How Do You Setup Your Projects in Dynalist?

  • I create a separate document for each project
  • All my projects are inside one document
  • I use Tags for Projects
  • I use Colors for Projects
  • I create a List and indent for tasks (parent & child)
  • I use another method (see comments below)

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“All my projects are inside one document” mainly because tags are not global (yet?).

Yes, global tages will be a big improvement. I’m also interested in new or unique approaches. Pretty smart cookies out there!

I am still experimenting but at the moment it’s something like this:

  • I have a separate document for different areas of my life (Personal; 2 different jobs; extra stuff like writing / blogging) - I have set it up this way mostly as when I search my whole document for e.g. urgency 1 tasks I REALLY like the visual separation between different documents (please don’t ever remove this dynalist) - it really prevents mental overload I find
  • Within each of these documents, I have top level bullets for each project in that area of life (If they are time based, I have a due date).
    I also have a tag for every ‘major’ project (vaguely defined by me) - I use fixed prefixes depending on each area of life so e.g. @pp- is the start of every personal project (at the moment I am applying for new jobs so I have one called @pp-newjob) - these are very important so that you can tag things across your whole document (e.g. a scrap bit of information you come across, or your dynalist calendar (if you have one (you should have one))
  • Regarding those top level project bullets, I put a > before each one, so the newjob one has: > @pp-newjob - I do this so that I can easily ‘move’ items there in an instant (the name is unique but memorable) - I also turn the arrow around like this < for completed projects - that allows me to find archived stuff easily (which I put in a separate archive document) - Oh I also have a > @pp-misc for random little personal things which aren’t big enough to be their own projects …
  • Each of these project documents is organised differently depending on the project - for really big projects I may have a kanban layout with To Do, Ongoing, Waiting, Done etc … (I have this for the kind of projects where I tend to sit down and do it for a few hours at a time like e.g. major write ups … So the project itself has the urgency label, and when I go there the things that need doing are handled internally (i.e. they don’t show up in my general search)
  • Smaller projects are often just a messy jumble of #notes #thoughts, tasks etc … when it’s like this usually the tasks will carry the urgency label themselves
  • As I just mentioned in another post, it is very important that at your GTD weekly review every single project gets a well defined next action, a context tag for that next action and has the appropriate urgency (also important of course you check e.g. your calendar to make sure you know all your projects coming up)
  • Finally, RE those context tags I just talked about - I actually don’t use Dave Allen’s #home #offline etc - I use more natural ones like #read #write #research … these are actually ‘task types’, not contexts - however, I know what contexts I can do each of these things in (I can only write at my laptop and can only generally research online as I am very digital) so I have created a series of saved searches for different contexts (e.g. I have a phone search for #email OR #reply OR #call etc) - I also have other searches defined by how difficult the tasks are, so I can match tasks to my cognitive levels throughout the day … e.g. writing is quite hard, research medium, reading easy (for me at least) … the benefit in my approach here I think is that when I create a new task it comes very easily to mind whether it’s a #write or #read task (these are often part of the natural language of the task) but requires a fair amount of effort sometimes to think about what the context is - I have generally found that when assigning context is difficult I just don’t do it … my context system 90% just flows naturally without any thought

I think that mostly covers it


I merge both in one document since my work and personal life are really intermixed (e.g. is professional development personal or work). I might seperate it into two documents later though, I personally stick with one until the demand for 2 is something I cannot do without

I’m still experimenting with tags as well, but uniquely named ones work best. I think of how people name their domains, and use those as best practice

I keep all my events / things scheduled with other people on google caleendar (lunch, gettogether, meetups, etc), and then all my projecttasks and things I have to do in the week for my giant “tasks list” that I look at throughout the week (alt1 shortcut)

I use this convention as well, for subproject tags. So you can type in “PP” and see the other items down the list

its interesting you decided to organize things by cognitive associations, and assigned tasked based on the action. Although I tend to do little tasks like email, reply, call, on stickynotes, or right inside the application itself.

It doesn’t make sense for me to use dynalist to do these things, since it adds extra steps that add no value as a whole to my thought process (imo).

