Planner tip #1: Overcome inbox insanity the Planner way

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Planner tip #1: Overcome inbox insanity the Planner way

Sacha Chua
Hello, everyone!

I've realized that I really want to get into technical writing and
speaking. =) Which means Planner is going to be my guinea pig for
writing articles and documentation (hence the Linux Journal article!).
So I'm going to see how many Planner tips I can write, and I'd love to
get feedback on both content and style.

What do you think? =) (Oh, I can just hear it now. "Sacha, don't quit
your day job just yet." Wait, I don't have a day job--I'm a
student...)

Sacha

----------------------------------------------------------------
Planner Tip #1: OVERCOME INBOX INSANITY THE PLANNER WAY

Overloaded with e-mail? Overcome inbox insanity by using Planner to
keep track of what you need to do. If you use Emacs as your mail
client, then Planner's automatic hyperlinking can help you capture and
organize your tasks.

*** Capture

Create planner tasks whenever e-mail requires you to act. That way,
you don't have to hunt through your inbox every time you need to
figure out what to work on. If your response to an e-mail will take
less than two minutes and you know you won't get distracted, go ahead
and act on it immediately; you don't need to capture it. If you want
to track your action for completeness, create a task for it. Planner
makes it so easy to capture and organize tasks that even two-minute
tasks are still worth recording.

Tasks are automatically linked to the e-mail message being viewed,
making it easy to return to the original message for more details. You
can schedule tasks immediately or leave them on today's page. If you
want tasks to be undated by default, set planner-expand-name-default
to nil.

Create planner tasks whenever you need to follow up a task you've
delegated to someone else. Assign it to a different plan page. If you
prefer to use a single plan page, make task sorting easier by adding a
keyword to the description (ex: #A _ +waiting for year-end sales
report : E-Mail from Jim). This makes it easy to review all the things
you're waiting for.

Write clear and concise task descriptions. "Prepare year-end sales
report" is a better task description than "Work on this". Planner will
automatically add the e-mail author's name as a hyperlink, like ":
E-Mail from Kathy".

*** Organize

Using Planner to keep track of your e-mail related tasks also makes it
easier for you to organize and plan your day. E-mail doesn't let you
specify when you want to work on something, but Planner lets you
schedule your tasks onto specific days. It can also carry over
unfinished tasks, so you know that nothing will slip through the
cracks.

After you've read all your e-mail and responded to everything you
could quickly process, you can choose when to work on other tasks that
take more time. Review your list of e-mail-related tasks and start
organizing them.

You can schedule a task onto a particular day by using
planner-copy-or-move-task (C-c C-c) while point is on the task. You
can specify actual dates (yyyy.mm.dd, mm.dd, or just dd), or you can
use Planner's relative dates features to schedule things for next
Friday (+fri), two days from now (+2), or even the 3rd Tuesday after
March 1 (+3tue3.1). Use planner-copy-or-move-region to schedule
multiple tasks.

You can schedule tasks for particular times as well. Simply add time
(ex: @1000-1300) to your task description using
planner-edit-task-description (bind this to a shortcut key if you use
it often). Modules like planner-appt.el can extract the time
information and display your schedule, and you can change your
planner-sort-tasks-key-function to sort tasks by time first and then
by priority.

And there you have it--an organized way to make sense of your inbox by
making it easy to see just what you need to do.

*** Set up

1. Set up mail for Emacs, if you haven't done that already. If you're
   new to Emacs, I recommend checking out http://www.emacswiki.org and
   http://my.gnus.org .

2. Bind planner-create-task-from-buffer to a keyboard shortcut you can
   use from anywhere. For example, add the following line to your ~/emacs
   in order to use C-c t as your create-task shortcut:
   <example>(global-set-key "\C-ct" 'planner-create-task-from-buffer)</example>

3. Load the Planner module corresponding to your preferred mail client:

Gnus       | planner-gnus.el
MH-E       | planner-mhe.el
Rmail      | planner-rmail.el
Unix mail  | planner-unix-mail.el
VM         | planner-vm.el
Wanderlust | planner-wl.el

For example, add <example>(require 'planner-gnus)</example> to your ~/.emacs

Now you can deal with inbox insanity the Planner way!

--
Sacha Chua <[hidden email]> - open source, free software geekette
http://sacha.free.net.ph/ - PGP Key ID: 0xE7FDF77C
interests: emacs, gnu/linux, personal information management, public speaking
sachac on irc.freenode.net#emacs . YM: sachachua83


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Re: Planner tip #1: Overcome inbox insanity the Planner way

Seth Falcon
Hi Sacha,

On 27 Oct 2005, [hidden email] wrote:
> I've realized that I really want to get into technical writing and
> speaking. =)

You might enjoy taking a look at Spring Into Technical Writing for
Engineers and Scientists by Barry J. Rosenberg.  I've read a bit of it
and really enjoyed how it was done.

