The Daily App: WorkFlowy -- The Ultimate List-Making App
You've got a to-do list: projects to work on, books to read and places to go. Keep them all straight with WorkFlowy, the popular Web-based list-making site now available as an app.
What's the App?
WorkFlowy, free for iOS, starts with a simple premise: to make a master list of every to-do, note and random mental detritus you need to keep track of. It touts itself as "a single sheet of paper to hold your whole brain," a central repository to capture everything on your mind, whether it's what you need to do in your job, chores you need to do this weekend or stuff you need to buy at Target.
It doesn't matter whether an item is high-minded or mundane -- there's a place for it in the app because it's simple and highly flexible. The stripped-down interface is easy to use, but getting started and how to master its few functions can be confusing. You click to add items, which you can indent, creating hierarchies that group tasks together.
You can nest items under items, creating sublists. You can also move items around, allowing you to reshuffle and organize as information gets added and evolves. The main strength is its ease of use, so if you've ever made a list in a Word doc, an e-mail, or a piece of paper, you'll know instantly how to use WorkFlowy. But beyond list-making, the advantages lies in how it harnesses the power of the Web and mobile to tailor how you view, create, move and interact with information. Clicking on the bullet points can minimize or open sublists, so you can choose to see as much or as little items as you need.
As the master list grows longer, you can add hashtags and @replies to help quickly sort through info, assign tasks, flag important items or set priorities. You can add up to 500 items a month; for more, as well as other features, you have to pay for a $5 a month subscription.
You'll Want It If...
One of the advantages is that, unlike other note-capturing and list-making apps, the learning curve is zero. There are no complex structures to navigate through, no deciding if something is a file, a folder, a task or a project. There's also no need to learn software. Everyone knows how to make a list, and it builds off and retains that simplicity throughout all aspects of its software.
It's Not My Thing -- What Else Ya Got?
WorkFlowy is beautifully conceptualized and executed, but its commitment to minimalism also creates limitations if you want a full-fledged task management system. You can't easily set dates or add tasks to a calendar, for example, and there's no way to easily prioritize items as well, though you can use its hashtag method to do this. It's great for creating a master list for life management, project planning and keeping track of anything and everything, but creating a list and schedule of action items requires a bit more work.
If you want a more robust scheduling solution, but still want a simple, elegant app, you'll enjoy the much-lauded Clear, though it can't beat WorkFlowy for its ability to capture any kind of information. And if you prefer an app to help sift through priorities, you'll find Priority Matrix useful, though its interface isn't nearly as easy to use.
Some features need fine-tuning. Theoretically, you can move items and sections around -- you can tap, hold, and move items where you need them -- but actually doing it is difficult and frustrating on the app sometimes. I ended up moving items around in the Web version, which proved annoying when I was not near my laptop. As a result, WorkFlowy works best in tandem with its Web counterpart, so users seeking an all-in-one solution may want to look elsewhere.
The commitment to ease of use and simplicity creates a lack of bells and whistles. But it's garnered a following because of its flexibility and elegance, and if you're juggling a million tasks and projects, you'll find it a lifesaver.
Agree or disagree? We'd love to hear your thoughts. Share your experience and leave a comment below. ♦
Categories: Productivity | The Daily App