With a TODO list of over 500 items I clearly need advanced software to manage my tasks. And finally I have found just the tool for the job…
After trying web based project trackers, spreadsheets, desktop project management apps, calendar based, email-based, smartphone apps and everything else I could think of, it looks like I’ll be sticking with my plain text todo file with a couple of handy VIM scripts.
Here’s how it works.
My todo.txt is just a tab-separated text file that looks something like this:
1 8 roger tax return 1 12 seo keyword tools 1 20 web single domain login access 2 1 blog ultimate VIM TODO list 2 2 web settings page broken 2 2 cms http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Website_builder 3 3 blog glassfish-vs-tomcat-update.txt 3 5 blog enums in jsf
The first column is priority and the second is a time estimate in hours. I sort by priority then time by using the following VIM command.
:%!sort -k1,1n -k2,2n -s
Which I map to a custom command (S) in my .vimrc file:
:command S %!sort -k1,1n -k2,2n -s
Using a plain text file for my TODO list is the simplest and fastest way I found to manage my jobs. With VIM I can add tasks anywhere in the list and then use VIMs powerful commands to sort, search and filter my tasks. If I ever need to I can also open up my list in a spreadsheet program, although so far I haven’t had to do that.
Give it a try, or let me know if you think you have a better task management system in the comments below.