Day 18: Perl 6 powered work flow

Staying in flow while coding can be a challenge. Distractions and pesky syntactic bugs are potential flow stoppers.

Then there is the 7+/-2 short term memory limit that we all have to juggle. Unlike computers, we can’t just add more hardware to increase the size of the brain’s working memory buffer – at least not yet. Keeping in flow requires managing this buffer to avoid blowouts. Fortunately we have computers to help.

The idea of using a computer to extend your memory has been around since the dawn of computing. Way back in 1945 Vannevar Bush envisioned a Memex (MEMory EXtender), an “enlarged intimate supplement to one’s memory”.

In 2017, the humble text file can act like a poor man’s memex. The text file contains a timeline with three sections: Past, Now and Next. It’s kind of like a changelog but with a future too. The past section fills up over time and contains completed tasks and information for later recall. The now section helps you focus on the task at hand and the next section queues up tasks to do in the future.

Tasks move through three states: do (+next), doing (!now) and done (-past).

To stay in flow you sometimes need to quickly recall something, log a task to do in the future and focus on making progress in the now. Keeping a file helps you to offload cognitive overhead while coding.

The format of a file is simple so you can hack on it directly with your text editor and it’s described by this Perl 6 grammar.

Here is the Perl 6 command line module that drives it.


To install it just:

shell> zef install Do123
shell> 123 +7 Merry Christmas
shell> 123 +13 Happy New Year

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