jarrodwhaley.com

I make films. I'm also a nerd.

My Fiddly Idea-Tracking System

I’ve been using Drafts on iOS for a while now. For those unfamiliar with it, it’s an app which facilitates the quick capture and easy organization of text. One of the things I use it for is taking quick notes about ideas which might occur to me as I’m going about my day. I’ve set up a Dropbox Action which facilitates that process: I think of something, fire up Drafts, type a quick note, and then send it to a Markdown-formatted plain-text file called ideas.md. I can then open up that file later in any text editor, and see all my ideas in one place. It’s been really, really handy.

For a while now, I’ve been looking for a way to add text to that file in an equally easy fashion on my Macs. Sure, it’s pretty painless to just flip over to nvALT and type it in there, but I find that often as not, switching from one app to another while I’m working on something will distract me, and suddenly I’ve lost focus on whatever I was doing when the idea occurred to me. It’s not a huge problem, but it does tend to slow me down at times.

As luck would have it, Greg Pierce of Agile Tortoise–who happens to be the developer of the aforementioned Drafts app–has shared a workflow for Alfred 2 which solves my problem pretty neatly. I just pop up an Alfred prompt, type “i” followed by the note I’d like to add to my ideas.md file, hit enter, and my note is appended to the file–and all of this happens without diverting my attention away from whatever app I was working in.

My use requires a few quick tweaks to the Ruby script Greg wrote, but it’s nothing a nerd worth a pinch of salt can’t handle. You can download the workflow file here. Give it a go.