Keeping Track of My Someday & Maybe Tasks with Git

Someday and maybe tasks and projects are one of those things where I can never seem to find the perfect system. I’ve tried putting these things in OmniFocus and tagging them, using Trello (which I still use, but for different purposes) and I know there has been more than one paper planner over the years!

Some of you may be asking “what is a someday maybe task?”. The name comes from Getting Things Done by David Allen, the idea is something is a task or project you want to do, but you can’t work on it right now – so you put it on a list called “Someday/Maybe” to get around to when the time is right.

A few months ago I turned to Git to try and solve my problem. There were a few features I knew I wanted from a system:

  • Some interoperability with OmniFocus to make it easy to take things out as well as put things back in, or something I could easily script.
  • The ability to track what changed, when, and optionally why .
  • The ability to tweak my system easily without rebuilding it.
  • Automation options.
- [ ] This is a sample task in the format I started with

I started in Drafts, using the task format. This is nice and visual but doesn’t offer all the other features I wanted without setting up lots of actions and cobbling things together. Drafts has versions – which satisfies my want to be able to look back in time, but it lacks explicit change messages connected to these. While Drafts is the right tool for many jobs, it wasn’t quite what I was looking for here.

Next, I did some digging around and stumbled across my old friends BBEdit and Textastic. These are my preferred text-based file editing apps on macOS and iOS, but alone neither of them really hit the spot – until I decided to take some lessons from the professional side of my life and use Version Control.

Version Control systems are designed for programming, so you can track who changed what, when, and assuming they wrote a decent commit message to accompany the change, why. There are quite a few services out there offering these, I chose to use Git and to use GitLab for this. (That said, the sample to accompany this blog post is on GitHub because I know most people are more familiar with that!)

Now, I can make a change to my Someday/Maybe lists from any device, including the web, and just type why I changed it. Version control, in this case, Git, automatically stores what changed and when. You can even do a diff, compare two files side by side so see exactly what was added or removed!

Now it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty! Let’s start with the apps. As mentioned above, on macOS I use BBEdit, this has Git integration so I can theoretically do everything with that. That said, sometimes I switch up my apps so I also have SourceTree around to handle the Git stuff. I could use the command line, but I usually don’t want to. On iOS I use two apps Working Copy and Textastic. There’s good documentation on how to connect the two of them together so I won’t go into detail on that here. To be clear, I use Working Copy for the Git side of things and Textastic for the writing.

Next up: Files. I have two primary lists, Someday and Maybe. Someday is “I really want to do this and will make time for it, but that time is not now”, whereas Maybe is “I like the sound of this”. Projects/tasks stay within these lists until they become unwieldy. If a project has more than 10 tasks that I want to document I create a special list for it. To keep things organised I start these file names with an underscore (_) and then add a note below the task to see that file.

Finally: Format. This took a while to nail down. As I mentioned I started in Drafts so as of when I recorded an episode of Nested Folders 11: Someday/Maybe/Never I was still using - [ ] to indicate a task. This does give you the look of pretty checkboxes – but the point of your Someday/Maybe list isn’t to keep of what you have done, but what you want to do. This means I would never check the tasks off. Instead, I’ve changed to just Taskpaper (at least the elements that OmniFocus uses) as this allows me to copy items over directly when I am ready to do so, and also to export easily.

Now I can update my someday/maybe list whenever I like, across devices, and see what I changed, and when. If you want to see a sample of this check out my GitHub Repository for a sample!


Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals!

There are a few Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday deals on things I use regularly, so I thought it was a good idea to collect them all together!

Luna Display

Luna Display
30% off & free shipping

Use your iPad or even another Mac to extend your Mac’s display! Unlike Sidecar you can actually touch your display, and you can even use it as a wacom style tablet with Astropad.

Luna Display

MacStock Ticket

Macstock Ticket
$100 off!

I had a great time at MacStock this year and will definitely be there again next year! As well as all the great talks there are lots of fantastic people to meet.

MacStock

Cyber Monday Only

The Sweeet Setup Courses

The Sweet Setup Course Bundle
$99 for all the courses

If you want to learn how to take advantage of Ulysses, GoodNotes, 1Password, Day One, Things, or even up your mobile photography game, then these courses are for you.

The Sweet Setup Bundle

MacStories Shortcuts Icons

MacStories Shortcuts Icons
50% off

Thanks to iOS 13 we can put Shortcuts on our home screen and when we run them it just runs Shortcuts! Which means I ran out of icons really quickly–thankfully MacStories rescued my Home Screen and my sanity!

MacStories Shortcuts Icons

Take Control Logo

Take Control Books
50% off selected books

Take Control has a lot of great books covering pretty much every Apple related topic you can think of! They’re picking 13 of their books to put on sale this weekend, check them out!

Take Control Books




Automators 37: Mac Maintenance & Management Magic

In episode 37 of Automators David and I got our enchanted brooms ready and went to town on maintaining and managing your Mac. We did our best to get out all the cobwebs and find a way to automate all of this, while there may not be a robot vacuum for your Mac, there are plenty of tools you can use to make the magic happen automatically – good whether it’s your system or one you end up managing because the owner relies on you to do it!

First up we tackled trash. I realised after the show that while we talked about how to use Hazel’s built in preference pane to manage the trash, I didn’t go into detail about how I do the more specific things that don’t show up there. The answer is (relatively) simple, I add the trash as a folder – this is easiest to do if you have something in the trash as you can drag that into the selector in Hazel. This lets me add all the usual Hazel rules, though I should also mention I’m doing it this way because that’s how I’ve done it for quite a while, rather than this being a good practice!

We also talked about Dropzone, there are a lot of actions available that you can just install in Dropzone, there’s an official actions page and a further action repository, I really need to look into deleting/moving files after I’ve done specific actions, but these are a great way to automate nonetheless.

I hope you enjoy this episode of Automators, it was great fun to put together!

Automators 37: Mac Maintenance, Management Magic. Thanks to our sponsors for this week’s episode: ExpressVPN, Freshbooks, and Flatiron School.



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