Like on my email, I will know I have to reply to someone, because I have starred or remarked the item as “unread” in my inbox, and deleted everything else. I also definde my SOP procedures as well what I do with emails when I see them , so this is all automated. I don’t get a lot of emails generally, since they are so highly filtered, and everything goes through a bayensian junk filter as well

On calls, I will see there’s a missing call, so I will make my phone have certain notification tags, etc

On socialmedia, I inbox it so if anyone comments on my fb posts, it goes straight to email, and I subsequently check that only normally

Writing, I prefer a different medium all together. Dynalist is pretty crappy for traditional word text formatting, so I hyperlink the document I am working on, in , which is a markdown live/preview editor. Also, this is where I share documents too, I do not do any sharing in dynalist, on attachments or documents. Its just bad practice to associate a private notetaking app with sharing features, or to associate writing (a thesis or book) with dynalist. I do preliminary outlining in dynalist, and then write the actual doc elsewhere, or just do everything elsewhere

In the end, all of these #call #reply #email are all well defined in my SOP manual in the other post, so I will never forget, because as I continuosly do the same steps over and over, I will just remember. If i forget, SOP manual is there.

Things I no longer follow are simply Crossed out with swiggles , but left on there, in the event I might use it again (e.g. you change city, you don’t follow the same sort of things you normally do anymore)

I have considered a tag for assigning urgency, but I really don’t think I’ll follow up on them. As David Allen said, have as many lists as you can upkeep and review when applying GTD

For me, that’s just one list

I organize my daily log notes [thoughts, hashing out new ideas, oneliner notes describing what I did throughout day, etc] by the following conventions:

✪✪Tag1 Tag2 Tag3 [Roughly made at 10 AM in morning]
✪✪✪ NOTE
<------------- Had to do something else like check emails ------>
✪✪ Tag1
✪✪✪ Note
<-------------Someone interrupted me for an hour ---------->
✪✪ Tag1
✪✪✪ Note
<-----interrupted for 5 minutes—>
✪✪✪ Note
✪✪✪ Note

When I look through my notes, they are spaced out by generally, time delays when I had to focus on something else, a meeting happened and I sort of lost my thought process, or I got interrupted from a phone call

Generally speaking, things i did that morning sit near the top, things i did in afternoon / evening sit at the bottom

Some days I might write, 5000 words (Hashing out ideas, and general research thoughts)

consequently, I also outline research papers right then and there inside my

Other days, since I am so focused on something else, or didn’t have time, might write 100 words

to give you perspective , this is what Monday and Sunday looked like:

Hi Vincent,

It sounds like we have quite different systems, but as long as they work for us that is good :slight_smile:

RE the emails / replies thing, I agree, often it is not worth the hassle to put this stuff into dynalist - I only do this for very important things I might forget / not get to until it’s too late - I am also quite a firm believer in inbox-zero for emails, but this could easily be handled within the email program too instead of within dynalist - it will be easier to do this in dynalist once they introduce email-send-to-dynalist (SO many things will be easier! :slight_smile: )

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So in my case:

  • I create a separate document for each project.
    • Every project has its own document under a folder called, you guessed it, projects.
    • This document contains the definition of the project. I includes any attached files I may need or any details about the implementation or requirements of the project. As well as any specific things like addresses, log-in information etc.
  • All my projects are inside one document
    • I have a giant document called “Daily Log” which is a run-down of tasks I’ve done throughout the day.
      • I have had one going since June of 2013 from previous jobs.
      • The daily log is by company I’ve worked for, so it’s currently over 3 documents since 2013.
    • The Daily is broken down by months, then day. I usually keep it zoomed in on month view.
    • Each day has a number of entries broken down by project. Which I separate using tags for the project. Then under each project tag, I have a list of what I did with regards to that project.
  • I create a List and Indent for tasks (parent & child)
    • At the bottom of my Daily Log I have started keeping a TODO list, also containing project tags with any tasks under that, that still need to be completed. I will usually drag/drop from the todo list to the daily log once I have it completed. (Initially I had this list on another document, however I found I would not go and check it frequently enough, so I needed to keep it at the bottom of my daily log, which is always opened, to have that constant reminder in my face.)
  • I use tags for Projects
    • The tags make for easy and quick linking to track down work or the project document without needing to hunt through the documents manually.

