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Journaling

Sometimes I'm finding myself documenting activities: notes in these org files (then exported into HTML), logs of learning, investigating things, or considering ideas. Often it begins with a large list of messy notes, and results in a much shorter and structured document, which is akin to a journal entry on a larger scale itself. Sometimes I'm trying to write a document at once, but then rewriting and shortening it anyway – so the rather messy initial notes may be a better approach.

Then there are implicit notes, particularly "TODO" ones: open IRC channels, web browser tabs, documents, even mailing list subscriptions. I've tried to dump some of those to the links page, and occasionally turning groups of those into notes here, but still having a lot of those implicit entries, which make it harder to reboot.

When working with somebody else, sometimes I'm journaling right into a letter or an IM, sharing the notes at once. Or, if there is an issue tracker, writing the notes there. But local notes seem to be more persistent than those on issue trackers.

It seems that a local journaling system could solve most of those issues (implicit notes in RAM, lost notes on issue trackers), and org-mode actually includes that: the capture and agenda features do cover many of use cases. Apart from org documentation, there is the "journaling with org-mode" article, and org-capture helps to capture links directly from Firefox. Here are my org-capture-templates:

'(("n" "journal note" entry (file+datetree "~/org/journal.org")
   "* %?\n%i")
  ("l" "journal with a link" entry (file+datetree "~/org/journal.org")
   "* %?\nEntered on %U\n  %i\n  %a")
  ("x" "link" entry (file "~/org/links.org")
   "* TODO Review %c\n%U\n%i\n" :immediate-finish t)
  ("w" "woke up" entry (file "~/org/sleep.org")
   "* %U :sleep:off:" :immediate-finish t)
  ("s" "went to bed" entry (file "~/org/sleep.org")
   "* %U :sleep:on:" :immediate-finish t))