WorkFlowy takes bullet journaling and other kinds of list making digital, in a web and mobile app that’s fluid, responsive, and simple. You can use WorkFlowy to not only make lists, but also share them, whether it’s a grocery shopping list for everyone in your household or a task list for a colleague. While WorkFlowy includes some features for sharing and collaborating, it comes up short compared with other best to-do apps, notably Asana and Todoist, which are PCMag Editors’ Choices.
Pricing and Plans
WorkFlowy has a free version of the tool that comes with several limitations, such as only being allowed to put 250 new items into your lists each month. Every month, you are granted another 250 new items to add. With WorkFlowy Free, you also can’t customize some of the settings, such as the font used for your lists and the background theme.
A paid version of the app, called WorkFlowy Pro, removes these limitations. It costs $4.99 per month or $49 per year. WorkFlowy Pro members can create as many list items as they want, and they have an option to connect to a Dropbox account to backup their content. They also get the option to protect any lists they share, whereas free users can only share a list by giving their collaborators an unsecured link. Pro account holders also get premium support.
Among collaborative to-do list apps, WorkFlowy’s $49 per year price is rather high. By comparison, Todoist Premium for individuals costs only $28.99 per year. Remember the Milk, another collaborative to-do app, charges $39.99 per year, which is still less than WorkFlowy Pro. Any.do costs $26.88 per year for a Premium subscription.
If you compare the monthly price of WorkFlowy Pro directly to Asana’s price, Asana costs more than twice as much: $119.88 per person per year. But that’s not a fair comparison, as Asana Premium includes a lot of business-focused features that WorkFlowy doesn’t have at all. What’s more, the free version of Asana lets you add an unlimited number of lists and items, and you can have up to 15 collaborators working in a password-protected space. So the free Asana account offers a substantial experience for individuals using the app for personal reasons, and businesses that pay what seems to be a high price actually get a lot more from the service than they would get from Workflowy.
Workflowy looks like a page. On this page, you create bulleted lists. Every list you make is nested into this one page. Each time you indent, you effectively create a new list or sublist, but you still see everything on the page. If you want to create a more focused view of one of your sublists, you click the parent bullet. A navigation at the top of the page updates to give you some idea of where you’ve drilled down into your list. You can add a note to any bullet, as well. Notes appear directly below the bullet in a slightly different font.
Workflowy is a quick and responsive Web app. It reminds me in some ways of distraction-free text editors, such as Writebox, which provide an austere workspace so you can focus and write. The possibilities for how to use Workflowy are infinite, although while testing the app, I wondered at times how people actually do use it, because depending on their stated purpose, the app lacks key features.
For example, as a to-do list, Workflowy deserves a knock or two for not having deadlines and reminders of upcoming deadlines. When I reached out to the Workflowy team to ask about this missing feature, a rep explained that some people use tags to create due dates. In other words, they create a tag like #12-04-13 or #15Aug17 and sort by the day’s tag to find everything due. The problems with this workaround are 1) it’s a workaround and 2) you have to seek out the information, rather than it coming to you, which is how time-dated reminders should work.
You can mark complete, export, share (via a link), duplicate, and delete any item by accessing a little menu by clicking on its bullet, or through keyboard shortcuts. Click on any item, and it opens to become the top level of the page, similar to opening folders and subfolders in most operating systems. The naivgation path at the top lets you back out.
Workflowy in Action
In testing the app, I created two main sections to start, work and personal, as per the advice in some video tutorials included in the app. By the way, these videos have terrific content, and making them accessible right in the same window as the app is brilliant. Kudos, guys.
The keyboard shortcuts are also built into the web app. You can display them in a tight and unobtrusive sidebar at any time. It helped me tremendously to peek over and see that I could mark a task as complete by hitting Ctrl + Enter rather than searching for a menu option.
As I built my list of things to do at work and in my personal life, I found the nesting capabilities solid. Within my personal list I created a shopping list, and nested into the shopping list, I wrote “Produce” and then listed beneath it all the fruits and vegetables I needed to buy. Another chore on my list was to go to a few car dealerships, to which I added a note listing the dealerships I found online in my area.
You can drag any bullet up or down to rearrange the order of items, and if there are already some items indented with a parent bullet above, it’s easy to get the moved item exactly where you want. That fluidity was a notable to me because I struggle all the time to rearrange nested list items in Todoist, an otherwise exceptional to-do app. When moving items around nested lists, they never seem to go where I want them to, and they often end up becoming parent tasks inadvertently, which is cumbersome to fix.
The excellent design of the Workflowy Web app makes it appealing to use and keep using. It’s quick and responsive, yet simple and elegant. If one of its primary intended purposes is to be a to-do list or task-management app—and judging by what else is included, it is—then Workflowy needs to add due dates, reminders, and a calendar view. Workflowy is on the right track with its usability and design, but it needs more features and a lower price to be truly competitive among the best to-do apps.