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How to get a terminal-based time management tool on Linux with Taskwarrior

Those looking for an excellent terminal-based time management tool for the Linux command line need look no further than the Taskwarrior app. It’s a neat application that follows the ideas made famous by David Allen’s book “Getting things done.”

Taskwarrior’s design is dead simple, and straight to the point. With it, users can create tasks, list their to-do list, create reminders and a lot more! Follow along in our guide as we go over how to install Taskwarrior and how to use it from the terminal as a task management tool on Linux.

Note: You can use Taskwarrior if you’re on Ubuntu, Debian, Arch Linux, Fedora or OpenSUSE. Otherwise, compiling from source code is required.

Install Taskwarrior

Many Linux operating systems carry the Taskwarrior application directly. Choose the operating system you use below and follow the instructions to learn how to get it working.

Ubuntu

Ubuntu users can easily install this application thanks to its inclusion in the distribution’s software sources. To get it, open up a terminal window and use the Apt command.

sudo apt install taskwarrior

Debian

Those using Debian Stable or newer can get Taskwarrior working using the Apt-get command.

sudo apt-get install taskwarrior

Arch Linux

Arch has a version of Taskwarrior in their software sources that users can install. It’s available via the “Community” repo. To get it, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Open up Pacman.conf in the Nano text editor, with sudo privileges.

sudo nano /etc/pacman.conf

Step 2: Scroll through the Pacman.conf file and look for the “Community” repository. Delete all of the # symbols from in front of “Community” to enable its use. Be sure also to get rid of the symbol on the lines directly beneath it, or it will not work correctly.

Step 3: Save the edits to your Pacman.conf file by pressing the Ctrl + O keyboard combination.

Step 4: Exit Nano with Ctrl + X, and resync Pacman, to enable the new “Community” software source.

sudo pacman -Syy

Step 5: Install Taskwarrior on your Arch Linux computer.

sudo pacman -S task

Fedora

Ever since version 18, the Taskwarrior software has been readily available to Fedora Linux users. To install it, open up a terminal and use the DNF command to get it working.

sudo dnf install task

OpenSUSE

SUSE users have easy access to the Taskwarrior software, and it’s been in the primary software sources ever since version 12.2. To get the program working, open up a terminal window and use the Zypper task manager.

sudo zypper install taskwarrior

Generic Linux

You may be using a version of Linux that doesn’t have an easy to install package for the Taskwarrior software. As a result, you must build the code from source to use it.

The first step in building Taskwarrior from source is downloading the latest release. In a terminal, use the wget downloading tool and grab the newest version of the software.

Note: it is important to repeat this process with each Taskwarrior update, to ensure the software stays fresh. Find the latest source code downloads here.

wget https://taskwarrior.org/download/task-2.5.1.tar.gz

With the Taskwarrior TarGZ archive downloaded, use the tar command and extract it.

tar xzvf task-2.5.1.tar.gz

Move your terminal window into the code folder by executing the CD command.

cd task-2.5.1

Run cmake and start the compilation process.

cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=release .
...

Next, use make and make install to finish up. When these two commands finish running, Taskwarrior will be up and running on your Linux PC!

make
...
sudo make install

Using Taskwarrior to create a to-do list

Creating a new task in the Taskwarrior application is refreshingly quick and straightforward. To do it, make use of the add command. In the terminal, write:

task add new task

After writing out your task with the add command, it’ll instantly add it to the list.

Complete your task

So, you’ve finished a task, and it’s time to check it off your list. In the Taskwarrior application, users complete tasks by using the done command.

First, list your tasks with:

task list

Look at the list of items and find the “ID” next to the item you’re looking to mark as “complete”. Then, use done to remove it from the list.

Note: change the # symbol with your task’s ID.

task done #

Other Taskwarrior features

Taskwarrior isn’t just a basic “to-do” list application where you add an item and then check it off later. It has a lot of other features as well. In this section of the tutorial, we’ll go over some of the more advanced functions that the application has to offer.

Creating a task with a reminder

Taskwarrior lets users create list items that set off a reminder by making use of the due command. For example, to make a task with a due date of tomorrow, do:

task add My important task due:tomorrow

Creating a recurring task

Need to create a task that repeats itself in the Taskwarrior application? Use the recur command. Here are some examples.

task add My weekly task recur: daily due:tomorrow

or

task add My weekly task recur: weekly due:monday

or

task add My weekly task recur: biweekly due:sunday

Creating a task within a project

List most to-do list applications, Taskwarrior lets users add tasks to separate projects, for greater organization. To add an item to your list, create a new task with the project command.

task add My task project:ProjectName

It’s also possible to tag tasks, by doing:

task add My task project:ProjectName +project +tag2 +tag3

To check items on your list for tags, and project IDs, run the list command.

task list

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