Tool Review #1 – WorkFlowy

There are multiple pieces of my life all converging into chaos right now (I’m sure I’m not alone), so I chose to try WorkFlowy to see if I could get a little more organized during this assignment. This tool is clean and dirt simple to use, though I’m so use to the colorful, sparkling interfaces of other tools that WorkFlowy is also a bit boring. In a nutshell — you make a bulleted list. And that’s it. You can check out my full list on the left.

There were only a handful of features to try out. Zooming allows you to choose one section to focus on at a time, which is helpful if you’re working with a giant list. I’m someone who likes to cross things off a list instead of having them disappear, so I really liked the strikethrough for completing tasks. Notes brought a little more flexibility to the tool so you weren’t limited to only creating new bullets. 

As you can see in the screenshot, I wanted to insert a photo but wasn’t able to. Part of me wanted WorkFlowy to become a holding pen for the details of those bullet points: embedded media, links with the photo/headline, etc. Nope. So, I learned to be content with the black and white bare bones list.

One feature that I found useful, but felt a little clunky, was tagging bullet points with hashtags. You could then sort your list so you would only see items with a specific tag. My tag #now indicates to me things that need to be completed ASAP. It works, and it’s in line with the limited functionality of the tool, but nothing to write home about compared to the other search/sort organizing feature of other tools.

When it comes down to it, you could do all of this in Google Docs, but the beauty of this tool is how weirdly simple it is in a world that is chock-full of busy digital media. It’s a better organized version of my phone’s Notes app, which is great because I use Notes all the time but it often becomes disjointed. I’m not sure it would be at all interesting to students; I see it being created then quickly forgotten. It may go the same way for teachers, but it could appeal to some who are looking for a place to pull together multiple to-do lists. A benefit of this stripped down bulleted list is that it focuses your attention the same way making a handwritten list does (pseudo-analog?). And, I kind of like it? It doesn’t integrate with Google or Outlook, has no calendar, or color coding. It is unabashedly just a list.

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