Make lists. Not war. Workflowy part 2.


In the last post, I introduced Workflowy: A wonderful outliner that promises to organize your brain.

At first, I thought Workflowy would be the perfect to-do list replacement for me. There are no rules! You type whatever you want. Cross out completed items. Press tab to indent. Use the arrow keys to navigate. Add alt+shift with your arrow keys to re-order and alt+arrow to ZOOM!


The zoom feature is by far my favorite feature. It’s the necessary feature I never knew I needed. By zooming, all the clutter and noise of other competing ideas and projects fade into the background. I'm presented with a clean screen with with only one idea to focus my attention on.

Much To-do About Nothing

So, why am I not using it for my main to-do list? It is, after all, available on all devices from desktop to mobile. Any subtopic can be shared or exported but apparently I need a little more rigidity than I thought. It’s just a little too much freedom for me. Without the ability to date item, dragging topics from day-to-day got cumbersome and confusing. There are no reminders or repeat events. I want to have my categories of to-do lists available at all times on a sidebar. But that’s me. For someone else, Workflowy could be the open frontier of to-do list freedom.

I use Workflowy to supplement my todo list (WunderList). I use it to sketch up an outline prior to just about every task I work on. These are the sub-tasks that would needlessly clutter up my to-do list, but help organize my brain before starting the actual work. In fact, I used Workflowy to brainstorm this blog post.

Brain Dump

Another way I use Worflowy is as my own personal ad-hoc database. I can search, tag (using hash tags and “at” tags) and categorize through indenting. I use it to track my equipment list, wishlist, recording lists and song sprout ideas. That way, it's semi-organized and always find-able.

Pros: Blazing fast and expressive outliner. Clean user interface with no clutter or distractions. Very compact, you can fit a lot of ideas in a small amount of space. Zoom!!

Cons: No dates, or repeats. The mobile web version isn't as fluid.

In summary, Workflowy is wonderful organizational app to add to your toolkit. It might be just the right match for you and your next project. Give it a try.

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