Depth in categorization has been a gargantuan challenge to most productivity applications. The typical approach, a stance taken by Evernote, Producteev, and RTM, has been to follow the user everywhere you are, and allow you to submit tasks, attach notes, links, references, pictures from various sources both offline and online.This is the where the differentiation battles have been; in the depths of interactions with other apps, gadgets and platforms as they arrive.

So you get to centralize your work from anywhere. But our categories and documentation styles are different. This increase in complexity of software integration and interface is the challenge to app makers as it of course stretches their r&d budget.

Workflowy takes a different stance. Workflowy is lists on steroids.

Their differentiators are clear.

1.  Centralization.

No online offline business, no multiple apps for this and for that. Just their site,

The steps to take, in their own words:

      1. Go to
      2. Create top-level items called ‘Personal’ and ‘Work’.
      3. Click the bullet point next to ‘Personal’ to zoom in.
        • Create a ‘Chores’ item. List under it everything you need to do in the next week.
        • Create a ‘Goals’ item. List under it everything you want to get done in the next month and year.

Zoom out and start on the ‘Work’ section.

This should be enough to get you started.

2.  Free-Form.

WorkFlowy is free-form and you can use it however you like.

This free-form format is their separator from the other applications and it drills down to categories and subcategories as deep as you are willing to go.

Given a list of similar applications,It would be the simplest to use. Being the closest thing to your regular notepad, it is fun to use too.

It allows you to write your lists or notes the way you want to write them, the way it works for you. If you favor the GTD method, use it, if your form of categorization is no categorization, go ahead, if you prefer my method of Future, Now and Past, go on.

3. UI

It has been largely a race towards deeper complexity in getting things done, so much so one  requires to study books to utilize methodologies to accomplish ones own goals. This is no jibe at all, a book like Sally McGhee and John Wittry’s  “Take Back Your Life!Using Microsoft Outlook to Get Organized and Stay Organized” has been my personal productivity bible for a while, and I just heard about Darren Crawford’s Getting Things Done Using Evernote.

But what happened to just having a notebook and writing it all down? Finding the drive to achieve what you want to achieve from negative experiences, positive experiences and measurable goals?   Writers too, are encouraged to write on a paper scrap book for ideas to flow and come to fruition.

Well Workflowy have done just that. It’s the closest thing you can get to a magical notepad that shrinks to a few headers, or digs deep into other specific content.


Working with teams. It seems at present to be geared specifically for the individual user, I am unsure how the team aspect that has been well incorporated in Producteev and Evernote would be executed here.

Content Types. Can you draw? Sketch? Yes you can add links, but I think, at first glance, that that’s it. So its limited in scope, It is very specific in what its intents are, the outline of a project or a GTD plan.

Beels & Whistles. I talked of Asana, which, while being challenged in the depth of categorization sector, takes a deeper step in alerts on milestones attained and unattained to email and other media.

Workflowy is a turbo-charged list. That’s it.


4 thoughts on “Workflowy

  1. Thanks for posting about this! I’ve started dabbling with the tool and agree – it’s definitely a turbo-charged to-do list. I’ve seen some others that claimed to be such, but I think this one really takes the cake!

    1. I’m also just testing it out, though one thing is clear so far, it works best with someone who understands categorization, if not one can get easily lost in the depth!

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