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Ask HN: What tools do you use to manage your life?
72 points by krrishd 94 days ago | hide | past | web | 79 comments | favorite



A few systems, always a work in progress.

- https://xph.us/2013/01/22/inbox-zero-for-life.html for managing email

- bitlbee + weechat for managing social messaging. Slack for work.

- A custom deployment of https://github.com/gollum/gollum for managing all notes, personal and work related. Can easily share Markdown files with teammates / friends. https://github.com/zachlatta/mullog is code for custom deployment. I usually edit locally using vim and have tons of shell scripts specific to note management to automate file creation, renaming, and git usage. This is my most used life system and I'm almost constantly using it.

- Arch Linux with i3 and tons of custom scripts for managing how I use my computer. Have heavily customized my machine in https://github.com/zachlatta/dotfiles.

It's difficult to predict the future and unlikely that someone else will build a tool that will always meet my personal needs, especially as they change over time. Better to use systems that lend themselves to customization so I can always build systems that work for me – hence heavy reliance on scriptable programs.


I use Trello for all kinds of stuff. For example we have a grocery board, so if I'm at the grocery store I can pull it up and make my trip more effective. Every Saturday morning I bang out my weekend todo list in Trello. Whenever my wife and I are going to do just about anything: go on a vacation, buy something, whatever, we make a trello board for it.

Also Google Inbox's reminders were an honest to god game changer for me. I pretty much don't forget anything anymore. I even have a recurring "take out the trash" reminder pop every Sunday for example.


I don't use inbox. How its weekly reminder different from a calendar based reminder?


I started doing GTD. I use Calendar for my "hard schedule"—things that I have to do on a specific day and/or time. I use Inbox reminders for my "hey do this if you get the chance." And then I keep my big todo & projects list in Docs. I find they all occupy a slightly different and nice niche—todos & projects in permanent stuff, inbox for "soft time", calendar for "hard time." I find there's a lot of mental benefit to separating these things out. When something is on my calendar, I know that means do it. When something is in Inbox, I know I should just get to it as soon as I have the time and energy. (This works better with inbox zero though; if you have a bunch of other emails etc lying around it dilutes the reminders.)


It's probably not that different. But inbox's reminders are lightweight and easy to setup, and since I'm constantly in Inbox anyway, I always see them. Inbox reminders also show up on Google Calendar.

There's more to Inbox, like snoozing reminders (and emails). It just all comes together as just the right reminder package for my needs.


Agreed on Trello for everything.

I have separate "teams" to sort my many different boards for my work-related notes, my side-business notes, and my family-related notes.

Planning out meals a week at a time also makes grocery shopping simple and painless.


- atimelogger for tracking all my time on my phone : http://www.atimelogger.com/

- Zim for my todo and write down my ideas/projects http://zim-wiki.org/

- Syncthing to synchronize and backup :https://syncthing.net/

- Secret voice recorder to save a quick vocal message without the pain to turn on my phone and write my idea: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.miragestac...

- GPSLogger to save my gps position every 10 minutes and save it as gpx, and synchronizing the files with my server : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mendhak.gp...


How do you manage to have a consistent logging with atimelogger, without having spurious information? I mean, I can say I'm working, but I can be distracted for a few minutes and come back, or something else. Do you stop/start the timer each time you switch? I find that really annoying about using these kind of trackers, which of course is a problem with me, not with the tracker itself. But nevertheless, I'd like to know what your approach is..


If it's only about a few minutes of distraction every time, and that's the way you get your work done, just integrate it into your working time. Getting something to drink or having a roundtrip to the toilet is simply necessary to support your work.

I also don't really track time for projects specifically, but rather say that my time spent was 'focused' on a work task or 'not focused'. Focused just means that I planned ahead and committed to do a task, as opposed to just picking up thing as I go along (which sometime works pretty well, and can be more creative).

