Getting Organized with Workflowy

I have trouble organizing my thoughts, when working on a project or a blog post. For this reason, I have been looking for a good organization tool for a while. I want something that is easy to use, and is available on multiple devices and platforms including the desktop, iOs and Android. I also didn’t want to have to spend a lot of money for it.

I have tried various organization applications including iThoughts HD. The Index Card App and Circus Ponies Notebook.  They are all good applications and for some people they work great, but I found a problem with all of them. iThoughts HD which is a mind mapping tool is an excellent mind mapping tool, however I have trouble getting my mind around the idea of mind mapping. I keep thinking I am doing it wrong and I end up spending more time trying to fix the mind map rather than actually writing. Then I decided to use what I had used in school when writing a report, index cards which again worked well. However after using the application for a while I remembered that I don’t like using index cards. Finally there is Circus Ponies Notebook it is great for large projects, like planning a trip. However it is overkill for doing simple outlining also it is expensive $49.95 for the Desktop app and another $29.95 for the iPad app.

Then I found Workflowy. Workflowy is a web application, so it is available on any platform as long as you have internet access. It is simple to use just start writing.  To indent just hit the tab. To outdent hit shift-tab or enter on an empty line. If you want to add a note hit shift enter. You can move a line around by either hitting control shift and then the proper arrow or by using the indicator at the end of the line. You can expand and collapse and search your notes. You can also add tags including # for items and @for people. To share you can either do it by a secret url you are given or if you have a pro account you can send it to an email address. When you share you can say if you want the person you are sharing with to be able to just view the document or be allowed to edit it. Changes they make in a workflow will show up in your template. If someone shares a workflow with you it will be embed in your home “folder” but you can move it any where. To create a “folder” you create a parent title and then indent titles underneath that fit under that parent title. The video What if you want multiple WorkFlowy Documents shows an example.
A Pro Account cost $4.99 a month or $49.00 a year and allows:

  • automatic backup to Dropbox
  • unlimited number of list (non-pro accounts are limited to 500 a month)
  • The ability to customize the look.

I like Workflowy however it does have some downsides it is online only so you must have an internet connection. I did find that some of the keyboard shortcuts interfered with ones that were default system shortcuts within Mountain Lion. There is no ability to add a due date to a workflow. I recommend trying Workflowy for at least a week, I think you will be using it for a lot longer.