Emacs, org-mode and Getting Things Done (GTD)

articles by Charles Cave

About the Author

I work for a software company where I develop classroom and E-Learning training materials for our customers and partners. I have a busy family life, and a variety of interests. My favourite text editor is Emacs which I use as the core of my personal and professional project and task management.

This page has links to the various articles I have written about my implementation of org-mode, Getting Things Done and Emacs.


I run GNU Emacs (version 22.1.1) on a Dell Inspiron with Windows/XP. I use Emacs for all my text editing needs including Python, Perl, MUP Music typesetting, Japanese and of course, org-mode!

Emacs Japanese is an article showing the steps required to enter Japanese text in a UTF-8 file. (January 2009)


org-mode is an Emacs package written by Carsten Dominik. Its purpose is to enhance Emacs for note taking, outlining, project planning, and authoring for publication in HTML and LaTeX. org-mode's combination of powerful outlinining and tags makes is an ideal tool for implementing David Allen's Getting Things Done methodology.

Article about date trees and capture mode with descriptions of how I use this functionality.

I wrote the Orgnode Python module to give an object-oriented interface to reading org-mode files.

Remember Mode (made obsolete by Capture mode) is a very useful tool for capturing ideas quickly and effortlessly and for maintaining my daily journal and lists of books and films I have enjoyed. (July 2007)

Using dates and times in Emacs org-mode. A tutorial on working with dates and times in org-mode. (October 2007)

Getting Things Done

Org Mode Article. I wrote this article in September 2006. I explain GTD contexts, the overall GTD methodology, and how org-mode outlining works. I ran a Perl script to create my Next Action lists. (September 2006)

Org Mode and my GTD workflow. This is an updated article published in January 2009. The functionality of org-mode has expanded since my first article, as well as my understanding of org-mode agendas, task estimates. I describe my use of agenda custom commands, clocking time spent on tasks, and using Remember mode. (January 2009)

Do It Tomorrow. An article about another personal productivity system from Mark Forster's book "Do It Tomorrow". One of his practices is to create a task diary showing which tasks are planned to be completed on a particular day. I have used org-mode to implement this methodology in combination with the GTD methodology. (November 2007)

Natural Planning Model. An article about David Allen's "Natural Planning Model" and how it can be implemented in org-mode. (July 2008)

Printing a Daily Plan from Agenda View. An article about a Python script I use to create a printed Task Diary/Task List. (February 2009)

Setting up a Reference Filing System. An article about setting up a reference file using labelled manila folders. A similar system for email is described. (November 2006)

Tickler File. An article about setting up a tickler file - physical (using manila folders). I have stopped using 43 manila folders as my tickler file. Instead, I set up dated reminders with org-mode. The recurring date feature of org-mode is well-suited for tickler functionality. (January 2007)

More links

David Allen's company Davidco web site - information on seminars, products, articles and newsletters.

"Getting Things Done" Wikipedia article

Charles Cave charlesweb@optusnet.com.au
Last Updated: June 27th 2009