> ----------------------------------------------------------------
> Planner Tip #1: OVERCOME INBOX INSANITY THE PLANNER WAY

Nice tip.  I like the combination of technical how-to with process
how-to.  

> You can schedule tasks for particular times as well. Simply add time
> (ex: @1000-1300) to your task description using
> planner-edit-task-description (bind this to a shortcut key if you
> use it often). Modules like planner-appt.el can extract the time
> information and display your schedule, and you can change your
> planner-sort-tasks-key-function to sort tasks by time first and then
> by priority.

I'll go look at the docs, but a footnote/example of changing the
planner-sort-tasks-key-function definition would be helpful here.

Looking forward to more tips :-)

Best,

+ seth



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Re: Planner tip #1: Overcome inbox insanity the Planner way

Trent W. Buck
In reply to this post by Sacha Chua
Sacha Chua <[hidden email]> writes:

> I've realized that I really want to get into technical writing and
> speaking. =) Which means Planner is going to be my guinea pig for writing
> articles and documentation (hence the Linux Journal article!).
>
> Planner Tip #1: OVERCOME INBOX INSANITY THE PLANNER WAY

I presume you're gonna post these on the net somewhere?  You should include a
link to the collection in these articles.

> For example, add <example>(require 'planner-gnus)</example> to your ~/.emacs

If you're using muse, I think "<example>" should be spelt "=" when inline, or
"<code>" if the example contains one or more equal characters.  Otherwise the
example code will be treated as a separate paragraph.

--
Trent Buck, Student Errant


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Re: Planner tip #1: Overcome inbox insanity the Planner way

Sacha Chua
In reply to this post by Sacha Chua
Chris McMahan <[hidden email]> writes:

> Excellent tips! I would add that if you DO link an email message to
> your task, save the message into an appropriate folder first. Once
> that mail message is moved out of the inbox, any existing links are
> broken.

I leave everything in my inbox. <sheepish grin> I don't actually dig
through my inbox often, because I use hyperlinks or swish++.

gnus-registry's supposed to resolve links even if the messages are
moved, although there might be a threshold to the number of messages
it tracks.

What else would people like me to write about? =)

--
Sacha Chua <[hidden email]> - open source, free software geekette
http://sacha.free.net.ph/ - PGP Key ID: 0xE7FDF77C
interests: emacs, gnu/linux, personal information management, public speaking
sachac on irc.freenode.net#emacs . YM: sachachua83


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Re: Planner tip #1: Overcome inbox insanity the Planner way

Sacha Chua
In reply to this post by Seth Falcon
Hello, Seth, all!

> You might enjoy taking a look at Spring Into Technical Writing for
> Engineers and Scientists by Barry J. Rosenberg. I've read a bit of
> it and really enjoyed how it was done.

Thanks for the recommendation! I'll see if I can check out that and
other technical writing books. =)

> Nice tip. I like the combination of technical how-to with process
> how-to.

Thanks! =D I'll devote one article entirely to sorting tasks after I
revise the first tip to include an example of
planner-sort-tasks-key-function...

> I'll go look at the docs, but a footnote/example of changing the
> planner-sort-tasks-key-function definition would be helpful here.

Steal mine from http://sacha.free.net.ph/notebook/emacs/planner-config.el .

Looking forward to writing more!

--
Sacha Chua <[hidden email]> - open source, free software geekette
http://sacha.free.net.ph/ - PGP Key ID: 0xE7FDF77C
interests: emacs, gnu/linux, personal information management, public speaking
sachac on irc.freenode.net#emacs . YM: sachachua83


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Re: Re: Planner tip #1: Overcome inbox insanity the Planner way

Trent W. Buck
In reply to this post by Sacha Chua
Sacha Chua <[hidden email]> writes:

> Chris McMahan <[hidden email]> writes:
>
>> Excellent tips! I would add that if you DO link an email
>> message to your task, save the message into an
>> appropriate folder first. Once that mail message is moved
>> out of the inbox, any existing links are broken.
>
> I leave everything in my inbox. <sheepish grin> I don't
> actually dig through my inbox often, because I use
> hyperlinks or swish++.

I have mail in separate folders, but it's sorted
automatically by Gnus, using the `nnmail-split-methods'
variable.  Here's an example demonstrating a few simple
regexp patterns.

