Edit: Nevermind, it does save date completed.
The Best To-Do List: Org-Mode
For private stuff I just use the :crypt: keyword org extension to encrypt that entry with my GPG key...
On Ubuntu I'm using this ppa : https://launchpad.net/~cassou/+archive/emacs
To have the latest orgmode version I use the `org-plus-contrib` package from :
I'm not sure if you need to delete `lisp\org` first (orgmode is included with emacs).
I think you can also use git to keep orgmode up-to-date.
Latest emacs version is 24.3 so maybe https://www.archlinux.org/packages/extra/x86_64/emacs/
My wife and I put an old iPad up on our fridge and use Trello to maintain needed groceries, chores, household repairs, and upcoming events. Even better, these lists automatically sync to our phones and PCs. I can just head to the grocery store whenever I have a free moment and my grocery list is always up to date and ready for me.
but, the brackets are a bit too small, so the iPad doesn't fully sit well. The iPad does stay put and hasn't fallen yet, but I'd recommend trying another brand.
Read GTD. It will inspire you and provide a path to success, walking you through creating meaningful todo lists. Many become devout followers, but for me just the basics and patterns were great to build on. There are concepts similar to the 'backlog' from scrum/XP, where you add a placeholder for every idea or task even very large ones, but only flesh out and break down into actionable items the near term / high value items.
Don't focus on tools, pen and paper are adequate, anything else is gravy. I use a location aware reminder app for short term/scheduled to-dos (iOS reminders, but before that Remember the Milk for years). The rest of the backlog and all details are in Evernote. Both are synced to all my devices (phone, ipad, laptop, etc) and available offline.
If I were trying to achieve your goal I would set a recurring weekday reminder when I arrived at the train station in the morning called "GTD". Just enough to remind me what I need to do. In evernote I'd have a folder with a todo list, plus all the notes/articles. Every day I would get on the train, review my todo app, see GTD at the top, open evernote to that todo, review/prioritize it and make as many happen as possible. The todo list I'd start with would be:
Create todo for reading/implementing GTD
Read / delete pointless articles
Find todo apps
Create more todo lists
2. Clear, approachable goals. "Ship the website" isn't something you can just do, "write unit tests for deletion of users" is. One of my favorite features of Trello is a checklist on a card, it allows you to break down actions into very defined actionable items.
3. Have a list of things you're going to take an action on today.
The spiral bound means it can be left open to the right page, and the thick paper is great. Version control (new pages) is built in. And the best part is that it's always right there in front of me, and I can glance down.
Paper in the form of a hardbacked A4 notepad with context specific todo lists and a 2-week calendar seem to work well (inspired by GTD (for contexts), David Seah (for his obsession with functional paper) )
I'm also reliant on ZIM Desktop wiki  for the 'trusted system' for weekly review - of course, ZIM has a weird bug somewhere in the To Do list functionality that I've had to code around - so it's (not devastatingly) not as trustworthy... but that's life I guess
Just trying out ActiveInbox  for managing Gmail better and seems to be working out nicely
I also only use a red pen for checking things off. Not sure why; it just feels better.
The ability to quickly slam a checklist into a gist and share it with others is very handy.
I keep notes in text files in my Dropbox -- on desktop, I use vim or SciTE, and on iOS I use the PlainText app to read/edit them.
How do you structure your dropbox file? Is it a simple running list of tasks? (.txt)
Just two files forces me to prioritize within these two spheres.
Thanks for sharing!
I appreciate innovations in this space, however I stopped even trying new things as experience shows they don't bring much once novelty wears off.
I don't think of all tasks equally. I have long term things, that usually get put off until they are not so long term. Big things that can be subtasked. Small things. Important things. Things that need done by lunchtime. So far I have not seen one that does anything like this. Does anyone know of one?
Anyway, writing it will be on my todo list.
I do think that gists could be an ideal platform for a more robust todo list, though. It could easily serve as a backend for todotxt , for example.
That being said, I definitely think that the best to-do list depends on each person's workflow (the gist approach would be terrible for a real estate person that's always on the run, for example).
Do you use http://todotxt.com/? I hadn't heard of it before, maybe it's worth giving it a shot :)
I have used todotxt in the past and it served me very well. It was originally developed as a simple bash script by Gina Trapani (of Lifehacker fame) and became such a hit that a strong community of developers formed around it, creating interfaces into the todotxt format in a variety of languages and environments.
The fact that it stores all of its data in a single (or series of) simple text file(s) is what makes it really great, as it becomes portable, human-readable, and modifiable if you should find yourself needing to interact with your todo list without any of the tools or scripts handy.
