Please share your Dynalist Task management workflow

Hi all.

I’m interested in how you use Dynalist as a task manager. Specifically what is your workflow?

I just started using Dynalist. I heard about it through Obsidian. I absolutely love Obsidian and it has basically become my Second Brain. It’s extremely good at allowing me to organize complex interrelated topics. However, it’s not the best tool for project/task management.

I’ve also been a user of OmniFocus. I love how extremely powerful and flexible it is, but it can be distracting to me and it feels kind of cumbersome. It’s really good for planning complex projects but not so good at pulling up a quick list of tasks and focusing on doing them.

This is where I think Dynalist fits in for me. It’s a great task list for focusing on things and executing. (But so far it doesn’t seem as great for me for planning projects like OmniFocus).

Dynalist:

Here are the killer features that I need that Dynalist fills:

  • stable/reliable/mobile syncing
  • drag and drop bullets
  • Markdown
  • link to anything in Dynalist

Here’s my current work in progress workflow:

I’ve implemented @Daryl_Mander’s Yearly Planner template. I love how there is a bullet for every year, month, week, and day. With Dynalist, I can press ⌘-[ or ⌘-] to quickly zoom in/out to any time perspective that I need. I’ve been looking for something like this for a long time. I actually built something like this in Obsidian, but it’s so fast and easy in Dynalist that I don’t really miss my old system.

  • My system draws inspiration from Bullet journaling in that it is both a task list of things I want to do AND a log of things I’ve already done, and thoughts I’ve had.
    - Tasks: these are checkboxes. Of course
    • Deferring tasks: One of the killer features that OmniFocus had that other task managers didn’t have is a separate concept of due dates and defer dates. Most task managers only have due dates. But there’s a difference b/w the day that I plan to do something and the day that I have to do something. So inevitably, other task managers didn’t work for me because I’d add a date. Sometimes that date was a hard deadline “due date” and other times it was just a day I wanted to do something. I was constantly changing “due dates”. I couldn’t trust my system it was a mess. OmniFocus was the only tool I’ve found that addresses this problem. In Dynalist I think I can manage this problem as well:
      • "Defer date": The day I plan to do something will be the day bullet in @Daryl_Mander’s Yearly Planner
      • "Due date": This will be marked with a Dynalist date tag like !(2020-01-06). (To me a due date means a hard date, like an appointment or a deadline. If I don’t do x by this date, then bad things happen.
  • Notes/thoughts ideas: These are just plain Dynalist bullets. As I have a thought I jot it down.
    • LoggingOften when I complete a task I want to write down the results of that task in case I need to remember what happened. For example, if I have a task Call so and so, I might leave a note to myself: Called, left a message RE: ...And I’d create another task when to follow up with another call.
    • Insights: For more complex, important, long-term ideas, I think I’d rather store those in Obsidian where they can be linked with other thoughts. (though if I need to I could copy the Obsidian URL into my Dynalist bullet, to link the two together.

Pain points/Areas that need further refinement:

These are areas that I haven’t yet figured out in my workflow that I’d like your input on. How do you solve these issues?

  • Navigate from task to project: I love putting my tasks on the yearly planner but there is a big problem. One project, has many tasks that are now spread out in many different nested lists. It’s a mess. I need a way to 1) see my tasks in my current task list and 2) see that same task in my project list and 3) the task in my tasklist and the task in my project list should be in sync with each other.
    • Possible solutions:
      • Tags in Dynalist: I’m experimenting with creating tags for projects. Every tag in a project gets the same tag. That way, when I want to see all the tasks in a project, I just click the tag and search everywhere.
        • cons: This method feels clunky and requires me to name my projects one word names like @p-someProject. This adds more friction.
      • Projects outside Dynalist, Task lists inside Dynalist: Probably the better solution is, I should plan projects in OmniFocus, but use Dynalist as my current task list/log. If I need to see my project, I can link to my OmniFocus project.

Sorry for the rambling. Hope this was interesting/useful for you. I would love to know what your workflow is.

See my comment here for my workflow Template Examples For Work Productivity?

I would use tags in Dynalist. The fewer tools the better.

With your setup a fast way to tag projects would be:

@@ProjectName1
@@ProjectName2

and so on.

Writing an extra @ sign is very fast and easy. And with Dynalists autocomplete you would rarely write more than a few characters before the right project shows up.

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For work I tend to focus on one project at a time. Each day I note the date and start an outline under that date, on notes for the project.

When I am done working on a thing, any note that is about things accomplished gets checked off and hidden.

If what I’m working on gets complex and this time-linear note taking is inadequate, I organize these notes into a new document and my time log will contain links to the part I’m working on.

Thanks for the replies guys!

I tried several taskmanager and come back to dynalist all the time. For my single-person use it is perfect in combination with QuickDynalist. The big benefit for me is, all in one place.

First coming from a hierarchical thinking of goals-project-tasks I tried to build this within dynalist. It was not so easy to handle without duplicate tasks, etc. Finally I find out, that I dont need the hard link between projects and tasks. Its kind of naturally to which project my tasks belong. And with a focus on results of week, I know what tasks are important. So I end up with a flattend todo list that is drastically simplified. It is even without a calender-planning.

