A Super Simple Todo Package For Emacs

I’m a really good procrastinator. I can walk past the stereo’s dangling speaker cables for years and tell myself each and every time “I should fix those” and then not think about it until the next time I walk past the stereo. Which is half an hour later.

As an experiment this year, I thought I could try just to jot down all these minor jobs (as well as more important things) in a todo list and see whether that would spur me into doing these things… and the answer is, amazingly enough, yes indeed.

Just look! The speaker cables are no longer dangling randomly! (Take my word for it — it was annoying.)

The .txt file I’ve been using tells me I’ve tackled 141 different tasks, from the major to the really trivial. That’s like, er, 14000% more things than usual! At least!

Now, Having things in a .txt file certainly works, but it’s so… basic. So I thought about Org mode and then I thought uhm perhaps not today. And then I googled “emacs todo mode”, and got this:

Did you just tell me to go fuck myself, Mr. Todo Manual? I think you just did.

I looked into a couple other projects, and they all seemed to be more geared towards facilitating further procrastination — by arranging todo items in all kinds of weird hierarchies, assigning priorities and so on. So you can spend hours making The Perfectly Ranked Todo List instead of actually getting shit done.

So one of my todo items was to write a new, trivial todo package: One that allows you to enter/view/edit items, as well as assigning a handful of statuses, like “done” and “in progress”.

And then nothing much more, really.

I’m a bit under the weather today, so I’ve now found time to write that package, and I’ve put it on Microsoft Github.

It’s not like I’m super-procrastinating about other things by writing a tool to help with procrastination. It’s not like that at all! For heaven’s sake!

But here’s the entire manual on how to use it:

Type M-x anddo RET.

That’s a bit shorter than the todo-mode manual, eh? Eh?

One think I’m not quite sure about is how to display longer todo items… Yeah, you can type in as much text as you want per item, but the listing only shows the first line (the “subject”). But with an arrow showing you that there’s more, and you can display that with RET. But it seems a bit unsatisfying…

Anyway! Now I’ve done… 142 items from the todo list!

6 thoughts on “A Super Simple Todo Package For Emacs”

  1. Hi Lars
    I have two questions for you:
    – Why not org-mode? Is it a case of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut? Given your background as an (former?) Emacs maintainer, I had presumed you to be a power user (don’t ask me why). However, after reading your post, it seems that you haven’t previously discussed org-mode on your blog—at least not that I recall.
    – Another question that’s been on my mind for a while: I’ve noticed in most of your Emacs posts that you use a dark background without adjusting the mode-line color. When I tried a similar setup, I found it frustrating because packages like eglot, flymake, and eldoc would often insert text into the mode-line in a bright, unreadable color (thanks to frame-background-mode). Perhaps this isn’t an issue for you if you don’t use these packages. So, finally, how extensively do you customize your Emacs setup? From your screenshots, it seems you prefer a minimal setup, yet you frequently create your own packages for personal use.
    It would be great to see a post where you discuss your Emacs setup and perhaps the packages you frequently use, at least to satisfy my curiosity.

    1. I just haven’t gotten into Org — I’m sure it’s great.

      As for the Emacs visuals, I think the defaults are mostly fine.

    1. Well, it’s not finished yet, but when it’s done, I expect that it’ll be available at an ELPA.

      1. Ignore last partial msg. Not meaning to criticize BUT I wanted to add a single task (Walk dog) to my new todo list so I put aside 2 hours to create the task, adjust the fonts and colors, add multiple tags, alter the foreground/background etc, the usual, and it took less than a minute to add it. As an emacs beginner, (just over 12 years), I have to admit being a bit lost. Where’s the learning curve? Aside: Nice work, quite usable as is, thanks for the well thought out simplicity, much appreciated. I now have to return to editing my config file…again.

Leave a Reply