Preparing For Work Meetings

I have too many meetings at work. (But that's a topic for another day.) And I take very detailed notes during each one so I have a running history of our project I can refer back to, so I know what's expected of our team, and what we expect from the other groups we work closely with.

There's nothing unique about that. It's just meeting notes.

But what I want to share today are two quick iOS Shortcuts I use to prepare for each meeting.

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StopTheJeff

Jeff Johnson is my favorite kind of developer. He's stubbornly pragmatic in solving the most infuriating types of problems that customers face: The myriad software paper-cuts forced upon us by large corporations trying to squeeze an extra penny of engagement out of every user and the skeezy, underhanded, web developers exploiting our every click.

This post is my next in the ongoing series I promised to write about my favorite apps in support of #IndieSupportWeeks. I've been meaning to write about Jeff's apps for a couple weeks now, and today’s blog post about his newest creation finally forced my hand into doing so. It's just too deviously clever an app not to write about.

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Additional MailMate Tips

I received a ton of great feedback from visitors about my MailMate love-fest earlier this month. Most people didn't know the app existed. So, here's a few more details around how I have my setup configured along with the hidden preferences I've enabled.

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Fastmail Wrapper for macOS

I keep looking through my archives of old, private coding projects - the ones that I built just for myself to solve a particular need - to see if I can find any that other folks might find useful. So, here’s another one I spent a few hours cleaning up recently.

It's a native macOS app (wrapper) around the fastmail.com website that supports:

  • Multiple Fastmail accounts.
  • Native macOS notifications (and sounds).
  • Customizable Dock icon badges.
  • Keyboard shortcuts (⌘1 - ⌘9) to quickly open specific accounts.

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MailMate

MailMate is a glorious, configurable, ultimate-nerd-dream of an email client built just for macOS. I use it every day in conjunction with Fastmail and SaneBox to give me email super powers.

But the killer feature? It just fucking works.

And believe me. I’ve tried every single email client for Mac and iOS – paid apps, free apps, subscription apps, apps from small companies, and apps from giant corporations.

I don’t know what else to say except that I love this app so much. And unless I’m horribly mistaken and there is secretly a giant corporation hiding behind MailMate and slurping up all of my private data, MailMate is built by a single developer, which is even more awe inspiring.

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Spotish for macOS

Spotish is a dead-simple Mac menu bar app for Spotify – there are many like it, but this one is mine. Here’s why.

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Three Things Today

Every task management app has a feature that will let you postpone, delay, or snooze a task. You can tell them to push a todo item out by a day or a week, etc. But I like to think Three Things is smarter than that. It's designed to be flexible and forgiving - pragmatic and realistic. When you defer a task, it won’t accidentally reschedule it for a day that’s already overflowing with commitments. It literally will not allow you to schedule more than three tasks per day.

It fits my brain. Maybe it’ll fit yours, too.

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Better Recurring Projects Using OmniFocus and TaskPaper

The point of this story is to say that checklists – particularly ones that recur and involve multiple, detailed steps – can be an amazing tool to have at your disposal. And learning to use them was a huge part in my own journey towards letting go of all the crap in my head.

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The Patron Saint of Dumb Ideas

I'm going to try something new. And it's so far outside my wheelhouse and what I would normally be comfortable with that the only reason I'm doing this is due to encouragement from my wife and the assurances of a few friends who swear it's not a completely insane and arrogant idea.

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I May Have Gone Overboard with My Keyboard Shortcuts

I live and die by my keyboard. And here are the shortcuts I couldn’t do without. (Maybe this post should have been titled "A Love Letter to KeybaordMaestro".)

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Quick Access to My Favorite Folders with Keyboard Maestro

So, I did what I almost always do when I face a situation of deep despair on my Mac. I reached for the greatest Swiss Army knife of them all – Keyboard Maestro – and came up with an incredibly lo-fi solution that isn’t as feature rich as what those other apps offer or as convenient as Dock folders (when they don’t disappear), but it works for me!

