As a programmer who sits before a computer more than 8 hours a day(yeah really more than 8 …), standing up and exercising a bit regularly is said to be a good way to extend my lifespan.

Given that I keep the emacs process live as long as my computer is on, I decide to set some alarms in emacs so it reminds to stand up and do some stretches every hour.

First step, install appt in emacs: M-x el-get-install appt (or through any other emacs plugins installation approach). However, it turns out that appt requires some functions that are not available in emacs 24.4. Therefore, I have to do some small modifications to appt. Remove the elc in case it affects anything: M-x delete-file ~/.emacs.d/el-get/appt/appt.elc. Then open the appt.el, C-x C-f ~/.emacs.d/el-get/appt/appt.el, search for update-calendar-mode-line and delete every line that contains it. C-x C-s, save the file. Now appt is usable.

Evaluate the following s-expressions and put them in your init.el:

;; Diary entries notification
(require 'appt)
(setq appt-message-warning-time 0)      ; 0 minute time before warning
(setq diary-file "~/diary")             ; diary file

Since I just want to stand up and do some stretches regularly, I set appt-message-warning-time to 0, otherwise warnings would pop up a few minutes in advance.

Then specify a diary file: ~/diary (you can set it to any file you like)

Create this diary file C-x C-f ~/diary and write the following content to it (there might be more concise ways to express what I wrote, I didn’t read through the document):

  9:00am stand up
  10:00am stand up
  11:00am stand up
  12:00pm lunch time
  2:00pm stand up
  3:00pm stand up
  4:00pm stand up
  5:00pm break, go for a walk

  etc ... 

Save this file and press M-x appt-activate, done, emacs will pop up a new buffer for each entry in the diary on time.


  1. Delete the file corresponding to the current buffer
  2. Split into multiple windows vertically
  3. Insert source code block in org-mode
  4. Edit current file as root
  5. Getting rid of mouse

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