Use of colours besides priority

Having developed a system in Workflowy, I’ve been seeing what’s possible when adapting to the unique features of Dynalist. I’m finding the colour feature quite useful, particularly as it is shared in the desktop and mobile platforms (one of the limitations of the Stylish add-on). Visually they have become quite an important means of using the outlines.

This is the structure I’m working with at the moment:

  • BENCH - information that I am currently working on, including links to other sections currently in use
  • KIT - links in regular use, such as spreadsheets or shared Google documents
  • WAITING - something pending a response from someone else
  • ACTIVE - a tasks currently being understaken
  • KEY - a link regularly accessed, such as an Airtable contact database
  • WORKFLOW - a set of actions that are often repeated (they are copied into the BENCH)

As you can see, there’s some double up with Bench-Active and Kit-Key. I prefer to keep items that are Active and Key in their outline context, rather than removing them to the Bench or Kit sections.

I’d be curious to know other uses of colours, besides priority.

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I use the blue label as a separator. For example, I’d have a list of todos and one of them is a separator called “End of day”. To highlight separators, I use blue colors.

Now it’s visually easy to tell which tasks I planned to finish before end of this day.

I did a whole selection matrix based on the color wheel 4 weeks ago

but I ended up not really using any colors. Too much work

I only use 1 color 95% of the time, and that’s green. I only use it as a line seperator in my daily log

Every other color for me is very situational and I didn’t find that I needed more than 1 color at any point most times

I no longer do task management through dynalist. Its just too much work for me to upkeep, I prefer all my notes to be “closed loops”. When I do task management I just start generating way too many tasks that are never done

I do organize my projects by “Shelved” or “current”

I only look at 3 different places throughout the entire day:

  1. Sprints - these are just stream of thought process notes - there project logs basically
  2. Project 1
  3. Project 2

I bound all 3 of those to hotkeys that never change. Anything I ever need to look at for that project is inside those project bulletpoints

My sprints location moves to whatever project I’m currently on. I’ll just CTRL+SHIFT+M and move it over

This way I can see the following inside a project:

✪ Project
✪✪ Condensed URL links
✪✪ Condensed How-to-guide notes here
✪✪ Sprints

under sprints…

✪✪✪ Today
✪✪✪✪ Project Tag
✪✪✪✪✪ Notes
✪✪✪ Yesterday
✪✪✪ The day before

I organize all important reference items at the top ↑ and all polluted notes / stream of thought notes in my sprints at bottom ↓

at the end of each day I just write what things I need to do next in that sprint’s day. Things like waiting on this person for project, etc

Everything is a closed loop and super low maintenance for me, so I’m only focusing all my notes on actual work

This way, I can see my thought process the entire day

At the end of the day dynalist to me is MVP (Minimal viable product) to me is stream-of-thought process mapping, aka notes are an extension of your brain.

Because I need to be able to recreate my thought processes at that day and be able to explain anyone anything I did for that day if it takes me 5 minutes or 5 hours , at any duration of time such as 10 months from now when i forget everything.

Your mileage might vary and you might treat is as a task manager, I don’t though

Interesting, @Vincent_Tang.

I’m trying to stay focused within Dynalist. Previously, I’d tied Workflowy with Todoist to manage deadlines and recurring tasks. The absence of a dashboard limits the capacity of Dynalist to order priorities.

I’m curious to know what you use for task management and how you link it to Dynalist.

I never set any deadlines for myself if its a personal project, for me it doesn’t make much sense too. Sometimes I really have no idea how long a personal project will take, mostly because I’ve never done it before and won’t know until I start working on it

However, when I do have deadlines, its always because I’m working on a project with somebody else.

  • For those deadlines if its assigned and ending within 1-2 weeks, there’s a really good chance I will just simply remember it. If not, I just write a stickynote and I have a magnetic whiteboard that I designate different locations in a kanban fashion (e.g. TODO - DOING - DONE). I find that a very simple approach makes collaborating much easier for everyone involved too, since its so low tech. I also try to apply David Allen’s GTD - if you can do it in 5 minutes just do it right then and there / get it over with approach

  • For events and things like meeting up with lunch with a friend, going to an event, etc. There’s not much thought process behind it so it just goes in google calendar + synced with my android homepage widget + any message reminder settings

  • For really far away deadlines like “Replace Oil in car 6 months from today”, I just use email program. Basically, I send mail to it, and it comes back to me 6 months later. You could use this with thunderbird, gmail, etc. I use this all the time for keeping track of forgetful people (e.g. your collaborating with a vendor for a RFQ (request for quote), a freelancer, etc and you have a feeling they’ll forget or purposely won’t respond to your email). Its just fire it off and forget it until it comes back, mark it off when its complete. You could do so many things in this application that it could suit anyones need.

  • For things that aren’t really important or urgent in nature, I usually just googlekeep widget on my android phone. I only use 1 pinned tab. Older tasks / notes not logged sit at the top of the list, newer ones down below. Everytime I finish a task I cross it out. It never touches dynalist unless its supposed to be a long term note. A lot of times I’ll jot down some notes I want to log into my dynalist, since the dynalist app isn’t that good like workflowy’s. Also, I’m forced to reread all my undone tasks everytime, since I have to scroll all the way down to add notes. So its imperative I cleanse out finished tasks / transferred notes every now and then.

The absence of a dashboard does kind of suck, and when the API is going to get released, I would want a “popup” dynalist dialog box that keeps reminding me of things I have not done yet or have marked down as a unchecked bulletpoint.

I’d probably have a tagpane as well with the API

I wrote some API integration drafts I would probably look into when its released on one of my comments. A lot of those ideas I wrote weren’t well hashed out though

As to dynalist and what I use it for

I try to think of dynalist at least for me, as a digital clipboard / scratchboard.


…pretend computers didn’t exist.

…Pretend the internet didn’t exist either

…Pretend you had to do a task like figuring out how to get your car fixed and have no idea what the root problem is

  • What sort of notes would you take on a notebook? (thoughts, ideas, diagrams?)
  • How would you organize it? By day, category, component, what to buy, etc?

Now take that same thought process, put it in dynalist. Except now you have more tools at your disposal instead of a piece of paper

The 2nd reason I use dynalist as digital clipboard/ scratchboard (relates to all the organization I mentioned about sprints and projects). This XKCD reference basically summarizes it (you have to click the link picture its an imgur gallery)

Picking back where your at it in your thought process is extremely hard if you get interrupted doing something very complicated

Now I can get interrupted at any point and not feel frustrated that I lost track of what I was doing

Not only interruptions. I could just take a super long 1 month vacation break somewhere and pick back up where I left off like it was yesterday

I could also just not do work on a skillset for a whole year, and pick it back up like it was yesterday as well, given if I placed that project under “Shelved projects” with many tagged sprint notes / well condensed notes

There’s no such thing as a memory forgetting curve if you take good notes.

A good application of this is elon musk. You specialize in as many subjects as you want without limitations - granted you take good scalable notes (he did it with book libraries), the slang term is called “Expert generalists”

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I use them for different roles in my life. For example one for “family”, one for “photography”, another one for adminstrative stuff etc. I keep the colors quite consistent over several apps and usages, and it helps me to quickly find what i’m looking for and getting some overview.

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