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Using Personal Project Codes


I’ve been playing around with using project codes for years. Using a code instead of just a name makes sure that it is unique and easily searchable. But I could never get it quite right.

Then, I stumbled across a 2014 blog post by Joe Buhlig, and everything just clicked for me. I’ve locked in on this system, and it’s really working well for me. His system has a year, a 2-letter code for an Area of Responsibility (AoR), and an incremented number for each AoR. You end up with something like 23VH03, which in my system means the third project related to my vehicles in 2023.

Areas of Responsibility

My Area of Responsibility codes are suited to my life, yours may vary. This looks confusing at first, but I keep it all in DataJar so the Shortcut pulls it in automatically.

Name Code Emoji
Home HM 🏠
Vehicle VH 🛻
Husband HU 👩‍❤️‍👨
Father FA 👨‍👦
Friend FR 👯‍♀️
Hobbies HB 🪚
Continuing Education CE 🧠
Cocktails & Coffee CC 🍸
Me ME 👨

The Automation Pieces

In typical me fashion, it’s very much automated. I trigger the code creation with a Shortcut, then some things happen in DataJar, Omnifocus, and Obsidian. Here’s the workflow in a nutshell

  1. The Shortcut asks for a project name
  2. Gets some data from DataJar dictionary that contains the project number, icon, and AoR code.
  3. A project is created in Omnifocus with the emoji, code, and title.
  4. A section is created in my Obsidian vault with the appropriately named folder and starter document that has a link back to the Omnifocus project.

The Starter Document

Creating projects is stupid easy. The problem with that is I end up with a lot of projects I never do anything about. I’ve started using a starter document for every project that asks two simple questions:

  1. Why am I doing this?
  2. What happens if I succeed?

If I can answer both of these questions, then I can judge how important this project is.

UPDATE: I wrote a new post with the Shortcut details.

🗓️ January 31, 2023 🏷️ Omnifocus 🏷️ Shortcuts 🏷️ Automation 🏷️ Obsidian
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