As for larger distractions, or forgetting to switch the task in the time logger, I'm using an app that beeps me every 20 minutes so I notice the passing time better. I'm using BlipBlip for Android.

It can also help you get started with lucid dreaming, which is awesome.


Ohh, that'd be awesome! Please share any tips on how to get started with lucid dreaming!

Thanks for the useful response!


I'll try out BlipBlip, seems like a good option for being more time aware.


Do you have Android 7? I'd love to have a power/volume activated voice recorder but the power 3x tap to start recording conflicts with the awesome power 2x tap shortcut to open the camera in Android 7+. Any other methods/apps you know of to customize the shortcut to use volume buttons?


I don't have Android 7, but in this app you can also set the volume buttons to trigger the recording instead of the power button


Ah cool, thanks for the tip!


I try to keep things super simple...

- Native notes tasks and calendar for iOS/OSX, I can sync it with work's exchange / iCloud / gmail and it works with "Siri - remind my to do x on y time" tried other dedicated apps, but this just makes everything simpler.

- Pomodoro app on my phone, this is simply amazing, best way to get work done

- http://musicforprogramming.net/

- Google sheets and Mint for budgeting etc.

I tried other apps and tools (RescueTime was nice but I can't use it at work or on iOS)

Didn't try IFTTT or similar tools but never found the need.


This is a nice list.

Some things I've used at various points in the past for specific goals:

-My fitness pal for tracking food

-Spreadsheets for tracking workouts. I found it worked easier if I just listed everything I was going to do weeks in advance and just cross it off as I did it, vs writing it down as I did it

-Tiny but gmail keyboard shortcuts - makes sorting and going through email a breeze.

-Back again chrome extension. When you land on a page it tells you how many times you've been on it that day. Useful for curbing the HN and reddit habit.

That's it!


I use Strong for tracking my lifting as opposed to a spreadsheet. Found it to be good for at least my style of working out.


I got you - I'll take a look.

My main issue with apps and even paper notebooks is every time you go to the gym you have to take an action.

If I lay out a schedule for 6 weeks with exactly what I'm going to do with dates, all I have to do is cross it off. And if I don't remember to cross it off, it's fine because I can just go by the day.

I found I was much more likely to stick to a long program when I did that vs logging it the old fashioned way.


I recommend and use this log system where you only have to take an action when you beat your rep range: http://exrx.net/WeightTraining/Log.html


Yeah. So with Strong I have all my workouts dialed in with set plans, weights, etc... I like the analytics. I also have some alternate workouts, for instance if I am hurting from Jiu Jitsu I do just a mobility workout. But hey, if you like paper don't let me talk you out of it.


Telling Siri to set reminders for me has been far more useful for me than I would have suspected.


Doubly so if you've got an Apple Watch, I use Siri quite a lot when I cooking and both my hands are busy/dirty.


After trying a lot of digital list/note-creating products, I now primarily use paper and haven't looked back. Writing the grocery list on paper is much easier than fumbling around with (and dropping) my phone while I'm shopping, for example. If I will ever look at it while not on my laptop/desktop, it always goes on paper. Some things (mostly work TODOs and notes) go in plain text files. I find tagging/organizing digital notes takes me more effort than it's usually worth.

I use 1Password to synchronize and store logins, passwords, CC/bank info, and other specific personal numbers (passport/ID, membership programs, etc). This solves two problems: I can view the info easily without hunting for the information, and I can sync it easily with my spouse. Moving to this has simplified a lot of the tedious "number management" that is modern life.

Important single and recurring events for me and my spouse go in digital calendar that syncs to mobile devices, with reminders. I use this for everything - work meetings, travel, fill out my fantasy sports roster, change my toothbrush, etc. You shouldn't have to live off your calendar, but I've found this very useful for things I'd like to make sure I do but would forget with high frequency.


- Scraps of paper on the fridge. High-priority items go on the hood above the stove where everybody sees them.