(setq nnmail-split-methods
      `(("mail.debian.cl"                                    ; Debian CL list
         ,(rx bol "Subject:" (0+ nonl) "[cl-debian]"))

        ("mail.debian.\\1"                                     ; Debian lists
         ,(rx bol (or "To" "From" "Cc") (regexp ":.* <?")
              "debian-" (group (1+ (any lower ?-))) "@lists.debian.org"))

        ("mail.savannah.\\1"                                 ; Savannah lists
         ,(rx bol (or "To" "From" "Cc") (regexp ":.* <?")
              (group (or "ratpoison-devel"
                         "emacs-wiki-discuss"))
              "@nongnu.org"))

        ("mail.misc"                                        ; everything else
         "")))

So you see by the time I see the mail, it's already been
moved into the appropriate folder (99.9% of the time).

--
Trent Buck, Student Errant


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RE: Planner tip #1: Overcome inbox insanity the Planner way

Raymond Zeitler-2
In reply to this post by Sacha Chua
Why would I want to overcome insanity?  Insanity is the only constant in my
life.  :)

The tip that you posted is many tips in one.  What I left unsnipped (quoted
below) could stand on its own as a tip.  Even this is a cool tip:

"Use planner-copy-or-move-region to schedule multiple tasks."

I hope you collect these tips and incorporate them into a
planner-tip-of-the-day function to hook into planner-mode.

Good luck!

--
Raymond Zeitler <[hidden email]>

-----Original Message-----
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2005 07:22:45 -0400
From: Sacha Chua <[hidden email]>
Subject: [emacs-wiki-discuss] Planner tip #1: Overcome inbox insanity
        the Planner way

Hello, everyone!

I've realized that I really want to get into technical writing and
speaking. =) Which means Planner is going to be my guinea pig for
writing articles and documentation (hence the Linux Journal article!).
So I'm going to see how many Planner tips I can write, and I'd love to
get feedback on both content and style.

What do you think? =) (Oh, I can just hear it now. "Sacha, don't quit
your day job just yet." Wait, I don't have a day job--I'm a
student...)

Sacha

----------------------------------------------------------------
Planner Tip #1: OVERCOME INBOX INSANITY THE PLANNER WAY
[snip]

You can specify actual dates (yyyy.mm.dd, mm.dd, or just dd),
or you canuse Planner's relative dates features to schedule
things for nextFriday (+fri), two days from now (+2), or even
the 3rd Tuesday afterMarch 1 (+3tue3.1).

[snip]



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Re: Planner tip #1: Overcome inbox insanity the Planner way

Sacha Chua
In reply to this post by Trent W. Buck
Trent Buck <[hidden email]> writes:

> I have mail in separate folders, but it's sorted
> automatically by Gnus, using the `nnmail-split-methods'
> variable.  Here's an example demonstrating a few simple
> regexp patterns.

Oh, yes, of course I've got that going on for all my mailing lists. =)

>
> (setq nnmail-split-methods
>       `(("mail.debian.cl"                                    ; Debian CL list
>          ,(rx bol "Subject:" (0+ nonl) "[cl-debian]"))

I use

(setq nnmail-split-methods 'nnmail-split-fancy)
(setq nnmail-split-fancy
      '(|
        (any "plannerlove.com" "mail.plannerlove")
        ("X-Spam-Status" "Yes" "spam")
        (any "entreplinkphilippines" "list.entreplink")
        (any "[hidden email]" "list.43folders")
        ...
        (: nnmail-split-fancy-with-parent)
        ...

which could be easier to write, and does pretty fun stuff.

--
Sacha Chua <[hidden email]> - open source, free software geekette
http://sacha.free.net.ph/ - PGP Key ID: 0xE7FDF77C
interests: emacs, gnu/linux, personal information management, public speaking
sachac on irc.freenode.net#emacs . YM: sachachua83


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Re: Planner tip #1: Overcome inbox insanity the Planner way

Sacha Chua
In reply to this post by Raymond Zeitler-2
"Raymond Zeitler" <[hidden email]> writes:

> I hope you collect these tips and incorporate them into a
> planner-tip-of-the-day function to hook into planner-mode.

Ooooh. Planner fortune cookies. Not a bad idea--I've inserted fortune
cookies before... =)

--
Sacha Chua <[hidden email]> - open source, free software geekette
http://sacha.free.net.ph/ - PGP Key ID: 0xE7FDF77C
interests: emacs, gnu/linux, personal information management, public speaking
sachac on irc.freenode.net#emacs . YM: sachachua83


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