It’s 2020 and I’m back to using my iPad again and the big reason is how great iOS apps are at getting all the things done. I thought the PC would be a nice system to start writing with the nice clicks keyboard, but honestly PC is good for a minimum of things. PC only programs, gaming and storage. Honestly the PC is my gaming device for everything that doesn’t play on Nintendo Switch or XBox. Games like Civilization 6, Battletech and similar are just better on PC even if they are on XBox. So how am I using the iPad to start again?
Tasks - Things 3
First is I’m back to Things 3 as my task manager. There is not a prettier app on any device than Things, but not only is it pretty but it works so amazingly well. Plus on iPad the keyboard shortcuts are nothing short of best in class. I can do so much without having to touch the screen at all. I always wished Todoist would look half as good as Things, but it’s trying to be more than I need and although I could use Todoist on PC I found I never wanted to. So I’m using Things again and mainly entry by iPhone and iPad and then working to plan and schedule on the iPad each morning.
Systems - Smart Kayboard and mouse
Next up is the Smart Keyboard and mouse. I bought a Smart Keyboard as my 10.5″ iPad Pro does not work with the new Magic Keyboard and honestly the cost is pretty prohibitive for me. So I picked up a Smart Keyboard on sale for $100 and a $30 Logitech Bluetooth mouse and honestly feel like this is a totally new device. Yes I miss the function row of some of the Logitech keyboards, but this setup is exactly what I want. I still sometimes use my finger on the screen as the scroll of the mouse is a bit weird, but otherwise having this keyboard and mouse is like magic to me.
Heavy Lifter - Drafts 5
Finally I have the app that ties this all together and I’m using to write this post right now. That app is Drafts 5 from @agiletortoise. This app can be a bit overwhelming and why I’ve used it here and there, but often felt I needed something else. Now I’m all in and finding I might not be able to live without it. I’m not even using this as much as someone like Tim Nahumck, but I want to learn and build it out to fill my needs.
Currently everything I dump into my phone goes to Drafts; articles to read, ideas, musings, wishlist, groceries. These all end up in the inbox I’ve made and I try to clear them at least once a week. Some may go to Things or even to my Files app, but in the moment of saving I don’t need to think about it. I just place it and forget it for now.
The second use case is writing. Currently my morning pages, work notes and blogging are all occurring in Drafts. I have some workspaces created to silo these ideas and also have actions (I’ll possibly go into using actions in Drafts some day) for each of them. These ideas can then be found by workspace sorting or an amazing search.
As I said before I’ll try to write about actions in the future, but the ability of drafts is not only to be a dumping ground for notes, but a way to handle them as well. When I finish this post I have only to swipe left on the screen and tap “Post to Blog” or “Post to Draft”. Either of these will save a markdown file to Dropbox and place it in my draft folder or posts. I use a blogging service called Blot that just pulls any file saved to the posts folder and makes it the next post. So with one tap I’m done and my post is ready to go.
I tried doing something like this on PC and it just became a hassle. Everything was a github script, or a web based option (Dilliner is nice, but not a full time option for me) or doesn’t tie in well to Dropbox.
That is just one action. Drafts ties into so many apps for easy use; Messages, Things, Reminders, Notes, Google Docs, Spark, Mail.app and so many more. This app can be the place you keep notes, or just be where you type them. You can compose and publish tweets from here or even create calendar events using natural language.
So I’m back on iPad and now I hope that I can be back to blogging frequently in this time of staying home. Maybe I can even learn how to do some crazy integrations with other apps by using java…OK maybe I’ll just stick to the easy stuff. Either way I’m enjoying my time back on iPad.