- Outlook for everything email/calendar/notes

- Alarm clock on the phone for stuff I might forget


I have a notebook called "Captain's Log" that I constantly post things into. I have my Evernote app set to default to that notebook. Everytime I hear something on the radio I want to look up, I type a few of the lyrics into a note and save it and it goes into the Captain's Log for perusal later. Everytime I have something I need to remember to do I post a note into the Captain's log and add a "todo" tag to it so I can sort those out when needed. All meeting notes go in there too. When I start coding something I take notes on what I'm working on in a note so that I can go back and remember what I did when I was working on that thing I can't quite remember.

I can sort that notebook by "date created" and see a log of my life going back in time and I've found it very useful.


This is very cool.

I've always wanted to create an app that optimized for exactly something like this.

Like a Zenefits almost for personal life.


I do exactly this, with Workflowy. Works wonder.


I primarily use an app that I wrote: https://github.com/ioddly/meditations

Basically it's a todo list based around habit formation. It also has journal functionality. I set it to open when I open my browser; the idea is that keeping track of these things should be as low friction as possible.

As an aside, journaling (which requires minimal fancy software, or none if you use a paper journal) has been critical in accounting for where my time goes and what I spend my time thinking about.

I use ledger to track my finances. Also low friction, high return; my frivolous expenditures have gone down remarkably since I started doing this last year.


I've written custom webapps for the following:

1. Brainstorming/thinking - https://thoughtwriter.org (which I just launched)

2. Remembering stuff (books, shopping, project ideas) - list limited to just 100 items (so it can't get too long)

3. Tracking habits - daily, weekly, and monthly trackers that only track current period and previous one. (So I can make sure not to skip two periods in a row)

4. Planning - an hourly schedule and a weekly worksheet to track most important tasks, fun, etc.

5. Capturing new ideas - queue that deletes items older than a two days (so it forces me to review things, or just let them go)


So I've tried probably every note taking and todo list tracking application out there. They all suck. This is what I do which is _okay_. I'm tempting to write a custom solution, however...

- Use Evernote with 3 Notebooks (Inbox, Filed and Shared). Anything I think of that I want to remember later, regardless of what it is, I toss into Evernote Inbox. I later add tags to it and move it to Filed. This allows me to do a quick tag search (either by clicking on tags or typing them out) to find stuff very quickly. This works but Evernote is really meh it just is the only thing that fits how I use notes.

- Tasking I use Todoist but, honestly, I rarely end up using it. It's a chore with every Todo app. None of them sync with my calendar and, at the same time, is available to me on all devices while also allowing quick entry and quick re-organizing.

- I use Fitbit to track my movements. Works decently well unless I forget to wear it.

- Dropbox handles anything I want to sync to any computer (usually not very large amounts of data) and I keep common files and documents stored there.

That's it. My biggest problem is I've found that organization later or temporary organization is far better than any organization up front because nothing is perfect the first go around but there is almost NOTHING that lets you do this and, at the same time, offer good things like calendar integration and multiple platform support.

Wow, I didn't realize my post would end up being more of a rant than anything else. Hope it's helpful to someone else though.


Todoist syncs to my GCal quite well? using Settings -> Integration -> "Subscribe with Google Calendar" read-only sync.

I think the Android app is really great and allows me to add entries w/ dates via voice e.g. "OK Google, note to self - go to bank tomorrow". Not sure if iOS integration is as good!


Trello syncs up with my calendar very well, it's what I use for tasking and I am quite happy with it.


The iOS Reminders app easily sees the most day-to-day use for me in the daily management/productivity realm. Many times a week I'll just say "Hey Siri, set a reminder for 7pm tomorrow to do X" and then I can just forget about it. My memory's not the greatest, so I find that offloading even the smallest tasks to the Reminders app has helped me immensely. :)

For longer-term events, I used to be a heavy Google Calendar user while in college, but now I typically just throw events onto the Reminders app as well! I like to set them for a certain amount of time before the event in case I need to remind myself to accomplish a few sub-tasks in the days/hours beforehand. For example, if I'm flying out to a different city a month from now, I'd schedule a reminder about that flight for a few days before the day of the flight, and when it goes off I know to create some reminders like "do laundry" for the next day and "check in for flight" for the night before.