There are only simple categories:

  • Ziele: My overall goals say for the year
  • Projekte: Link to my active projects with notes, ideas, results, …
  • Ergebnisse: Regarding to my goal this is what results I want to archive in concrete (this week)

Then my tasks are following in a kind of flat list. Task are tagged with project-tag. Tasks are ordered by

  1. Jetzt: What I am doing right now
  2. Kritisch: This is what I really need to do today before stop working (kinda due today and important)
  3. Wichtig: All Tasks that are important for today
  4. Offen: Tasks that I keep an eye on for the next 10 days

Then there are some special lists for tasks

  • Später: (currently it is inside the “Offen” list) All tasks that are refered to later. I use dynalist-dates for that, even if i would prefer to better differentiate start- and due-date.
  • Wenn Zeit ist: Its kind of I want to do this soon, but its not important
  • Warten: Tasks where I waiting for a reaction of a person or something else. Sometimes this is to continue work, sometimes it is more like review from others before finally close the task.
  • Gelegenheit/Stimmung für…: This is a bucket task divided by context or type. Example: I have nothing special to do, but I want some inspiration, what would be useful oder joyful. I just look in this list and choose an idea from e.g. reading list.
  • Fertig: Here I collect my done tasks, group by calender wekk

Of course I do a regulary review of the lists and moving tasks arround. This way of quick moving tasks in this priority leads mit to this flat single-list approach.

Last but not least there are two backlog lists for all the stuff that is out of my 10 days scope. There is one for Business and one for Privat. There I collect everything else ideas, project overviews, details, working documents…

A big improvement brings the integration of mails to me. As I am using old IMAP rather than gmail, outlook, etc. I use integromat to sync mails to dynalist. There are links attached inside dynalist, that calls a webhook marking the mail as unread. So I find it quickly in my mailclient and can work on it.

With QuickDynalist I use a widget on this list. This is the fastest most compact and best way for me, to see my task list on android. I attached the #inbox tags. Using that I can quickly move the tasks arround in QuickDynalist. Works like a charm :slight_smile:

So what do you think?
I am happy to hear your opinion and ideas for optimization!

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Thank you for sharing.

Same here. I always come back. Dynalist can be as simple as I need it to be, and almost as complex as I wish.

You can see my setup here:

It has only see slight changes the last year so it works for me.

Comments on your setup:
I don’t quite understand why you differentiate between:

Jezt, Kritisch and Wichtig.

Which all seem to be things you have to do today. I would move any day spesific tasks to you calendar.

There is no problem having multiple dates for a task. Just add the different dates to a subtask or a note or some such. I add all dates to the note. That way they show up on the start working date and on the due date.

image

I see you use some tags but it’s hard to see if you use them to their full potential. Maybe you should take a look at my setup above to get som ideas.

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Hey,

thats a good advice with the multiple dates in comment. I try out…

It is right “Jetzt”, “Kritisch”, “Wichtig” seems all kind of for today. It could be all in one list with kinda priorities, of course.

As I have no calender for tasks, I like to have them sorted in several buckets. That help me quickly move the tasks with Ctrl+M. And inside buckets I can quickly change the order. So my focus is directed and easily reviewed while working on tasks. It is kinda Kanban-Board then. I do not need to re-type tags, when priority has changed, etc. It is defined by its unique position in my tasks board. This is the easiest way I found.

Then I have my goals and planned results above, so I have an eye on them permanently.

I thought about having my tasks under my projects. But then, If I want to have a clean task-lists, I can design to my whishes. Having tasks under projects I depend on the search result /tag filter view of dynalist. And this is not as compact as I whish to have it. Also moving tasks arround for planning is more difficult.

Downside is, that I need to associate my tasks to the projects. There is no singel project node, where all tasks are inside. But working with project-tags help to get it filterd. I try to collect backlog-tasks inside the project and concrete “next” steps in this tasklist.

I wonder if “mirror”-nodes could make it easier here. But I think it is not so much benefit then using relating tags.

The most missing concept in most productivity-tools is, that one card can be assigned to several boards/projects/documents/nodes. Even Jira, Trello, Planner align to the concept that every card has a single main space. Looking at favro or the opensource phabricator, the have a really good concept! But the UI is not as easy as in dynalist, especially workin with mobile. Perhaps with some team-dependencies I need to switch. But as long I stay with this, I guess.

About tags
You are right. With tags I am at really at the beginning. I like to have it simple. Your ideas about tagging are good. I will think about and check it out.

Currently I have context-tags @Business @Privat to have filter my task list depending on what working on. (I tried out having different list for business and privat. But that drive me crazy. Having all me related in one place and structure is very powerful).

Then I use the #project tags for projects. A task typically then has a @context and #project tag. Often projects only belong to @Business. So I wonder if I could get rid of it by using something like #B-Project or #P-Project. I am not sure.

Having more syntax to my tag system probably would be helpful. I read your article about tags. Do you have an advice, what would be a good starting point to test out?

Cheers

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I find that with Dynalists Autocomplete you can save a lot of time with the syntax as I mention in my post.

All my projects start with @= that way I can easily find the right project with typing just two letters.

What do you think about @B=Project for Business-Projects and @P= vor private ones?

Sure that could work. The nice thing is that with search and replace you can switch to something else fast.