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Productivity hacks weekly in bite-size chunks. Just up your alley if you're at least slightly geeky or a tad bit obsessed with Evernote or WorkFlowy!

Workflowy: Double Kanban & Tetris bonus round

Frank Degenaar

Here we go with a followup to the "Kanban Calendar - WorkFlowy Style" post. 

Go play a game of online Tetris - and see if you can't beat my score/ lines in your first attempt. Then you might want to revisit this post at a more convenient time if you can't manage to tear yourself away from those addictive little tetrominoes. If you couldn't resist, please share with us your score in the comments below! 

WorkFlowy has an effect on us akin to the "Tetris Effect". Besides that... it's downright addictive. I've taken to using my notebook more these days for one reason: I can't get enough of WorkFlowy's speed on desktop. 

Here are some cheesy WorkFlowy and Tetris Parallels:

  • They both have lines that we need to complete.
  • They are both addictive as hell.
  • The more we play, the faster and more dexterous we get. The keyboard controls become  second nature - one begins to use the space bar to drop Tetris pieces into place and speed up the process. 
  • We shuffle components around to fit into the right place on our board so we can get the job done. There are limitless possibilities as to the way we can stack all pieces around one another. Every piece is vital and either contributes to the bigger picture... or screws things up for us. And when you get into the flow, there's nothing that can stop you. 

I'd like to expand on my previous post - on setting up the Kanban Calendar System in WorkFlowy. A number of people have voiced the following comment in similar ways:

"Frank, Your kanban/workflowy method seems quite interesting. However, transferring tasks into the Kanban today/calendar forever dissociates them from their respective projects. With this system, it seems you cannot review progress (completed items) on a project in order to plan the next steps. This seems like a major limitation at least to me. If you have any workarounds, I would be glad to hear them, thx."

The nifty thing about the Kanban Calendar setup is that it is predominantly a global board which brings all "free radical" and miscellaneous tasks into a common arena. However, a very pertinent point, (to be a tad melodramatic) as the above cry for help suggests: what about the actual workflow of individual, complex projects? How do we keep all those related project tasks together and give them their own tailor-made workflow, but at the same time include them in the Today list/ workflow?

If we extract individual project tasks to our Today section or even the Calendar section, we are taking them out of the context of their workflow. It then becomes increasingly difficult or even impossible to visualize them  as part of any meaningful workflow, according to the classical Kanban dynamic. Then it's no longer Kanban, really. The Kanban Calendar is not a typical Kanban setup. So how do we embed the classical Kanban workflow into our Kanban board... into the grand scheme of things? WorkFlowy has a knack for that.

The video clip below should give you a clear visual cue as to the possibilities at our disposal. Let's say I wanted to include my Blog setup in my Kanban Calendar. There were scores of tasks I needed to complete to finally launch my blog. Tons of little details. What I want to achieve is to represent that project in my Today section, right there alongside bills to pay and all of life's other demands, plus the things I choose to focus on today.

Keep an eye out for the 3 ways to get to the Kanban workflow  for my Blog setup from theToday section, starting with the "long" way and ending off with the ridiculously short way:

  1. Access the Project section on the main Kanban board and zoom into the #BLOG SETUP project list.
  2. OR - Tap/ click on the #BLOG tag in the header of the main Kanban board and zoom in to the #BLOG SETUP project list in the simplified list.
  3. OR - On desktop/ web: click on the STAR icon next to the search bar. This is the shortcut menu, where you will find any lists you had previously "favorited". Simply click on any project you wish to access. 

If you'd like to tinker around with this template, be my guest:

In the video clip, notice how the Kanban workflow for my Blog setup included its own unique stages:

  • Backlogged, Working On, Waiting, Later, Done, Resolved. 

Come to think of it, my "Waiting On" and "Later" stages could be grouped with backlogged tasks... however, for some reason, I feel comfortable with those categories sitting where they are. On the whole, there is a progression from Backlogged to Done/ Resolved. 

You can create any stages you wish in individual and unique project workflows. It all depends on the nature of the project. You decide on that. I recommend reading up on the Personal Kanban concept in general. It's worth delving into. 

A shoutout 

The organizational inspiration for the GTD-like tag and context index comes directly from Karl Rohde's post, "How I use WorkFlowy to do my best work" on his blog, Work Like an Artist:

Tetris bonus round

Here's something I mostly lifted from Wikipedia:

"There have been studies indicating that even moderate playing of Tetris (half-an-hour a day for three months) boosts general cognitive functions such as critical thinking,  reasoning, language and processing and increases cerebral cortex thickness".

Could it be that WorkFlowy does something similar?

Also, here's something I lifted directly from my WorkFlowy outline:

  • Try this 90-day challenge for Productivity's sake:
    1. Put the following task structure into your Kanban Calendar's Today section (Possibly #2 - Not urgent & Important) :
      • Tetris [1/90]
    2. Each day for a period of 90 days, simply follow the link and play Tetris for 30 minutes (or 3 sets of 10 minutes throughout your day). Guess what... That's a Pomodoro more or less!
    3. At the end of each day, recycle the task from your "Done" stage - and when you complete it once again the next day, modify your task to:
      • Tetris [2/90]
    4. Repeat this little hack until you complete your 90 days - and feel a whole bunch smarter - and better about yourself, for having followed through with a 3-month challenge. In fact, this can be done in building any habit or sticking to any long-term project. I did this when I dragged and dropped 17,965 comic strips into my Evernote account over a period of 100 days to create my own private geeky database.
  • Or you could just tinker around with WorkFlowy if you're not all kinds of geeky.