how i use org mode

"Stand where the statue gazes and remember: Diaspar was not always thus"

- Arthur C. Clarke, The City and the Stars

difficult, rare, and valuable

In the novel cited above, the main character, Alvin, was unique. Most of the people in the city had lived past lives, being regenerated randomly from computer memory banks to live again from time to time. Alvin, though, had never lived before. His story -- and the plot -- is driven by his innate desire to leave the city and explore the stars, something which is culturally forbidden for reasons long forgotten.

I can identify with Alvin. I'm sure a lot of us can, and that's a good thing. In a sense, Alvin is rare and valuable, and in the story, he is set to some incredibly difficult tasks. He doesn't trifle with administrivia, which I define as "all the miniscule affairs of daily living that (1) people with enough money get someone else to do, and (2) society, as it grows, gets machines to mostly do for them."

"Difficult, rare, and valuable" (call it drv) and administrivia, taken together, give rise to a third category, which I call essential. The laundry can wait; it's essential that you take your medicine every day; but your greatest value as an individual comes in using your rare and valuable skills to do difficult things that others value, as well.

simplifying my decisions

Applying my first rule ("keep it simple"), I've made my org-mode as simple as possible, by using only three tags: drv, essential, and administrivia. I don't use priorities. I do, though, acknowledge that "to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose," as the preacher says. Given that, I use about 10 categories to group my work:

  • indoc: internal docs (a work responsibility)
  • advoc: advocacy (work)
  • mdocs: MAAS documentation (work)
  • maint: maintenance
  • fun: well, fun
  • tech: technology learning and exploration
  • people: everything about people I know
  • growth: growth in my life, like a new computer, friend, place to visit...
  • web: my presence in the global village

If it doesn't fit one of these, I try to make myself just drop it. By applying these labels, I've managed to rid my life of several things that just aren't congruent for me.