Picking Names out of a WorkFlowy Hat


June 16, 2016


Pens and random scraps of paper are getting scarcer by the day. And we don’t always just happen to have a hat at hand… but at social events (even in these ever-so-modern times), we still do keep up with drawing straws, picking names out of a hat… and Secret Santa.

What we all do have at hand is a smartphone. Oh yes… and we have WorkFlowy. With about a minute of pre prep-work, you can show off how smart (and sophisticated) you are – and digitize this most basic of human practicalities. What you are about to witness is the reconstruction of a true story, which occurred on December 24th of 2015, at around midnight. I’ve only changed up the names. Obviously.

Easy as A B C

Here’s how to set up your own “WorkFlowy hat”:

  1. Create a set of empty parent lists with a corresponding series of numbers in children lists.
  2. Get a random person (who doesn’t trust you) to shuffle the (collapsed) lists around via WorkFlowy’s drag and drop.
  3. Enter the names of all the participants into the blank parent lists. You might also want to pass the phone around and let people enter their own names anywhere in the list.
  4. Hit the “+” signs to reveal the hidden number tucked away therein.

Recycle and reuse

You can reuse any list. It doesn’t matter that the numbers are all mixed up. Just delete the names.

People come and people go

So you’re most likely going to have a variable number of people on miscellaneous occasions. Here’s what you do: On your desktop app, create multiple outlines (parent lists) with incremental sets of numbers. Draw on whichever you need at any given time (and recycle those on mobile):

  • WorkFlowy Hat (10)
  • WorkFlowy Hat (11)
  • WorkFlowy Hat (12)
  • WorkFlowy Hat (13)
  • WorkFlowy Hat (14)
  • WorkFlowy Hat (15)
  • Etc…

Here’s a pre-made template you can copy to your own WorkFlowy account (and duplicate to edit), with lists ranging from between 5-20 people.


Use your iPhone’s AirPlay feature to mirror your phone on a bigger screen via, say, an Apple TV device.  That way everyone can keep tabs on what’s happening.

Get EXCLUSIVE bite-sized  WorkFlowy  updates: tips, tricks & news about FREE online workshops with Frank Degenaar. Sign up here.

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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.