Staying organized is a tough task these days. We’ve all got some degree of family/personal commitments, volunteer opportunities and then of course our day jobs. Then we get sucked in to social media, emails, texting and fads like Pokémon Go. Frankly, it’s amazing that we manage to stay on top of anything.
Juggling all of this is commonly referred to as ‘multi-tasking.’ At a medical association meeting this past week (North Fulton MGMA), the speaker, Debra Wiggs, made the great point that when we say we are multi-tasking we’re actually not being very productive at all. What’s really happening is that we’re not giving the proper attention to any of the tasks at hand because we’re simply distracted by too many things.
In our office we call it the ‘squirrel syndrome.’ Let me put that report together for you…oh look, squirrel!
One of the most effective ways to avoid the squirrel syndrome is to stay organized.
Two months ago I found Workflowy and it has become my new best friend. Workflowy is a simple, web-based note-taking application that allows me to organize thoughts, create to-do lists and keep track of tasks in everyday life (work and personal). Over the years, I’ve tried keeping notes in Microsoft Word, covering my desk in Post-It notes, using the Notepad feature on my desktop/iPhone and keeping Excel spreadsheets and none of them have stuck. So far, Workflowy is getting it done.
Here’s a screen shot of a list I made up for the purpose of this Tip:
As you can see the view is very simple. When it comes to staying organized, simple is good.
You can easily create an entry by typing in at the empty bullet point at the bottom of the list and text is saved automatically. Sub-lists under bullets are easy too; just use the ‘Tab’ key to more effectively organize items associated with a specific topic. In the example above, the meeting with the Royal Family has several topics of great importance.
Items that are greyed out and with a line through them are completed. When you’ve completed a task you can hover over the bullet point of the line item; a drop down menu appears and you simply click ‘Complete’ and the line is greyed out and shows with a line through it.
Here are the 5 things I like the most about Workflowy:
- Workflowy is web based – As long as I have an Internet connection, I can pull it up on either my computer or smart phone. The paid version will allow you to work offline.
- Workflowy has a tremendous search feature that allows you to quickly find all the notes you have written containing the word you are searching for.
- By using a hashtag (#) feature you can categorize and prioritize certain tasks and search for them more easily. In the example above, there are 4 notes that end with “#today.” You can either type #today in the search box or click on any of the #today links and Workflowy will hide all other entries and only show you ‘#today’ notes:
- Workflowy allows you to hide and unhide all completed and in progress tasks to streamline your view.
- Workflowy is not complicated – I watched a quick intro tutorial (about 2-3 minutes) and then got started and figured the basics out as I went.
The free version allows you to have up to 250 line items per month. The Pro version ($4.99 per month or $49/year) gives you unlimited lists and line items. So far I have found that 250 line items are more than enough and even if I get close, I can delete completed items to free up space.
So, if your current lists method isn’t working, give Workflowy a try and let me know how you get along. Thanks for reading – now I can complete my ‘Write Tuesday Tip’ line item. Woo-hoo!