Switching to Dynalist from Workflowy AND Todoist?


#1

Has anybody done a Todoist switch, or switched their lives over from another big time task app? I’m guessing the Workflowy switch is quite common.

My reason for switching is a tad different … I won’t be using the pretty formatting or nice features, it’s just that a responsive development/support team was too good to pass up.

Having used todoist for so long, I was a bit nervous, and scoured the web looking to see if anyone had switched and liked it. I don’t suppose that applies to anyone here?


#2

Hello Kamal,

I’m one of those guys…I switched from Todoist Pro (2015-2016) to Nozbe Pro (2016) to Workflowy to Dynalist (2017). I became a Dynalist PRO user only one week after switching from Workflowy.

Those are great reasons to switch. I think the best reason is the amazing environment to get stuff done and that we really don’t need all the bells and whistles of other apps to be productive. Dynalist presents the most simplified and feature rich solution to manage tasks, projects and just about everything else.

My inspiration for switching to Dynalist from Todoist and Nozbe came from a David Allen article:

"Probably the most universal how-to question for GTD neophytes is this: How do I keep track of all the things that you’re recommending I keep out of my head? What’s the best tool? The answer is pretty simple: however you most effectively can create and review lists.

You will need a good filing system, an inbox and a ubiquitous capture tool, a box for stuff to read, and maybe a tickler file; but for the most part, all you need are lists. But you’ll need several. And they need to be complete. And you’ll need a place to keep them.

Let the lists fall where they may (David Allen)
http://gettingthingsdone.com/newsletters/archive/0810b.html

Here’s hoping you join as a Pro User and enjoy the powerful features of a uncomplicated and super fast system Dynalist offers.

  • Michael

#3

Ha, I see we’re on a similar trajectory! The number of people who’ve cycled through these apps is probably much larger than I thought.

Todoist may be easier for turning gmail emails into tasks, but it’s just not as good of a listing tool as Dynalist. So I’ll most likely be pro’ing it up shortly.


#4

Hey Kamal, we would love to have you here. If you look at the Trello Roadmap you’ll see that they are really committed to providing a great set of tools (including file/email capture) which will be exciting to have.

  • Michael

#5

I am a big fan of Dynalist and use it for many things. However, it just does not cut it for GTD as it is too generic. I am using GTDNext right now for GTD stuff, and it has cool and convenient features that streamlines the GTD process. In Dynalist it would just take long of a time to get the same effect. My perfect product would be the slickness of Dynalist, but with an overlay that did everything that GTDNext can do:

Allow sortable list that contains flattened hierarchy of tasks extracted from Projects (i.e. next actions) which are links to sub-elements of projects, showing the full path to hierarchy next to it, clickable. This is a view of links to the next sub-element of a project - as you close each one, the link goes to the next one. Anyway, it is hard to describe, but I don’t see Dynalist being able to offer this kind of thing as it would break the generality.

Another product which almost got it right is LiquidPlanner, but that is too expensive, elaborate and advanced for this type of use.

What I would give to work on the Dynalist source code to build a special app for GTD. It would be by far the best ever app in this space.


#6

Hi Wayne,

[quote=“Wayne_Smith, post:5, topic:475, full:true”]
I am a big fan of Dynalist and use it for many things. However, it just does not cut it for GTD as it is too generic. I am using GTDNext right now for GTD stuff, and it has cool and convenient features that streamlines the GTD process. In Dynalist it would just take long of a time to get the same effect. My perfect product would be the slickness of Dynalist, but with an overlay that did everything that GTDNext can do [/quote]

I am also a big fan of GTDNext. In my experience, I found the GTD heavy hitters like Todoist, Nozbe and FacileThings are great in terms of features and supporting GTD workflows. Where they all fall short is in the management of lists.

I find as I place more and more projects and tasks into these systems, they become unmanageable under the weight and complexity of getting information in and out quickly and efficiently. None of these solutions can create a complete list of my projects, contexts or tasks in one click like Dynalist can.

I think there is a future in developing apps for GTD workflows using Dynalist’s API but that’s not today. Its encouraging to see people working on systems while using GTD Methodology.


#7

Yeah, I think the crux of the choice is this: how much built-in GTD matters versus how much simplicity/speed matters.