Unfortunately I haven't had a very good track record of keeping up with any of the many todo list applications or variations that I've tried, but every time I decide to try again I start with todotxt.
t add "complete the pricing mocks"
t 1 pri A
t do 1
However I've recently found I want to have some sort of task hierarchy, and to associate notes with tasks. I was going to just extend my text-based file format but luckily came across taskpaper which is pretty much exactly what I was aiming for. I'm now playing with taskpaper.vim and finding it promising: <https://github.com/davidoc/taskpaper.vim>. I just need to reconfigure vim's display of folded blocks so having all task comments folded is less painful.
Also, come on people, you all know that "Best" is subjective. This is the best tool for this guy, so there's no need to shoot it down.
The hardest bit I have with todo lists is keeping them current and accessible, meaning syncing across all devices and work-stations/laptops. Git is perfect for this, and this use of Github Flavored Markdown is pretty neat... the only missing thing is a mobile way to manage them efficiently.
I find that I keep short-term notes--need to know in in the next hour--in a notepad on my desktop. Tasks that need to be accomplished in the next day+ go into Google Tasks. Things that need elaboration, depth, detail go into Workflowy .
A line = a task
Deleting a line = task finished
A text file = a list of tasks related to some context
The best and fastest editor for this on a Mac: NValt
This is the most efficient and simple solution for managing plenty of todos, no cumbersome rules, check boxes, markdown, web interfaces.
In this particular case, the advantage over gist is that you can edit it offline on mobile (I ride the subway) and it syncs automatically
All that being said I have been doing something similar to the OP but using Google Keep. It works offline, on mobile, or on the desktop.
1. Doesn't require a login
2. Is always visible on my desk and not lost behind a window.
3. Supports crude drawings.
4. Doesn't require power or an internet connection.
I have yet to find an online equivilant which comes close to being as fast or useful as pen and paper for creating and maintaining a personal list of to-do's.
It's goal is to be an extremely simple to-do list. I'd love to hear what you guys think.
I think probably the most important feature of the TODO list is that it gives you mental clarity. Both the popular book "Getting Things Done" and a career couch I worked with for several months talk about the importance of clearing the mind before being able to begin work in earnest. If you have "do the laundry" stuck in your head, it's going to be a major hurdle for getting through work. So, having some sort of system to capture everything that needs to be done is essential for staying on task with work.
So that means that the most important feature of TODO is capture. Any system that imposes overhead on capturing items for your TODO list will eventually fall out of habit. You'll start to mentally prioritize which things go on the list and which things do not. That ultimately defeats the purpose of the TODO list, to get things out of mind, squirreled away in a safe place.
Thus, very formal issue trackers like BugZilla or Redmine (or anything else that has a separate "issue entry page") are far too cumbersome for capture.
But being streamlined on capture is not the whole solution. Having used sites like PivotalTracker or Trello, I've fallen into traps of recording TOO much. Certain pie-in-the-sky tasks will sit in the list for months on end, getting no closer to ever getting worked on. It then becomes its own mental burden, worrying about whether or not certain TODO items will end up in that moribund pile. I even tried writing my own that had an arbitrary limit to the number of items I could enter. It just didn't feel right. It was always too easy to just bump up the limit and keep adding items.
So with all of my experience with various activity and issue tracking systems, I went straight back to pen and paper. My system is very simple, but it is not from lack of design. Its simplicity is the design.
I use an ink pen on a yellow legal pad. The pads are cheap and readily available. The ink requires strike-throughs for error corrections. I write in two columns, but only to be able to use all of the paper. There is no semantic difference between the two columns.
I do not number things, unless I'm in crunch mode and am working very fast through a series of items. I am more likely to underline the high priority items, rather than number them. I don't think it's really possible to prioritize things any more than "things I'm working on in the next few hours" versus "things I'm not working on soon." Anything more than that really calls into question the entire concept of priority for me. It's easy enough to scan the list and figure out priority as I work. I can also rewrite the list with higher priority items at the top if necessary. Usually it's not necessary.
Completed items get scratched out, fairly heavily. The goal is then to fill the page with ink. It becomes a motivating factor to finish the last few items on the list.
The list is limited to 2 columns only and is not allowed to spill on to a second page. I rewrite the list either once a week or (more often) when the page is full to remove the completed items. I did three columns for a while, but it started to develop a deadpool at the bottom right end of the page, so I went back to two columns. Multiple pages would be even worse, and would make it harder to scan the total list. That basically means I'm limited to a max of 50 or so active items on my TODO list. I've found that, if I need much more than 50, then I've failed to manage my work correctly. The desire to record more is a signal that I'm procrastinating things and taking on too many commitments.
And that's it. Any other feature of TODO list tracking is either too restricting on capture or too enabling on over capture. Pen and paper is it for me.
Basically, it's a tacit admission that you're not going to get around to it. This is good, because for most of us, our true to-do list is deeper than our ability or will to finish it. Deleting the backburner things helps reduce guilt.