WorkFlowy: The Minimalist To Do List Program For BrainStorming

I am a big fan of  To do lists and use them everyday, whether online or offline. I just can’t work on anything without planning it ahead in time – be it writing my next article, working on a project or something else related to my online work.

Over the years, I have used several To Do list applications for storing notes, brainstorming post ideas and planning my approach on a specific task. First was Evernote and Microsoft One Note, then came Remember the Milk which was followed by Google Tasks for Gmail. But none of them gained a permanent position in the daily list of programs I use.

The Problem With To Do List Applications

Most of the To Do list programs are way too complex for the average computer user. There are lots of functions and complexities – you have to master the UI and operation of the program before you are able to use it and plan your day ahead, jot down notes, ideas and so on.

Shortcuts, buttons, import, export, sync – please remove these things, I really don’t need them !

Either the notes management program didn’t supported multiple computers or it required installing some browser extension, using a bookmarklet or something else. Most of the To Do list applications failed at being simple – the key to productivity.

Then came TeuxDeux – a superb online to do list alternative which wiped out every other notes management program from my computer. But the service which I am currently loving is WorkFlowy

WorkFlowy lets you create hierarchical lists directly from your browser. Everything you write inside the WorkFlowy list builder is added to your “Home” list. You can create items and sub- item’s down the line, add more sub lists to a parent list and so on.

What’s impressive regarding WorkFlowy is that you can maximize or minimize any part of the list by clicking the small arrow icon, placed just left to any list item. So when your list grows huge in size, you can always minimize the unnecessary items and concentrate on the task at hand.

How to Work With WorkFlowy And Manage Your To Do List

When you start your daily online work, hit the WorkFlowy link from your browser’s bookmarks toolbar and jot down the To Do’s, notes and tasks at hand. As time passes, repeatedly open the WorkFlowy homepage and mark completed tasks as “Complete” (quite similar to Google reader’s “Mark all as read” button). Close down the WorkFlowy Window and return back to your work.

When you want to add a note or a task to your To Do list, simply open the WorkFlowy bookmark in Firefox’s bookmarks sidebar and you can add /follow a hierarchical array of tasks.

Example: I use Google Reader as my default RSS reader. I have created a dedicated list for “RSS reading” so that I can sequentially read the sources and blogs I am interested in.

This save me time to scan the headlines and sort out interesting stories which I may blog about later. Here is an example how I combine WorkFlowy, Firefox’s bookmarks sidebar and Google Reader to save time scanning content from RSS feeds:

Using WorkFlowy’s sequence, I can follow a strict RSS reading pattern, this helps when your reading list get’s huge !

The above one is just an example how I use WorkFlowy to organize my online works, it’s up to you to customize the site the way you want to use it.

Watch the video demonstration below to learn how WorkFlowy works:

Overall, I am really impressed by the simplicity and focus of WorkFlowy. There are no distractions, absolutely nothing to install, no browser plugins, desktop clients, bookmarklets – the site does not have any page other than the home page. Give this a try !

Related reading:
1. Use Gmail as a To do List Manager
2. Create a desktop to do list manager using Google Tasks and Chrome

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