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Recurring org-mode tasks
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README.md

org-recur

Melpa LoC

Recurring org-mode tasks.

Screenshot

Screenshot

About

This package extends org-mode and org-agenda with support for defining recurring tasks and easily scheduling them.

I initially wrote this package for myself, because I've found that simple task management systems are the most effective for me. With this package I can just press d in the org-agenda to quickly reschedule a recurring chore -- neat! I hope that others happen to find this useful as well.

Usage

By adding some simple syntax to anywhere in the task heading you can control how often the task should recur. Examples:

  • |+2|: Recur every other day.
  • |+w|: Recur every week.
  • |1|: Recur on the first of every month.
  • |Thu|: Recur every Thursday.
  • |Sun,Sat|: Recur every Sunday and Saturday.*
  • |Wkdy|: Recur every weekday.*

The syntax is the same as the one already used by org-schedule, with examples of additional syntax, provided by org-recur, marked by *.

You can use the provided command org-recur-finish to reschedule tasks based on their recurrence syntax. With the point over a task, in either org-mode or org-agenda, call org-recur-finish and it will handle the task intelligently. If the task does not contain a recurrence syntax, the command will ignore it by default, though this is customizable.

Time of day

org-recur supports time of day. It looks something like this: |1 10:00, 15 12:00| headline. It's a bit verbose, but you can specify different times of day for each date. If you don't want the verbosity you can move the time of day outside of org-recur: |1, 15| 10:00 headline works just fine, and is what I have been doing. org-agenda will pick up the time in either scenario.

Customizing weekdays

You can customize the org-recur-weekday-recurrence variable to match your lifestyle. If a "weekday" (a day in which you work or study) for you includes Saturday, or excludes Wednesday, you can modify the variable accordingly.

Installing

Make sure you have set up MELPA and run:

M-x package-install RET org-recur RET

Or, if you have use-package:

(use-package org-recur
  :demand t)

Recommended Configuration

The following use-package configuration:

  • Enables org-recur-mode in org-mode files and org-recur-agenda-mode in the org-agenda.
  • Sets the suggested keybindings (C-c d, as well as d in org-recur-agenda-mode).
  • Enables org-recur-finish acting on headings without recurrence syntax, marking them done and archiving them.
(use-package org-recur
  :hook ((org-mode . org-recur-mode)
         (org-agenda-mode . org-recur-agenda-mode))
  :demand t
  :config
  (define-key org-recur-mode-map (kbd "C-c d") 'org-recur-finish)

  ;; Rebind the 'd' key in org-agenda (default: `org-agenda-day-view').
  (define-key org-recur-agenda-mode-map (kbd "d") 'org-recur-finish)
  (define-key org-recur-agenda-mode-map (kbd "C-c d") 'org-recur-finish)

  (setq org-recur-finish-done t
        org-recur-finish-archive t))

Recommended org-mode settings

Here are some org-mode settings that work well in conjunction with org-recur.

Refresh the org-agenda whenever a task is rescheduled:

;; Refresh org-agenda after rescheduling a task.
(defun org-agenda-refresh ()
  "Refresh all `org-agenda' buffers."
  (dolist (buffer (buffer-list))
    (with-current-buffer buffer
      (when (derived-mode-p 'org-agenda-mode)
        (org-agenda-maybe-redo)))))

(defadvice org-schedule (after refresh-agenda activate)
  "Refresh org-agenda."
  (org-agenda-refresh))

Keep the task metadata clean:

;; Log time a task was set to Done.
(setq org-log-done (quote time))

;; Don't log the time a task was rescheduled or redeadlined.
(setq org-log-redeadline nil)
(setq org-log-reschedule nil)

Prefer rescheduling to future dates and times:

(setq org-read-date-prefer-future 'time)

Alternatives

Repeated tasks

org-mode already supports "repeated tasks", but it has some shortcomings:

  • Tasks need to have a TODO status set. I have a lot of recurring tasks and I don't want them all to be TODO.
  • You can't see how often a task recurs from the org-agenda view, you only see the task's headline and not its SCHEDULED/DEADLINE timestamps.
  • Repeated tasks require the .+ syntax to shift the date based on today, which is what I almost always want. If I want to schedule a +2 task to tomorrow I can do that manually, but I still want it to be clear that the task should recur every two days.

org-recur is also simpler. I want to think as little as possible when I organize my time, helping keep my personal time management frictionless.

org-habit

org-habit is similar to org-recur and has some interesting, albeit unnecessary features. The same drawbacks apply as above; in addition, org-recur is much simpler.

Sexp diary entries

You can also get some features of org-recur using Diary-style sexp entries. For example, you can get the |1,15| recurrence with SCHEDULED: <%%(diary-date t '(1 15) 2019)> (see C-h f diary-date).

The biggest shortcoming of this approach, it seems to me, is the complexity of it. You also can't see the timestamp from the org-agenda view.

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