Create WorkFlowy Reminders in iOS 9 at the Speed of Talk



There are many hacks built around WorkFlowy’s unique list URL’s – and the inspiration for today’s post, once again, is “The lowly URL as the irreducible atom of work management”. To quote “Rawybtz” from a previous interview:

The URL is the simplest way for different apps/services to connect… WorkFlowy excels at this. Every time you create a bullet, a permanent URL is created that doesn’t change even if you edit it, tag it, or drag it. Not all apps get this.

For those iPhone and iPad users who’ve upgraded to iOS 9, you can now tell Siri in WorkFlowy Safari to remind you of a particular URL. Rawbytz runs us through how WorkFlowy fits into this with a 3-point explanation on his blog. It’s a 1-minute read.

So once you’ve created an iOS Reminder in WorkFlowy by zooming into any list in Safari and telling Siri to remind you about it further down the road, you now have iOS Reminders that link to those WorkFlowy lists. When you are alerted, you can pay your list a visit by tapping on the Safari icon… or you can simply rejoice that you were reminded about any bullet item.

Now there are a couple of additional things we can do to take this already fantastic iOS/ WorkFlowy hack to the next level…

View your WorkFlowy (iOS) Reminders on Sunrise Calendar

Amazingly, one cannot integrate your iOS Reminders with your iOS Calendar app. So how does one go about getting your iOS (WorkFlowy) Reminders to show up on a calendar?

Sunrise Calendar, available on iOS, Android and desktop allows one to pull in events and reminders from just about anywhere and see them on one interface. You can connect iCal, Google Calendar, Trello, Evernote Reminders (among loads of other possibilities) and… drumroll… iOS Reminders. This means you can see any iOS/ WorkFlowy Reminders you’ve set up directly in a calendar. You may even switch your calendar app of preference to Sunrise, as many have.

So just to be clear here: You can tell Siri to remind you about a WorkFlowy list you’ve zoomed into (in Safari) – and seconds later, it will appear in Sunrise Calendar at the time and date you’ve specified…

(1) Zoom into your WorkFlowy list:

(2)  Tell Siri, “Remind me about this…” and give a time and date:

(3) View your iOS Reminders in Sunrise Calendar:

(4) Tap on your Reminder for expanded details:

Setting it all up

It’s a piece of cake:

  1. Make sure your iOS devices are connected to iCloud
  2. Under Sunrise Calendar’s “Options” menu, connect to iCloud (Add Account)
  3. Under “Visible Calendars” make sure your default iOS Reminder “Inbox”/ “Reminders” lists are checked.

Recurring/ Repeat reminders

Once zoomed into a WorkFlowy list, you could tell Siri, “Remind me about this every day at 2:00 PM”/ “… every Tuesday at 9:00 PM”, etc.

Your iOS/ WorkFlowy repeat reminders will show up in your Reminders app… and on Sunrise Calendar, at the intervals specified, if you’re connected.

How about on the home front?

What to do with your items in your WorkFlowy lists that you’ve created iOS reminders for?

  • You could tag them with a “#rem” (reminder) or “#rec” (recurring) tag so that you know reminders have already been assigned – which can be done at the time of creating a reminder.
  • You could nest the reminder date and time in a child list for reference.
  • You could rearrange/ move your WorkFlowy lists which you’ve created reminders for wherever you please. You can outline to your heart’s content… and the URL’s connected to your reminders will remain the same.
  • If you have any “Don’t Break The Chain!” routines going that you’d like recurring reminders for, you could keep those in one WorkFlowy list.

IFTTT recipes

Once you have iOS Reminder incarnations of your WorkFlowy lists, you can then go ahead and do a bunch of things with other apps through IFTTT recipes.

Language tip

Since you don’t have to speak out the actual content of your WorkFlowy list (just the reminder date), this solves a particular challenge for me: Many of my to-do items are a mix of languages. Siri, of course, cannot be expected to understand 2 or more language combinations. Whereas before I would have to enter certain reminders manually, now I have an elegant solution.

