Dates in WorkFlowy: Try it out

I’m happy to announce the first step toward date support in WorkFlowy. Today, we’re releasing the ability to quickly add dates to WorkFlowy, and to search for them. This lets people easily and quickly do the most basic date related functionality, and sets the foundation for the things we’ll be working on next, like reminders, snoozing, sorting, recurring and more.

1. How turn on dates

Dates in WorkFlowy is still in an experimental feature, and we’d love your feedback on it. To try it out, just go to settings and turn on two features: “Dates” and “Search Helper”. If you’re using an app, like the desktop app or a mobile app, you may need to a) install the new version of the app and 2) log out and back in again, before you see the new options in your settings.

2. How to add dates

WorkFlowy is a text-first interface, and we wanted dates to let you work similarly. Thus, we’ve made it so that all you need to do to add a date to WorkFlowy, is type it.

You can type a normal date like “Dec 25, 2019” (or lots of other formats)* and it’ll recognize it, and you can add times. Or (and this is what I’m personally using much more), you can use shortcuts like, “now”, “today”, “tomorrow”, “next week”, “last week”, “two months from now” etc. and it’ll prompt you to confirm that you want to turn this into a date (you can just ignore and keep typing if you don’t want a date).

Combined with a similarly smart and simple search support, dates in WorkFlowy become pretty powerful.

3. How to search for dates

Our new search helper should help you You can search for a day, a month, a year, or a date range, and it will recognize it. It will also recognize the searches “This

4. Date ranges

We support ranges of dates both in content and in search. This is helpful in a lot of contexts, like research and project planning.

5. Mobile support

It works on mobile, too, but the interface is a little different.

6. What’s this useful for?

Here are the primary use cases we thought about when designing this feature:

  1. Adding future dates to tasks and projects, then finding nodes relevant to executing and planning
  2. Quickly adding the current date when journaling or taking live notes
  3. Doing research that includes dates and complex timelines (to better support this use case, we’re thinking about adding the ability to search for dates in any text you’ve pasted in, even those you don’t explicitly make into dates. Please let us know if this is important to you).

7. To-do

We have a team member dedicated to building out dates. After ironing out issues with basic entry and search, the next features we plan to focus on are snoozing and reminders, but please let us know what your priorities are so we can factor them in.

  • Reminders for dates you’ve set pushed to your phone and email
  • Recurring dates
  • Snoozing items until a certain date
  • Sort by date (and other things)
  • Do stuff when you click on a date (give you choices to search for related dates and turn on the features like reminders and zooning)
  • Ways to add dates with a mouse
  • Calendar sync?

8. Send us your feedback!

We’re releasing this as an experimental feature, we know this is a somewhat different implementation of dates than most tools (more typing, less clicking). There’s still a lot to do (reminders for example), but we’d really love to hear your thoughts. After you try it, leave your feedback either in: 1) comments on this post or 2) an email to help@workflowy.com.

* Note: We’re using a month/day/year format by default, and haven’t added day/month/year used in much of the world. We’re sorry, we wanted to add this but it added a bunch of complexity we weren’t ready to take on yet. If you aren’t in the US, we recommend using a year/month/day format, and we hope to be able to let people choose their own format sometime soon.

120 thoughts on “Dates in WorkFlowy: Try it out

  1. It looks like negating dates doesn’t work properly. Try “-tomorrow”. Especially when combining like “@dailygoals -tomorrow”, it doesn’t work.

  2. Nice feature, will help usability a lot. You asked for prioritization of future features. Here are my recommendations:

    High – Sort by date (and other things) – just like clicking @ and # tags; “search” is good, but limited functionality
    High – Calendar sync – this would be slick – admittedly this likely grows complexity significantly, so maybe it doesn’t make it to the top of the list
    Medium – Do stuff when you click on a date (give you choices to search for related dates and turn on the features like reminders and zooning)
    Med – Recurring dates
    Med – Snoozing items until a certain date
    Med – Reminders for dates you’ve set pushed to your phone and email
    Low – Ways to add dates with a mouse

  3. Wow – this is implemented really well. I love that it is subtle, dare I say “muted”, and easy to use (You can ignore it if you want, but it has enough functionality to be useful if you do use it). I hate the clunky/cluttered implementation of dates in some of the competitors, so I think WF’s solution keeps in line with their core mantra of elegance and simplicity. I also love that bullets can have multiple dates affixed (allowing for ‘reminder’ dates and ‘deadline’ dates to exist on a single bullet – I just bold the deadline date so I know which one is which).

