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TiddlyJournal

TiddlyJournal

Do you make lists? On pieces of paper? Which you sometimes lose? Do you transcribe lists of things from one piece of paper to another quite often?

I confess that I do all of the above.

And that’s despite being a Palm Pilot user since day 1 (I was in California¬† when the first Palm Pilot went on sale and bought one in Fry’s Electronics in Palo Alto, a place of pilgrimage if I’m in town). I now use a Palm Treo 650.

It’s also despite my using various wikis and search tools.

And it’s despite my using MyLifeOrganized as a GTD tool.

MLO, to give it its TLA (3 letter acronym) is a great tool but I tend to use it in bouts. I’ve moved it to my Ubuntu powered Asus 1000 notebook where it’s running using WINE. The principle is that I’ll have a little notebook with me more often and that this will serve as a capture device, which will help me swear off paper lists. It’s a nice idea but hard to to do. Paper is often hard to resist.

MLO is a fine piece of software but you’d never call it a digital back of the envelope. To get the most out of it you have to put in quite a bit of time. If you’ve already got too much to do that can be difficult.

Recently, I have been able to knock-up a very nice dbote, that is, a digital back of the envelope. It will be called TiddlyJournal (see pic) if I release it (see TiddlyFolio, TiddlyTimeJournal for a couple of other useful little tools created using TiddlyWiki).

Glance at the picture above, now look at the code in the item, called a “tiddler” in TiddlyWiki terms:

<<datalist>><data>{"open":["Blog about DataDbPlugin"],
"closed":["Join Twine"],"order":"up"}</data>
Note: The size grows dynamically as you add items.

That’s it. Yet, note:

A date-stamped journal “page” with a to do list ready to go, and well suited to implementing a Do It Tomorrow solution. You can add items, check as done, reorder them, delete them. And if you need to carrying things to another day it’s a few keystrokes to cut and paste, so you have a record of what you did and didn’t get done.

If you’re familiar with David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) approach to managing your life you may find Mark Forster’s Do It Tomorrow worthwhile. And if you aren’t it may be a better place to start.

Forster’s approach is simplicity itself. Make a list of what you will do each day. Instead of adding to the list by a series of interruptions he recommends deferring them until tomorrow.

So… what happens: You record a growing list of carry overs. Some die quietly. Others sit there and sometimes you wonder just when some of them first appeared on the list.

Fundamentally, Doing It Tomorrow is about saying no, to yourself as much as anyone else.

The handle “DIT” doesn’t appeal to me, though I have seen it used. “GEE TEE DEE” has something going for it acronym-wise that DIT doesn’t. NDT, or not doing things, probably wouldn’t fly.

When I read of the announcement of a new TiddlyWiki plugin, DataDbPlugin, and as soon as I tried it, I thought Aha! This could be very useful for keeping a daily list in the form of a journal.

TiddlyWiki can create a new date-stamped page or “tiddler” every day. Just click on “new journal” to see it at work. Now, just cut and paste the previous day’s open items (someday this may be automated).

To create your own TiddlyJournal just do the following

  • Download a copy of Baggr here
  • Edit the SiteTitle and SiteSubtitle as you wish
  • Delete the demo data

DataDbPlugin, used for this, is one of the best TiddlyWiki plugins to appear for a while. Kudos to Molicule, the author.

Other new TiddlyWiki applications worth a look

4 Responses to “Getting Things Done with TiddlyJournal: Doing It Tomorrow”

  1. Jeremy says:

    Nope. A thousand times no. Paper and pencil. To be precise, scrappy little Moleskine with buff cover. That and the GTD coding system I read about somewhere, which uses symbols to mark the status of an item.

  2. I have a great notebook which I bought in Japan. A “Gambol” A5 size with 20 rings in an unusual plastic “jaw” which hinges opens at the top. If I could put preprinted stationery in it (which I could do myself, from here e.g.) and get a nice Italian leather jacket for it… it would be dandy — and if I had a punch for it, I almost forgot.

    I can’t hack bound notebooks for to do lists! It’s sort of carrying around all one’s sins and reorganizing is too much work! Moleskins are great for recording things I agree. Saves the moles I say, and roll on the leatherbound wiki!

    10 years ago I needed to arrange a mortgage within a couple of hours, literally. Thanks to having a Palm Pilot I was able to do it. One thing after another was summoned. Parent’s dates of birth e.g., which I couldn’t have remembered (the years). I would never want to go around with all that, bank details etc., in a little book.

  3. Jeremy says:

    The notebook is not for entire life details; it is specifically to capture and organize GTDs (and bits of other stuff).

  4. Fair enough. Well, electronic paper is coming!

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