my new daily agenda emails

I’ve finally finished (for now, anyway) another hunk of code in my ever-growing suite of half-baked productivity tools. I’m tentatively calling the whole mess “Ywar”, and would paste the dictionary entry here, but all it says is “obsolete form of ‘aware’”. So, there you go. I may change that later. Anyway, a rose by any other name, or something, right?

Every morning, I get two sets of notices. The Daily Practice sends me an overview of my calendar, which makes it easy to see my streaks and when they end. Remember the Milk sends me a list of all the tasks due that day. These messages can both be tweaked in a few ways, but only within certain parameters. Even if I could really tweak the heck out of them, I’d still be getting two messages. Bah!

Fortunately, both TDP and RTM let me connect and query my data, and that’s just what I do in my new cronjob. I get a listing of all my goals in TDP and figure out which ones are expiring on what day, then group them by date. Anything that isn’t currently safe shows up as something to do today. I also get all my RTM tasks for the next month and put them in the same listing. That means that each email is a summary of the days of the upcoming month, along with the things that I need to get done on or before that date. That means I can (and should) start with the tasks listed first and, when I finish them, keep working my way down the list.

In theory, I could tweak the order in which I worked based on time estimates and priorities on my tasks. In practice, that’s not going to happen. This whole system is held together by bubblegum, paperclips, and laziness.

Finally, the emails implement a nagging feature. If I’ve tagged a RTM task with “nag,” it will show up on today’s agenda if I haven’t made any notes on it in the last two weeks. I think I’m better off doing this than using RTM’s own recurring task system, but I’m not sure yet. This way, all my notes are on one task, anyway. I wanted this “automatic nagging” feature for tasks that I can’t complete myself, but have to remind others about, and this was actually the first thing I implemented. In fact, it was only after I got my autonag program done that I saw how easily I could throw the rest of the behavior onto the program.

Here’s what one of the messages looks like:

Ywar Notice

Right now it’s plaintext only. Eventually, I might make a nice HTML version, but I’m in no rush. I do most of my mail reading in mutt, and the email looks okay in Apple Mail (although I think I found a bug in their implementation of quoted-printable!). The only annoyance, so far, is the goofy line wrapping of my per-day boundary lines. In HTML, those’d look a lot better.

I’ll post the source code for this and some of my other TDP/RTM code at some point in the future. I’m not ashamed of the sloppy code, but right now my API keys are just sitting right there in the source!

Written on September 4, 2013
🌀 productivity
🏷 ywar