Of course, sticking with a calendar is probably the better approach for this entire thing. :P I still pop things on my calendar, but I just like the sense of checking items off once they're done.


I'm a big fan of Gtd since 6 years. I used to use CulturedCode Things, Evernote, Dropbox, Minco(time tracking) and Mail.app.

After some years of use and multiple spikes into other setups, I migrated to using Emacs org-mode with git and mu4e for everything. It's cross platform, text only, does have a stable UX and API and the licenses don't expire all the time. Couldn't be happier!


I also revolve through many tools. The issue for me is that I am better with one on my mobile and another on the computer.

Are you always by a keyboard or do you find yourself with just a phone sometimes?


I learned that my mobile is (to me) mostly a distraction and sometimes good to look up things. Actually moving the tooling to the desktop was therefore a good thing.

But: I definively can look things up from org through an app called MobileOrg. Also I can put things into my inbox. Mail still works the same with the built in mail app.


PC:

- org-mode for meeting notes, ideas, todo-lists, agenda

- ledger for personal finances

- pass for password management

Mobile:

- Note Crypt Pro for tracking ideas on the run

- OpenScale for weight tracking

- Wunderlist for sharing shopping lists with my wife

edit: formatting


My digital life is undergoing some great transformation. I moved over pretty much all of my stuff to Cloudron and it's been working out very well so far.

The apps I use are

- I use Cloudron's built-in email with bluemail android app

- nextcloud for photos, files, contacts. on Android, davdroid works great. For passwords, I use Keepassx with sync to nextcloud. on android, there is keepass2android.

- meemo for my notes and bookmarking

- gogs for my git hosting.

- tinytinyrss for my rss feed. i really wish someone makes that ui a little more pretty but the android app works quiet well

- I have our family's baby blog, personal blog/website and my niece's blog on wordpress. There's a piwik setup for analytics as well (via wp piwik plugin).

What I do not self-host: Wire messenger (maybe Riot/Matrix app will become good enough some day but I need video calls). I used to use Skype but it has become very unreliable off late.


OneNote for broad concepts and Google Keep for day to day. Tips:

OneNote - use tags. I mostly use the checkbox and question tags. You can pull up every unchecked checkbox in a document or review everything labeled a question. Great for finding things you forgot to finish. I borrowed from Wiki and made an stub tag for things I want to fill out later after I'm done brainstorming.

OneNote - put double brackets around a word or phrase to create and link to a page with that name. Great wiki functionality.

Keep - Pin important actionable items. Make a widget and put it on your homescreen. Set it up so that at the end of a productive day your todo list is empty.

Keep - Use location based reminders. This feature alone has saved me many trips to the hardware store.

Keep - Use hashtags to tag items. A great way to jot down ideas and review sets of them at a later date.


I keep a small Moleskine notepad and a 'Space Pen' in my pocket, mostly just for remembering things and stuff like shopping lists etc. I've tried heaps of apps to do the same thing, but I found something I didn't like about each one. I find taking a few minutes to actually write down a note is actually quite relaxing, and because it takes a bit longer than using an app and it's a bit more involved I tend to remember things better as well.

At work, I have a similar system just with a bigger Rhodia notepad and Lamy Safari on my desk.

Beyond that, I occasionally use Siri as a kitchen timer or to remind me to do stuff if I don't have my notepad with me. Also Gmail/G-Suite for email and storage with my own domain name.


- Evernote is awesome, and I use it for all kinds of things (desktop, web, and mobile.) It's kinda the building block of my life. (I make sure to export the database regularly and back it up to Google Drive, just incase.)

- Google Calendar is what we use to manage the family schedule (particularly kids events, etc.)

