Project Management for Living Life, v0.6, 2017-11-13
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
Python 3.6 on Windows.
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 +Project_Name
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 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 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.
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.
In three stages:
- Python script installable via pip
- self-contained Windows exe (still command line)
- self-contained Windows exe with GUI (although that GUI was effectively be a website)
Libraries / Supporting Programs
- jrnl -- useful to store general notes
- topydo -- todo list manager
- click -- for managing command line options
- Sphinx -- static site generator
- ABlog -- blogging extention to Sphinx
- Travis-CI -- for automated testing
Data File Structure
.prjct\ |- .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) | | |- 2015-07-20_project_entry.md | | ` ... | |- prjct (temporary folder holding reST | | | export of project overviews) | | |- my_project_name.rst | | ` ... | |- conf.py (Sphinx main configuration file) | `- index.rst (source page for website front | page) `- build `- dirhtml (Exported Sphinx site) |- index.html ` ...
Project Management Usage: prjct [options] prjct.py [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 file 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 list 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 program Options: -h --help Displays a list of available commands, recommends running 'usage' for more details, and exits -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 list) --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:: :hidden: prjct Changelog *