Quick capture with Drafts 4

I heard Merlin Mann and Mike Vardy mention Drafts for iOS on a few podcasts, and Drafts 4 was released a few days ago. It’s an endless notepad with the ability to “move” the text into other apps with ease.

Drafts swiftly gets my thoughts out of my head. It’s in my dock, so I’m more likely to write.1 I’ve also added it to my Today menu. (e.g. Swipe down from the top.)

Start in Drafts and decide where to save (publish) later.

  • Workflows are magical. If I start writing a (rare) tweet, morphing that into a full blog post is easy. Drafts can turn a few words into a task in Things, or save a random observation to Day One.
  • Cool feature: When you open an existing note, the cursor is set at its previous location.
  • I love Markdown Preview for longer posts when I’m away from my laptop. I want to quickly confirm any linked text is correct, and I copy my draft from Simplenote.

The app is $4.99, and totally worth it! :)

Here are some workflows I use:

Do you have any Draft 4 workflows or tips to share?


  1. I type faster than I write. 

A Day in the Life of a Happiness Engineer: October 10, 2014

I considered today as self–imposed crunch time because I’m back to “normal” next week.

Unresolved posts summary

  • October 6, 2014: 69 unresolved, oldest at 1y 5w.
  • October 10, 2014: 5 unresolved, oldest at 29w 1d1.
  • Resolved posts: 64!

Here are a few other things I did:

  • Spent about 45 minutes reviewing my options and booking flights for an upcoming team meetup (offsite work trip).
  • Move one unresolved threads forward.
  • Spent about 90 minutes publishing my daily workflow on an internal site. I’m really proud of it.
  • I spent 30 minutes recording a couple screencasts to demonstrate Things for the Field Guide page I published earlier in the week. (I’m sort of a perfectionist, and it was lingering on my projects page.)
  • Updated several more internal support pages.
  • Suspend a bunch of spam blogs.
  • Cleared some trash in my office. (I need to schedule a weekly review. See “How to do a Weekly Review in Under an Hour” for some tips.)

Going forward, I will aim to schedule at least 1–2 hours per week (or maybe 30 minutes per day) to go through stale tasks in Things.

Thanks for following along! If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment or send me a private message through my contact form. :)

This week, I’m documenting each day along with many other Automatticians. If you’d like to follow along, we’re using the #a8cday tag. If you’re intrigued, we’re hiring!


  1. The next oldest is 23d, then 9d after that. w00t! 

A Day in the Life of a Happiness Engineer: October 8, 2014

Having a headache for most of the afternoon, I powered through as best I could.

One of my goals for this week is to process unresolved posts, which means:

  • Determine the next action(s), and do them (if possible).
  • If I can’t move it forward, ping the appropriate people.
  • If there’s nothing else to be done, mark the thread as resolved. I leave a comment in case a commenter wants to reopen.

I don’t think we’ll get to zero this week, but we’ll have a clearer vision if we tend to the oldest items and develop a routine of processing unresolved posts regularly.

06:45 — Leg cramp woke me up, and I couldn’t go back to sleep. I reconcile YNAB with our bank accounts, and…watch the series finale of Burn Notice. I might’ve watched a few random videos on YouTube after that.

09:15 — Breakfast. Glad I bought coffee last night, the previous bag was stale.

09:35 — Read Twitter1 scroll back.

10:25 — Read Slack scroll back and 38 P2 notifications.

11:12 — Noted how a colleague processed an internal question regarding a series of sites violating our policies. Will post a reminder to cross–reference a decision with a link to the originating thread.

11:15 — Unresolved posts count: 12.

11:40 — Scheduled items appeared in Things for today, so I switch to work through the five tasks. Rad, some were already resolved from yesterday.

13:03 — Unresolved posts count: 7. I clear the newest P2 email notifications, then take lunch. (Me want food.)

15:53 — Returned from an extended lunch, after a few errands.

17:01 — Unresolved posts count: 6. We gained one today, and a few are still pretty new and awaiting further feedback. I updated several support pages.

18:00 — I pinged a colleague to check my draft of a Trac ticket related to an unresolved thread. Fortunately, I could skip that massive thread; it wouldn’t be relevant in a few months.

18:11 — In preparation for tomorrow’s team chat, I write my proposal for about documenting all the things we do on our team.

18:40 — Sign off for dinner with Amy, and watch a couple episodes of Lost.

20:59 — Grab my laptop to write this post.

This week, I’m documenting each day along with many other Automatticians. If you’d like to follow along, we’re using the #a8cday tag. If you’re intrigued, we’re hiring!

A Day in the Life of a Happiness Engineer: October 7, 2014

06:55 — One of the cats are scratching at the foot of the bed (box spring, perhaps). I heat up leftovers from last night, make two “shots” of coffee with my AeroPress, and eat breakfast while listening to an episode of Overtired. (Keep up the great work, Christina and Brett! Haiku Decisis is really epic, and I share it with my fellow Community Guardians at WordPress.com.)

09:45 — In Slack, a colleague sees that PopClip is on sale for $1.99 for a short period of time, and I mention Brett’s PopClip Extensions. A couple of us geek about Alfred.

10:09 — I swoon seeing a few more Likes from yesterday’s post, and spot Jeremey DuVall mentioning my Things workflow, which is currently posted internally. I aim to post something slightly more generic this week.

