Author Topic: etm is a cross platform sophisticated event and task manager for GTD  (Read 3236 times)

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etm is a cross platform sophisticated event and task manager for GTD for Windows, Linux & Mac OS X

etm provides a simple, intuitive format for using plain text files to store data, a command line interface for viewing events and tasks in a variety of convenient ways and a cross-platform, wx(python)-based GUI for creating and modifying events and tasks as well as viewing them. Displayed items can be grouped by year, month, day, week number, quarter, context, keyword, location, user, file and/or priority and can be filtered in comparable ways. The display shows the number of items and time totals broken down by group headings. A display of busy and free times is also supported. Alarms are supported for events and repetition for both events and tasks in a powerful and flexible manner.


    Cross platform. Both the gui and command line versions work under MS Windows, Linux and OS X.

    Simple and efficient with almost no overhead.

    Quickly enter items using a simple, intuitive format.

    Easily specify tasks and events that repeat in complex ways:

    Once every other week:            @r w @i 2

    Monthly on the 2nd-15th:          @r m @m range(2,16)

    Monthly on the third Monday:      @r m @w MO(+3)

    The 3rd, 10th and 25th of April:  @r m @m (3, 10, 25) @M 4

    Weekly on Tu and Th through May:  @r w @w (TU,TH) @u 5/31

    Monthly on the 2nd and 15th:      @r m @m (2,15)

    The first and last days of June:  @r m @m (1,-1) @M 6

    Every 13th which is a Friday:     @r m @m 13 @w FR

    Enter dates and times using fuzzy parsing. Suppose that it is currently Tuesday, February 17, 2009. Then in fields calling for a date:

    entering         gives after fuzzy parsing
    --------        --------------------------
    tue                 2009-02-17
    thu                 2009-02-19
    mon                 2009-02-23
    23                  2009-02-23
    'mar 2'             2009-03-02
    3/2                 2009-03-02
    +0                  2009-02-17 (today)
    +1                  2009-02-18 (tomorrow)
    +45                 2009-04-03
    -1                  2009-02-16 (yesterday)
    -90                 2008-11-19

    Enter times using fuzzy parsing. In fields calling for a time:

    entering         use_ampm:   True    False
    --------        ----------------------------
    10                         10:00am   10:00
    10a                        10:00am   10:00
    10:00                      10:00am   10:00
    22                         10:00pm   22:00
    10p                        10:00pm   22:00

    Additionally, when entering the ending time for an event that starts at 11:30:

    entering         use_ampm:   True    False
    --------        ----------------------------
    +1:30                       1:00pm   13:00
    +1h 30m                     1:00pm   13:00
    +90m                        1:00pm   13:00
    +90                         1:00pm   13:00

    Quick completion of entry fields. When creating or modifying an item, enter '@c' and press Shift and Space to select from a list of all your previously used contexts or enter '@c er' and press Shift and Space to select from contexts beginning with 'er'. Quick completion also works after @k for keywords. When entering viewing options, quick completion can also be used after '-c' and '-k'.

    Tab completion from view option histories. When entering options for main, item, busy or ledger views, select from a list of previously used option strings.

    View items sorted by date, project, context or keyword.

    Specify a list of minutes prior to an event at which to trigger early warning alerts.

    Have alerts make spoken announcements and/or pop up displays using either the internal alert mechanism or one of your platform tools, e.g., growl on OS X or notify-send on Linux. (Alerts are only triggered when the etm GUI is running.)

    Run arbitrary system commands at scheduled times. (Commands are only triggered with the etm GUI is running.)

    Limit the display to items whose projects, contexts and/or keywords match (regex) search string(s).

    Show items whose descriptions or notes contain a case-insensitive (regex) search string.

    Limit the display to any combination of events, actions, tasks, finished tasks, tasks whose begin dates have arrived, tasks waiting for completion of prerequisites and notes.

    Export the items which satisfy the other item view criteria in iCalendar format.

    Export the items which satisfy the other item view criteria in CSV (comma delimited) format.

    See schedules of busy and free times for a range of dates. Limit displayed free times to certain hours each day, .e.g., 8:00a-5:00p, and to periods of at least a minimum number of minutes in duration and with a minimum number of 'wrap' minutes on either end.

    Make records of expenditures of your time using the built-in timer and then use date, context and keyword to categorize them.

    Use ledger (time reports) to see how your time has been used. Compute totals using any combination of date, context and keyword.

    View the queue of coming alerts for the current day. The next alert is always displayed in the etm gui status bar.

    Specify a number of days prior to the due date to be reminded to begin a task.

    Automatically keep complete records of the dates when tasks were completed.

    Dates and calendars use locale settings and thus should appear in your native language. Other settings determine the first day of the week and the words and phrases used in displays and alerts.

    Pop up a twelve month planning calendar. Use Left and Right arrows to shift backward and forward a year at a time.

    Calculate dates from the command line or by pressing F5 in the gui. For example:

    $ c nov 30 - sep 1
    2009-11-30 - 2009-09-01 = 90 days

    $ c sep 1 + 90 days
    2009-09-01 + 90 days = 2009-11-30

    View sun and moon data (from the US Naval Observatory) for a location specified in your ~/.etm/rc for a (fuzzy parsed) date.

