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[Orgmode] Re: Feature idea: Automatic clocking

From: Bernt Hansen
Subject: [Orgmode] Re: Feature idea: Automatic clocking
Date: Fri, 21 Aug 2009 15:26:53 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.2 (gnu/linux)

PT <address@hidden> writes:

> I just started using clocking and it seems really useful. It
> occured me it could also be done automatically for certain tasks
> which are performed in the org buffer.
> For example, I work on some text which I keep in an org subtree,
> the branches of the subtree hold the chapters, etc.
> If the main subtree which is the root of the document has a CLOCK
> property (put there by a previous manual clocking) and also an
> AUTOCLOCK or similar property then it could monitor if I modify
> the text within the subtree and start the clock automatically. If
> I stop modifying the subtree then after a while (say, 30 seconds,
> configurable) it would stop the clock automatically.
> So for subtrees explicitly marked for automatic clocking the user
> wouldn't have to start/stop the clock manually at all, org could
> do it itself.
> What do you think?

Hi PT,

I've been using org-mode clocking since 2006-08-29 Tue 11:44 and I am
skeptical about how useful this would really be in the general case.

Most of my tasks involve *thinking* not just typing so stopping the
clock when I'm working on solving a problem would be bad.  I also clock
tasks while working on another machine which org-mode knows nothing
about so stopping the clock due to inactivity isn't appropriate.

I don't like the idea of automatic clocking for a number of reasons:

  - It lets you be sloppy about starting and stopping the clock -- which
    means the clock won't be running for some task you are working on
    (say one that is not marked for automatic clocking).  This means
    you're going to work on stuff and not have it clocked when you need
    it to be at some point.  I bill based on clock time and it needs to
    be correct.

  - Clocking stuff in and out rigorously is a good habit to learn if
    clock data is really important to you.  Automatic clocking defeats
    this goal.

  - If you're clocking some important project task and you happen to
    touch the task marked for automatic clocking you'll clock out the
    project task and clock in the new task... and a short time later the
    clock stops when you move back to the project task but you're still
    really working on that original project task.

Clocking the right task usually takes more intelligence than just what
part of an org-file changes.

I have org-clock-out-when-done set to nil so that org-mode does not stop
the clock when a task is marked DONE.  This makes me responsible for
when the clock starts and stops for all tasks - I clock in and out for
everything that matters.  I change the clock when I switch tasks and I
think it's really hard to get that right automatically.

So there's my two cents :)


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