10:18 — Time to clear 32 email notifications from P2s. Gmail keyboard shortcuts are your friend! Some require some reading, so I add that to my “A8Cx – To Read” note in Simplenote1.

10:46 — Eight browser tabs open, some which will turn into tasks in Things.

10:49 — Meh, I don’t want to listen to “Found out about you” by Gin Blossoms. With Alfred, I advance to the next Rdio track by pressing “ne” — which displays the Next Track action from the Rdio Workflow for Alfred 2 by David Ferguson — then Enter.

11:00 — Time to crank through some unresolved posts! Count is at 48.

11:25 — Yikes, one of these threads requires us to create a few Trac tickets for fixes regarding an internal tool we use to process DMCA notices. That’s a project, not task. Into Things it goes.

12:15 — New unresolved posts count: 39. Some threads were “easy” to mark as resolved because they haven’t gotten any other comments, and it didn’t seem like we had to do anything else. Fortunately, people who follow or commented on the thread should see a WordPress.com notification in their admin bar. I’ll have a lot of fans this week. ;)

12:43 — Unresolved posts count: 36. I should get lunch before I lose track of time. I also realized I haven’t taken a break for water. This happens often, but the water bottle we received during the last Grand Meetup helps. I’ll clear the baker’s dozen of P2 notifications once more.

12:47 — I left this fitting animated GIF as a reply for a comment thread.

12:53 — Time for lunch. Feels like Subway.

14:00 — Amy isn’t feeling well, so I took off to take care of an errand for her, then we hung out for a bit.

15:05 — Processing my email and going through Slack back scroll, I smile to see that Steve is in love with Alfred for OS X.

15:30 — Unresolved posts count: 37. Created another internal support page on how to handle a specific type of email notification (edge case).

16:23 — Unresolved posts count: 30. Taking a break to see how Amy is doing.

16:52 — Back in the saddle.

17:35 — Unresolved posts count: 25. Updated another internal support to document new metrics for our automated scanning of spam (or ham) blogs.

18:35 — Unresolved posts count: 12.

18:42 — Calling it a night by publishing this post. See you tomorrow! :)

This week, I’m documenting each day along with many other Automatticians. If you’d like to follow along, we’re using the #a8cday tag. If you’re intrigued, we’re hiring!


  1. The naming scheme was an idea from Michael Schechter, who borrowed it from Merlin Mann

A Day in Life of a Happiness Engineer: October 6, 2014

You’re joining me for two journeys: posting each day this week for a series called “Day in the Life”, and a week without dealing with our ticket queues1.

I woke up around 06:30 earlier than usual for a synchronous Slack chat with a couple of coworkers — Albuquerque, NM, and Budapest, Hungary — regarding a side project dedicated for the happiness of Happiness Engineers. Because time zones!

I fire up an Ambient playlist shared on Rdio, which doesn’t have any songs with lyrics. It currently has 239 songs at 1,739 minutes.

I process about two dozen email notifications from select P2s, which includes replying to a fellow HE about something related to our team, Justitia (Terms of Service).

08:19 — I sign off to shut my eyes a bit more, before having breakfast burrito from Tops, and watch an episode of Burn Notice on Netflix (S07E11).

Logging back in, I take a couple of minutes to process a dozen more P2 notifications, then start towards my project list.

First up: Write an internal page explaining how I use Things as my task manager. I’ll likely publish it here, too. I wrote much of it elsewhere, so I’m wrapping up with finishing touches, which includes adding relevant screenshots.

I ping an HE who attended the meetup (where I got this ball rolling), confirming where to publish the page.

At around 12:20, I ask another HE a favor—because he showed interest in Things a few weeks ago—to read through it once more before I publish.

While I wait for him to wrap up what he’s currently working on, I take three minutes to process (clear) the feedback queues (from contact forms) for three main sites that gets spammed, but sometimes has false positives. I use an Alfred workflow, triggered with a hotkey, that opens the three sites I need to check.

Ooh, a compliment! I’m an “efficiency machine”. That makes me blush.

I remove an extraneous sentence, publish to our internal Field Guide, let the rest of Happiness know on our Happiness–wide P2, and check off the project. w00t!

Our team P2 says we have 69 unresolved posts, which means we’re waiting to hear back about something, or…forgot to mark a thread as resolved. I take a short stretch and water break, aiming to try to reduce that count by a few before lunch. Starting from the oldest which are almost one year old, I add a comment to a thread when I mark it as resolved. Funnily, my team lead pings me that at this rate, I should be done by the end of the day. Lolz. :)

Down to 59 unresolved posts at 14:45, I quickly clear P2 email notifications, then take off for lunch. I totally lost track of time.

A blur of time passed, and I got down to 51 unresolved posts. I left some threads with a comment that I’d mark the thread as resolved in a couple of days, and saved scheduled tasks for myself in Things to circle back on Wednesday.

18:00 — An unresolved thread led me to a rabbit hole of suspending spam blogs (or splogs). Twenty minutes later, I’m realizing I have to publish this post and wrap up my day. (Yes, the thread is now resolved.)

The new Unresolved Posts count: 48 (21 less than when I started). Boom. The battle continues tomorrow. :)

This week, I’m documenting each day along with many other Automatticians. If you’d like to follow along, we’re using the #a8cday tag. If you’re intrigued, we’re hiring!


  1. I’m a guinea pig for the rest of my team.