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Productivity hacks weekly in bite-size chunks. Just up your alley if you're at least slightly geeky or a tad bit obsessed with Evernote or WorkFlowy!

WorkFlowy: moving, organizing, decluttering

Frank Degenaar

Transporters and the suspension of disbelief

Moving house is a pain in the butt during the rainy season in the Northeast of Brazil. Last week I had to get my worldly possessions from one apartment to another. It is no less of an organizational and physical challenge moving a mere 4 blocks down the road. More than once I caught myself contemplating the convenience of the Star-Trek-style transporters - say that 3 times. Would you turn down the opportunity to beam your inanimate objects over to your new abode?

The more one indulges in science fiction, the more one engages in the willing suspension of disbelief... and carries the same "impossible" technological concepts over into reality - at least for a few seconds, while one adjusts to the painful absence of such things as cargo bay transporters. But surely there's some sort of technology out there we can really sink our teeth into... something that will make a mammoth task just a tad less mammoth-like?

Back to life, back to reality 

So when it dawns on you that you'll have to buckle down and use some elbow grease here on planet earth in the 21st century, the next recourse is an app of some sort. Even if it were possible to dematerialize your stuff and materialize it clear across the city, inevitably you're still going to have to do some brain-wracking: "Let's see... I'm going to need to create a mega list of most of my possessions and organize them into discrete contexts that I can act upon. How do I do this systematically, room by room - yet also be able to easily view that same list according to specific categories, such as the things that I want to throw out, the things I need to disassemble, donate, measure, etc?

Modus operandi 

With my iPhone in hand and WorkFlowy, it took just a wee bit over an hour to whiz through the apartment, room by room, and complete my list - most of the action decisions being made on the spot. I used iOS' dictation to speak my list out item by item in WorkFlowy, including the hashtag (#) command when creating tags.

Room by room.PNG
  • I created my main list: "ROOM BY ROOM"
  • Under the main list, I thought of all the actions or decisions I might have had to take and created a corresponding list of tags under the header by setting up a note (That way my list of tags appears just below the list title without creating a bullet point): #Disassemble #Leave #Sell #Donate #Fix #Clean #Trash #Wtf #Sort #Measure #Paint #Now

  • Next, a separate list for each room: Exercise room, Bathroom, Living room, etc. 
  • Under each sublist of different areas of the apartment, I listed furniture and the general contents of closets and boxes, etc. 
    • Alongside each item, I included an appropriate tag or set of tags... and thereunder, when required, a measurement.

Hunting and gathering

Once I got my list down, I could then go ahead and hit any of the tags just below the main list title. WorkFlowy then filters by tag, gathering like tags dispersed across your sublists. In so doing, I was able to batch my tasks and focus on like tasks one at a time... and still have them listed by room. You can drill down to more specifics if you give your items more than one tag and subsequently filter by 2 or more of those tags, i.e. #Disassemble + #Donate + #Now.

  • I could get busy and #Disassemble/ break down/ uninstall furniture, ceiling fans etc.
  • I could visualize a separate list of things I wanted to get rid of (#Trash#Donate or #Sell), since I was downsizing my square meterage moving to the new apartment.
  • I could easily access a list of things I wanted to #Paint.
  • I could double check my list of things I initially decided to #Leave behind.
  • I could easily reference the items I wanted to salvage and needed a few bits and bolts for from the hardware store to #Fix.
  • I had to #Measure certain pieces of furniture to see whether they would even fit in the new apartment.
  • I wanted to further #Sort through a couple of things that I had gathered over the last 6 years of living in Brazil - such as cables and electronic adaptors etc. that I had never needed to use. Basically an opportunity to declutter my life.
  • I even had a #Wtf tag to group those items together that I had no clue what to do with at first glance. One of them was whether to find a new (loving and caring) home for my daughter's hamster or to take him (Mickey) with.
    • My #Wtf list obviously got shorter as I figured out the course of actions to be taken, but for posterity I have left a few in the list I have shared with you (for tinkering purposes).
    • On that note, when you want to bulldoze through a bunch of tags and eliminate them, the desktop shortcut (Alt + click) while hovering over any tag will explode it. You can blow up a number of like tags in quick succession by hitting Alt + click, click, click... All you need to do is filter by a particular tag and get busy exploding. 
  • I had a #Now tag, to quickly isolate any tasks that I was attempting to focus on at any given moment. 

Closing a chapter...

You can go to town on GTD tags (or any other tag that gets the job done) or even set up Kanban stages to complete your tasks. This time 'round I decided to use WorkFlowy's "Complete" feature and set it to "Hidden", thereby visually simplifying and whittling my list down as I completed them. Pure simplicity. 

 If you want to quickly eliminate items from your list (strikethrough), the keyboard shortcut for that is: Ctrl + Enter while your cursor is on any particular line or after having selected multiple items.

In the beginning I created my list super fast with a smartphone in hand. While doing some reshuffling and admin on my list in general, I used my desktop app. By doing so, you get the best of both worlds: robustness and mobility. 

If you'd like to tinker and/or snoop around, here's the original list I created. You can hit some buttons/ tags and see what they do.