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FMP: Ruby script for text lists

My Fiendish Master Plan

For you plain text nerds, Nick Fagerlund has developed a nifty little Ruby script called "Fiendish Master Plan" that helps with managing your lists of tasks or what have you.

The basic idea is to capture anything you need into one text file, with one item per line. He (and I) recommend using a Quicksilver trigger to append to that file of your choice as you work. When adding an item, you use a "category" tag (as in "^category") which you type at the beginning of each line you. Ala:

  • ^write thank Jaime for delicious basket of kittens
  • ^errand take blood-stained poncho to French Cleaners
  • ^chore find source of smell under clown's house

Periodically, you then run Nick's script (either manually, via the command line, or by cron would work), and the magic happens. All the tagged items from your master list are appended to separate text files matching the name of the one-word category. In the above, for example, my thank you note to-do is added to my "write.txt" list, and off I go.

I haven't spent too long with FMP, but it installed fine for me (with his "I don't know Unix" directions) and worked for the few test items I ran. I like that you could use this for GTD contexts, as well as for reference materials and running lists -- e.g. "^getmusic Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped" would write to a file of records you want to listen to called "getmusic.txt."

Simple script that does a simple (but very handy) thing -- the ultimate life hack.

About Merlin

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Merlin Mann is an independent writer, speaker, and broadcaster. He’s best known for being the guy who created the website you’re reading right now. He lives in San Francisco, does lots of public speaking, and helps make cool things like You Look Nice Today, Back to Work, and Kung Fu Grippe. Also? He’s writing this book, he lives with this face, he suffers from this hair, he answers these questions, and he’s had this life. So far.

Merlin’s favorite thing he’s written in the past few years is an essay entitled, “Cranking.”




An Oblique Strategy:
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