WorkFlowy: A Website that Makes Lists

By on Sep 6, 2012

There are many ways to keep track of to-dos and lists of items that you want to accomplish: Your agency management system reminders, Outlook tasks, Evernote, as well as a simple pen and notepad. I’ve experimented with just about all of these (and more) to try to find the best system for me.

I began experimenting with another Web-based application called WorkFlowy, a very simple, well designed website that makes it very easy to capture, in one place, your thoughts, notes, and tasks you want to complete.


The website is flexible enough to allow you to store and keep track of just about everything, not just to-dos and grocery lists, but also ideas for articles, notes you may gather while researching, and tasks you need to accomplish. The service is flexible and not complicated to learn or to use.

Some lists are obvious: stuff I have to do today, things I’ve got to remember to pack for a trip. Others are just lists by another name. The notes I jotted down during a meeting – that’s a list of stuff people said in chronological order. The notes I took while reading a book about how to use Google+ – that’s a list of my observations. The phone number I jotted down while listening to a voicemail – a one-item list under your name.

Once you get used to this basic idea about life – that everything you can think of is one small part of some bigger thing – WorkFlowy’s minimal interface becomes very easy to use.

Note-taking is an under-appreciated art. Agency personnel attend many meetings and conferences that can create useful information and ideas. Most of those notes are jotted down on whatever notepad is handy. But what happens to those notes? How much attention do we pay to them later? An app like Workflowy, or perhaps others like Evernote, may give you some method to the info-madness of those conferences and also make it easier to refer back.

WorkFlowy has some powerful features. Here are a few of them.

Completing items: Every item can be a task if you want it to be. Once you’ve completed a task, hover over the bullet point of the corresponding item and click “Complete” in the menu that pops up. This will strike out the item.

You can remove completed items from your view by clicking on the “Completed: Visible” button in the upper right of the page. This will change the page view to “Completed: Hidden.” There’s also nothing sweeter than completing tasks and seeing them disappear before your eyes.

Search: WorkFlowy lets you navigate through your lists by expanding them and zooming. But sometimes you forget where you put something. Or maybe you want to bring up all the items that contain a specific word. The search feature lets you filter your information in WorkFlowy (or whatever list you’re currently zoomed to) instantly, as you type.

Sharing and collaboration: You can share or collaborate on any sublist in your WorkFlowy account. This is a powerful feature that lets you turn any portion of your notes, tasks, lists, etc. into a page that others can view or edit. They’ll see your updates (and you’ll see theirs) in near real-time. Click “Share” in the menu that pops up when you hover over a bullet point.

Tagging: Sometimes you might want to associate items together that are in different parts of your WorkFlowy tree. Say you have tasks for a trip you’re planning in one area and tasks for a project you’re working on in another. You want to mark tasks in both areas as being “high priority,” and then you want to view only the high priority tasks.

Tags let you do this. Add the tag “#highpriority” to all your high-priority tasks. Then click the tag (once you’ve stopped editing the item) to filter only items with that tag. Click the tag again to turn off filtering.

WorkFlowy Basic is free for up to 500 items per month. WorkFlowy Pro is $49 per year (annual payment). Additional functionality in the Pro version includes:

  • Unlimited Lists: Pro users can make as many lists and items as they want.
  • Backup to Dropbox: Have full backups automatically uploaded to your Dropbox account every day.
  • Password-Protected Collaboration: Pro users can share parts of their WorkFlowy account with specific people, verified by email address and password.
  • Offline Editing: The ability to use WorkFlowy when you’re not online (coming soon).
  • Theme and Fonts: Pro users get to change the look and feel of WorkFlowy with a library of themes and fonts. Make your WorkFlowy more personal.
  • Premium Support: Pro members get their emails answered first.

The WorkFlowy website is optimized for mobile devices. To access, simply navigate in your browser to the website and log in. Your information will be displayed.

I recommend you experiment with the free version to see how this tool might help you keep track of your thoughts, ideas, notes, and tasks. Let me know how it works for you.

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