The "Whatever" task view, or the underrated benefits of shuffling your to-do list

linkTable of Contents

linkBut why?

Inspired by our clever user AP, here is a guide on how to use randomness in your Amplenote notebook to revisit past ideas & notes.

A list of benefits & use cases to randomness, as we identified them:

Give yourself writing prompts in order to practice writing, or randomize content for daily reading habits;

Learn new concepts or words by emulating randomized flashcards;

Set up journaling prompts, thinking points or a pool of questions you want to write answers for on a regular basis;

Revisit older notes to create new links and tend to your knowledge database.

linkHow do I set this up?

In Amplenote, you can view a list of tasks sorted in a random order by navigating to Calendar Mode and sorting by "Whatever".

Every time you switch back to the Whatever tab, your tasks will be sorted in a different random order.

linkPart 1: Set up a Task Domain

In Amplenote, there are two main ways of viewing your tasks: using Tasks View or using Calendar View. In order to view your tasks in Calendar Mode, you have to create and configure a Task Domain. This is very easy.

linkPart 2: Randomize your tasks

link📚 Learning & spaced repetition

The first use case we will cover is very useful for learning new words or concepts, or more generally learning and studying by setting up flashcards.

A note with simple tasks containing questions as task descriptions and answers inside Rich Footnotes.

Flashcards are a way of testing yourself periodically in order to maximize retention of information. If you've applied any learning strategies in the past, you might be familiar with the phenomenon which we are hereby naming "contextual recollection" - that is, when testing yourself on the same set of questions, your brain will start remembering the answers faster because of the context. This makes most strategies rather unreliable, given how most traditional testing methodologies such as the ones used in academia usually present a list of questions in a random order.

Using Amplenote's "Whatever" task view, you can revisit your flashcards in a different random order every time.

Here's how one might go about shuffling their learning prompts in Amplenote:

Create a note for the subject you want to study. This note can be called something like "Idioms in Spanish", if you plan on learning a new language, or "Biomechanics" if you want to practice your knowledge on the mechanics of the human musculature.

Tag this note with a tag that will hold similar notes for Spaced Repetition, maybe something like #learning/shuffle, and optionally add a tag to mark which sort of subject we are studying using this note: #learning/subjects/language.
You can think of a way to include your tag in a hierarchy, as in this example, but don't spend too much time on that, as tags in Amplenote can be moved around effortlessly.
As we will see later on, the advantage of setting up a tag hierarchy like this one is that it will allow us to filter our list of tasks by their purpose (#learning), the learning strategy (#shuffle) or the subject (#subjects/languages)

Add your #learning/shuffle tag to your Task Domain you created in Part 1: Set up a Task Domain. This will allow us to see tasks from this note and any other note we will tag with #learning/shuffle in the random task list view in Calendar Mode.

Start adding tasks to your note. Use Rich Footnotes to hide the answers away. Read more at Use case: Amplenote for spaced-repetition learning.

💡 A quick tip: !hide words that you've memorized well for a number of days.

⚠️ Make sure not to mark your tasks as complete unless you want them to disappear from your shuffled queue.

link🖋️ Writing prompts & reading habits

Another way to set up task randomization is for obligations & habits you have that can be done in any order. Examples of this include:

Creative writing prompts ✍️;

Reading lists 📚;

Watch lists 🎬;

... and most other scenarios you'd rather not make a decision.

Setting up this sort of use case is very similar to 📚 Learning & spaced repetition, in that all you need to do is:

Create a note to hold your tasks to be randomized;

Optionally tag it to fit in your notebook (e.g. #lists/movies or #writing/prompts);

Populate your notes with appropriate tasks;

✅ Randomize your tasks and check them off once complete.

💡 Quick tips for your writing prompts and reading habits:

For deliberate enterprises such as getting better at writing, make sure to time-block this habit on your calendar to make sure you do it regularly 👌

When picking a writing prompt, you can !copy or !move it to a new note to start writing right away.

link☀️ Journaling prompts

Copy these to your daily jot?


link🔍 Reviewing old notes

Make a list of links to notes

Or use Amplecap to capture them

Or whenever you create another note

linkPart 3: Expand your thought library

add new stuff using amplecap


linkShuffling recurring tasks

linkNo Domains left?

Every day you can !copy the first item from that list to your daily note

For word learning, just check off 5 items from there

For revisiting notes, you have to create a list of them. You can do this with Amplecap, I guess.

Always expand your collection of items using Amplecap

Using due dates - the workaround if you want to check off your items

linkTodos for Lucian

provide templates for this?

The Calendar Mode side bar shows all tasks that are either unscheduled or overdue. That is, in order to implement the system we will cover in this article, we have to make sure the tasks we want to randomize either don't have a start date or their start date is in the past.