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Ode to plain text

Since I first started using Getting Things Done back in 2006 I have constantly been on the lookout for the next cool method, system, setup or app. Everything from a fully analog system with notebooks and 43 physical folders to every standalone app or subscription model there is.

The problem I have and share with so many others is that I fiddle more with the setup and tools than I actually do using it to get productive. I really like the idea of fully fledged tools like Omnifocus, but after I get all my stuff in there I start to loose the overview perspective and after a few weeks I almost don't want to open the app anymore.

I have found a pattern in the tools that I use - the more low-tech they are, the longer I stay with them. It's something special about the freedom of just jotting something down in a notebook or being able to move text around freely on the screen. Paper based notebooks have the disadvantage that it's hard to search and index them and that's why I've eventually left them behind. I still take most of my notes with pen and paper, but I like my task management digital.

Enter TaskPaper


Recently I have started to use TaskPaper, by Hogbay Software. Or actually, re-started as I have tried it in the passed and dismissed it as it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of something like OmniFocus.

It is not only an app, but also a way to structure tasks, projects, tags and notes in plain text so it can be used with other plain text editors as well (more on that in a coming post). Hogbay's website is not selling the concept very well, but there are two comprehensive articles by Gabe Weatherhead - Part 1 and Part 2.

The more I use it the more I like it. There is some form of app for every platform I use. I can sync my TaskPaper document with Dropbox and use a variety of scripts and tools to manipulate them. It doesn't provide me with a ton of settings I can fiddle with (which is good), but it let's me create my own theme. As I really like the SMYCK color scheme, I used it as a base for my theme as you can see below.