To erase or not to erase…
In the 2004 movie, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) break up. Clementine decides to undergo a procedure to have her memories of Joel erased. When Joel finds out, he also decides to undergo the same procedure – and as the movie unfolds, we find Joel racing against time within the recesses of his own mind to try and safeguard his fading memories of Clementine.
It’s a classic case of not knowing what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. Does this sound like your relationship with WorkFlowy? I mean, do you have stuff (tasks, etc.) that you might want to safeguard for posterity or just for the record, but you may have deleted some or all of it because it messes with your search results on occasion?
I have a simple system where I move completed tasks to a separate “Archive” outline – and in particular, I’ve had to delete tags associated with many items, simply because they show up when I’m filtering from my home page. Deleting those tags sometimes means that I’m deleting the context they used to be in. Wouldn’t it be great to just temporarily shut out those “memories” rather than delete them in part or entirely – just in case?
Of course, WorkFlowy has an inbuilt mechanism for hiding/ archiving lists… you can complete them (Ctrl+Enter) and then make them invisible (Ctrl+O). That might work perfectly for some… But what if that doesn’t work for you? I could do that but I don’t. I generally like to keep my completed tasks visible and/ or move them to a “Done” stage in a Kanban workflow before relocating them to an Archive in the WorkFlowy backwaters. I occasionally toggle Ctrl+O, but that’s temporarily.
The 3/4-hyphen hack
Recently, I stared at 3 hyphens in a row in a shared WorkFlowy list. I stared at the list title so hard until I willed a hack out of it. This is what came out of it:
- Prefix 3 hyphens to any list you want to relegate to an “archived” status (whether or not you have special “Archive” outlines).
- Whenever your WorkFlowy search obviously includes archived items that you do not wish to see, include 4 hyphens in your search… and presto.
Tinker with this shared WorkFlowy list: https://workflowy.com/s/MElxw5etoD
Why prefix 3 and search for 4?
When you put a series of hyphens into WorkFlowy’s search box, the first hyphen is recognized as a minus sign. So to exclude lists with 3 hyphens, you need to pop 4 into the search box.
Why not prefix 1 or 2 hyphens?
Single hyphens are obvious… and double hyphens may or may not be possible for you. Do a search and see. I use double hyphens as place holders for certain statistics yet to emerge.
- Whenever you see something that “pollutes” a search, you can prefix 3 hyphens to any parent lists as you go. You’ll filter those lists out the next time you do a similar search (or refresh your current search).
- I’ve had the habit of exploding most tags on tasks that are done so they don’t pollute my tag filtering at a higher level/ from my home page. Now with this archiving/ filtering hack I don’t need to explode any tags. I simply filter for tags and include 4 hyphens in the search box to exclude my archived items from a search (along with their tags) – if need be.
- Search for 3 hyphens enclosed in quotes to search for only archived lists/ items.
- If you ever decide to change your archiving method in the future, search for all archived items and complete them (or their parent lists, depending), move them or delete them and/ or their tags.
- You may first want to search for all instances of 3 hyphens or more in your account before you set about using this method to determine whether it’s even practical for you. Maybe you’ve been in the habit of decorating lists with hyphens and would like to keep it that way… or maybe, like me, you’ll only need to delete a handful of these triple hyphens where they serve no obvious purpose.
If you’ve got some quirky archiving method or philosophy, please do tell 🙂
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