## Planning and Notes using Markdown in (Neo)Vim

This month, my posts are focusing on my productivity tools.

This article describes my tooling around writing my notes in Markdown in Vim, and how I organize my notes using simple markdown files. I use this for notes, but also planning my day. Future blog posts will explore how I use these ideas to do the Pomodoro Technique.

## Simple Organization

I have a folder synced across my computers, that holds my markdown files.

I have folders for planning, and folders for technical notdes. The latter comprises links I’ve found and the things I’ve tried gettings things to work.

## Workflow

I open my files in Vim. I have keybindings that allow me to 1) follow links, 2) take screenshots, and 3) see what my markdown file looks like when rendered. Between these three additional features built-in using key-bindings, I find I can be very productive in a simple text editor writing simple mark-down. Discovering this technique was what helped me eventually realize that I didn’t need org-mode after all.

To follow a link, while in vim, I put my cursor over a link and press <Space>f.

To see what my markdown looks like rendered, I hit <Space>G . On my current laptop, this opens the file in Okular, where I can print it out or export it to PDF.

Here is a shot of what this blog post looks like rendered by Okular:

To grab a screenshot, I press <Space>r. This opens up my screenshotting tool, grabs a region of the screen. It then saves that screenshot to a directory called img that is under the same directory as the current file. Then it inserts a link to the file in the markdown looking something like this:

 1  ![](img/PlanningInMarkdownInVim_2022-10-22-18-20-40.png) 

So that all I have to do to take a screenshot and have it appear in the markdown is hit <Space>r. Caveat: The directory under which resides the markdown file must be the present working directory when running <Space>G (rendering the markdown).

## Tooling Specifics

I edit my markdown files in NeoVim.

I have the following specific keybindings in my NeoVim init file:

 1 2 3  nnoremap r :lua vim.fn.execute("r!screen2vim '" .. vim.fn.expand("%:p") .. "' 'img'") nnoremap f vi(y:execute "!sh -c \"xdg-open '" . shellescape(" 0",1) . "' && sleep 1\"" nnoremap G :w:!sh -c "xdg-open '%' && sleep 1" 

Here is my screen2vim shell script, located on my PATH:

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21  #!/bin/sh set -e # In case I want to switch windows sleep 1 base_dir=$(echo "${1}" | sed -e 's|/[^/]*$|/|g') dest="${base_dir}/${2}" if [ ! -d "${dest}" ] then mkdir -p "${dest}" fi now=$(date '+%Y-%m-%d-%H-%M-%S') base=$(echo "${1}" | sed -e 's|[^/]*/||g' -e 's| |_|g' -e 's|\.md$||') fname="${base}_${now}.png" screenshot-region "${dest}/${fname}" printf "![](${2}/${fname})"  Finally, here is my screenshot-region script, which supports Mac, KDE, and Non-KDE Wayland:   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35  #!/bin/sh if [ -z "${1}" ] then clipboard=1 else clipboard=0 fi if which spectacle >/dev/null 2>&1 then if [ "${clipboard}" -ne 0 ] then spectacle -n -r -b -c else spectacle -n -r -b -o "${1}" fi elif which screencapture >/dev/null 2&>1 then if [ "${clipboard}" -ne 0 ] then screencapture -i -c else screencapture -i "${1}" fi elif which grim >/dev/null 2>&1 then if [ "${clipboard}" -ne 0 ] then grim -g "$(slurp -d)" - | copy else grim -g "$(slurp -d)" "${1}" fi fi 

## It’s the simple things

Sometimes all it takes is a few simple lines of a little extra configuration to make a simple tool good enough to replace a much heavier one. I can use Vim instead of MS OneNote or a big planner application. I appreciate that.