Managing your tasks at the command line with TaskBook

Grouping Tasks

A long list of tasks is not only demoralizing, it can set off a wave of procrastination. To get around that, you can group your tasks so you can focus on specific areas of your work or life and easily find the task you need to perform. For example, to move the first task in my list to a group called Writing, I typed

tb --move @1 Writing

and continued doing that until I had all my tasks in the appropriate groups. Any tasks that aren't in a group are lumped together into a generic group called My Board.

Changing and Completing Tasks

Sometimes, tasks change. Their scope might widen or narrow, or you might want to change the wording of a task to make it clearer. The general format is:

tb --edit @<task-number> <new description>

When I was writing this article, I was also working on a long essay for my email newsletter. The task I had in TaskBook was third in the list, and I needed to change its description, which read Outline the next newsletter essay, to change the wording of that task, I could enter:

tb --edit @3 Finish the outline for the next newsletter essay

When you're heads-down in work, knocking an item off your task list is a great feeling. When I finished the fifth item on my list, I marked it as done by typing:

tb --check 5

TaskBook added a green checkmark beside the task; the running tally of tasks pending at the bottom of the board decremented by one and the number of tasks done incremented by one.

Adding Notes to Your Board

TaskBook isn't just about managing your tasks, you can also add short notes to your task list or to your groups. Notes can be reminders of deadlines or to contact someone, and you can use them to remind yourself about why a task list exists. Your notes can be anything you need them to be.

I live on the other side of the dateline from the publications and clients with whom I work. Being a day ahead can sometimes become an excuse to procrastinate. An excuse I embrace all too often. To head that excuse off at the pass, I add a note like this to my Writing group in TaskBook:

tb --note @Writing Remember that the deadline for the Linux Magazine article is 24 April

Figure 6 shows the note in the Writing group (Figure 6).

Figure 6: A list of tasks with a note.

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