Yesterday, I timed how long it took to enter the same task into Todoist and Dynalist:

-Dynalist 16 seconds for making a task from a gmail message, 9 seconds for a standalone task

-Todoist 15 seconds for making a task from a gmail message, 12 seconds for a standalone task

It took some time playing around with different formats in Dynalist to get the time down. For Nozbe/GTDNext/IQTell/etc/etc, the times are probably similar, but there are many more options that make the screen look clunkier (at least to me) and more intimidating. And since I don’t use all the GTD contexts, eventually giving in to simple lists made more sense for me.

Plus, the people I know who use very simple written lists happen to be the most productive people, at least in my n=1 experience.


#8

Yes. 100 times.


#9

[quote=“Kamal_Patel, post:7, topic:475, full:true”] For Nozbe/GTDNext/IQTell/etc/etc, the times are probably similar, but there are many more options that make the screen look clunkier (at least to me) and more intimidating.
[/quote]

I wholeheartedly agree. I think as the projects and lists grow, they become tough to sort out and can repel you from reviewing them daily. As David Allen says, if you’re not doing a weekly review, you are not doing GTD.


#10

I haven’t had the time to go through this thread yet, but I still use Todoist because of how it converts natural language into due dates. E.g. “remind me to do X every weekend”.

It’s also makes it dead-simple for me to add a task. I have a widget on my phone that handles everything I need, so I hit the plus button > write the task > hit enter.

I’ve stopped adding due dates for basic things, because I don’t check the notifications as much for them, but for errands, things to do around the house, etc, I’ll apply a (recurring) due date.

In other words, content creation speed and reduced friction is key, as mentioned earlier.


#11

I still use Todoist purely on mobile for jotting down bullet point lists of things I have to do

The android widget is probably one of the fastest way to jot down a reminder, for me when it comes to jotting down notes on mobile / tasks its all about how fast I can do it in the shortest time frame possible

With dynalist’s app I have to open it up, have internet, navigate bookmark, etc etc. Those extra seconds add up, for me I NEED to be able to jot down things within seconds, because I get overloaded with ideas I need to dump somewhere. Sometimes I just resort to a basic stickynotes when I have them in my pocket and a sharpie and stick those on my wallet.

So the general workflow for me is to just jot down general notes in colornote app, and general inbox tasks in todoist. Then have my phone open, look at what things I want to become actionable, and manually rewrite it into dynalist on my PC

I don’t add many notes from my mobile phone, since my comfortable WPM average on my PC is 50, and my phone is probably closer to ~25 WPM.

Dynalist.io does not have any 3rd party integration like trello has, or any form of open API, so you aren’t going to be able to integrate it with anything besides copy-pasting text

Again it all boils down to me for speed. How fast I can get in, get out, get it over with, and focus on things that matter.


#12

I think your points are valid and fair. I think we can expect progress in many areas in the coming months but you won’t likely have a Todoist/Trello competitor anytime soon.

Having said that, I also use other services for quick notes and tasks (I use the free Apple Notes, Calendar and Reminder apps) which are tradeoffs until Dynalist matures as a platform. It’s not perfect but buys me some time while Dynalist grows.


#13

Todoist failed at infinite zooming. Then workflowy failed at resolving bugs and keeping the development alive. Dynalist was godsend.


#14

You can keep the chrome tab for dynalist locked in your task manager for quick access


#15

I think I have spent more than $300 on different tools in the past 5 years and they fall short when things get complex (most task managers are great for small projects and tasks). I have 30-75 projects in some form or another and Dynalist allows me the flexibility of a simple list but the complexity to review my current 40 projects in seconds. This kind of functionality is going to be very difficult for most iOS developers but not for Dynalist.


#16

Remember when email to dynalist comes you will easily be able to create an easy todoist -> dynalist sync via IFTTT (possibly a little faster than directly emailing /may allow intelligent sorting by todoist tag depending on how dynalist do it)


#17

I have thought of this but I just really don’t like taking notes at all on dynalist’s mobile app. It just isn’t there yet, I can’t access my notes quick enough (even with shortcuts), sometimes I just don’t want to bother to figure out where to put notes when I’m on my phone too. That, and the problem is if I open up bullet point tabs in my android, I have to later on close it up on my window’s dynalist.io . It creates way too much clutter IMO at the moment

Offtopic

Not only that, I have so many different inboxes before anything touches dynalist. I’m not in front of a PC all the time, even if I am, sometimes a stickynote takes less effort to jot down if I’m not in the right moodset. I keep multiple inboxes, normally where that specific source of inforomation resides (facebook for friends, feedly for blogs, evernote for gym notes, gmail/thunderbirds for project collab / emails, stickynotes for fast ideas/tasks)

