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.


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.


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

Productivity Work

Updating my meeting Workflow for Drafts 5

Drafts is a productivity app created by Greg Pierce (@AgileTortoise).

I’ve loved and used Drafts 4 every day for the last several years. I loved it so much I even contributed to the Tip Jar Greg had in the app. Seriously, it’s an amazing app. If you haven’t downloaded it already you totally should.

Recently, Greg released Drafts 5. With this new version comes a new Business Model as well. Instead of a single pay (and hope people ‘tip’ you) he’s converted to a subscription model.

I signed up for the free week and didn’t have a real opportunity to use it before my free week was converted into a pay week but I’ve no regrets. I like what Greg does and want him to keep updating his app so that I can get the benefits of it once I have a real chance to dive in.

Part of the reason I wasn’t able to really use the new version is the way that I primarily use Drafts. I have a WorkFlow that takes a meeting on my work calendar and allows me to take notes about that meetings.

It’s one of the most useful productivity tools I have during my morning standup meetings with my team, and it’s useful for the other (sometimes endless) meetings that I go to.

With the release of Drafts 5 I was not longer able to use both Drafts 5 AND my workflow, so I needed to update my workflow.

With Drafts 4 it was just one of the built in Apps. Because Drafts 5 limits some of the functionality unless you have the PRO version I don’t think that Workflow will be updated to include Drafts 5 like it did Drafts 4.

Once I realized that AND since I’m paying for the app I figured I’d need to update my Workflow instead of waiting and hoping that Workflow would be updated to include Drafts 5.

In order to make the update I had to look for URL Scheme for Drafts 5 … but I couldn’t really find one. I assumed that Drafts 5 URL Scheme would be the same as Drafts 4 (I was right) and made various attempts at getting a copy of the Workflow to work with Drafts 5.

This is the section of the workflow that needs to be updated:

Since Drafts 5 isn’t included in the Built in Apps I was going to need to pass a URL and open the app.

This would require 3 separate steps in Workflow

  1. Convert Text into URL Encoded string
  2. Prepend the URL Scheme for creating a new draft to the URL Encoded String
  3. Open the URL

This basically means that 1 step is now replaced with 3 … but hey, that’s the price of progress must be paid!

Both the Drafts 4 and Drafts 5 versions of these workflows are available.

If you enjoy them, hit me up in the comments or let me know on Twitter @ryancheley!

Raspberry Pi


Last Wednesday if you would have asked what I had planned for Easter I would have said something like, “Going to hide some eggs for my daughter even though she knows the Easter bunny isn’t real.”

Then suddenly my wife and I were planning on entertaining for 11 family members. My how things change!

Since I was going to have family over, some of whom are Giants fans, I wanted to show them the ITFDB program I have set up with my Pi.

The only problem is that they would be over at 10am and leave by 2pm while the game doesn’t start until 5:37pm (Thanks ESPN).

To help demonstrate the script I wrote a demo script to display a message on the Pi and play the Vin Scully mp3.

The Code was simple enough:

from sense_hat import SenseHat
import os

def main():
    sense = SenseHat()
    message = '#ITFDB!!! The Dodgers will be playing San Francisco at 5:37pm tonight!'
    sense.show_message(message, scroll_speed=0.05)
    os.system("omxplayer -b /home/pi/Documents/python_projects/itfdb/dodger_baseball.mp3")

if __name__ == '__main__':

But then the question becomes, how can I easily launch the script without futzing with my laptop?

I knew that I could run a shell script for the Workflow app on my iPhone with a single action, so I wrote a simple shell script

python3 ~/Documents/python_projects/itfdb/

Which was called

And made it executable

chmod u+x

Finally, I created a WorkFlow which has only one action Run Script over SSH and added it to my home screen so that with a simple tap I could demo the results.

The WorkFlow looks like this:

Nothing too fancy, but I was able to reliably and easily demonstrate what I had done. And it was pretty freaking cool!


Keeping track of which movies I want to watch

One thing I like to do with my family is watch movies. But not just any movies, Comic Book movies. We’ve seen both Thor and Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man and Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s not a lot, but we’re working on it.

I’ve mapped out the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies for us to watch, and it’s OK, but there wasn’t a easy way to link into the iTunes store from the list.

I decided that I could probably use Workflow to do this, but I hadn’t really worked with it to do it, but today I had a bit of time and figured, “what they heck … why not?”

My initial attempt was clunky. It required to workflows to accomplish what I needed. This was because I had to split the work of Workflow into 2 workflows:

  • Get the Name
  • Get the Link

Turns out there’s a much easier way, so I’ll post the link to that workflow, and not the workflows that are much harder to use!

The workflow Add Movie to Watch accepts iTunes products. The workflow then does the following:

  • It saves the iTunes products URL as a variable called iTunes
  • It then gets the iTunes variable to retrieve the Name and sets the value to a variable called Movie
  • Next it asks ‘Who is the movie being added by?’ This is important for my family as we want a common list, but it’s also good to know who added the movie!
  • This value is saved to a variable called User
  • Finally, I want to know when the movie was added so I get the current date.

We take all of the items and construct a bit of text that looks like this:

[{Movie}]({iTunes}) - Added on {Input} by {User}

Where each of the words above surrounded by the {} are the variable names previously mentioned ({Input} is from the get current date and doesn’t need to be saved to a variable).

In my last step I take this text and append it to a file in Dropbox called Movies to

It took way longer than I would have liked to finish this up, but at the end of the day, I’m glad that I was able to get it done.


Pushing Changes from Pythonista to GitHub – Step 1

With the most recent release of the iOS app Workflow I was toying with the idea of writing a workflow that would allow me to update / add a file to a GitHub repo via a workflow.

My thinking was that since Pythonista is only running local files on my iPad if I could use a workflow to access the api elements to push the changes to my repo that would be pretty sweet.

In order to get this to work I’d need to be able to accomplosh the following things (not necessarily in this order)

  • Have the workflow get a list of all of the repositories in my GitHub
  • Get the current contents of the app to the clip board
  • Commit the changes to the master of the repo

I have been able to write a Workflow that will get all of the public repos of a specified github user. Pretty straight forward stuff.

The next thing I’m working on getting is to be able to commit the changes from the clip board to a specific file in the repo (if one is specified) otherwise a new file would be created.

I really just want to ‘have the answer’ for this, but I know that the journey will be the best part of getting this project completed.

So for now, I continue to read the GitHub API Documentation to discover exactly how to do what I want to do.