January 10, 2013

Workflowy: Silly Name Notwithstanding, It Works for Me

My housemates often comment on how well-organized I am. I'm always looking for ways to bring some order into the chaos that at times seems ready to overwhelm me. So I naturally clicked on a link I came across on a Harvard Business Review report to "Eight Apps To Make You More Productive."

HBR had polled some of its most productive and tech-savvy bloggers to ask what apps they use to stay on track. No. 2 on the list was workflowy.com.

Workflowy is an online tool that helps me organize myself, first by making a list of high-level topics and tasks and then breaking them into smaller pieces. For example, I started with just two major headings: Blog and Personal. Under Personal, I've created sublists like:
  • To phone or e-mail
  • To check
  • To do
  • Shopping list
  • Amazon list
  • Possible activities
  • Travel plans
  • Movies to see
Then I can subdivide each of these topics almost indefinitely. One nice feature is the Workflowy sends me an email every morning reminding me of the latest entries I made. This serves the double purpose of also reminding me to check the list at the start of the day.

I use Workflowy on my desktop computer, but I gather many people have downloaded it to their smart phones. I have enough trouble just dealing with the standard features of my iPhone.

Here's an introductory video from Workflowy. It also has a set of more specific "Help" videos on its features.


And here's a review and further explanation of Workflowy from the "Time Management Ninja":



Of course now I'm left with my usual problem: I'm great at organizing the things I have to do; I'm just not very good at doing them.


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