beorg (and Org mode) store tasks, to-do lists and projects in files which you can open in any text editor. Most other to-do list and task management apps have a database in the cloud which you don’t have direct access to. Using multiple files allows you to clearly separate your to-dos, tasks and projects. It does though take some thinking to prevent file overload. In this article I’m going to review my personal approach to using multiple files.

The files I use most frequently are inbox (used by beorg on my iPhone and iPad) and refile (used on my office iMac and home MacBook Pro in Emacs). Most new tasks get added directly to these files - particularly if they are standalone tasks and are to be completed in the next few days. I’ll give a scheduled date to new tasks - even if the date gets changed on review. Once a week I’ll go through all of the tasks and move out bigger projects to the most appropriate file.

beorg doesn’t currently support syncing from folders so I tend to use a namespace approach to my filenames. Any files starting with aotm- relate either to my own apps (beorg, Go Calc and any prototypes of new ideas) or to areas such as finance or long term planning. Next come files for each of my clients, and these have the prefix client-. Then there are files I use for my personal life and they start with personal-. Finally there is a calls file and my init file for advanced customisation of beorg.

Here is a cut down list of the files (some have fake names as I’m not going to include names of actual clients here):

Some people swear by having a very small number of files (maybe just two - refile and projects). There is no right answer as to the best personal organization scheme - that is one of the reason we use flexible tools such as beorg and Org mode. For an alternative view see the Org mode wiki.

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