How I use Workflowy

Workflowy is one of my favourite online apps and one I could not do without. As soon as I open my Chromebook to work I open three web apps, Gmail, Workflowy, and Paydirt. By the way, when I open those three I keep them pinned so I always shave them on the top right of Chrome and I keep the rest of the space for the tabs I’m working on

Workflowy is kind of hard to sell because it’s so simple. I imagine that when I describe it, you go “that’s all it does?”.

At its core, Workflowy is a neverending page of bullets. That’s what it is, a bulleted list that goes on forever. Their tag line is “Organise your brain”.

What can you do with that?

You can structure it however you need it to work but the basic functions are as follows:

  • Every line is a bullet
  • Bullets can have sub-bullets or indents
  • When you click on a bullet it opens in its own page
    • This is useful for focusing on one task or project
  • You can mark a bullet as complete like on any to do application
    • Hover on a bullet and you’ll get a menu, one item being to mark it as complete. You can choose whether or not you want to show completed items
  • You can tag bullets
    • A tag is something like this “@Work” or “#todo”
    • A tag is anything following the @ or #. Tags can then be used to search or organise your bullets. When you click on a particular tag, Workflowy hides everything except for bullets marked with that tag. So, if I only wanted to see tags marked #todo, I could click on any #todo tag and I’d see the complete list.
    • Similarly, if I enter the search bar and type @ or # Workflowy will show me a list of all tags beginning with those symbols to search from
    • Search is really fast in Workflow – instantaneous. It’s amazing. Type something in the search bar and you immediately have a list of things only containing that search term
  • You can move bullets by dragging them up and down the list or indenting them under other bullets
  • You can share bullets

How I use Workflowy

I find Workflowy very useful for any kind of online research. You know when you’re researching and you end up with a bunch of tabs open and you don’t know what to do with them. I put each link into Workflowy under the heading of what I’m searching for. There’s a Chrome Extension called Clip to Workflowy that I use for this and it’s very useful

I use it for quick access to client work. I have a bullet heading for each client and within that each client project. Within that, I keep a list of any research or anything I need to remember related to the project. Also, I use Clip to Workflow to keep links to any Google Drive documents (or other web apps such as WordPress) I’m working on for that project. I can link to the documents or spreadsheets in Google Drive or just the Client folder within Google drive. This makes it very easy to jump to the client folder when I’m working. I have everything in the one place, my files, my links and my todo list. All in a neatly organised system of bullets.

I use Workflowy for keeping links that I find and that I want to come back to, like useful online apps or things I want to read. If I’m doing research on something I want to buy or something a client wants to order I’ll keep the links in Workflowy.

You can be as much or as little organised as you like in Workflowy. Sometimes I get very organised with it and others I just dump things in as I come across them. Either way works (although my mind doesn’t like it when it’s messy). They both work because of the tagging and searching system that works so well.

I recommend giving it a go and having a read online about it. There are lots of stories of how people have used Workflowy and lots of online tutorials. It’s free so it’ll cost nothing to give it a go. I’m paying the monthly fee for it because I use it so much and want to support them. I like to support web apps that I use in the hope that they’ll continue to develop and also that they’ll stick around in the future.

Thanks for reading.

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