A tool for organizing your brain

Welcome to 2012!

I found a new tool last week that I find quite useful for organizing thoughts and ToDo items.

It’s called WorkFlowy and it’s used to “organize your brain.”

As I finalize any yearly goals, I find I have sheets of paper that are so filled with goals broken into tasks and subtasks  that the sheets are more chaos than useful, especially since the ideas don’t hit the page in the order in which they need to be addressed.

What I initially think is subtask 3 becomes task2 and may eventually be subsubtask 14. A lot of crossing out, drawing of arrows showing where to move an item, I can even use colored ink to represent changes. My sheets become an total mess.

I always intend to rewrite the lists to make them legible, but of course I don’t. Goals and tasks get lost, and so do the sheets of paper they are written on.

WorkFlowy eliminates the mess. You start with the top goals and then can indent several times, outdent if you need to, and then even add and remove items as your brain starts making the connections.

I love the ease with being able to organize my goals – if I realize a small item should really be a quarterly goal instead of a daily task, I can easily adjust the listing. No scribbling, no small writing, just a clear list.

workflowy example

And WorkFlowy emails my changes to me each day. I can download my list at any time. There isn’t any limit to the number of bullet points I can have. And when I just want to focus on one goal, I can – I don’t have to stare at the full list all the time or scroll down and down and down to find the point I want to work on. I can drill down as low as I want and easily get back to any level in the list that I want.

Working in WorkFlowy has made me realize that I have way more things I want to do than I have actual time to do, and that’s a great realization. It’s helping me focus more and narrow in on what is important.

I don’t have to delete any of my goals, but I can move them to the bottom of the list. I won’t lose the piece of paper, I won’t have to give up on the goal, I can simply focus on it at a different time.

I’m not a WorkFlowy affiliate, but I am a fan already. They have a blog that gives a lot of insight into the tool. It’s an online tool, nothing to download. Create a username and password and start working. You can even use WorkFlowy from your phone or tablet.

The product has useful Help and fabulous short tutorials that get you being productive in minutes.

You can tag items with when you want to address them, ie. #Monday, #Sep, #soon.

There are numerous tags for the tasks you have including #links, @contacts, #checklists, #issues, #projects, and so on.

Knowing I can print out my list at any time feeds my desire to have paper copies to carry with me.

Your list can be shared with others or kept private. You can add notes; mark items as complete; move items up, down, in, or out.

You can use it for annual goals, shopping lists, working out story ideas, the options are numerous.

If you give WorkFlowy a try, or if you’re already using it, let me know what you think of it. Do you find it useful for anything?

Lisa Jackson is an independent editor, writer, New England region journalist, and a year-round chocolate and iced coffee lover. She writes fiction as Lisa Haselton, has an award-winning blog for book reviews and author interviews, and is on the staff of The Writer’s Chatroom where she gets to chat with best-selling authors, non-fiction writers, publishers, and other writing professionals on a weekly basis.

17 thoughts on “A tool for organizing your brain

  1. Interesting online tool. Thanks for the detailed info. But I thank you even more for the photo of your old way of making to-do lists! This image is such an incentive to simplify, for one thing. Over-planning kills the inspiration, the “color” of the project, in my life. Glad to know WorkFlowy can actually help us focus on one main idea, one MOST IMPORTANT project.

  2. I think this is a good idea; I always write things on my diary, on sheets, but a loto of times i lost them because they are not in order.
    Every project needs semplification; use colors is good to organize things. But I have so and so and soooooo many paper around me!

  3. Playing with Workflowy and loving the possibilities. I’m an old Microsoft Project user, but that’s WAY too much management for the kinds of lists I want to keep. Workflowy is so simple and pared down. I love that! Might have a winner here! 🙂 TKS!!!

  4. Pingback: The Curse Of Being Creative (Why WorkFlowy is Amazing) » 4dancers

  5. Totally agreed to what u mentioned up there; I have experienced it myself in the year 2011 when I wrote down all the works which I had on my mind,but unfortunately I got tensed out by the unorganized work diary .Thus,I now realize how important it is to maintain a diary because that really helps in focusing on the task.The workflurry that you mentioned above is undoubtedly a nice way to start year 2012.

  6. Thanks for the ideas! I’ll have to check it out. I am one of those people with lists upon lists upon lists – I do still love pen and paper for lists – something satisfying about crossing it off by hand! But I’m willing to try new things – anything to help organize the chaos! Thanks.

  7. Pingback: Adding To Do Items onto a To Do List – OccasionalPiece–Quilt!

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