Recently I ran across an older post by a colleague who mentioned he was giving WorkFlowy a try as a to-do manager. Always being interested in productivity tools, I gave it a look. WorkFlowy is a free web-based app that works pretty simply.
Basically, you type in things you need to do. When you’ve done them, you mark them as completed and they disappear. What sets this apart from some other to-do systems like Remember the Milk is WorkFlowy allows you to organize your lists, collapse items, and more.
For example, in WorkFlowy I can create a set of items for Work:
At any time, I can click on the handle for Work and everything underneath collapses. Similarly, I could collapse just the cases so I would see a list of active files.
You might notice the #August 17 tag. WorkFlowy lets me search for tags or even just click on them to see what other August 17 deadlines might be lurking.
Because WorkFlowy is somewhat unstructured, I can create whatever categories I want. For example, within my Work category I could have Active Files, Dormant Files, Administrative, Goals, Ideas, Boilerplate, literally anything. This is a powerful feature in that it allows me to not only gather my to-do items, but it allows me to gather other relevant things as well. In other words, with WorkFlowy I think it may be quite possible to “get it all out of your head” as advocated by David Allen and the Getting Things Done gurus.
In using WorkFlowy, I’ve copied text from a client’s email discussing some changes to her will that she wants and pasted them right into WorkFlowy. When I’m ready to work on that project, I can expand her category and see my notes. In the past, I would have either had to open up her email in Mail or print it. I don’t like to waste paper, and having the Mail app open can lead to easy distractions as new email messages arrive. When I’m working on something, I like to have Mail closed so it doesn’t interrupt me.
I’ve also used WorkFlowy to list ideas and arguments I will need to use in a summary judgment brief. It’s nice to have a space where I can put those notes yet still have them more than linked to a to-do item.
WorkFlowy has a very nice, short introduction video that will explain it better than I could. I probably should have just put the video in here and not made you read anything.