Organize Your Work Life with WorkFlowy

This is your brain: cluttered, disorganized, nerve-wracked, unproductive.

This is your brain on WorkFlowy: neat, orderly, calm, effective.

I didn't realize how much I needed this free Web-based organizer until I started using it. Five minutes in, I was hooked. WorkFlowy is just that good.

After signing up for an account, you're presented with an almost entirely blank page. To get started, create a heading for something: a project, a goal, ideas, your daily to-do list, or whatever. Then press Enter, followed by Tab, and type your first entry. After a couple entries, you'll the get the knack: Workflowy is little more than an outliner, but one that's fast, easy, and unobtrusive.

And it follows traditional outlining "rules": press Tab to increase the indent, Shift-Tab to decrease it, and so on. You can drag and drop items within and between sections, show or hide completed items, and search your lists. And if you're a fan of keyboard shortcuts (like I am), you'll find a host of them here. (To make them visible, click Settings, then enable Help me learn the keyboard shortcuts.)

I particularly like WorkFlowy's "zoom" option, which brings a particular section or task to the foreground until you navigate back to your main list. You zoom something just by clicking its associated bullet point. And if you hover over a bullet, you get a list of available actions: Add a note, share, delete, and so on. (One small glitch: some of these pop-up controls didn't seem to work in Google Chrome.)

WorkFlowy also has basic sharing features, not unlike Google Docs, so you can invite others to view and/or edit your list(s).

I've already started using the service to organize my work projects and ideas, but I can see it being a huge benefit for some personal lists and goals as well. It's great for brain dumps, by which I mean putting everything down "on paper," then organizing it to your liking.

WorkFlowy is simple, effective, and free. What's not to like?

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    WorkFlowy is so powerful and polished, you just might be able to use it to outline your entire life.

    Pros

    • Animated, airy interface
    • Powerful search and autocompletion

    Cons

    • Definite learning curve
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