Daily planning with TaskPaper and TextExpander

Have you ever tried to take your days one by one when they kept coming to you all at once? I have many times. To keep my days under control I use simple daily plans generated by a combination of TaskPaper and TextExpander.

My daily plan is a TaskPaper document which includes several lists of tasks by type of activity (writing, doing small tasks, processing and organizing and meetings) and a time schedule where the same tasks are parsed into particular time slots. To generate such a document I use a TextExpander snippet included at the end of this post. The snippet uses the ability of TextExpander to produce fill-in forms where I type information relevant to my day.

TextExpander — Daily Plan (TaskPaper)-4TextExpander — Daily Plan (TaskPaper)-6

Before I am ready to launch the snippet I usually spend 10–20 minutes with a pen and a piece of paper going through the inputs for the day. These include:

  • tasks scheduled for this day during weekly planning;
  • postponed items from the previous day (TaskPaper);
  • calendar appointments in BusyCal;
  • urgent e-mails and other communications (I don’t zero my Inbox during daily planning – that is a separately schedules task – but rather do emergency scanning often with help of SaneBox);
  • routine daily tasks (e.g. going through e-mail, OmniFocus review in a particular area);
  • OmniFocus tasks available for that day or due soon;
  • ongoing long-term projects (e.g. writing);
  • everything else that is on my mind (a mini mind-sweep, using David Allen’s terminology).

w23

Fragment of a TaskPaper document with a daily plan generated by TextExpander

When the daily planning snippet is initiated (my abbreviation for it is “,,day”)  in a TaskPaper document, each of the items becomes a TaskPaper task (don’t forget to precede each item with “-”). During the day I cross-out items when they are done. If I can’t do something on that day I mark it with the @tomorrow tag. By clicking on this tag I filter all the postponed items at once and can copy them to the next day’s plan, transfer to OmniFocus, or simply drop. I can also add inputs for tomorrow by pressing a shortcut for adding a TaskPaper item ⇧⌘↩  and typing an item with the @tomorrow tag.

You can further develop this TextExpander snippet, simplify it, or make it more complicated. You can also use other software or don’t use computers at all to make your daily plans. The point is to separate doing and deciding what to do. Mixing the two dilutes focus and increases anxiety.

About these ads

About Aleh Cherp

Aleh Cherp is a professor at Central European University and Lund University. He also coordinates MESPOM, a Masters course operated by six Universities.
This entry was posted in Automation, Tasks and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Daily planning with TaskPaper and TextExpander

  1. Bob says:

    Your snippet keeps quitting on me with the following. Any clue how to fix it? The form looks fine, I have a new taskpaper document but it fails?

    07/10/13 3:50:31.504 PM TextExpander Helper[464]: (
    0 CoreFoundation 0x00007fff8708ab06 __exceptionPreprocess + 198
    1 libobjc.A.dylib 0x00007fff845a83f0 objc_exception_throw + 43
    2 Foundation 0x00007fff84298744 -[NSConnection sendInvocation:internal:] + 3732
    3 CoreFoundation 0x00007fff87079197 ___forwarding___ + 775
    4 CoreFoundation 0x00007fff87078e18 _CF_forwarding_prep_0 + 232
    5 Foundation 0x00007fff8427e5ca __NSThreadPerformPerform + 225
    6 CoreFoundation 0x00007fff87009b31 __CFRUNLOOP_IS_CALLING_OUT_TO_A_SOURCE0_PERFORM_FUNCTION__ + 17
    7 CoreFoundation 0x00007fff87009455 __CFRunLoopDoSources0 + 245
    8 CoreFoundation 0x00007fff8702c7f5 __CFRunLoopRun + 789
    9 CoreFoundation 0x00007fff8702c0e2 CFRunLoopRunSpecific + 290
    10 HIToolbox 0x00007fff82665eb4 RunCurrentEventLoopInMode + 209
    11 HIToolbox 0x00007fff82665c52 ReceiveNextEventCommon + 356
    12 HIToolbox 0x00007fff82665ae3 BlockUntilNextEventMatchingListInMode + 62
    13 AppKit 0x00007fff8d790533 _DPSNextEvent + 685
    14 AppKit 0x00007fff8d78fdf2 -[NSApplication nextEventMatchingMask:untilDate:inMode:dequeue:] + 128
    15 AppKit 0x00007fff8d7871a3 -[NSApplication run] + 517
    16 AppKit 0x00007fff8d72bbd6 NSApplicationMain + 869
    17 TextExpander Helper 0x000000010194be47 TextExpander Helper + 28231
    18 TextExpander Helper 0x0000000101946ca4 TextExpander Helper + 7332
    )

    Like

  2. Aleh Cherp says:

    Thanks for trying! I’ve corrected it – try now!

    Like

  3. Bob says:

    Still crashed. Perhaps the problem is in textexpander, it appears it may have something to do with not filling in every time slot in the schedule (or every box)?

    07/15/13 11:48:36.515 AM TextExpander Helper[26552]: (
    0 CoreFoundation 0x00007fff8708ab06 __exceptionPreprocess + 198
    1 libobjc.A.dylib 0x00007fff845a83f0 objc_exception_throw + 43
    2 Foundation 0x00007fff84298744 -[NSConnection sendInvocation:internal:] + 3732
    3 CoreFoundation 0x00007fff87079197 ___forwarding___ + 775
    4 CoreFoundation 0x00007fff87078e18 _CF_forwarding_prep_0 + 232
    5 Foundation 0x00007fff8427e5ca __NSThreadPerformPerform + 225
    6 CoreFoundation 0x00007fff87009b31 __CFRUNLOOP_IS_CALLING_OUT_TO_A_SOURCE0_PERFORM_FUNCTION__ + 17
    7 CoreFoundation 0x00007fff87009455 __CFRunLoopDoSources0 + 245
    8 CoreFoundation 0x00007fff8702c7f5 __CFRunLoopRun + 789
    9 CoreFoundation 0x00007fff8702c0e2 CFRunLoopRunSpecific + 290
    10 HIToolbox 0x00007fff82665eb4 RunCurrentEventLoopInMode + 209
    11 HIToolbox 0x00007fff82665c52 ReceiveNextEventCommon + 356
    12 HIToolbox 0x00007fff82665ae3 BlockUntilNextEventMatchingListInMode + 62
    13 AppKit 0x00007fff8d790533 _DPSNextEvent + 685
    14 AppKit 0x00007fff8d78fdf2 -[NSApplication nextEventMatchingMask:untilDate:inMode:dequeue:] + 128
    15 AppKit 0x00007fff8d7871a3 -[NSApplication run] + 517
    16 AppKit 0x00007fff8d72bbd6 NSApplicationMain + 869
    17 TextExpander Helper 0x00000001048ece47 TextExpander Helper + 28231
    18 TextExpander Helper 0x00000001048e7ca4 TextExpander Helper + 7332
    )

    Like

  4. Pingback: daily planning | Make everyday Outstanding

  5. Dellu says:

    Where is the snippet?

    Like

  6. onto says:

    Sounds like a great system! Is the snippet available for download? I don’t see it in the post.

    Like

  7. boscht says:

    Please post a download link…

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s