A simple approach to planning ahead.
Planning In Markdown?
Planning is often done using specialized tools ranging from basic todo list managers like Google Tasks to complex project management tools.
For most planning, however, slightly enhanced text files have many advantages.
Text files are easy to write, to read, to search, to print and to share with others. They are maintainable and preservable, with no obsolescent proprietary formats or software to worry about.
Markdown is a well supported standard for text processing, particularly in Visual Studio Code, and provides a good platform to build upon.
Example: A Jogging Plan
So, how does a plan look like in Markdown?
For example, a plan to become a runner might be stated as follows:
The goal (Become a Long Distance Runner) is stated first and marked as important and to be started soon.
Then follows the list of tasks required to accomplish the goal, ordered by their priority (first choose a training program then buy suitable shoes).
The plan also specifies recurring tasks (weekly running days) and some specific events (run the half or full marathon).
Planning on a Small Scale
To prioritize the steps required to achieve a simple goal, just order them in a list, with the next one to be done at the top:
Keep rearranging the task till it feels right.
To move a line or a selected block of text up and down use:
To select a block of text use
To move around the selected block then either cut (
Planning on a Large Scale
To handle many different and/or unrelated goals and actions, it is useful to organize them by two simple dimensions: urgency and importance.
This gives rise to the famous Eisenhower Matrix:
The matrix split tasks in four groups of decreasing priority:
Marking Tasks By Importance
To mark a task as important, write IMPORTANT or BIG (but not BIGLY):
Marking Tasks By Urgency
To mark a task as being urgent write NOW (to be done immediately), SOON (to be done in the next 3 days) or TODO (to be done in the next 11 days):
If there is a specific date by which a task is due, specify a DUE date. To quickly enter a DUE date, type
Note that dates are specified in international format: YYYY-MM-DD.
If the tasks is recurrent, you can specify on which day of the month or the week it takes place.
To quickly enter a weekly task: type the first three letters of the weekday (
Note that you can have multiple markers per task.
What To Do Next?
All urgent or important tasks in the current file are displayed in the TO DO view in the Explorer area (on the left of the screen).
Click on the task to jump to its position in the document.
The tasks are ordered by their priority class and inside every class by their urgency.
All tasks that are due in less than 11 days are considered urgent.
Tasks that neither urgent nor important are not displayed.
Import and Export Planning Information
One problem with planning is that the required information is often scattered around.
Some of it will be in your online or offline calendar, a lot will be in your emails.
With most WWW based email programs (like GMail) you can reference an email from Markdown by just cutting and pasting its URL.
This extension provides a couple of commands that help to integrate external information with your Markdown Planner files:
Save a Task on Google Calendar
Retrieve Google Tasks
The command will simply open the web page http://quid2.org/tasks in your browser.
After logging into your Google account, your tasks lists will be converted to Markdown Planner format.
Just cut-and-paste them from the web page to your local markdown planner file.
Note that your task lists are converted and not deleted.
All commands provided by this extensions are under the Planner prefix (to find them
See the Change Log.