My Org Capture Templates - Part 2
I was happy to see part one of this series generated interest on Reddit. One of the things I love about Org-mode (and Emacs) is this passion among its user and the thirst to learn more from each other. I believe one of the major reasons for that is Org-mode’s complexity: there are so many options, it has to be personalized by its users' needs. Org-mode is esaily the most personal tool I’ve used in a while. Every time I read something Org-mode related somewhere else it’s as if I’m invited over for a discussion over a cup of coffee.
Speaking of personal, today I’m going to discuss my Journal capture template. I hope you enjoy, and as always, comments are welcome on Reddit (follow me using the links above) at least until I integrate a commenting system on this site.
Part 2 - The Journal template
First, here’s the code:
("j" "Journal" entry (file+datetree "~/Documents/Personal/journal.org") "**** %U%?%a \n" :tree-type week)
- For key-press “j” initiate “Journal” template, which as follows:
- Go to
~/Documents/Personal/journal.organd create a dateree entry there
- Create a sub header (level 4) under the day header, under the week header, under the year header (a function of datetree, see link above).
- Enter an inactive timestamp, place cursor right after it, place a link to file you were just in.
- New line
- Make this a weekly datetree (the default is a monthly datetree)
I prefer a weekly format in my journal over a monthly format. In fact, the week is a “productivity unit” which always made sense to me, and this mindset integrates beautifully into Org-mode. In my archive folder, which you saw in part 1, each week has its own
.org file (from 1 to 50 something). I don’t really need this to make Org-mode work, but there’s something assuring in viewing the folder and seeing all the week files.
The reason the timestamp and the link are condensed together (no space) is because I delete most of the timestamp and just leave the hour. This way the cursor is where I need to start erasing the timestamp from. I haven’t found a way yet to create an hourly timestamp only and I don’t want to forget to put in the hour, so this is the best solution for now. Why is the hour important? First, personal preference from the past, where I would write the time and the location for each entry. Second, this helps me see a couple of entries in the journal that are about the same event (the title is just the name of the event on my agenda) so that if a certain event is developing and I’ve journaled about it a couple of times, I can easily see the hour of each entry as a separator.
Finally, I use a link to connect me back to
w[##].org file (week number of the year, as I mentioned above) from which I created the journal entry. In my weekly org files, the incidents or events themselves contain very little details, usually only what is my next action (next thing to do) and a logbook drawer containing the times I worked on a task if I keep track. If I want to discuss something, I create a journal entry for it. I always prefer to leave my thoughts and conclusions in a personal space, separate from the more generic org file which also contains work-related material. The link takes me back to that event or incident, and because the name is the same as the event, I know exactly what I’m referring to.
My journal is another feature of Org-mode that fits my workflow effortlessly. The notion that I keep entries around events rather than just a daily or a semi-daily habit works well and behooves me to write my thoughts down often. At the same time, the journal file is kept in a personal folder that is not synced to my work VM. I use TRAMP inside my work VM’s capture template, so when I want to capture something in my journal from work, I’m prompted to log into my file server with a password, without saving anything at work.
This privacy barrier may sound cumbersome, but once working, I almost never have to tweak with it. This kind of privacy and separation of my personal files from the cloud help me sleep better at night.