The Sum of the Parts

This summer opened my eyes to trying new things with task management. I had a great, wonderful system, and then split it in two. Then I tried Reminders instead, and loved it even more when I got my Apple Watch. And life as I knew it was going along just fine. Until something just felt off.

I couldn’t put my finger on it. I was accomplishing what I needed, and there wasn’t really a hole in my system. Life had just gone from chaotic to simplistic. And maybe that’s why things felt wrong. I can’t explain why, but it just didn’t feel right anymore. I’m sure it’s a bit of a sickness, but I have come to realize I need to have some complexity in my life.

So I started thinking of what to do next. Did I need to try a new system? I’ve tried OmniFocus, Things, Due, etc. and nothing really stuck, despite those apps being great in their own ways. I thought about what made the Reminders experiment so great: the simplicity. But yet, when I needed to look at everything going on, it was cumbersome at best. I tried to make something work, but it just felt wrong to me. So maybe it wasn’t a problem of the tools I have and what I’m using, but rather how I’m using them (or not).

And it’s led me to a strange, crazy place.
Continue reading “The Sum of the Parts”

Dictation Dingus

There are a lot of things during the day that I often need to remember. And most of the time, I’m trying to get things into my phone quickly without having to think too much about where it’s going.

Enter Drafts.

Drafts is a wonderful tool for this kind of activity. I can simply enter the text using my fingers and thumbs. Starting ideas here has been the natural place for me for a long time now. And with the latest update, it’s now made even easier with the dictation feature, thanks to the changes made in iOS 10. It takes cognition-to-completion, something I first heard from Merlin Mann on Back-to-Work, down to seconds to complete.
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Something Different, Something New

I often can get stuck in my ways. I might find something I really like, and use it until it breaks. And then I’ll go get the same thing to replace it. The exception is apps: I like trying things, even if I only end up back where I began. And when I find a great app, it usually makes me want to use it often.

For a long time now, I’ve used Drafts for all of my writing. I absolutely love Drafts: I’ve written about my love for it and the amazing things it can do multiple times over. I write and process posts through Drafts, using a combination of keys, actions, and Workflow to get them published. If my dreams come true for the next big version of Drafts, it will further cement it as the single app on iOS that I can’t live without.

There are three main ways that I use Drafts on a regular basis (for writing):

  1. short snippets of text that I need to transform into something else in another app
  2. my daily journal entries (typically short)
  3. my website (usually too long)

The first two are made easier with Drafts, due to the custom workflows I have set up to make them happen. But having a dedicated app to concentrate on my website, where I don’t get distracted — by notes, calendar entries and tasks that reside in Drafts before they are sent elsewhere — is extremely appealing to allow me to write in a more focused manner.

So in the year of great writing apps, and my own interests with trials and experiments, I began feeling like maybe I should sit down and really give some dedicated apps a shot. Am I using the right tool for the job? Are there things that I’m missing or could improve upon by not trying something different, something new?
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Making 2Do Lists Better

I’ve recently traveled a few times for personal trips with my family. It’s been really great to get away, and I’ve appreciated the time spent not working or stressing out about my house.[1]

I specifically made it a point for these trips to focus on the pre-travel things: packing, getting the house ready, and making sure that we left with everything and with no stress.

Normally, I would make a small list in Drafts of things I needed to pack. I might keep it in Drafts, or I would use a checklist action and workflow to move it over to my Travel list in 2Do.

And while that worked, I really wish I had the new features that come with the release of 2Do v3.8.3. Continue reading “Making 2Do Lists Better”