Organizing Documents & Folders - Best Practice?

I’m trying to figure out the best way to organize documents & folders in Dynalist. Inevitably, the number of documents will grow over time, making information more difficult to find.

Those of you who have hundreds of documents in Dynalist – what’s the best way to organize your information so that you can find what you need to?


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Honestly I just use search extensively.


This is very individual. I have just a handful of documents many of which are chronological. I don’t need advanced search or tagging or fancy organizing but that’s me.

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There are (wonderfully talented) people here way more groomed on GTD and other organizational methods and such than I, but I think the challenge with what you are asking about is universal. I’m still working on yet another refresh of how I approach this.

Folks want to simplify (time and effort spent on) storage and access to data, while freeing our brains for easily and readily tracking anything, and all their relationships, and without stuff falling through the cracks and becoming lost or forgotten. (can be a tall order ;^)

That said… my conceptual take on this (fwiw) is:
I would suggest that there are essentially two ways we are handling data storage and (ability-to-)access management:

  • hierarchical ordering: boxes with boxes of stuff, i.e., folder/sub-folder chains, and
  • tagging: using various methods for flag/tag -ing things to empower access to things using filter-searches.

Like Louis_Kirsch is inferring …its all about best practices for leveraging good search-filter tools, assuming the data presentation method of the app also serves effectively.

Realistically there’s a bit more to it than that when you consider PIM (personal information management) framework includes things like calendar, mail and other communications channels [phone, texting, social channels, video conferencing and whatnot], notes and documenting methods [including prose, tabling, charting, etc], reminders, lists, research tools/moduses, and the like.

But getting back to terse-basics (to my mind anyway), each method (hierarchical + tagging) have their strengths and weaknesses. I think the bottomline is the better your search~filter engine tools are, and methods for leveraging that, then the less you have to rely on hierarchical methods (stuffing things into boxes within boxes promotes an unfortunate out-of-sight / out-of-mind phenomena, more work to keep organized and more-tendency-to-forget-and-lose-stuff situation). Tagging systems, then, should free us up to more free-form data storage and unhampered full-access, …which then should free us up to make boxes (folders) only when it “feels good” to do so.

With “listing/outlining”, there is a hierarchical framework for setting data relationships that is already like using folders/boxes. So if you realize certain data relationships already exist during outline/listing, then that’s a cue (to me anyway) for allieviating the need for yet-another-box/folder (or even a new separate list) …as long as my entries properly/effectively leverage tagging of course.

So while this doesn’t necessarily answer the tough question, I figured maybe it helps to talk about how I am approaching understanding what may lead to a best practice, and then thats hopefully good additional ammunition for the big gunners who may drop in and comment and critique ;^)


Very interesting thoughts. I am thinking about access handling a lot lately, because I captured a lot of data in Dynalist over the years and sometimes have trouble to get quick access to it.

For my todos + calendar tags and filters are working like a charm. For knowledge and projects I tried the Zettelkasten method together with the principles of “how to take smart notes” but that is not working too well atm.

If you have implemented a system I would be interested in some screenshots or a quick summary about your system!

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Thanks @Philipp.

I was going to do that last week when I realized I’m “not there yet”.
For instance, I had a document with 3 main sections, then I broken them out into individual documents in consideration of sharing challenges, then I reworked the single Document challenge and realized I could distill things down to two main sections and have the flow be more effective, and inbetween all that I had a folder (for a client group) and then some stray documents (personal and/or other stuff)… just too premature to share my ideas yet.

I do not have a handle on the time management with DL, and I am leaning on Workflowy (which I never used before) to share out a couple things. Sharing using DList has serious exposure problems, and to get around it you have to downgrade your application with it.

Anyway, I’m pretty impressed with Dynalist so I’m trying to stick with it. The simplicity and depth and thoughtful coding is compelling.

I’m hoping in a couple weeks I have something worth sharing ;^) I may do a partway thing to demo how I use Dynalist for managing several projects across several states with lots of people and non-person resources… that’s the challenge I am sicking DL onto for now ;^)

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Sounds good! In your case the sharing system might get in your way but I am interested which solutions you will find.

But all that actually shows why I like Dynalist. The simplicity combined with endless possibilities is something I appreciate since the beginning. Your System can always adapt to changes an new challenges.