org-mode for PhD students
Posted: October 22, 2016
Categories: orgmode, phd
[Edit: I put templates of the files described below in a git repository.]
I've discovered org-mode more or less when I began my PhD, and found it to be a really valuable tool to keep track of everything I do. Here are my tips on how I manage my work with orgmode, file by file:
I keep track of the list of papers I'm currently writing, each of them having their TODOs, their deadlines, and so on. I also use this file to keep track of the random research ideas I get and am afraid to forget.
Bonus: keep the experiments recipes in embedded code in orgmode, for reproducible research purposes.
Here I have everything that relates to teaching: all my classes organized by year and semester, with my notes, the list of students, and all the information I receive by email that would otherwise get lost.
Bonus: write class slides in orgmode.
This one is simple: it contains a list of all the papers I've read, with my notes and the date I read them. I suspect it will become very valuable once I write my actual thesis.
Bonus: keep links to the local PDFs, for faster access.
All the courses and seminars I attend, with my notes. Also useful to not forget to actually attend them. This way I can easily keep track of my ECTS (European class credits) and I can know if I still miss some to be allowed to defend my thesis at the end.
Every meeting I attend, along with my meeting notes.
Bonus: set-up recurrent events for meeting your PhD supervisor.
This one contains the miscellaneous items (often administrative tasks) that I need to do and rather not forget about it. Very useful to set-up deadlines far ahead in the future!
All the information I need to keep when traveling, for example to conferences. Also good for remembering when I went to some place.
All in all
I also use a few other .org files, but the ones listed below are those
which track my PhD student life. I also have a
projects.org to keep
random ideas that I will never implement (but will be fun to look at
in a few years!), a
writings.org (where I'm typing this post draft
right now), etc. I make an extensive use of timestamps along with my
TODO items, to be sure not to forget paper submission deadlines and
other important dates.
If you have a different setup or tips to improve mine, I'd be very glad to hear from you!