Strategic Planning, Time & Task Management, Personal Productivity


#1

What do you recommend as the best approach to keeping planning and project information & action items together, and manageable?

a. Organize by contexts, and tag the dates
e.g. Project A (list out Goals, Task, Subtasks), Project B, etc.

b. Organize strategically by time and tag the contexts
e.g. Next 10 Years, Next 3 Years, 1 Year, This Quarter, This Month, This Week, Today

(What would be really awesome is to be able to pivot easily between the two modes!)

c. Something else entirely?

YouTube videos on how to apply Dynalist to real life problems, (vs. technical details of how to accomplish specific things within Dynalist), would be really useful.


#2

Structure is not the main thing. Process is the main thing. Organize your information by how you plan to use it.

For example, my process is probably much different from most people. For household things I have a simple list of things to work on and nothing more. It is however a long list with about 100 items, many recurring activities. Among those things is a Tickler file (list of dated things) in which I put future stuff. I use a #m tag to highlight things I need to focus on first thing in the morning.

This structure probably would not work for you if you didn’t have a matching process to go through these tasks effectively.

For work I have a very few projects that come at me infrequently. So I make a node for each project, and in those I keep mostly sequential notes. I have an area for tasks I am working on, and under those tasks I record details as I work. I also have an area for projects I will be working on later so I only need to see current projects now. I also have an area for general information (not tasks), and an archive for things done in the past which I don’t generally have to reference regularly.

If your job was fielding inquiries from various people and needing to look stuff up, a different structure would be needed.


#3

Have to agree with @Alan here.

The best use case is probably to develop something that seems natural to you, and keep improving it.

If you’re the kind of person that enjoys pre-defined methods, maybe take a look at the popular methods out there, like Getting Things Done or Bullet Journal.


#4

Structure is the enemy of my mind. Structure lets things blend into the background, and they become invisible right in front of my face. If I file things away in categories, I’ll literally never look at them again. And so my list is ever morphing ever evolving always being shaken up anew. Novelty gets seen and read and done, so I keep it spicy. I go thru my list and every item i cant do, I at least rewrite in new words, so my mind digests its meaning better. Every person is different - I just want to give me perspective. I’ve been obsessed with productivity tools and philosophies for years, since 2004 at least. Keep your mind on it’s toes. I think if you google cute bullet journal pages, you’ll see how creatively people doodle every page. That’s to keep it spicy! Your mind isn’t a machine, it’s a whimsical blob that needs some lovin.


#5

As a project manager I use an outlining program like Dynalist to define and format project content following the PMI (Project Management Institute) PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge).

You start with a S.M.A.R.T objective. An SOW (Scope of Work) is authored out of which deliverables can be defined in a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). Each deliverable is broken down into activities or tasks in the form of Work Packages (WP) which are essentially databases of the project tasks. Resources for each tasks, its associated Assumptions and Constraints, tasks duration estimates, etc. are included in the WBS.

Once all this is in the outline form in Dynalist it can be moved into a project Gantt program (I used SmartSheets) for execution.

Any other project managers here?

Enjoy

Tim


#6

Hi Tim.

Former professional Project Manager here too. I guess the project process lends itself naturally to outliners e.g. Microsoft Project (never as bad as people made out). The nice thing about project management methodologies like PMBOK is that they are essentially templates which can drop into apps like Workflowy or Dynalist and be adapted depending on project scale and complexity whilst ensuring a robust process. I’m in the UK so used Prince2 which is similar to PMBOK. By the way, there are at least a couple of Workflowy shared lists with basic listings. PMBOK and Project Management Stages, Steps and Task. Do you know of or use any other lists which could be imported to Dynalist?


#7

Hi, Pottster!

I’ve never found (and actually never searched) for Workflowy templates for PM…I’ve always just made my own…which have evolved over the years. I have what must be scores of thousands of lines in my Workflowy. I’m making the move to Dynalist for all the things that WF does not do. Also, having outlines as separate files is much more manageable than having them existing somewhere in one infinite outline. That’s getting cumbersome particularly when sharing outlines with associates and customers.

So my latest project outline emphasizes the definition of “deliverables” based on this wonderful article about what WBSs actually are.

In my business (Media and Entertainment Production Systems) Sales engineers rush to providing a solution (consisting of hardware and software) without ever clearly defining what the needs are…i.e: The deliverables. They believe the solution IS the deliverable which is not the case. The solution provides for the deliverable. So my template has Deliverable Title and Deliverable Description to keep everyone in sync on what is needed. Then there is the Activity Breakdown which lists Admin Tasks (preparatory busy-work that is not actual project content) Project Tasks (tasks that put the solutions in place), and A&Cs (Assumptions and Constraints…i.e. facts that format the project tasks).

So that’s where I’m at.

Tim


#8

Interesting. Thanks for sharing.

I’ve come to the conclusion that there are probably three approaches to adopting a methodology for a project.

  1. Adopt an existing, very presciptive methodology, such as PMBOK or Prince2 and stick to it rigidly.

  2. Start with a very basic methodology and build it up depending on the needs of that particular project.

  3. Have an all inclusive methodology which is an accumulation of all previous projects and prune it until it’s suitable and relevant for the current project.

Not saying that one of these approaches is superior. They each have their advantages and disadvantages. Probably best though to decide on one approach up front and see it through.


#9

Welcome to Dynalist by the way! I’m sure you’ll enjoy using it :slightly_smiling_face:


#10

This really isn’t possible with one tool. I’ve dreamed for many years of having one tool to master them all but it is just not feasible. There are plenty of methodologies out there and of course you can develop your own. You then need to decide which software/applications are best suited to handle different aspects of your methodology.

I use Dynalist for writing and re-usable bits of text. I use Todoist to manage projects/tasks and keep a strict eye on start dates and deadlines. I use DevonThink Pro Office to store all my files. Some healthy cross-linking between the three means that I can connect to anything fairly quickly.

As the saying goes, “use the right tool for the right job”.