    I think the calendar sync would be the holy grail – this would allow WF to stay looking crisp and clean, and off-load the comprehensive future view stuff to a dedicated calendar app. Though as Peter mentions, you’re introducing more complexity…

    In the short term, I think adding an ‘overdue’ search tag would yield a lot of benefit for many folks.

    Great job on this!

    1. Yes, I agree with your points on dates. I especially like your point that this allows a user to enter multiple dates on the same bullet, unlike most other apps. There could be many uses for that. One use, as you noted, could be for things like start dates and completion dates on tasks. I think you could even take that a step farther – use any unique symbol between your start date and completion date, such as (perhaps) “Asterisk Asterisk” (**).

      Another use for multiple dates might be for extended appointments, such as business conferences covering a period of several days.

      And then at any time, you could type in your search bar ” ** ” (those two asterisks) to ID your tasks (or multi-day activities) with start dates and completion dates – and then sort them, to be similar to a Gantt chart, identifying upcoming periods of heavy workflow in your life.

      1. Earl, thanks for your comment. When using the now button for start and stop times for PROJECT actions with separate bullets. I will use 1 bullet with the project title and a note for that bullet containing the the start and stop times on the same line.

  4. We absolutely love that you have added dates, and look forward to new features coming on this. 
     
    Missing Date features was the ONE THING that prevented us from going all in with WorkFlowy, so it is HUGELY welcome to see this now included. We will be power users of this going forward.   

    There are a few features we would love to see, and hope these are planned:

    In Search, can you add support for “overdue” similar to existing support for “last week”, “last month” etc.  We currently use “1/1/10-now”, which works fine, but “overdue” would be more intuitive.

    An option to use a smaller and greyed-out font for Dates, like you do with hashtags and @assigns and notes.  This would make the actual item stand out more, and makes it clearer that the date is an attribute just like tags are.

    An option to have dates, hashtags and @assigns align to the right of the line they are on.

    We can’t wait to see what you do with snooze/reschedule and recurring !

    1. This is why they should never have ever even considered adding any date features. It is totally irrelevant to a list management tool. With this growing functionality I have no idea what the product is intending to do.

      It is my string opinion that they should focus of functionality like expanding and collapsing lists in IOS app version – something fundamental to what the product is meant to do (or at least originally – no idea what they are trying to do now. A bloody mess if you ask me.

      Sorry for the rant but they are lost.

  5. It would be great if dates in the search bar were “clickable” in the same way that tags are. Sounds odd, but being able to search for, say, “today” items, and then click the resulting date to remove it from the search bar, would then make it easy to quickly switch the search to, say, “yesterday” items. I have an unusual tag-based construct I use to flag recurring items without having to use dates: #M_1bd (for 1st business day of the month), #M_2bd (for 2nd), #Q_15d (for 15th day of the calendar quarter), and #M_-2d (for 2nd-last day of the month). Am experimenting to combine it with your slick new date functionality.

    1. Small clarification: I should have said to make the date “clickable” in the main body (so that it toggles it in and out of the search bar, much like it works with a tag), rather than in the search bar.

  6. I can imagine how hard is this task but supporting other languages is a must; in my case, I have to mix brazilian portuguese and english in my dated items (as in “Iniciar campanha no facebook tomorrow”).

  7. The only date-related feature I’d be interested in is date stamping each line I enter with the data in YYYYMMDD (or at least YYMMDD) format, preferably in brackets, at the end of each line. For example:

    * This is an example. [20200218]

    I do that manually now. Having it happen automatically would be useful.

  8. I’ve been using beta windows app for ages and use workflowy all the time.
    I’ve turned off the dates thing just because I kept getting dates and stuff put in when I didn’t want it. Which is a shame as I can see it could be useful to me. I use a keyboard macro thing anyway for when I want current date and time. I tried to use it a bit and just hit the space bar instead of enter when the date was put in but forgot too often.

  9. A couple things that I’ve noticed after using this for a few weeks:

    – Some type of mass/batch updating of dates would helpful (adjusting your ‘last week’ dates with the ‘today’ date for example. especially if you have scaled up your usage of the date feature).

    – Being able to quickly remove a date would be helpful (similar to the “blowing up tags” button).

    1. Hi Mike, the first suggestion is an interesting one and I’ll log :-)… and the 2nd one (quickly removing dates) I think we have an implementation for in a popup menu when clicking on the date (still in development).

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