    View local weather conditions and forecast (from yahoo weather) for a location specified in your ~/.etm/rc.

GTD with etm

Making Getting Things Done easier is etm's goal. Getting Things Done, commonly abbreviated as GTD, is an action management method, and the title of a extremely popular book by David Allen. GTD rests on the common sense notion that with a complete and current inventory of all commitments, organized and reviewed in a systematic way, the mind is freed from the job of remembering everything that needs to be done, and can focus on actually performing those tasks.

Three observations are critical:

    Projects usually involve a series of steps, some of which must be carried out consecutively, e.g., parts must be acquired before assembly can begin.

    The steps of a project are carried out in a context which may vary from step to step, e.g., parts may be acquired in the context 'errands' but assembly may be in the context 'workshop'.

    While focusing on projects is great for planning, for actually doing things it would be more convenient to focus on context so that, for example, you could see all actions from all projects with context 'errands' before you drive off. To focus on what needs to be done, it would also be useful to be able to hide actions that are not yet available so that, for example, 'assemble parts' is not displayed until 'acquire parts' is complete.

GTD thus requires convenient methods for:
planning:   storing and organizing all the bits.
acting:   displaying just the information you need, when you need it.
reviewing:   checking the status of all items your projects.

etm allows you to store and organize your commitments using a simple, intuitive format using plain text files. Tasks can be entered in an 'outline format' in which which parent tasks are treated as prerequisites for their lower level offspring tasks.

Your commitments can be viewed grouped and sorted by date, context, keyword, location, priority or project. Using the outline group by option '-g F' you can check the status of all items in your projects regardless of their due dates.You can hide finished tasks, or waiting tasks, or events. You can display only items whose contexts or keywords match a given regular expression. You can display busy and/or free times for an arbitrary period. You can prepare a ledger view of your time broken down by any combination of date, keyword, and/or context. You can export matching items in vCal/iCal format.

In short, etm makes it easy for you to store and organize all the bits and to display just the information you need, when you need it.


GUI Display

Date Bar

   The current date and time is displayed at the left. This is followed by the interval of days currently being displayed and an entry area which permits a case-insensitve search for all items matching a regular expression. Matching items are listed in the outline panel below.

Monthly calendar

    The color of each month day number reflects the number of minutes of scheduled events for that date. The days of the currently selected week (the selected day and the six following days) are highlighted.

    With the focus in the calendar, the right and left arrow keys change the selection forward and backward one day at a time. Down and up arrow keys change the selection forward and backward one week at a time and Page Down and Page Up change the selection one month at a time.

Busy panel

    The periods of schduled events for the selected days in calendar are highlighted. Clicking on a highlighted area will select the corresponding event in the outline panel and double clicking will open the event for editing in the details panel.

Outline panel

    This panel displays data reflecting the current options in outline form. When an item is selected, the item's details are displayed below in the details panel.

Details panel

    When an item is selected in the outline panel, the item's details are displayed here.

    Additionally, this area is used to edit exising items, to create new items and to set the options for the outline panel display and for busy reports. See Options for Actions, Events, Notes and Tasks and Options for Outline and Busy Views for details.

    Press Shift-Return or Ctrl-S to process the contents or press Escape to cancel.

Status Line

    At the left, the status line displays a permanent reminder that pressing F1 activates the help system. If one or more alarms is in the queue for the current date, then the time of the next scheduled alarm follows. This is followed by a list of the current display options. The remaining space is used to display a variety of information. If a timer is running for an action, for instance, then the name of the action and the current elapsed time and status (running or paused) is displayed.

Quick Start

In etm there are four types of items:


    A record of the time-consuming action required to complete a task or participate in an event. Actions are not reminders, they are instead records of how time was actually spent. Action lines begin with a '~' character.


    Something that will happen on a particular day (or days) and, perhaps, at particular times. Alerts are optional for events with starting times. Event lines begin with a '**' character.


    A record of some useful information. Note lines begin with a '!' character.


    Something that needs to be done. It may or may not have a due date. Task lines begin with one or more '-' or '+' characters.

Etm data files begin with a 'project line' that gives the project title and, perhaps, options. Items follow with each item occupying one or more lines. Each item begins with '~', '*', '!', '-' or '+' as the first character on the line, followed by the title of the item and then field keys and values. The item continues either until the file ends or another line is found that begins with '~', '*', '!', '-' or '+'. E.g,

----------file begins-------------------------------------
the title of the project file
* my event title @d 8/23 @s 9a @n A note for my event that
continues on the next line.
----------file ends --------------------------------------

See Options for Actions, Events, Notes and Tasks for details.

Note that item options added to the project line become the defaults for each of the items in the same file. Suppose, for example, that the project file concerns 'Project A' for client 'John Smith'. Then adding '@k Smith, John:Project A' to the project line would set the client and project keyword for every item in the file.

Users Manual:

For Windows: get the Latest .ZIP file download
For Linux/BSD: get the Latest .TAR.GZ tarball source file download
For Macintosh OS X: get the Latest .DMG file download.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 10:19:59 PM by Software Santa »


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