Dynalist is still my most useful productivity app

Well it has been a while since I last posted, but prompted by recent comments from a reader, who is also a fan of Dynalist, I want to post this update.

There have been some newish apps that have vied for the work for which I use Dynalist. I was very intrigued by Roam Research — as most note-builders are. I especially like the daily notes feature, and the fact that you can easily scroll through these automatically generated pages to review your recent history. Another handy feature is the page showing all your outstanding todos no matter which other pages they reside in.

Then there is Obsidian, a nice addition to this category. Superficially, it seems to be a contender with Roam Research, but they are really two different types of apps — which is not to say they can’t each be used similarly for knowledge management. While Roam Research is a cloud-based app, Obsidian lives on and stores your notes on your computer. Where the basic structure of Roam is the outline, text paragraphs are the essence of Obsidian — you can structure outlines in Obsidian with headers, like many other markdown apps.

I am skipping over the more powerful knowledge management functions of each app — the linking and back linking as well as many other features. If you are unfamiliar with either app, you can find far more expert users all over the Internet. But I don’t need these more sophisticated knowledge management functions.* I am not building a knowledge base. I am jotting my thoughts and ideas, managing my day and logging notable events.

Between the two, Roam Research, due to its reliance on outlining, had the best chance to knock me from Dynalist — ironic, since the developers of Obsidian are part of (or were part of, not sure which) the Dynalist team. After using RR for a couple of weeks, however, I decided to go back to Dynalist. I find it far easier to use, especially with my date-based set up. I can run it from my computers or through any browser or on my iPad. And it is much less expensive than Roam… although I would happily pay the fee for Roam if I needed its full functions.

On the other hand, I continue to use Obsidian as a recepticle for my long form note-taking and work diary. In that regard, it is a replacement for Notebooks, although I am still debating which of those two apps works best for me.

I am going to try to post more often now and will be coming back to these topics.

*The Windows app ConnectedText has had these knowledge management features for over a decade. CT is more powerful than either Roam Research or Obsidian, but sadly isn’t being developed at the moment. Still, CT’s developer, Eduardo Mauro, should be applauded for creating the diamond standard of link-based, knowledge management apps. CT is still available to download and purchase.

7 thoughts on “Dynalist is still my most useful productivity app

  1. An interesting post. It’s good to see your posts resuming, Steve. Regularly returning to your blog, I had become concerned that you had fallen victim to Covid.

    1. Hi, Hugh. I appreciate the concern, but I am fine. I’m not sure what prompted my gross neglect of my blog, but I hope to get back to writing more frequently. I hope you are well!

      1. Hi Steve. I’m pleased to hear that you’re fine. I’m well, thank you, but because a close member of my family has been what is called in the UK “shielding” (i.e. essentially self-isolating for medically protective reasons), I too have effectively been in voluntary confinement for more than six months. And although this has provided the luxury of plenty of time to write, inevitably it’s become somewhat tedious!

      2. Glad to learn you’re well, Hugh. I’m sorry that you’ve had to self-isolate for six months. That, I guess, is the proverbial “too much of a good thing.” Or something like that. We are fortunate that in Vermont, we’ve managed to keep the virus from rampaging as it has done in other parts of the U.S…. knock on wood. So we are not overly isolated. I live next door to my parents — my father is 97 and my mother is 89. Trying to keep them isolated, I’ve been doing most of their grocery shopping. This pandemic has created a host of new experiences and I’m eager for it to be over. Hang in there!

  2. I was lucky enough to once spend a very pleasant Christmas as a guest at a lovely, snowbound house in Vermont. And yes, we watched “White Christmas” on TV on Christmas Eve!

  3. Hello, You say “CT is more powerful than either Roam Research or Obsidian.” I’d appreciate your thoughts on how it’s more powerful as Obsidian also has backlinks and a graph view. Thank you

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