Project Organization Strategy: Baselayering


Hi everyone,

I’ve been using a new strategy in OF to fit my mental model of how to get things done and wanted to share. I call it “Baselayering.”

Right now, I sort my projects thusly:


For many of my main folders, I’ve also created a project called Baselayer. This project receives all the misfit tasks that don’t fit into a pre-existing project and are not new project-worthy.


When I create a misfit task, I put it in the relevant “Baselayer” project. These projects are distinguishable from each other because I also use emoji to visually assign color to various areas:

This has been a huge help to me because it’s meant less GTD-style management of my tasks. I can capture ubiquitously (a feature of GTD I like) without spending so much time managing the categorizing of everything and figuring out how I’d frame a “next action,” which is often too granular for my project management style.


Super clever use of colored emoji there! I have been using emoji in my OF tags for a while, but honestly, they are more of a distraction than truly something useful. In light of how you did this, I am going to think about revising my emoji codes.

Relatedly, I do something very similar, but I set my “Baselayer” apart by wrapping it in {{Double Curly Brackets}} like so. Works well to find things from a list and to filter out everything simply by hitting “{{” when autocompleting a project.


I wonder how many names people have come up with for the miscellaneous single action lists you need to include in different areas of focus. I’ve used To-Dos, Misc, Single Actions, maybe one or two others, haven’t really liked any of the names. Baselayer is a new one. (I’d guess you are into hiking or climbing?) Color coding my emojis for them was a great discovery: right now I’m using ✅and ☑️ as I only have two primary single action lists.


Yes, I feel like the need to patch the system with this sort of project is an opportunity for design.

I’d considered “Misfits” as well. Both hiking and misfitting resonate w/my own personal experience. ;)


naïve question: how do you add an emoji?


On a mac, type Control–Command–Space and you’ll get a little pop up with them. You can also download apps, like Rocket, that search for them by name using a keyboard shortcut. More from Apple here:


I do the same thing, but in order to make it easier and faster to find when assigning, I just take the folder name and create a Project with the same name in [ brackets ].

For example:

In your example above, your Baselayer in Teaching folder would be: [ Teaching ].

That way instead of having a bunch of projects named Baselayer, it finds only that single one, which is where Miscellaneous tasks go for the Teaching folder.

Make sense?


If you prefer the mouse there’s Emoji & Symbols in the Edit menu in most Mac apps.


I like the idea of colour-coding my projects with coloured symbols.
Unfortunately, the symbols in the Emoji/Symbols window are not very attractive to me. What I’d like, are just simple circles or squares, possibly flags, in different plain colours. Does anyone know a way to get those in a project title easily? I guess I have to download a font somewhere with the desired symbols and then make textexpander shortcuts?


Have you found a way to change the font? The Preferences just lets you change font size. FWIW the Emoji & Symbols box does have some simple shapes and flags (⚫️🔷🔻🏳️🏴🚩 etc.).


@Matt78: What I was trying to say is that the symbols in that box are not good enough for me. I would like to use just one type (e.g. flags), but need that in at least 6 different colours (plain). For flags, there’s just a white and a black plain one. The books that Beck uses are available in 4 different colours, but that’s still not enough for me (and they aren’t plain enough for me either…).


In that case I think you are out of luck. The reason emojis work is that they are recognized as characters by the operating system, so a smiley face 😀 is similar to typing the letter ‘a’. It’s treated as text. But there’s no functionality to include real pictures with project headings. They do offer color-coded icons for custom perspectives (Pro version), but there’s no way to get those into a project heading that I know of. You’d have to make a feature request (