- Google Sheets for finances and other family stuff. It's simply fantastic. (I used it 10 years ago to plan my wedding.)

- Keepass and Lastpass for password management. (Keepass for critical "root of security" stuff, and lastpass for everything else.)

- I've been using Google Voice as my main phone number ever since it launched.

- Google Drive for almost all my data (scanned docs, taxes, books, projects, etc.)

- Crashplan to backup everything (including what's in Google Drive.)


I suppose you mean software, and by manage you mean maintenance tools, tools that you use all the time as opposed to one-off cases where you might use a specific tool once to solve a specific problem that won't likely appear again.

If that is the case I don't use any tool. I don't use notes, neither software notes nor paper notes, and I don't use calendars. I try to keep my life free enough of stress so that I don't need calendars to remember what I have to do. If I can't remember what I need to buy, it probably means I don't need that item anyway.

I don't use spreadsheets or anything like that for tracking expenses either.

Of course I use stuff like e-mail, although I would not put that into life-management category.


For grocery shopping, I use Google Keep and constantly update the list of groceries the next time I go grocery shopping, which is usually 1-2 times a week.

I usually add items on the desktop version and then remove them on the mobile version when I'm at the store.


Amazon Alexa is perfect for this. Any family member can add things to your shopping list with just their voice.


- Todoist for all work & personal tasks I want to complete, scheduled by target completion date. Native OSX global keyboard shortcuts plus Android task addition "OK Google, note to self- mail out quarterly taxes on Tuesday", it's far and away the best todo tracker I've ever found to date.

- Workflowy for structured idea-generation and brainmapping

- Gmail for all inbound tasks, that other people want me to complete. Chained with followupthen.io (which lets you bounce/snooze emails for specific time intervals)

- Gcal for fixed-date events (meetings, birthdays, vacations)

- Dashlane for password mgmt. Used to be unstable but great now!


iMessage, Trello, e-mail, Apple Notes, Apple Reminders

iMessage: I travel a ton for business and this really keeps me in touch with people I care about. Everyone I care about has an iPhone so it works (including my children)

Trello: I'd like to use Things but Trello is easy to set up with Zapier to remind me to do things, and to invite other people to the board. Planning a vacation or just sorting out all my priorities it works. I really don't like the mobile app though. It's way too slow.

e-mail: Mostly incoming mail from companies I buy from, or notifications from my bank.

Apple Notes: It's great to type some stuff up and share it with the family. My oldest daughter has an ongoing note shared with my wife and I on how much we owe her for babysitting her younger siblings. Emojis are used to signify payment status.

Apple Reminders: I travel a lot and I'm shit at packing. I use reminders so I don't forget something. I often use it to remind me where I parked (I tell Siri to add a reminder). Also up until we started grocery shopping with Shipt I used to be the one to go because my wife hates the grocery store. She would share a grocery list with me in the reminders app and it's easy to add something last minute or see how close I am to being done in the store as I check things off.


At work: Jira, Confluence, Skype, E-mail.

At home: Paper for grocery lists, conversation and my wife's amazing memory for most other things. Sometimes e-mails have something essential, like flight numbers or registration codes. Oh, and the password manager on my phone. My wife keeps various journals on paper, and those help her track longer-term trends in her life. Sometimes I'll set a calendar notification on my phone, but that's a little rare.


I actively try not to "manage" my life. If some part of life is too complicated to manage without a tool, that part of life has to go.

To keep track of any temporary complexity I use a hard-cover notebook that keeps track of the complexity until I find a way to eliminate it.

The goal is to build abstractions so that the details don't matter. Managing detail is a trap. Complexity and "managing" said complexity is a code smell.


I use Bulldock Browser to create dedicated apps for the common sites I use in my browser.

This declutters my browser and give's be quick access, I 'alt-tab' to my apps.

For example I have dedicated apps for Gmail, Trello and HN (I have the HN app in compact mode, floating mode and have it auto reload 5 mins).

