Powerful Online Notetaking with Workflowy

I discovered the online note-taking app Workflowy after one of my Twitter friends recommended it.

It is a powerful app that allows you to take notes, makes lists, and brainstorm all your ideas. And it does all of this online, so that your information is available everywhere.

Once I started using it, I haven’t stop.

Your Notes, Lists, and Ideas…

You may remember Workflowy from my recent recap of the The Best Productivity Tech of 2011. Workflowy was one of the tools that changed my productivity habits in the past year.

Simply put, Workflowy is an outliner app that stores all of your notes in the cloud.

You can put whatever you want into it including notes, lists, brainstorms, or project agendas.

Workflowy excels because it simple, yet deceptively powerful.

The Workflowy app in minimal and stays out of your way. Really it is just you and your ideas in an online interface.

It can actually seem a bit underwhelming at first. However, as you add to your Workflowy document you quickly see the power to navigate your notes in quick and nimble ways.

I use other cloud apps to store notes and ideas. It is not a secret that I am a big fan of Evernote. However, I use Evernote mainly for collection of clippings, articles, documents, and pictures.

Workflowy on the other hand, fits a very specific niche for me.

Workflowy is like having my Moleskine notebook in the cloud.

I pour my notes and lists into it and they are accessible anytime and anywhere.

You can even use Workflowly from your iPad or iPhone, right from the browser.

Workflowy in the Cloud

One of the advantages of Workflowy is that my notes are all “in the cloud.”

Just yesterday, I was asked for details about a client demo that was done a while back. I had put the demo outline into Workflowy. So, I clicked over to Workflowy and with one search had produced the list and printed it for a colleague.

Want to see Workflowy in action? Here is a quick 4-minute video overview of Workflowy:

If you can’t see the embedded video, click here to view it.

(EXTRA: I made a Part II Workflowy video that shows exporting, sharing of lists, and more. TMN Community members can view the additional video here.)

Try Workflowy

Workflowy is a great online app to stores all your notes and ideas.

I keep my account open in a browser tab at all times so that I can quickly add to it, or reference previous notes.

Workflowy is FREE, so head on over to workflowy.com to open an account.

Have you used Workflowy? Where you do keep your online notes?

No time for time management? Check out my online course designed to jump start your productivity! Take it online on your time and pace. As well, get direct access to me for advice and questions. Get details or enroll now by clicking here!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • WorkFlowy

    @TMNinja thanks. tweeted.

  • WorkFlowy

    @TMNinja thanks. tweeted.

  • http://www.ergoorgo.com ergoorgo

    Thanks for the details about workflowy Craig. It definitely looks simple, clean, useful and intuitive – four things that make great apps. Having just played around with it for a while it seems designed more like a brainstorm app but using text and in a very efficient, easy to grasp workflow, as opposed to something designed for notes and more random / different uses. This will obviously have a useful niche, but for me, it posed a few problems when playing around with things:

    – you can only edit, select, delete, move or change the indent to one line at a time (or one nest)

    – it does not have a convenient way to use offline

    – you cannot easily paste text into it in so that a hierarchy of say tiered bullets gets picked up (let alone anything that is pure prose

    I may come back to it, but for now I think I prefer the greater flexibility, portability, transferability, etc of using more standard note apps – anything that uses plain text that sync to dropbox or Simplenote etc.

    I’d be interested in your further thoughts though, and of course those of other commenters.

  • http://www.ergoorgo.com/ ergoorgo

    Thanks for the details about workflowy Craig. It definitely looks simple, clean, useful and intuitive – four things that make great apps. Having just played around with it for a while it seems designed more like a brainstorm app but using text and in a very efficient, easy to grasp workflow, as opposed to something designed for notes and more random / different uses. This will obviously have a useful niche, but for me, it posed a few problems when playing around with things:

    – you can only edit, select, delete, move or change the indent to one line at a time (or one nest)

    – it does not have a convenient way to use offline

    – you cannot easily paste text into it in so that a hierarchy of say tiered bullets gets picked up (let alone anything that is pure prose

    I may come back to it, but for now I think I prefer the greater flexibility, portability, transferability, etc of using more standard note apps – anything that uses plain text that sync to dropbox or Simplenote etc.

    I’d be interested in your further thoughts though, and of course those of other commenters.

  • http://alphaefficiency.com/ Bojan

    I gave workflowy a bad review quite a while a go. This app doesn’t meet my mobility criteria with respectful iOS / Android apps.

    http://alphaefficiency.com/workflowy-review/

    For all my task management needs I prefer powerful OmniFocus, for outlining there are far more powerful and still free apps like MindNode.

  • http://alphaefficiency.com/ Bojan

    I gave workflowy a bad review quite a while a go. This app doesn’t meet my mobility criteria with respectful iOS / Android apps.

    http://alphaefficiency.com/workflowy-review/

    For all my task management needs I prefer powerful OmniFocus, for outlining there are far more powerful and still free apps like MindNode.

