# Journaling with Emacs OrgMode

January 1, 2009

I like to keep a daily journal of what I’m working on so that I can look back and see what I was up to yesterday or a week ago. I sometimes shift context so often during a day that I completely forget what I was previously doing. I used to do this manually in a plain text file, but now I’ve automated it using Emacs OrgMode.

:EXTENDED:

From anywhere in Emacs, I just hit C-c j and it opens up my journal, creates a new entry if today’s entry doesn’t already exist, and let’s me start typing. It also narrows the buffer in Emacs so that I only see today’s entry when I’m journaling.

It might be nice to extend this similarly to my Emacs GTD capture system. I could bind a system wide hot key to open a new frame with the current journal entry; then I could get to my journal easily from anywhere.

Here’s the code for those who are interested.

(defvar org-journal-file "~/Documents/org/journal.org"
"Path to OrgMode journal file.")
(defvar org-journal-date-format "%Y-%m-%d"
"Date format string for journal headings.")

(defun org-journal-entry ()
"Create a new diary entry for today or append to an existing one."
(interactive)
(switch-to-buffer (find-file org-journal-file))
(widen)
(let ((today (format-time-string org-journal-date-format)))
(beginning-of-buffer)
(unless (org-goto-local-search-forward-headings today nil t)
((lambda ()
(org-insert-heading)
(insert today)
(insert "\n\n  \n"))))
(beginning-of-buffer)
(org-show-entry)
(org-narrow-to-subtree)
(end-of-buffer)
(backward-char 2)
(unless (= (current-column) 2)
(insert "\n\n  "))))


</code>

Journaling with Emacs OrgMode - January 1, 2009 - Jack Moffitt