Dear WorkFlowy: How do I distribute one to all/ all to one?



I received a video with an interesting challenge from Derk, a German music instructor who wanted to see whether he could ditch Excel for WorkFlowy with a specific use case: Was WorkFlowy up to the task of managing which lessons had already been distributed to students – and helping to avoid sending out duplicate content?

True, it’s not as visual as Excel, but WorkFlowy wins hands down when it comes to filtering. If you’re not a music instructor or a private language teacher (like myself), this system may not get your blood pumping – but you will most certainly take away something from the component dynamics which make up this system.


Here’s the shared list if you’d like to add it to your account and get your hands dirty.

I’d love to see more videos from WorkFlowy users presenting a challenge that we can showcase here in pretty much the same way.

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Workflowy replaces your notebooks, stickies and bloated apps with a simple, smooth digital notebook that makes it easy to get organized and be productive.

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8 Responses

  1. I think for Derk’s user case I believe is a useful website that can be useful for spreadsheet systems, it’s going to help solve his problem

    1. You’re probably right 🙂 The above post is by no means intended to be the best solution all-’round, but I do rather enjoy seeing what can be squeezed out of WorkFlowy. It helps people to wrap their minds around what can and can’t be done sanely in WorkFlowy… and it often reveals dynamics that one might want to use for other use cases.

    1. -bnpsr, Thanks a ton for the fantastic explanation and the outline you shared here in the comments 🙂

      I think the outline you linked to is the ideal approach for those who have a fixed set of lessons/ products/ services which one might want to provide to an expanding client base. Your outline would be the simplest and most intuitive. One simply creates a new list for each student/ client and pastes in a preset, fixed list of lessons. This might very well be the case for structured courses.

      The challenge comes when one expands upon the number of lessons that are offered: When one creates new content, the new content would have to be copied to all current clients’/ students’ lists. In my case, for private English classes, I have hundreds of unique lesson plans… and scores of current students. With every new lesson that I created, I’d have to update all lists across the board. I think this would be true in Derk’s case too.

      Sometimes when you add one new filtering requirement (in this case two sets of data which increase incrementally), it increases the complexity of the setup (2 parent lists as opposed to one). Once set up, it’s a piece of cake… but not that intuitive from the outset to get set up. The great advantage of having separate lists, each with their own parameters is that it opens up more filtering options – and in one possible solution demonstrated in the post, data entry is a blow-by-blow affair as and when needed, which will eliminate multiple entries for all existing clients.

      1. -bnspr, fantastic outline with further thoughts.

        I agree with all the challenges mentioned associated with a WorkFlowy system, which might need a “real” database solution, depending on one’s needs as they expand and grow. To answer your Q’s: Yes, lessons “completed” = lessons sent. New content is simply a new lesson created that might be offered.

        While I am not convinced of the “leanness”, intuitiveness or infallibility of the system proposed, at best, I like tinkering, and in the process might uncover a new trick or dynamic that can be used elsewhere. I do think that just because something is possible in WorkFlowy, doesn’t mean it would be the best option… and I am glad that it has stimulated at least a couple of responses here.

        Thanks for your final comments about my book. I think it’s really cool that I might open up strategies to others who are way smarter than I… thus the dynamics I present are very rarely over anyone’s head.

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