So for me, I use a mix of almost everything. Except colours. I don’t currently use colours anywhere in my dynalist.

I am not sure how I feel about attached documents in dynalist right now, it seems so difficult to manage them with the current status of “file management” inside dynalist. I prefer a hard file folder structure in dropbox, its more portable. Anything in dynalist attachment already exists in a well organized dropbox structure, for me at least

I am doing something very similar to your structure, except its

This is a really good idea I might try this out too, so I can write as much as possible and the tasks will be still be just a little bit below of where i am writing. Although, I don’t really know how I am going to manage moving around tags and tasks though around, it seems like a pain to deal with my current setup, since I mixed all my personal projects and work projects in the same list (but seperated out) on one document

I might try your per project, document approach though

I use a lot of colors with my black theme, in my periphreal vision I can see blobs of colors and know where things are fast e.g.


I found a common ground solution that requires low amounts of effort to have just “one pane” to see everything I want to see throughout day

For the document-based approach you have, I would just create a seperate root bulletpoint, and then navigate it via -> keyboard shortcut ALT+3 -> document where all my shortcut links are -> click & done.
Consequently, I try and hide both my document pane, and my bookmarks pane (thus less distracted), and only resort to a total of 6 hotkeyed bookmarks using phrase-express

Also, if I don’t want to look at those reminders, i just CTRL+MOUSEWHEEL in and zoom or just scroll further up and not look at it. Same thing, I scroll down to see what things I have to do

Subsequently I could just hide my to-do list alltogether and just press my shortcut keys to navigate there if it really bothers me

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home life

  • Short to do list in its own document
  • a Projects list in its own document

work queue

  • 12 slots, each with 1 to 3 projects
  • projects get completed in 1-2 weeks
  • when done, move to clients document (which contains all clients, all projects)

As for writing, I love writing in Dynalist. Quickly dragging pieces of text up and down, the filling in of an outline. Delicious.

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Hey ! I’m setting up Dynalist for the first time and am intrigued by your daily log setup. Your experience and input are invaluable!

  • How has your daily log / To-do page evolved since your post?
  • I’m considering implementing a tag structure similar to this. Do you have any advice?
  • How many documents do you have these days and what are they for?
  • Is Dynalist still your primary tool for productivity? If not what other tools are you leaning on these days?

I appreciate you!

im somewhere in-between one single document and a document for each project. i mostly have general documents like a todo, ideas, learning, projects (which is mostly links to separate items that are in other documents like programming, music, video, writing etc)

i really like being able to use the ctrl+o hotkey to quickly switch between them , or use ctrl+o+enter to toggle back and forth to the last document in a pinch, which happens a lot when i need to write something down in my todo list while im in another document

usually once i start accessing some project a lot i will put two dots at the end of it “project name ..” so i can use the ctrl+shift+o hotkey to search and switch to a specific project, usually with just a few letters first and then the two dots “pro ..

inside my general documents i mostly just use “now”, “next”, and “later” sub items, mainly because im hopeless at keeping anything on a schedule and found i spent too much time organising newer due dates. so once “now” starts to fill up with too many things than i couldnt possibly do today or the following days, i move them to “next” and every once in a while move items that are in “next” to the “later” section if i wont be able to start this week or month.

inside each of the actual projects i am working on, i use the same system to keep track of what im going to do next, instead i only use items named “1, 2, 3” instead of “now, next, later”.

to make moving things a bit easier i put two dots at the start of each “.. now” so when i use the ctrl+shift+m hotkey i can just type the two dots which will show the “now, next, later” at the top of the list. one benefit of this is that you can move things to the other sections without having to zoom out of the “now” section. (you can use any symbol really but the dot and comma are the only symbols that you can use on mobile without having to long press)