Workflow for Reviewing Daily Notes

How to deal with yesterday's overdue tasks?

When you are using the daily notes to capture and track your tasks you will notice that you have to move tasks forward either by re-scheduling them, using the >today tag, or by cutting and pasting the tasks into the next day. 

This process is not automated and this allows you to stop and re-consider your tasks (following the principles of Bullet Journaling). Instead of sweeping all tasks up to the next day, briefly scan them and ask yourself if they are really important for today (or overall). Then just take the tasks which are still relevant and leave the low-priority items in the old daily note.

Most of all: don't stress out or consider all these tasks as "overdue". Things are changing all the time and therefore the priority of your tasks does too. Something that was important yesterday might be irrelevant today.

This workflow is also covered in this video: My daily workflow and why you don't need an Inbox

Find "overdue" tasks in your Daily Notes

Once you have accumulated a week or two with "overdue" tasks (i.e. tasks you didn't copy over or re-schedule from past daily notes) it's time to review your past days. NotePlan displays days with open tasks with a red background:


Alternatively, NotePlan can display overdue tasks also in the Review view. Just select the "overdue" filter. However, we won't use this view in this workflow:

(Please note: "Review" has been renamed to "Filters")

Review past open tasks

This workflow works best on your Mac, because of the split view. Open today's note and then press & hold the option key on your keyboard, then click on a day in the past which has a red background = open tasks. You can start with yesterday's note for example:

You have today's and yesterday's notes now side by side (close the left sidebar to get more space). Go through your yesterday's note, review all open tasks and decide if they are still relevant. You can process open tasks in any of the following ways:

  • A) Relevant and important for today? → Drag & drop the task into today's note.
  • B) Not relevant today, but still important? → Drag & drop the task into some future day, such as next week (drag it into the calendar).
  • C) Not relevant and not important? → Mark as canceled, leave it as it is in the daily note, or move it to a new regular note.

Once you are finished with one past daily note, move on to the next by placing the cursor into the right split view (yesterday's note in the above example), so the editor is focused. Then select the day before yesterday in your calendar (without holding down the option key). It should open it in the right split view, so you still have today's note opened on the left.

Keep doing this until you have covered all the days in the past or limit it to a week or two. Ideally, you execute such a workflow in regular intervals such as weekly or bi-weekly.