Categories
Productivity

Figuring out how Drafts REALLY works

On my way back from Arizona a few weeks ago I decided to play around with Drafts a bit. Now I use Drafts every day. When it went to a subscription model more than a year ago it was a no brainer for me. This is a seriously powerful app when you need it.

But since my initial workflows and shortcuts I’ve not really done too much with it. But after listening to some stuff from Tim Nahumck I decided I needed to invest a little time … and honestly there’s no better time than cruising at 25k feet on your way back from Phoenix.

Ok, first of all I never really understood workspaces. I had some set up but I didn’t get it. That was the first place I started.

Each workspace can have its own action and keyboard shortcut thing which I didn’t realize. This has so much potential. I can create workspaces for all sorts of things and have the keyboard shortcut things I need when I need them! This alone is mind blowing and I’m disappointed I didn’t look into this feature sooner.

I have 4 workspaces set up:

  • OF Templates
  • O3
  • Scrum
  • post ideas

Initially since I didn’t really understand the power of the workspace I had them mostly as filtering tools to be used when trying to find a draft. But now with the custom action and keyboards for each workspace I have them set up to filter down to specific tags AND use their own keyboards.

The OF Template workspace is used to create OmniFocus projects based on Taskpaper markup. There are a ton of different actions that I took from Rose Orchard (of Automators fame) that help to either add items with the correct syntax to a Task Paper markdown file OR turn the whole thing into an OmniFocus project. Simply a life saver for when I really know all of the steps that are going to be involved in a project and I want to write them all down!

The O3 workspace is used for processing the notes from the one-on-one I have with my team. There’s really only two actions: Parse O3 notes and Add to O3 notes. How are these different? I have a Siri Shortcut that populates a Draft with a template that collects the name of the person and the date time that the O3 occurred. This is the note that is parsed by the first action. The second action is used when someone does something that I want to remember (either good or bad) so that I can bring it up at a more appropriate time (the best time to tell someone about a behavior is right now, but sometimes circumstances prevent that) so I have this little action.

In both cases they append data to a markdown file in Dropbox (i have one file per person that reports to me). The Shortcut also takes any actions that need to be completed and adds them to OmniFocus for me to review later.

The third workspace is Scrum. This workspace has just one action which is “Parse scrum notes”. Again, I have a template that is generated from Siri Shortcuts and dropped into Drafts. During the morning standup meetings I have with my team this Draft will have the things I did yesterday, what I’m working on today, and any roadblocks that I have. It also create a section where I can add actions which when the draft is parsed goes into OmniFocus for me to review later (currently the items get added with a due date of today at 1pm … but I need to revisit that).

The last workspace is post ideas (which is where I’m writing this from). Its custom keyboard is just a markdown one with quick ways to add markdown syntax and a Preview button so I can see what the markdown will render out as.

It’s still a work in progress as this draft will end up in Ulysses so it can get posted to my site, but I’ve seen that I can even post from Drafts to WordPress so I’m going to give that a shot later on.

There are several other ideas I have bouncing around in my head about ideas for potential workspaces. My only concern at this point is how many workspaces can I have before there are too many to be used effectively.

So glad I had the time on the flight to take a look at workspaces. A huge productivity boost for me!

Categories
ios

Creating Hastags for Social Media with a Drafts Action

Creating meaningful, long #hastags can be a pain in the butt.

There you are, writing up a witty tweet or making that perfect caption for your instagram pic and you realize that you have a fantastic idea for a hash tag that is more of a sentence than a single word.

You proceed to write it out and unleash your masterpiece to the world and just as you hit the submit button you notice that you have a typo, or the wrong spelling of a word and #ohcrap you need to delete and retweet!

That lead me to write a Drafts Action to take care of that.

I’ll leave others to write about the virtues of Drafts, but it’s fantastic.

The Action I created has two steps: (1) to run some JavaScript and (2) to copy the contents of the draft to the Clipboard. You can get my action here.

Here’s the JavaScript that I used to take a big long sentence and turn it into a social media worthy hashtag

var contents = draft.content;
var newContents = "#";


editor.setText(newContents+contents.replace(/ /g, "").toLowerCase());

Super simple, but holy crap does it help!

Categories
Work

Using Drafts 5 at Work

I have many meetings that I go to in any given day. One of the things that I’d been struggling with was being able to keep track of what I needed to do after a meeting and/or documenting certain types of meetings more effectively.

I have been using a Workflow I created a couple of years ago to get the pertinent details of a meeting into Drafts. I spoke about updating that workflow to incorporate drafts 5 here.

Once I was able to get the information into Drafts 5 a new opportunity arose. I was able to run a Workflow in Drafts!

I decided that getting the information into Drafts was great, but I needed a good way to get it out.

There were two sections in the Draft that I decided I could leverage to help:

  1. Actions
  2. Notes

Broadly speaking there are 3 types of meetings I go to:

  1. Daily Standup aka Scrum
  2. One-on-One with direct reports or my manager
  3. General Meetings

Categorizing the meetings helped me to create Draft Actions that run Workflows for each meeting type.

Scrum

This workflow runs through the Actions of the Draft and adds each one to OmniFocus in a Project called Scrum with a Tag of Work. The due date set for these tasks is noon of the same day. My goal is to have the items that come from Scrum totally processed by noon of that day and for 80% of them I can. Some actions are more involved, but having them in OmniFocus helps me to make sure that they get taken care of.

It also creates a calendar meeting for the next business day with my Scrum template and lets me know which team member will start that next day.

One-on-One

This workflow runs similarly to the Scrum workflow. It adds the Action items to OmniFocus with a due date of noon the same day, tagged with Work and in the One-on-One Project.

Instead of creating a calendar meeting for the next business day at 8:30 it appends items from the Notes section to a Dropbox file. The Dropbox path is predefined, but the name of the file matches the name of the person I met with (luckily I don’t have 2 Tom’s reporting to me).

General Meetings

This is the simplest workflow. It adds all of the items under actions to OmniFocus with a due date of noon, project of Meeting Follow Up and Tag of Work.

After the Actions are run from Drafts the notes are archived in Drafts.

I’m toying with the idea of archiving the notes from these meetings into Dropbox, but I’m not sure that it gets me anything … so I haven’t really looked at it too deeply.

Workflow links

The links for each of the workflows can be found here:

Parse Scrum Notes

Parse One-on-One Notes

Parse Meeting Notes