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A simple org-mode based journaling mode

branch: master


Adapted from

Functions to maintain a simple personal diary / journal in Emacs. Feel free to use, modify and improve the code! — mtvoid, bastibe

This file is also available from marmalade under the name org-journal. After installing, add the line (require 'org-journal) to your .emacs or init.el to activate it. You also need to specify the directory where your journal files will be saved. You can do this by setting the variable org-journal-dir (remember to add a trailing slash). org-journal-dir is also a customizable variable. The default value for org-journal-dir is ~/Documents/journal/.

You can add all those calendar files to your org-agenda by adding org-journal-dir to org-agenda-files and setting org-agenda-file-regexp to include files with an all-numeric name (\\`[^.].*\\.org'\\|[0-9]+). That way, you can use org-agenda to search for TODO items or tagged items in your org-journal.

Inside the journal directory, a separate file is created for each day with a journal entry, with a file name in the format YYYYMMDD. Each journal entry is an org-mode file that begins with a date entry on the top, followed by a entries for different times. Any subsequent entries on the same day are written as additional headings in the same file, with their own time. To start writing a journal entry, press C-c j.

You can customize the date and time formats using the variables org-journal-date-format and org-journal-time-format. If you do not want to use org headings and sub-headings for date and time entries, customize org-journal-date-prefix and org-journal-time-prefix. For example, you could set org-journal-date-prefix to #+TITLE: in order to begin every file with a title instead of a heading. If you want to store your journal entries with different file names, customize org-journal-file-format and make sure that org-journal-file-pattern matches this format (the pattern is used to mark the calendar entries).

You can browse through existing journal entries on disk via the calendar. All dates for which an entry is present are highlighted. Pressing j will open it up for viewing. Pressing [ or ] will select the date with the previous or next journal entry, respectively. Pressing i j will create a new entry for the chosen date.

Quick summary: To create a new journal entry: C-c j

In calendar view:

  • j to view an entry
  • i j to add a new entry
  • [ to go to previous entry
  • ] to go to next entry

When viewing a journal entry:

  • C-c f to view next entry
  • C-c b to view previous entry

A typical journal entry for a day would look like this:

(it will actually look a lot nicer, depending on your org-mode settings)

* Tuesday, 06/04/13
** 10:28 Company meeting
Endless discussions about projects. Not much progress

** 11:33 Work on org-journal                                   :org-journal:
For the longest time, I wanted to have a cool diary app on my
computer. However, I simply lacked the right tool for that job. After
many hours of searching, I finally found PersonalDiary on EmacsWiki.
PersonalDiary is a very simple diary system based on the emacs
calendar. It works pretty well, but I don't really like that it only
uses unstructured text.

Thus, I spent the last two hours with making that diary use org-mode
and represent every entry as an org-mode headline. Very cool!

** 15:33 Work on org-journal                                   :org-journal:
Now my journal automatically creates the right headlines (adds the
current time stamp if on the current day, does not add a time stamp
for any other day). Additionally, it automatically collapses the
headlines in the org-file to the right level (shows everything if in
view mode, shows only headlines in new-entry-mode). Emacs and elisp
are really cool!

** 16:40 Work on org-journal                                   :org-journal:
I uploaded my journal mode to marmalade and Github! Awesome!

** TODO teach org-journal how to brew coffee                   :org-journal:
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