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Another approach for goal tracking

A few days ago I uploaded a video on goal setting and tracking. I got some very interesting feedback and Hugo gave me something to think. My approach was to set ID-Links between the goals file (goals.org) and my action-files (*.org). But Hugo pointed out that it would be better to use tags for this. So I used my demo installation to try this out.

I had in mind that there was a page in the org manual about hierarchical tags.  That sound good, just define a tag group for goals „Goal“ that has a regex like „G@.*“ and then if you call an agenda view that searches for „Goal“ you should see al the „G@.*“ stuff as well.

Problem was, that it didn’t work. The Emacs on my openSUSE Leap 42.3 is by default Emacs 24 and org mode was 7.9- something. If you look into the old release notes for Orgmode, then you find out that this feature was introduced in Org 8.3.

So my next approach was installing org from ELPA. There is a Emacs wiki page about how you should install packages. I tried this, but it behaved strange. First problem was that Org still reported that its version 7.9-whatever. Searching on Stackoverflow then showed me that you need to add some lines at the beginning of your Emacs init file when an ELPA package substitues a built-in package. So put those two lines at the beginning:

(package-initialize)
(setq package-enable-at-startup nil)

With this code Org will report version 9.1.5. But when creating agendas I got another error message about smbol „window-text-width“ is void. Looks like there is something missing in Emacs 24. So my next attempt was to upgrade to Emacs 25. There is an openSUSE package for that, you can easily find it and install it.

Problem is that this emacs version still comes with Org 8.2.10, and we need 8.3. So I installed the ELPA package again and now the search for tag groups works as expected.

Now its easy to create a goal tag like „G@2018_slimdown“. I assign this tag to the goal entry in my goals file and also to all actions that support his goal. The great advantage is now, that I can review my goals in the goals file and if I click on that tag there, orgmode will automatically open a view that shows all entries in other files that use the same tag.

I just uploaded another video th show how this works. Great thing to manage the 2018 goals.

But keep in mind that you need to have a very recent orgmode version installed. And keep in mind that you should look into the Orgmode release notes from time to time to find those gems.

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