One Caveat

Although the “Remind me about this…” feature has been disabled for iPhone 4S and older, this totally works when you manually hit your share icon in Safari, select the Reminders app and enter your reminder time and date.

It’s time to set up some reminders!

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35 Responses

  1. Frank, this is an excellent article!
    Here is the solution I use for chrome with android/ios:
    “Workflowy to Google Calendar” is very simple to use. It adds an icon to the right side of the omni bar.
    When clicked it opens your connected google calendar with a new event. The description used is the bullet you are zoomed into when click the app’s button.

    From here you can do a multitude of things as your original post suggests.
    I hope all is well!

  2. Fantastic Richard! It would be nice to do a show and tell on this if you could help me set it up 🙂

    BTW, I’m sure you know that the extension you linked to was created by Rawbytz.

  3. Thanks Frank. Really appreciate the thought and effort that goes into these hacks. btw you do know that Sunrise is being “Sunset” i.e. discontinued soon?

    1. Thanks for the heads up! (Caveat #2)

      I see in in their latest blog post, “This is just the beginning“, that they’ve been tasked by Microsoft to “join them in making Outlook for iOS and Android the best productivity apps out there”.

      They continue, “…we won’t be updating the Sunrise apps anymore… [BUT] the Sunrise apps will still be available on their respective app stores.”

      They also add, “We are currently working on integrating all the features that made Sunrise so delightful to use in Outlook for iOS and Android.” – iOS reminders should make it in. As with all good apps that get Sunset (Evernote’s apps: Skitch, Hello, Food, Clearly) – the best parts are stripped and included elsewhere. So I think iOS Reminders will always be able to make it into an integrated calendar somewhere, somehow.

      It looks like their new project will include everything Sunrise was… and more.

      I shall revisit this post and update it when the time comes 🙂

    2. Also, a quick look in the iOS app store reveals at least a dozen calendar apps which sync with iOS reminders. That’s a good thing. So we’re not only restricted to an app or two. That broadens things!

  4. Thanks for this tip. I use Fantastical on my iphone, ipad and mac and just tried it … sure enough, the reminder shows up in Fantastical too!

  5. This is an amazing hack! Thank you.

    Also you can add Calendars 5 by Readdle tithe list of calendars that support iOS Reminders.

    1. Rawybytz’s “WorkFlowy to Google Calendar” Chrome extension allows one to add WorkFlowy items to your Google Calendar… which would in turn could show up in an app similar to Sunrise Calendar.

      If your focus is primarily on getting an alert/ reminder, you could set up Google Calendar to alert you… both on desktop or mobile.

      If you’re on Windows desktop and have iOS, like myself, you can go to your iCloud account online…and you can set up iOS reminders right in your browser. Sunrise Calendar and many other apps that consolidate events on one interface you’ll also find accessible in your browser.

      Even if you work in front of a computer all day, I would highly recommend tinkering with mobile alert/ reminder solutions… since even though you’re not working on your mobile, it’s most likely within arm’s reach or within earshot most of, if not all of the time. And if you happen to be away from your computer, you can still rely on mobile alerts.

      I think the trick is to get comfortable using desktop and mobile interchangeably, since everything can be synced anyways.

  6. If you use Workflowy on Android you might want to create easy reminders that link directly to Workflowy lists. Here is what I do:

    browse to the list in Chrome (you should be zoomed in on the list you want to viewvwhen you get the reminder)
    share that list from the chrome menu to Google Keep
    when the Keep note opens it is very easy to create a time based (and recurring) or location based reminder.
    The reminder will have the title of the list and you can click on the reminder’s “open link” to browse right to the list. I would like it if this opened up in the workflowy app but doesn’t seem to for now.

    These reminders show up through the Google ecosystem so you should get notified effectively This makes it trivial to have very rich task reminders and even appointment details.

    Originally bogged by me here:

      1. … Which most smartphone users usually keep at arm’s reach, even when predominantly using a desktop.

