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Pinta Planner

Personal time management is about going from an observe-and-react lifestyle, to a proactive plan-and-act lifestyle — to help you focus on your important priorities.

Pinta Planner is a windows tool for personal time management planning, including to-do lists plus recurring goals and activities. I use it myself.

First, a little inspiration from Kipling:

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

You need the results from all six serving-men for efficient personal time management, and I recommend you to structure like this:

Managed area
 Purpose (the 'Why')
   Goals, objectives, to-tos, action-points, etc. (the 'What')
     Plan, agenda, calendar (the 'When', 'Where' and 'Who')

+ Know-how in the form of manuals, documented methods, instructions, memo notes, etc.
(the 'How')

But, I've designed Pinta Planner not to interfere with your creativity more than needed in how you decide to write. I decided to support plain utf-8 text, as it's the most cross platform format of all, and with hex Unicode and MarkDown you do get some creativity freedom, within the plain-text format boundaries. The writing syntax for Pinta Planner is limited to a few tags and rules, with the intention of mimic common language as much as possible.

In short, for doing personal time management you need to:

Pinta Planner can help your (weekly) planning, by bringing your tasks, reminders goals etc, to your calendar. Pinta Planner will then search through your managed areas for plain text and MarkDown files containing your to-dos and goals, present to-do lists for your planning, and generate a plan for the coming week, ready for import into your calendar.

txt/md icon

Pinta Planner

ics icon calendar

Pinta Planner Manual — table of contents

  1. Preparation
  2. Download and run Pinta Planner
  3. Activities
  4. Addendums
  5. More about the plain text and markdown files


Your plain text or MarkDown files need to be in utf-8 format, with the well known .txt or .md suffix. Don't worry, all computers and smartphones support utf-8. You also need to tag the plain text files you want Pinta Planner to search through, by adding an underscore, _ at the beginning or end of the file name.
Some examples: \_objectives.txt, stuff_.md, _.txt

You also need to tag your to-dos, tasks and action points — beginning and end. Use [ ] (or #ap for backward compatibility) for action-point/task/to-do beginning. It also serves as ending of previous action point. Other valid action point endings are: ## , ⏎# , ⏎~~ , ⏎== , ⏎__ and ⏎--- .

Here's an _example.txt utf-8 file you can download:


Arrange dinner party for fun.


[x] set date ##


- [ ] prio: H decide on guests
- [ ] decide menu
- [ ] prio: H make invitation and send to guests
- [ ] buy groceries
- [?] hire serving staff ##

On dinner day:

- [ ] set table
- [ ] cook dinner

Download and run Pinta Planner

Pinta Planner will search for your _ -tagged .txt and .md files in a top folder you specify (containing your managed areas), and its sub-folders. Download and install Pinta Planner rel 2023-02-27 for windows. (Sorry about all the security warnings, getting a code signing certificate cost money…)

If you have downloaded the _example.txt utf-8 file in the same top folder, this is what you should see when starting Pinta Planner after selecting the correct top folder (you need to have some tagged text or markdown file for Pinta Planner to run):

Pinta Planner GUI

In this example there is only one file listed: "_example.txt", but you will probably have many files — at least one file per managed area. To display the action points from only a few files, unbox the check boxes for the other files under View menu. None will unbox all, and All will box all.

Help menu will take you to this manual.

Reset top folder under Files menu will reset the top folder selection (delete C:\Users\[user]\pinta_planner.conf), so you get to re-specify the top folder selection the next time you start Pinta Planner. (You may manually delete the file C:\Users\[user]\pinta_planner.conf instead if you want to.)

The description field will expand when selected for editing. Collapse it by clicking on the file name or a drop down selection.

Priority and dates for action points

The priority can be set in five levels: very high, high, normal, low and very low — or 1 to 5. Normal, or 3 is default priority. Use the drop-down selection in Pinta Planner to set the priority, or tag the action point with prio: (or #prio for backward compatibility) and VH , H , N , L , VL or 1 to 5 inside the action point in the text or markdown files.
Example: [ ] pay rent prio: H ## .

Very low priority action points can be tagged as [?] (or #idea for backward compatibility), which equals [ ] prio: 5 . This is also accessible as a drop down selection in Pinta Planner.

Completed action point may be tagged as [x] (or #done for backwards compatibility) awaiting deletion or archiving.

You may postpone action points to a later date with pp: YYYY-MM-DD (or #pp for backwards compatibility) (date in ISO-format). Editable in both the text or markdown file and in Pinta Planner — clicking the date field will give you a date selector with four options: cancel for to not change, none to delete the date, never to set date far beyond your lifetime, and select to choose the date.

Click on Save, sort & copy under Files menu to save your changes back to your text or markdown files and re-sort the list in priority and date order, with urgent high priorities at the top of the list. You also get a textual version to paste elsewhere if you want (useful for reporting). Quit will not save before quitting.

Adding and deleting action points

To add another action point, write [ ] plus the additional information (may include priority and date in text format as explained above) in the description field of an action point:

adding action point

After Save, sort & copy :

added action point

To delete an action point — delete the description, the date and set priority to 3 before Save, sort & copy .

Now you have the Pinta Planner tool for managing your backlog of action points and ideas ☺.


In addition to using Pinta Planner to manage and sort your action points task list, Pinta Planner can also bring your action points into your calendar once you've entered an activity scheduling sentence. It might appear complicated, but it's actually quite close to common language, as will be visible in the example further down. The activity doesn't even have to be an action point, it works for any recurring activity.

Activity schedule sentence

Begin the activity sentence with a capital letter and end with a '.' or '!', just like any other plain English sentence.