I doodled this 11 minute diagram in shareX to explain what I meant: (I thought it was 5 minutes originally but I looked at my revision history while writing post)

I try to shy away from zooming in things too much, there’s serious draw backs of hiding too much information and having too many nested bullet points (e.g. the old paradigm: “Out of Sight, Out of Mind”). You also lose valuable real estate whenever you nest a bulletpoint, as you have have more left margin whitespace. Also, if you don’t have a full blown view of a specific set of notes all the time, at least imo, you aren’t valuing all your notes equally, and its hard to revise things as they come

As to todoist. I actually no longer use it anymore. I find it too difficult to scale up. The problem is on my phone I have to jot down both tasks, and notes, simultaneously in one day sprints or one week sprints. No particular order when it comes to [TASK : NOTE : NOTE : TASK : NOTE : TASK : TASK : TASK] , order etc because my brain doesn’t distinguish any of that right away

TODOIST treats everything as one bulletpoint which really annoys me. Also, I cannot have ACTIONABLE IMAGES, many times I make a sketch or drawing and need to design something in CAD later on related to it. Todoist handles this poorly

Instead, I have opted to use Google Keep, which has solved all my quicknote problems and scaling / organizing of notes&tasks before they are formally organized in a project management approach in Dynalist. The UI is a godsend, and I can set reminder notifications should I need too, jot things done quickly with the google keep widget, etc

Then I manually rewrite those notes into dynalist, but in short-paraphrased form. Most times when I’m on my phone I am hashing out some poorly thought out idea, note, etc or it is very unformatted and ungrammatical

How exactly are you organizing all your projects anyhow. That’s a lot of projects, I only have a handful of projects going on at a time

I try to shy away from dynalist when it comes to project management that relies heavily on working with other people (I prefer email : inbox zero methodologies). Because then I have to swap back and forth between communication methods ( email) and a notetaking method (dynalist). Dynalist for me is pure personal projects mostly (DIY, professional development, notetaking methodologies, etc), since I am not collaborating with really anyone, making it ideal

Also, I tend to have a spending problem when it comes to buying organizational hardware (stickynotes, pens, pencils, clipboard, tool / workshop, computer, DIY home improvement , etc) and software (Evernote, onenote, etc). I spent a couple grand on it over the course of several years, partially because I know I will get a return on investment via time right away

As you said a lot of the other solutions out there just great for small projects and tasks. But once you start using it, your limited to the apps functionality and UI. With workflowy or dynalist the skys the limit really, I could scale and complicate things as far I can potentially manage.

Dynalist is like note-taking LEGOS, and other notetaking apps (Onenote, Evernote) is like prefabricated toys. The former is good for building anything you want, with a higher learning curve but better long term RoI. The latter is better to get started and see immediate results quicker, but scales poorly overtime

I stopped using todoist, I like googlekeep way better now. See response in this reply


#18

@Vincent_Tang [quote]How exactly are you organizing all your projects anyhow. That’s a lot of projects, I only have a handful of projects going on at a time[/quote]

I’m using the David Allen’s definition of a project “Any and all those things that need to get done within the next few weeks or months that require more than one action step to complete.” (Allen, 2012). This accounts for the 40-75 projects I have in my personal, work and business life.

The other aspect of the word “project” is that it’s not formal project management with GANTT and other tools included. The beauty of Dynalist is that I can have a project that is simply a clear, well defined list of tasks and next actions for each. With dates syncing with Google Calendar, I have nearly every element necessary for a project plan that I can work with. What’s missing is Evernote (or a more robust note feature directly inside of Dynalist). From what I understand, this element is coming soon!

Michael


David Allen. 2012. gettingthingsdone.com. [ONLINE] Available at: http://gettingthingsdone.com/newsletters/archive/0412.html. [Accessed 24 March 2017].


#19

Ah okay, that is where my definition of project differs

A project for me needs to be at minimal, at least a day, usually a few weeks long. To me a “project” being finished is a huge milestone I can look back upon, & talk with pride, and is more of a big picture thing

Your definition of “project” is my definition of “busy work / client work”. I rarely ever log these in dynalist, I use more traditional approaches via dropbox / file hierarchies , etc. I assume your doing alot of webdevelopment for clients, if in that instance, my project archive would instead be an agency wordpress site portfolio, since new-clients would need to say what your previous work is anyhow, and everything else is already logged in the email.

