The Ultimate VIM TODO List

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
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.

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