Dee Jay Doc’s “Action Flow” Demonstrates WorkFlowy Tagging Magic 101, Bringing Together what Many Find Elusive

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Today’s post is an encore of Dee Jay Doc’s interview last Thursday. I’m incredibly impressed with how he put together his “Action Flow”. Dee Jay Doc is going to run us through the basics, but you absolutely have to zoom in, hit some tags and tinker with his shared list to see how all of the moving parts of his system integrate seamlessly.

It is well worth highlighting that Doc does a fantastic job of consolidating to-do items within individual project workflows and those in fixed daily schedule lists. He also uses a hybrid of date/ month tags – everything coming together in his tag indexes. You’ll most certainly want to take a page or two out of his book, since many people have found what he’s achieved in his Action Flow to be painfully elusive. There’s also a lot of magic here for those of you GTD fans. Here’s last week’s question I saved for today:

FRANK: Do you have any of your own home-grown tips and tricks which you wangle out of WorkFlowy – anything that you’ve been dying to shout out aloud? Because now’s the time to do it!

DOC: My life can get complex because I run the Fresh Camp, create my own Dee Jay Doc music and help my wife with her handmade jewelry business.

I’ve been tinkering for years with WorkFlowy as well as other task management systems. I really appreciate your new book, Frank. It got me into the next dimension of WorkFlowy use. Here’s a few things I’ve been doing to help manage my own workflow:

AREAS

I can filter my whole system by area. This helps me focus on one aspect of my life:

FAMILY (#fam)

FRESH CAMP (#fc)

OCEANNE.NET (#oce)

(My wife’s handmade jewelry business)

Goals

#goals” is a shortcut that expands all my yearly, seasonal, monthly and weekly goals. This is very important so I can check in with my deepest, most essential goals and make sure I’m doing what’s most important. Sometimes I get so caught up in the matrix of tasks, due dates and stuff that I can’t seem to perceive the most important objectives of the week and stay up on what I need to get accomplished this month.

Contexts

I use a lot of GTD principles, in that I collect in an inbox (Reminders on my iPhone). I process them. I organize in WorkFlowy and assign contexts. I will check my @office context when I’m in my office, but I can usually only do a few things on any given day, so I spend more time in my Day views than in my context views. I try to schedule my week out this way and take work in chunks.

TODAY

Inside the Today node, I have three buckets, “Priority”, “Call”, and “If I Can”. Each of these operate the same way. I can write my priorities for Friday in the Priority node with a tag @f. I can do this ahead of time and/or on the day of. They can be in any order because I don’t spend time just looking at the priority node. Instead, I click @f on Friday. This filters all the @f tags from the three buckets. It also filters out my schedules for all days except Friday. I love this view. It gives me an overview of my day.

If I am zoomed all the way out to “Action Flow”, and I click @f, I can see my Friday along with any other task from any PROJECT or NEXT BUCKET that is tagged @f. I can leave it there or drag it into my days PRIORITIES, CALL, IF or SCHEDULE.

Another cool thing that I could NEVER do in a Calendar program is click on the context tag of the context I’ve scheduled myself time in. For example, at 1pm on Friday I’m schedule to go into the studio. If I click @studio, I’ll see any task with the @studio label (I do need to click on @f to remove it from the search, or else I’d only see the tasks with @studio and @f).

Once again… do yourself a favor and go and play with Dee Jay Doc’s Shared list:

https://workflowy.com/s/bIHQ50h7q3


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8 Comments

  1. A really helpful look at one way of using tags to see things in multiple ways. Thank you for taking the time to show us!

    It does highlight one thing that is really high on my Workflowy wish list: A way to have the same item in more than one place.

    I like having all my project tasks show together… but I also like to be able to schedule my week and drag and drop tasks into specific days. I can use tags to kind of hack this (I do the opposite of Dee Jay Doc and tag the tasks that belong to projects, then drag the task into my schedule) but it would be great to see the same item in multiple places!

  2. I see your dilemma… which is really a challenge many people face. What happens if you pull a project item into a calendar, in a way, it gets dissociated from the project workflow. Sure, if you hit you’re specific projects tag, you get a sort of consolidated view… but once you start tinkering with some very basic Personal Kanban principles, you’ll find that you won’t be able to move items from, say, “Backlogged” to “Active/ Work in Progress” to “Done” so fluidly. It can be done, but it takes some getting used to.

    I really like Doc’s way of handling this… because project items are grouped together for a fluid workflow and at the same time he can tag any items to simultaneously appear when filtering for today’s tasks. It really depends whether an item is part of a bigger picture or is very loosely/ arbitrarily connected by way of a like context.

    There are many eloquent hacks to get the best of both… some of which I’ve written about. Doc’s is right up there. But for sure, your specific need has got a lot of other people doing some head scratching.

  3. How can we add this list to our own WorkFlowy? Is the “add to workflowy” option gone? I’ve got an account, and had added this at one point to see how it might work for my own processes, but I don’t see that option anymore. When I “follow” it via email, no idea where to access this list so I could copy it into my own lists.

  4. Hi Dan, there is no way to follow/ add the list via email, as you said, unless the owner of the list sent you a private email link.

    You need to be signed into your account at the time and there should be an “Add it to my account” button at the bottom right of your interface.

    If for some reason you can’t add it, what you can do is go to that shared list online and simply select the whole thing (Ctrl+A) and copy it… go to your account and paste it directly in. If you don’t have a Pro account, keep in mind this outline will knock 208 lists off your monthly list limit.

    1. If you click on that shared list, you’ll see on the right-hand side of the screen an option to “follow” that list via email.

      So on shared links (like this one), that seems to be the current option Workflowy’s given us. I don’t know what “following” that list does, since I don’t see it anywhere in my (Pro) Workflowy account.

      I’m signed in to my (Pro) account. I opened that “Action Flow.” There used to be that “Add it to my account” option on this post (I used it once, then dumped it again, then re-thought my processes yet again), but there isn’t one there. The problem with the “Ctrl+A” option is 1. cumbersome, 2, I had to hand-copy all the text at the top, since that’s not selected.

      Looks like an updated eliminated that “add it to my account” option?

    2. Hi Dan, that’s curious. Not sure whether it’s by design or not. I know it’s cumbersome in a shared list to use Ctrl+A to copy everything. You could also select and drag from the top down to avoid that… but still cumbersome. Hopefully we get to the bottom of this.

  5. Wonderful piece of work! Thanks for sharing the wealth! You got my motivation back to invest a bit more in my system and its maintenance.
    A perfect balance between the different dimensions : areas, contexts, days.
    No more moving tasks, except for raw TODOs ending up in DONE 🙂
    WF rules!!!

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