I’m a big believer in not having duplicated notes (unless its frequently referenced upon) or automating / synchronized notes between 2 sources of information. Most of my notes in dynalist are unique in the sense that those notes don’t reside anywhere else, except some archived stickies, and googlekeep (to jot down the idea and task)

I try to seperate the definition of projects into the following:

  1. Long term personal projects
  2. Short term personal tasks
  3. Busy work / client work

Each of those has a seperate system, 1 & 2 both are with dynalist, 3 is with whatever system is most convenient for me (since it can vary drastically between industry)


#20

:zap: :zap: :zap: :zap: :zap:

EDIT

Number 1: Long term personal projects / Goals

I view long term personal projects, similarly to long term goals. Some of those goals can be personal and fun, like one of my goal is to finish the new zelda game breath of the wild when I have time

Another goal /long term project is to digitally scan all older family photos in an organized manner, and then distribute it to family members on facebook for their older photos too

Anoter goal is to make a compiled guide on an imgur album about all my tool-based workflows so everyone may benefit from my some of my more useful ideas, which takes a lot of product photography, video production, gif making, and well concised formatting and would take several days to do. r/edc. :::: Things like, most optimized methods for doing imprompt presentations, tools I carry on me all the time and all their potential applications for any situation, convention tips what to bring and carry for travel gear, etc

Another goal is to hit a certain weight level. I do not really go by strict deadlines since I feel that I am always optimizing my time use anyhow. But I am going for 1-2 lbs lost / week then bulking phase at acertain fat%

Another goal is to train for my marathon / and belt level for my martial arts class (it would take 2 years minimal). Mostly all my running is through runkeeper so I can track cadence, but I will still keep a project roadmap here though on dynalist (1-2 bulletline summary). Currently doing 5Ks at the moment

Another goal is professional development and taking some courses online. Those take several weeks at minimum to really comprehend, each course is a goal line

1.1 Long term Bucketlist items (adding onto Projects/ Goals)

Further out is going to be bucketlist items. things like “Travel to XYZ country and do this and that”, explore new hobbies, etc. Those are low priority long term goals. Everything above is a high priority long term goals

2. Short term personal tasks

These are super sporadic in nature. Mostly these are things that stem from spontaneous ideas I have that may or may not come to fruitition, and generally don’t take too long to do / aren’t inherently categorized

These tasks usually fall under as a “task” for some of my major project goal lines. Like for instance, I might be trying to lose weight. I might have ideas on how to track via google spreadsheet efficiently , so I make a task titled “Make a google form and keep a shortcut on android to quickly enter in weight information”

These tasks reside on googlekeep, on my stickynote board, and dynalist, or just in my head. Sometimes I’ll have an idea I can execute in 5 minutes so I just do it, then whip out phone take picture to show completion or do a DIY -here’s how to reproduce what I did - sort of image album into googlephotos

On the topic of project management again, this is what ✪ 1. Personal projects / goals . vs ✪ 2. Short term tasks differences are (for traditional gantt chart approaches)

I do not really distinguish “waterfall phases” per - say, that is more of what I do in a kanban approach (WAITING ON, ONGOING, DO LATER, SOMEDAY, etc) actively

Also, I don’t actively link all my short term tasks together with my long term projects, if I do I try and keep it simple by only using one tag for that project name or keep everything lumped in the same area in dynalist (parent bulletpoint). Either one is okay, I have bulletpoint items that are lumped together by a parent node or by a tag (and I can search for either one)

3. Busy Work / Client work

This is stuff I don’t have a ton of pride on. Like things that involve money. Yea I have to pay the bills, am I proud of that? Not really. Doesn’t really need to be logged in most of the time, just keep bill statements purely on my account bank or whatever other system I use for monetary cashflows, a budget, and personal finance things

However, if I have a long term goal, like “make billing processes all automated and secure and keep all bills scheduled on the 28th” that’s a different story. I had the insight, to find loopholes in my processes, and acted/ optimized on it. That is something I take pride on, and will jot down in dynalist, or under a googlephoto album

