Workflowy

Workflowy first an foremost is a god send. An outlining tool and notebook and task manager all in one. The website doesn’t tell you much about it but once you sign up you get a series of tutorial videos to watch that explain things in a lot of details. The power of the endless page and near endless hierarchy of nested lists is simply brilliant and inspiring. As a tool Workflowy is so flexible and packs a lot of hidden power.

In both my personal and business life (really one in the same) things change by the minute not the day. Traditional task management apps like Todoist, Omnifocus and Things just can’t keep up with the rate that information flows into my life. Not all of this information is a task or job some of it is notes that might be needed for an action later, some of it is random thoughts I don’t have time to flesh out right at the time they come to me.

Other things I use Workflowy for is actually writing. I don’t get time to sit and write a full article for this site or any others I manage in one go. A perfect solution to this is Workflowy, as an outlining tool this is what it was designed for and is perfect at it. I can list an idea and inside that a few bullets on bits I want to touch on and then when I have time to flesh out them points I can go to town and write a few words or even paragraphs in the notes of the bullet. This alone has increased the amount of content I have in draft for this site but it doesn’t feel overwhelming and there is always a plan laid out that I can follow no matter how much time passes.

There are a number of questions around this. The application hasn’t changed a lot in its 5 year existence. I am assured that they are still developing and working on the platform however Workflowy is a small team (2 people) and there is a limit to what they can do. I work as a small team and no all too well what this means.

They have a lot of plans and some big aspirations however when you have 6 or 7 full time jobs to cover as 1 person just to keep the product online developing new features on the product is a very very slow process.

Workflowy Pro, what do you get and it is worth the $50 a year? The short answer here is not a lot, Workflowy is still a fairly unknown product and that can earn you a lot of monthly bullets for free – I have 2500 at the time of writing this. That makes the unlimited bullets pro gives you only valuable for the heaviest of users.

The other features pro will buy you are some new themes and a choice of fonts. Password protected collaboration is a feature of pro to add a little security/privacy to your shared lists as well as backup to Dropbox.

Backup to Dropbox is something of a nice feature that drops a complete copy of your Workflowy account in plain text format into your Dropbox every morning so you always have a backup and can’t lose a thing.

Would I pay for Workflowy Pro, yes for the Dropbox backups and unlimited bullets. Although in the 3 months I’ve been using the application I have only come close to my 2000 bullets per month limit once and that was in the month I was moving house and had a literal ton of tasks that were added and completed. That said I would still pay $50 a year from the new year for the service just to know I am supporting the 2 guys and helping to keep the lights on as they don’t have any adverts even in the free version.

Restarting The Blog

After almost 7 months of not blogging and not even having a blog online I have made the decision to restart blogging on this site.

Shortly before shutting down my previous site and before uploading a 1 pager I wrote on Medium and that fell by the way side as I got busier so why restart?

I have come to the realisation that I should be blogging no matter how busy I am as I enjoying writing and blogging is a brilliant outlet for that even if I am only writing about news and simple how to guides. I will import all my old content to this site at some point in the near future and I will be writing on a semi regular basis with a good series of posts coming on productivity.

Blogo Revisited

Blogo recently had a large update that fixed a lot of bugs and moved to a freemium pricing model. With these changes I thought it was about time I revisited the application and updated my thoughts on it.

With the new update the basic blog post management and creation is free for 1 blog. The image editor is also free as well as the improved Markdown support and WYSIWYG editor. For £7.99 a month you can manage multiple blogs and manage and reply to comments.

The writing experience is not on the level of a writing application like IA Writer or even Desk PM but it is still a huge improvement over writing in WordPress itself.

Blogo Editor

I’ve been in search of improving my writing workflow on WordPress for some time and nothing seems to cover what I want. For the longest time I have been writing in IA Writer and then copy and pasting my work into WordPress for publishing – not ideal. Blogo seems to be going in the right direction for what I want from a writing/publishing application but it still has a long way to do. It works better then Desk PM for publishing to WordPress however it still lacks so much when it comes to the writing experience.

Desk PM

I’ve always been looking for a great writing app that allows me to produce the large amounts of content I create on a daily basis and easily publish this to any number of the WordPress sites I regually post to. Recently I’ve been using Draft as I needed something web based however now I am back in my office full time I want something for Mac.

Initally I went back to IA Writer but really missed not having direct posting to WordPress so started to look around. I found Desk PM – a writing app made for both writers and bloggers.

Ok so what is that exactly. Well imagine IA Writer with a few publishing options and the ability to preview the post on your website. It is a full Markdown editor as well as a WYSIWYG.

Desk PM

So where does it fall short. Well it doesn’t allow full blog management like Blogo and the Markdown syntax is not faded as it is with IA Writer or even Gust. All in all Desk PM offers a good writing expirence but doesn’t come close to dedicated writing apps.

I recently went back to using Gust on my personal site and will probably provide an updated review on the plugin in a couple of weeks time after I have really tested the latest version as it seems to of improved a lot in recent releases.

Draft Review

Recently I started to work more on a variety of devices including a Chromebook and this meant my Mac only writing applications needs to be cross platform. I started to look around and found something I liked in Draft. Draft is a simple, clean distraction free Markdown editor in your browser that also supports something none of my previous writing apps have – Direct posting to WordPress.

Yes that is right I can write on Draft in Markdown and with the click of a button have my work sent to my WordPress site as HTML and published for me. I have looked at applications that promised this type of stuff before however they all fall short as they try to do too many things.

I don’t want to manage my website from the application just write be content and post it. Now of cause Draft is not perfect, far from it. While it does allow me to write in Markdown and preview the output I would like it to fade the Markdown syntax as IA Writer and Ulysses do. This just makes the document easier to read in the editor.

Some other nice features would be sentences and paragraph highlighting as well as a typewriter mode that keeps the text I am writing in the middle of the screen. These are the only features I miss when moving over from IA Writer.

As a free web application Draft is a great solution and I would highly recommend it to anyone however as soon as I can be more stationary and get back to working from my office full time I have to say I will be back on IA Writer.