org-mode and the magical WAIT keyword

2023-06-30 11:50:37 +0200 +0200

I recently made my way through Getting Things Done (GTD). I wish I had done it a while ago! I’ve read many surface-level summaries in blog posts or in tutorials for organizational tools about how to use GTD. But, similar to programming, reading the source code can be illuminating in ways that someone else’s high-level summary cannot be.

Anyway, one realization I had in the book is that I was completely missing a key feature in my TODO tracking in org-mode: the WAIT keyword.

WAIT, what?

I’ve always tried to keep my TODO tracking on the simpler side, so a task was either TODO, STRT (I began work on it) or DONE.

This works when you have a kind of tunnel vision view of incoming work: incoming task arrives, you do it, mark it as done. But thanks to reading the GTD book, I’m trying to organize my work more by short term and longer term projects. And in that context, there are a lot of times where you need to wait to make sure something is ready to start or is actually done, and I still want to have this captured in the TODO system so it’s not taking up mental space.

Enter the WAIT keyword, which I use with org mode’s org-schedule feature. So far I use it in these situations:

tl;dr WAIT is helping me get a whole other set of things that occupied mental space into my TODO tracking system so I don’t have to think about them anymore. I recommend trying it!