Adding on. Some things at work are going to be boring. You know, basic business processes, making the company money, data entry, what is traditionally thought of a mundane / boring tasks. But I might optimize that mundane / boring tasks, by first capturing the steps, and streamlining it assembly line / LEAN -SIXSIGMA style, and I can take pride on that

Or, I might hire some guy from india to do all my post photo work, on reddit r/photoshop requests, or build some sort of framework where I can capitalize on assigning tasks to someone else, and keeping up with it, wherever the source may be. That is something I take pride on, and will log into dynalist, and consequently it might end up as a project

In any case, simply put, a lot of things related to client notes / work tasks might be really boring but a needed necessity (e.g. you do the same thing over and over again, but it pays the bill), a vast majority of that information will just reside in emails / whatever work system I had setup (which consequently ,varies a lot by every industry - E.G. wordpress portfolios, fiverr “My messages”, Upwork “projects”), etc

4. Other notes: “Sharpening the Mind / Oiling the Machine”

Things I write on dynalist are generally things I will take pride in, or if I have no where to blow off what I am thinking at the moment (I keep journal docs on evernote though, dynalist is pure-work mode only)

Sometimes, I don’t bother logging in a project or task because I simply remember it well enough and have the long term vision to proceed and act upon it daily. Things like re-optimizing dynalist to my usage, its very hard to really document that while doing it on dynalist, so I just dump it on this discourse forum instead as a post.

I try to, at the very minimal, inbox important things I did for that project. That is the most important step. I will do this, on a project document (SOP - standard operating procedures for example, where I list all my optimized workflows) or simply as a daily if I do not know where it will go

Overtime, if something reoccurs and is tagged in daily a lot, I will promote it as a project document, under my 1 -document workflow, as a bulletpoint in-line with my “HomePage” (which houses my Daily Log, SOP, etc)

My point here is, in the LEAN based workflow, CAPTURE EVERYTHING IMPORTANT AS IT HAPPENS. It doesn’t matter what the method is, so as long as you do it quick, fast, and easy. Doesn’t matter if its messy so as long as you can organize it later

After I do all of these things, which is everyday, minus saturday, which I simply try to shut off my brain, and then Sunday, where I try to “oil up” my workflows / dynalist machines.

Every Sunday I will organize all my finished album projects I made (I did 20+ hours in home improvement projects this week, documented via photos). I will basically, look through EVERYTHING I did throughout the week, every email if possible (apply inbox zero), all my photos of logged in finished projects / DIY-albums, notes on dynalist (for thinking to myself, like a draft board of ideas / logging in things like logs for sys-admin style work). Basically I will take everything I did throughout the week and then for each day, write down, major “pomodoro” tasks achieved. For that week, I will take each of those major “pomodoro” tasks that I achieved and highlight the most important ones I made.

Example (Not really done yet):

Basically, on the week’s bulletline, I will add in markdown embedded gifs and images, and then highlight the most important events and things done that week

Also, sometimes, I won’t have time to recap things on Sunday, because I’m simply too busy, away from town, etc, which is OK. I will simply do it every other Sunday, every 3rd Sunday, it does not matter. I generally pick Sunday because that is the day I tend to be most lazy, so it motivates me to keep doing something fun and important

5. More sunday things

Sunday, whenever I start organizing, is also the day I compile my notes and post it into a blog of some kind (either on discourse forum here, on my personal blog (not done yet) down the road, an imgur album (since it gets point across effectively), or as a well hashed out dynalist document (my SOP document), facebook, as a youtube video tutorial, etc

In any case, it simply doesn’t matter, it depends on what the objective is. if Its a personal achievement, or an achievement I Want to share, on whatever audience it pertains to, etc

Currently as of now, I have really low priorities set for sharing a lot of my workflows (backlogged with a lot of personal tasks) so I just dump it as quickly as possible in random forum posts and try and get something else done

In the end, I have notes of everything important that I did throughout the week, for one it gets summarized by important “pomodos” for each day, and for the whole weeks sprint. Subsequently, I will also compile those notes, google photos, etc post it in a reddit forum post, a blog, etc and inter-link them all together so I can summarize all notes from all sources into one convenient format that I can look back upon and share with other people. Basically, I will be posting my project milestones on my personal wordpress-blog (or embedded youtube video), facebook posts, etc which will have, very infrequent posts, recapping important projects for the week / month

Subsequently, I will hyperlink that blog post, wherever it is (e.g. imgur album), into a hyperlink for that week and possibly for that month as well

E.G.