Friday, April 11, 2014

APP Mania: Workflowy

Every once in awhile, an app floats along that changes your life. Changes EVERYTHING! Picks you up by the feet, rattles upside down until everything falls out and then puts everything neatly back together better than it ever was before. Most recently, that app was Workflowy.

It's difficult to articulate but with Workflowy, it's simplicity is its power. It's easily the most accessible and easily learned app I've seen yet. And yet its power to contain, organize and SERVE every single detail of your life is frankly breathaking.

You begin your (free) account with a blank page. Then you make lists, which become category headers in function. Mine began with WORK  and PERSONAL but I later added SCHOOL rather than wrap in under my personal heading. Within each list, I can sublist ... and sublist and sublist. So within each, I have a TO DO list and several lists within each of those. Then WORKSHOP IDEAS, BOOKS TO READ and a quickly growing LIST of everything relevant to every aspect of my life. If I taught several courses, I  can easily see having a list for each course that included content links, organization, notes, design structure and records as well as lists for research projects, service projects and writing endeavors. There is literally nothing that can't be fit into one of these lists. So finally, a centralized repository of information related to your life in an easily accessed (phone, tablet, laptop, desktop) format and free to lightweight users.

And it works like a calendar! Because you can tag each item for later recall by search, I tag deadlines with the date in this format #041114 (for April 11, 2014). Then each morning, I can recall my day's deadlines by tag search on that date and suddenly everything I need to do for work, home OR school are all combined into one easy list for me to review and work through. As I complete tasks they can disappear (or be brought back). And I can set reminders by adding multiple date tags. So if I want to be reminded of a deadline a week in advance, I can tag #041114 #040414 and get a reminder on the 4th of April about the deadline on the 11th.

You can also share individual lists (by section, keeping the entirety of your list private) via link for viewing and/or editing by collaborators. And the new capabilities are being added all the time! I can easily see that I won't be able to function without Workflowy to keep me organized from now on.

I am also using Workflowy to organize my curriculum design by course, by module and by activity. Imagine how many ways that this tool could help in both teaching and learning in every subject area! Perhaps we should begin a list ...

(This is an authentic user review for which I receive absolutely no compensation or acknowledgement of any kind. The APPMania series will feature apps that enhance productivity, the teaching and learning process—or BOTH!)

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