How to use the Backburner strategy

Christina avatar
Written by Christina
Updated over a week ago

When you have a lot of projects and tasks it can be nice to separate what is currently actionable/relevant and what you want to do "later".

This is exactly what the backburner strategy can help you with. 

How does the Backburner strategy work?

Turning on the backburner strategy separates your Master List into two separate parts:

  • A regular Master List

  • And a "Backburner"

The Backburner has the same category structure as your regular Master List.

Getting to the Backburner

You can toggle between your regular Master List and the Backburner with the pot icon at the top right in your Master List or the keyboard shortcut "B".

How to know if you are in the Backburner

The Backburner has a slightly darker Background so you can distinguish it from the regular Master List.

Plus, all the tasks and projects have a "stop icon" underneath the title to mark this task as "on the Backburner".

How to add items to the Backburner

While you are in the Backburner you can create tasks and projects like normal. Anything that gets created in the Backburner stays there until you "activate" it.

How to send an existing item to the Backburner

Right now, the only way to send existing items to the Backburner is to add a label to the item that you designated a "Backburner label" in the strategy settings. 

In this example any task or project that is given one of these labels:

  • Backburner

  • Later

  • Someday

is automatically sent to the Backburner and stays there as long as it has that label. 

You can pick existing labels and turn them into "Backburner labels" or create new labels for this use right in the strategy setting.

How to activate projects and tasks

Once you are ready to start working on a project or task you can "activate" it which will move the item to your regular Master List.

Manually activating items

To activate an item click on the edit icon to the right and then click the circle icon.

Activating items by removing labels

If you sent an item to the Backburner through a designated label, removing that label will move the item to the regular Master List.

Interactions with other Strategies

If you are using the Backburner strategy and Smart Lists make sure to exclude  the Backburner items from any Smart Lists where you don't want to see them. There is a specific Backburner filter in the Smart List settings.

Start dates & Dependencies

The backburner also plays an important role with start dates (e.g. don't work on this before December 1st)  and dependencies (e.g. only work on this project after project X is finished). Any item that is not "ready for action" yet based on these parameters will live in the Backburner and automatically get moved out of the Backburner when the time is ready.

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