I use Org mode for my to-do list, clocking, and setting effort estimates. I can show the effort estimates for tasks scheduled for today with the columns view and this setting (thanks to this thread):

(setq org-columns-default-format "%60ITEM(Task) %TODO %6Effort(Estim){:}  %6CLOCKSUM(Clock) %TAGS")

Then I call the day's agenda with C-c a a and column view with C-c C-x C-c. I see a list of tasks with a scheduled or deadline date of today, as well as a sum of the effort estimate:

Task                                            | TODO | Estim | Clock | TAGS |
Tuesday    22 October 2019                      |      | 20:25 |       |      |
  gtd:         7:00...... Scheduled:  Some task | TODO |       | 1:00  |      |
               8:00...... ----------------

How can I skip the second step and show the effort estimate and its sum in the agenda view?

1 Answer 1


A solution to (part) of your problem could be to use the org-agenda-prefix-format variable.

To insert the effort information before every entry in the agenda and todo list views just put this in your config:

(setq org-agenda-prefix-format '((agenda . " %i %-12:c%?-12t%-6e% s")
                                (todo . " %i %-12:c %-6e")
                                (tags . " %i %-12:c")
                                (search . " %i %-12:c")))

This is what the result looks like in the agenda view (00:30 being the effort estimate):

  waiting:    0:30  In   5 d.:  TODO [#A] Weekly planning

org-agenda-prefix-format has out-of-the-box support for inserting the effort using %e.

The clocksum information is harder, since the the sum is calculated on-the-fly when you enter column-mode, so I'm not sure it is possible to have it in the prefix. From the docs:

If any of the columns has a summary type defined (see Column attributes), turning on column view in the agenda visits all relevant agenda files and make sure that the computations of this property are up to date. This is also true for the special ‘CLOCKSUM’ property. Org then sums the values displayed in the agenda.

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