I found a great new tool recently called Workflowy. It is so simple it is brilliant. It runs in a browser, so it works the same across all of my iDevices (love that!). And best? it is free!
The biggest issue I struggle with when trying to get things done is that I have too many things in my brain. My poor noggin is working so hard on remembering all of my to do items and great ideas that I have trouble concentrating on the one thing that I'm working on. This tool lets me just clear my head so I can focus. I also love that I can strike items out that are completed, because what's the point of a list if I can't mark DONE all over it?
I have long used an application called Things on my Mac and iPhone, and Workflowy won't replace that. But before I can set due dates and sort things neatly into projects and prioritize my working order I have to get all that stuff out of my head. That's where Workflowy comes in. I can just type into it like an outline. When I have more details on a project or a task I can just tab over and drill down into it. I can even change the view so I'm just looking at one task and its details at a time, or I can view the whole flowing mess (I admit that can be a little overwhelming). One could easily just use Workflowy to keep track of tasks, but once I've done the brain download, I find it helpful to move tasks with deadlines over to Things, where I can set reminders on them.
I've only been using Workflowy for a bit over a week, so there's a lot I haven't tried yet, but so far I'm super impressed. I suspect it will be really useful for working out rough outlines on writing projects. I've been trying to shove those into Things but a formal to-do list application really is not the right place for those.
Here are a few "Pro User" tips from the Workflowy team that I found really helpful:
Completing items. Every item can be a task if you want it to be. Once you've completed a task, hover over the bullet point of the corresponding item and click "Complete" in the menu that pops up. This will strike out the item. Your lists can become cluttered with completed items quickly, so we recommend you hide them by clicking on the "Completed: Visible" button in the upper right of the page. There's also nothing sweeter than completing tasks and seeing them disappear before your eyes.
Search. WorkFlowy lets you navigate through your lists by expanding them and zooming. But sometimes you forget where you put something. Or maybe you want to bring up all the items that contain a specific word. The search feature lets you filter your WorkFlowy account (or whatever list you're currently zoomed to) instantly, as you type. Try it by using the search box at the top of the page.
Sharing and collaboration. You can share or collaborate on any sublist in your WorkFlowy account. This is a powerful feature that lets you turn any portion of your notes, tasks, lists, etc., into a page that others can view or edit. They'll see your updates (and you'll see theirs) in near-realtime. Click "Share" in the menu that pops up when you hover over a bullet point. Read our blog post on this feature for more info.
Tagging. Sometimes you want to associate together items that are in different parts of your WorkFlowy tree. Say you have tasks for a trip you're planning in one area and tasks for a project you're working on in another. You want to mark tasks in both areas as being "high priority," and then you want to view only the high priority tasks. Tags let you do this. Add the tag "#highpriority" to all your high-priority tasks. Then click the tag (once you've stopped editing the item) to filter only items with that tag. Click the tag again to turn off filtering.
If you've used this tool and have any other tips I'd love to hear them!