name)
                        Displays the goal for a given project
  prjct generate        Generates a list of project based on your todo
  todo top              List top todo items
  todo add <item>       Add an item to the todo list
  todo do <item>...     Do item on todo.txt
  todo pri <item>... <priority>
                        Changes (or adds) the priority (A-Z) to the
                            given todo item(s)
  todo depri <item>... <priority>
                        Removes the priority to the given todo item(s)
  todo (ls | list) [filter text]
                        Lists all items on the todo list after
                            applying the filter
  jrnl [jrnl options]   calls the jrnl program; allows entry of goals,
                            notes, etc
  prjct report          Generates a report listing all projects,
                            goals, notes, done todo items, and
                            outstanding todo items
  todo context          Generates a report, listed all todo items,
                            which each context in a separate file
  prjct about           Displays a more complete 'version' page,
                            including the goals of the project and
                            import dates
  prjct changes         Displays the changelog
  prjct credits         Displays all contributors to the project
  prjct (phil | philosophy)
                        Displays some philosophical thoughts on how to
                            get the most out of the system
  prjct howto           Displays a basic tutorial on how to use the

  -h --help                         Displays a list of available
                                        commands, recommends running
                                        'usage' for more details, and
  -v --version                      Show version, and exit
  --config=<path to .prjct-config>  Select a configuration file
  --todo=<path to todo.txt file>    Select a todo.txt file
  --done=<path to done.txt file>    Select a done.txt file (completed
                                        todo items)
  --prjct=<path to prjct.txt file>  Select a prjct.txt file (project
  --export=<path>                   Specify the export path

Goals are pulled jrnl by filtering for entries tagged with the project name and looking for a Goal heading.

Getting Things Done -- 7 lists

In Getting Things Done, he mentions 7 types lists to manage:

  • a projects list
  • project support material
  • calendared actions and information
  • a waiting for list
  • reference material
  • a someday/maybe list

This project aims mainly to maintain the first -- the project list. Some project support material can to provided using jrnl (particularly goals), but most will be kept elsewhere. Nothing is a attempted (yet) with either calendared items or the 'tickler' file he mentions in the book. A 'waiting for' list can quasi implemented by assigning the tasks in question a (W) priority. Reference material is intended to be kept elsewhere. The 'someday/maybe' project list is designed, ultimately, to be supported.

.. toctree::

   prjct Changelog


Project management




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