      2. Ironically, my Nexus 5 died a day ago and I have decided (for a variety of reasons, some of which are actually valid) to replace it with a “flip phone” for the time being (long story: moving, lots of expenses, not on contract, Canadian, etc). I can still use this hack on my tablet or just paste a link into Keep online, though.

      3. I’ve been using Todoist for my recurring tasks – and its web clipper can clip a workflowy list/task very neatly.

      4. Thanks for adding that EL. I assume you’re working in the Desktop browser app for the above?

      5. Yes, I’m on desktop. I think Todoist has a smartphone app too, so that might also work.

    1. Yep, will. We are currently starting work on the design for dates/times/reminders etc in WorkFlowy. We’ve started reaching out to people to get info on what situations they want dates/reminders etc, I’ll post the question on the blog next week.

      1. Oooh, can’t wait to see it! Due dates are the biggest feature missing from workflowy, in my opinion. Right now I use Todoist + Workflowy, but I’d love to be able to just use one tool.

      2. Wow, totally stoked! That’d get me off of todo list service that I’m using right now!

        Let us know if you need any testers or input – be happy to help!

  7. Hi Frank
    Is there a way to be notified when a shared list changes?
    I’ve looking everywhere for this and can’t find any workaround

    I’m trying to convince a team to work with this and the challenge is to have some sort of notifications be pushed automatically or at least manually to the others working on it.

    e.g. I have a list with tasks, when someone completes a task I’d like to be notified, ideally automatically or at least a way for them to just push a notification. If I could integrate this with slack or zapier or any other way

    That’s the only thing missing for us and couldn’t find anything no matter how many posts I read

    Thank you so much if you have any suggestions

    1. Hi Matei,

      There is a roundabout way of doing it. You embed a Google Doc into the shared list you’re collaborating on, which involves a Tampermonkey script and an iframe tag in a WorkFlowy note. Then you make a comment in the Google Doc, which notifies all parties via email. Works perfectly… however, the downside to this is that it’s only for desktop browser – and although simple to set up, it requires that all parties use the workaround. Plus it’s machine specific (wherever you’ve installed the TM script).

      Next week I’ll be posting on embedding iframe into WorkFlowy for a range of use cases, including Google Docs. It’s by no means an elegant solution, but it may be worth tinkering with if every team member gets onboard. Otherwise, until now, what I’ve been doing is using a combination of WorkFlowy to structure work being collaborated on + Slack for real-time chats/ notifications and/ or email.

      So there is no way you’re going to get an automated pushing of notifications… it’ll have to be manual for now. If you have Slack open in your browser, it’s not a biggie.

      Also, I’ll be posting on collaborating in WorkFlowy with some neat tagging dynamics for small to large teams the very next post, pending an interview post that I might slip in there. So… for sure, I’ll have the two posts mentioned above out within the next 3 posts max. The post on collaboration will include some powerhouse tips and protocol for streamlining collaboration and finding all new additions since you last reviewed your outline – with just a single click 🙂

      IMHO, I think WorkFlowy is complete… it has everything I need, except for this one additional dynamic: In-app notifications for changes to specific shared lists… or else lists tagged with a specific tag. You’ll see what dynamics I have in store 🙂

  8. I’m dying to synch up my Amazon Alexa shopping list with one of my Workflowy sublists. If there were an email-to-list feature, I could do it with IFTTT, but there doesn’t seem to be. Any hope for a real IFTTT connection in the future? Thanks!

  9. Sadly, the Sunrise App is closing Aug. 31st, (they seem to be making Sunrise Calendar for Outlook)
    Any other calendar apps that you’d recommend for ios?

  10. This is so frickin’ cool. You can also set location-based reminders. Siri wanted to give me directions when I said “Remind me of this when I **go to** [location]” but understood my intent correctly when I said “Remind me of this when I **arrive at** [location].” You could also say “…when I **leave** [location]” You can say contact’s names, or businesses. So, you can say “Tom’s house” or “my house” or “Wal-Mart” or “the grocery store,” etc.

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