Tag the activity with ?? to check how Pinta Planner interprets the scheduling sentence. Use the ?? tag sparsely for checking and debug.

Sentences with start time in HH:MM format will be investigated by Pinta Planner as scheduling sentences. (you may add additional starting times if the activity is to be scheduled many times in a day.)

If you want, you may add a duration for the activity, in format for XhYm (= X hours plus Y minutes). Or as i XhYm in Swedish

And, you may also add an alarm if you wish with pingMM . (MM minutes before, where MM is optional.)

You also need to specify the day(s) to schedule, based on either weeks or months:

Week base

Set weekdays with Mondays , Tuesdays , Wednesdays , Thursdays , Fridays , Saturdays , Sundays , weekdays , workdays , weekends , weekend days , each day or daily . N.B. the 's' at the end.

Or, with Mo , Tu , We , Th , Fr , Sa , Su — if you have also specified week , weeks , weekly or W01 to W53 .

'every week' is default, unless you specify:

This can be done in Swedish too.

Month base

You either specify a date: 1st , 2nd … up to 31st , or a day as prefix + suffix:

Set the prefix with first , second , third , fourth , penultimate , last but one or last .

Suffix is 'day', unless you specify: Mo (nday), Tu (esday), We (dnesday), Th (ursday), Fr (iday), Sa (turday), Su (nday), weekday , workday or weekend ( day). N.B. there's no 's' at the end.

And, set the months (always absolute) with: every month , monthly , even month , uneven month , odd month , Jan (uary) to Dec (ember), quarter (opt from Jan to Mar), tertial (opt from Jan to Apr), half-year (opt from Jan to Jun), six months (opt from Jan to Jun).

This can be done in Swedish too.

Activity title and notes

The activity title is indicated with an [ sign as title start (or | for backward compatibility).

Activity notes comes after the title, indicated with a new line, or a \

End the title and notes with ] .


Here's a second _example2.md file you can download:

The first managed area.

# Purpose

To demonstrate Pinta Planner capabilities.

# Goals

- [ ] prio: H pay rent! (unscheduled)
- [ ] pp: 2022-12-01 Make X-mas plan. (unscheduled)

## week based:

- [ ] I have an [scheduled \ action point] Mondays at 8:00 for 45m.

Ordinary workdays I do [something \ without any action point] at 9:00 and 17:00.  
At 19:00 Wednesdays, with ping, I'll make my [weekly planning\ in Pinta Planner].  
I've [schedule\ complicated] ?? 10:00 Mo and Fr odd weeks.  
At 11:00 on Mondays, with ping10, in W52 [schedule stuff once a year].  
And, at 12:00 every other Tuesdays from 2022W40 [Late in year] is more.  
At 13:00 Mondays every other fortnight from 2021W30 is [title\ notes].

## Month based:

At 14:00 1st of January [month 1].  
Stuff at ?? penultimate weekend day every quarter from February [quarterly] at 15:00.

I've finally got an [?] I'll probably never get any time to do.

# Info

- For the 'How'...

This is how the two example files look in Pinta Planner (with the scheduled action point highlighted):

Pinta Planner GUI

When clicking Save, sort & copy you get the ?? activities to check:

check report
check report 2

And four .ics calendar item files are created in your home folder:

Now you can use the Pinta Planner tool for your personal time management planning, all the way into your calendar ☺.


There's one small additional feature left. If you name an activity title to start with [@ (the '@' will not show up in the calendar), you can add more 'addendum' notes to it from other files.

The addendum title shall then be equal to the activity title to add the notes to, starting with [+@ , followed by notes and end with ] .

More about the plain text and markdown files

I recommend using a cloud service like Dropbox to access your plain text files when away from your computer.

I also recommend using Notepad++ text editor on windows to secure you get UTF-8 coding, and the dspell spellcheck plug-in. Ghostwriter is even better for markdown files.

On windows I recommend enabling entry of unicode characters by code, by adding EnableHexNumpad to regedit, see for instance 'Method 2' at this page. After that, in order to enter a character, hold down the Alt key and press the + button (on the numeric keypad), enter the hex code and release the Alt key to add the character.

On linux, hold down the Shift and Ctrl keys and press the U key, enter the hex code followed by the Enter key to add the character.

Here are some unicode hexcode characters:

U+263A: ☺ (Alt-1)U+00B0: ° (deg)U+03B1: α
U+2665: ♥ (Alt-3)U+00B1: ±U+03B2: β
U+2022: • (bullet, Alt-7)U+00B2: ² (sup2)U+03B4: δ
U+25E6: ◦ (white bullet)U+00B3: ³ (sup3)U+03B5: ε
U+25CB: ○ (Alt-9)U+00B5: µ (micro)U+03BB: λ
U+2610: ☐U+00B7: · (mid dot)U+03BC: μ (mu)
U+2611: ☑U+00D7: × (mult)U+03C0: π
U+2612: ☒U+2126: Ω (ohm)U+03C1: ρ
U+2713: ✓ (tick)U+2212: − (minus)U+03C3: σ
U+2714: ✔ (tick bold)U+2219: ∙ (bullet operator)U+03C4: τ
U+2013: – (n-dash, range)U+2715: ✕ (mult)U+03C6: φ
U+2014: — (m-dash, clause sep.)U+221A: √ (sqrt)U+03C9: ω
U+2248: ≈U+0393: Γ
U+2264: ≤U+0394: Δ
U+2265: ≥U+03B8: θ
U+2265: ⇒U+03A9: Ω (omega)
U+21D2: ⇔