    • TerryRains

      @Bojan I use OmniFocus on the iPad quite often and I find it to be a very powerful To-Do list. It’s a great tool to keep my professional work life organized. That said, I find myself using Wunderlist for more personal items like grocery lists, household organization, etc — primarily, so that I can share the lists with other family members and we don’t overlap efforts. FWIW, I don’t think WorkFlowy plays in either space (I suppose it can be a To-Do list, but that isn’t it’s immediate appeal to me), but I would like to hear more thoughts on how others leverage OmniFocus in their organizational toolbox vs some of these other tools…

    • TMNinja

      @Bojan Bojan… I can agree with you about the mobility angle. I would like to see workflowy have a better iPad solution. Maybe app based.

  • TerryRains

    Am I the only one starting to suffer from cloud notebook/list/todo overload? Evernote, Teuxdeux, Omnifocus on the iPad, the actual Notepad app on the iPad, Workflowy, Wunderlist, etc. etc.Each product is very nice and works well, but I don’t like maintaining a “mental index” of which app contains which pieces of data. I’d love to hear more from others, or perhaps even an article from Craig, on how to effectively leverage these tools without suffering from toolbox overflow…

    • Peter Savin

      Very easy. Choose one. Dump all others.

  • TerryRains

    Am I the only one starting to suffer from cloud notebook/list/todo overload? Evernote, Teuxdeux, Omnifocus on the iPad, the actual Notepad app on the iPad, Workflowy, Wunderlist, etc. etc.Each product is very nice and works well, but I don’t like maintaining a “mental index” of which app contains which pieces of data. I’d love to hear more from others, or perhaps even an article from Craig, on how to effectively leverage these tools without suffering from toolbox overflow…

    • TMNinja

      @TerryRains I like this thought… I think it is a great topic for discussion.

      I agree that too many tools leads to overload. I am a big believer in minimizing the number of tools for simplicity. You should really only have one tool per need. See my post: “The Power Of 1.” http://tmninja.us/qQKfid

      On the cloud topic, I do think that our tools are moving more to the cloud. There are downsides and risks, however I think most future tools will be cloud based versus device based.

      And yes… this just might be a topic for an upcoming post… :)

  • TerryRains

    @Bojan I use OmniFocus on the iPad quite often and I find it to be a very powerful To-Do list. It’s a great tool to keep my professional work life organized. That said, I find myself using Wunderlist for more personal items like grocery lists, household organization, etc — primarily, so that I can share the lists with other family members and we don’t overlap efforts. FWIW, I don’t think WorkFlowy plays in either space (I suppose it can be a To-Do list, but that isn’t it’s immediate appeal to me), but I would like to hear more thoughts on how others leverage OmniFocus in their organizational toolbox vs some of these other tools…

  • TMNinja

    @Bojan Bojan… I can agree with you about the mobility angle. I would like to see workflowy have a better iPad solution. Maybe app based.

  • TMNinja

    @Bojan Bojan… I can agree with you about the mobility angle. I would like to see workflowy have a better iPad solution. Maybe app based.

  • TMNinja

    @TerryRains I like this thought… I think it is a great topic for discussion.

    I agree that too many tools leads to overload. I am a big believer in minimizing the number of tools for simplicity. You should really only have one tool per need. See my post: “The Power Of 1.” http://tmninja.us/qQKfid

    On the cloud topic, I do think that our tools are moving more to the cloud. There are downsides and risks, however I think most future tools will be cloud based versus device based.

    And yes… this just might be a topic for an upcoming post… :)

  • TMNinja

    @TerryRains I like this thought… I think it is a great topic for discussion.

    I agree that too many tools leads to overload. I am a big believer in minimizing the number of tools for simplicity. You should really only have one tool per need. See my post: “The Power Of 1.” http://tmninja.us/qQKfid

    On the cloud topic, I do think that our tools are moving more to the cloud. There are downsides and risks, however I think most future tools will be cloud based versus device based.

    And yes… this just might be a topic for an upcoming post… :)

  • http://laurentmaumet.com/ lmau

    I’m a big user of cloud applications. I use evernote (for notes, images,…), and nirvanahq for action lists.
    I’ve discovered workflowy in your post about best tech tools in 2011.
    I gave it a try. I like the fresh and simple design. It seems to be a very powerfull tool for brainstorming. I plan to use it instead of my mindmapping tools.
    For sure I’ll miss an offline feature and iOS application as I travel quite a lot and spend a lot of time on ipad..

  • http://laurentmaumet.com/ lmau

    I’m a big user of cloud applications. I use evernote (for notes, images,…), and nirvanahq for action lists.
    I’ve discovered workflowy in your post about best tech tools in 2011.
    I gave it a try. I like the fresh and simple design. It seems to be a very powerfull tool for brainstorming. I plan to use it instead of my mindmapping tools.
    For sure I’ll miss an offline feature and iOS application as I travel quite a lot and spend a lot of time on ipad..

  • TheBestAdnil

    @TMNinja thank you!

  • MonicaRicci

    @TMNinja thank you, that was helpful!

  • http://twitter.com/asasdk Asbjørn Asmussen

    I find Evernote suitable for all my note and list needs as well and love to have everything in one place.  The EN tags makes EN very flexible for that too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/confile Michael Gorski

    Interesting but I need something more flexible. I use http://www.akanoo.com. It is the simplest note taking tool I could find. With less features, just focusses on the notes and the sharing.

    • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

      Michael, thanks for sharing. :) Had not seen that tool yet.