Disclaimer I'm the developer, http://www.bulldockbrowser.com


Thanks, that looks really nice, bought. I used to use another app that did a similar job (Fluid?) but the performance was appalling. This seems super quick so far, great work.


Thank you for the very encouraging comments :)


Update: performance is perfect.


Google Sheets for most of my todo and idea lists.

Qbserve for time-tracking.

Just started using Todo, Microsoft's replacement for Wunderlist. Seems pretty decent.

Alexa for Pomodoro-like timer.

Pinboard for bookmarking.


vimwiki + Taskwarrior. Taskwarrior is absolutely amazing. You can add tasks, assign them to projects, tag them, assign priorities, create recurring tasks, set deadlines, set since when task should be visible on tasks list (e.g. I have recurring daily task that I set deadline for 19:00 but I don't want to see it during the day as it clutters up my tasks lists so I have it set to wait untill 18:30 and only after that appear on my tasks list), make tasks depend on other tasks and so much more. My absolutely favorite thing about taskwarrior: reports. There is a lot of different reports that you can filter via projects, via tags, etc. You can see monthly reports, daily reports, yearly reports.

And all of that (current and completed tasks) is saved in a file format that is really similar to json.

Oh yeah and it's free and opensource: https://taskwarrior.org


How do you handle mobile with this setup? I have looked at taskwarrior, but I need something that is easy to use on iOS. Hence, Taskpaper.


I use android so unfortunately can't help you with that, sorry. I guess that's one downside of taskwarrior. With stuff like orgmode or todo.txt your todo files are just simple text files and you could edit them with any text editor on ios but taskwarrior uses a pretty specific file format with task being assigned generated uuids so it's not that easy to just edit them.


I'm pretty dependent on my primary email account at GSuite. I'd also have a hard time without 1Password.

I've built a custom note taking app that I 'self-host' on Heroku. I've also got a bookmarking app I built running on there.

Open tabs on my mobile are my reading list. I only really read articles and posts on my phone when travelling etc.


I live in Wunderlist. Pretty upset that Microsoft plans to sunset it. It has nothing else or more to add/remove from it.

The To-do app they have seems ok too, but I bet it'll be changing all the time, which will suck. Looking for next thing that would be equally inexpensive for OSX/iOS/cloud.


ticktick.com is almost a 1 to 1 replacement for Wunderlist. Check it out.


Shared Google calendar for family events. Shared Google docs for to-do lists, address books, family finances, etc. (Some Dropbox, too.) LastPass for shared password management. Mint for finance tracking (but not budgeting). Apple shared photo album for sharing kid photos with extended family.


* Gmail's inbox for TODO list (email myself if it wasn't initiated by an email)

* Google Calendar for events and reminders

* Google Docs for finances and checklists

* Plain text editor on smartphone for personal notes (keeping them cloud-free)

* A few social networks for keeping in touch with people in my life


Xmind for thinking and especially for drawing root cause diagrams/fishbone diagrams. Graphviz for diagrams of ideas. Evernote for notes. A home made Pomodoro timer to practice to Pomodoro technique.


Wrote a small desktop notepad to keep all my tasks, goals, and notes in it: https://github.com/Y2Z/Doer


Evernote (notes), Reminders (short term reminders), Google Calendar (for recurring/shared reminders), Instapaper (for links storage), Trello (for home inventory buying/planning)


Bash scripts, curl, a daemon, and a Slack bot! Just whipped out an interactive todo list demo. Won't be sticking with Bash, but it was fun to start with.


We use Google Keep at home to share shopping lists. I also use it for quick notes on any of my devices.

For reminders, meetings, events, etc I use Google Calendar.


Good old excel to keep exact track of all my stock trades, for the rest of my life, I like it a bit chaotic- it's more fun that way...


project management (personal projects, long-term house chores, etc): - https://clubhouse.io/

notes: - https://boostnote.io/

backups: - rclone + google drive



I manage my life mostly with calendar.

iOS: Fantastical, Notes Mac: Fantastical, Notes/Quiver


Is fantastical worth the money? The natural language queries seem like the biggest feature and I love it, but not sure about the rest.


I dont leave todo lists, cleandar events and life handling tools in general to take over my brain. He is the best tool because it pop ups the mos important thing to the present and if something has been forgotten, well, that's because there was a more important thing in the stack : )


In theory, it is the opposite. Because you keep all that in your head, you have this large cognitive overload.

Better to dump it out and just your brain for what you are working on at the moment.


but in practice I have less stress, more self stem and a feel of autonomy without external and unpredictable events that switch my mind artificially. The effect is I am more productive since I refused to use outlooks mindmappings todos and the likes. :)


Routine and a wall calendar.


Whiskey and caffeine


Every day I write 750 words on 750words.com, it keeps my content generation muscles strong and keeps me journaling. I have a script that maintains local copies of what I write.


iOS reminders, notes and Siri. I run a financial/budget spreadsheet in Numbers. Shopping comes via Ocado.


A hierarchy of note taking. After trying all of the top organizational tools, I settled on a combination of what worked for me. Here is the basis of it:

- A pen. Simply something to write with. This is important as you may not always be in a situation where you can record items digitally.

- 1 3/8 x 1 7/8 Post-It notes. These are for quick, temporary notes. Things such as minor tasks, small reminders, or short messages to others, should be recorded using these. They are then either placed at my desk (home or work) or on the desk of the intended recipient.

- Pocket notepad. This is the companion of the pen and should be carried around everywhere. Where Post-It notes are intended to be disposed after completion, the notepad is for long term records. Anything written here should have a bit more information. Specifically the type of note (task, event, idea) and date/time. These are then transferred later on. I've carried a notepad for a while, but it was always a little disorganized. I found myself with notes without context or direction. Adding simple categories didn't really help organize the notepad, but it did help organize ideas that could be transferred to a more manageable program.

- Zim personal wiki: This is simply a knowledge base to organize everything. All the categorization from the notepad is used to direct where to record notes in your wiki. The root of it for me comes down to Personal, School, and Work. Each one has many sub pages intended for specific things. You can do this with almost any wiki. I've tried many and settled on Zim because it fit exactly what I was looking for. It's easy to use, desktop based, I can access is remotely, it works with my backup system, and I can publish it if needed. I would like to try org-mode eventually, but haven't gotten around to learning emacs yet.

- Google Calendar/Mail: The final piece is a global calendar and messaging system. Gmail fit that bill. If an event comes up, it's usually written to my notepad, manually transferred to Zim, then created in my Google Calendar.

- Motivation: The most difficult part was getting myself to commit to the whole thing. It may not sound that hard, but developing the whole system required a lot of trial and error and eventually drawing out the hierarchy of what worked best. Since this system is based on a lot of other's recommendations, part of that motivation is building it to suit yourself. If you want to be able to fully manage yourself, it can take time to build what you need.

I've used this system for several years now, but it took me much longer to perfect it. I've tried several apps to support it, but found that recording things digitally leaves them in a weird place of not being seen as often and easily forgotten about. Using the notepad provides the physical interaction of writing it (which helps commit it to memory) and the constant view of it, since I see my last notes before writing another. This may seem elementary for many people, but it does really help me out. The Post-Its started as a thing between my wife and I, but turned into a crucial part of the system. I had many notes in my notepad that didn't really need to be there. If they could be written and removed in a day, they seemed much more temporary. So I started carrying small Post-Its as well. I started the wiki for school, but ended up using it for work and home projects as well. The calendar/messaging piece is one that I wish I could automate from the wiki, but a lot of it is manual, which I don't mind. Each week I can sit down and record things from the previous week, while planning out the coming week. It's a small period of reflection which helps me out quite a bit.




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