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Running commands remotely on a Mac that you don't have access to using Hazel and Dropbox

...I'm just glad I'm to the point in my nerd existence where I can be happy applying a fix and not caring about the real underlying issues that don't concern me.

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Categories
Hacks Hazel macOS Nerdery

Making Siri Shortcuts run automatically - even when iOS doesn’t want you to

Let’s talk about something fun and related to my new obsession with Siri Shortcuts and CarPlay. Namely, how to trick iOS into running Shortcut automations that the OS doesn’t typically allow you to do.

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Triage Your Email in the Car with Siri

With this script, Siri will speak a summary of your unread emails and then allow you to take action on each individual message. You can listen to the full email body. Or, you can archive, delete, mark as spam, mark as read or unread, and send a reply.

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Reviving an Old Mac App

A long time ago, on a Mac far, far away... In 2011 I had an idea for a tiny little Mac app called CommandQ. I'm a terrible touch-typist and it just so happens that on U.S. style keyboard layouts, the Q and W keys are right next to each other. That means...

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The Mac Won’t Be Sherlocked

With last week’s WWDC news announcing that Catalyst (Marzipan) is now an official thing, there have been a metric crap-ton of Twitter Hot Takes™ declaring UIKit the one true way forward. I'm not going to debate that. Instead, I just want to point out that not everything in computing revolves around a...

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Automatically backup up the full contents of your Pinboard (and Pocket) bookmarks in DEVONthink

This is a followup to my post last week about archiving your existing Pinboard bookmarks into DEVONthink. I wanted to clarify two points and also explain the new workflow I've setup to automatically archive any new websites I bookmark - whether in Pinboard or Pocket. First, in my last post, I...

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Categories
Hacks Nerdery DEVONthink

How to Import Your Pinboard Bookmarks Into DEVONthink and Convert Them to Searchable Web Archives

Pinboard is a web-based bookmarking service that can optionally crawl the websites you save and store a complete copy of how they appeared at that time. Because Pinboard is a good web citizen, they allow you to request an archive of all of your bookmarks and their saved contents as a...

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Missing Rdio and Making the Best of Apple Music with Shortcuts

Man, I miss Rdio. I mean, I really miss it. I loved that service. When I was a teenager, I'd spend hours on the weekend and get lost in new and used music stores (CD's) just digging through stacks of beautiful album artwork and unfamiliar band names. I'd talk with other...

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Starting and Finishing More Long-Form Writing in Drafts.app

I'm writing this blog post in Drafts.app on my Mac. But before I publish it, I'll also probably do some light editing of it on my iPad before bed. And I've been capturing ideas, short thoughts, and building a basic outline on my phone over the past few days as...

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Categories
Writing Drafts.app

Why Many of my Apps Failed And What Comes Next

I've started building something new. I'm about four weeks in and already finding it incredibly useful in my day-to-day. I've built many different apps over the years, thrown them against the wall, and excitedly watched which ones developed a following and which ones failed miserably. Most of my apps have fallen into two...

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A Faster Way to Create Multiple Tasks in OmniFocus (with all sorts of details!) Using Drafts.app

Following-up on my previous post about using Drafts to create new GitHub issues, here's another action I built and use all the time. This allows you to create multiple tasks in OmniFocus with defer dates, due dates, and tags in one step. It does this by parsing a compact, easy-to-write syntax that...

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Creating New GitHub Issues From Drafts.app

After last week's post about how to create a GitHub issue with image attachments from an email, I thought I'd try and speed up how quickly / easily I'm able to create new issues that don't come from customer emails - i.e., the ones that just randomly occur to me. Drafts...

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Moving to a More Comprehensive Weekly Review

Your weekly review is probably the key to keeping your trusted system running smoothly and most importantly out of your mind. For years, my review was little more than going through my list of projects every Sunday morning and making sure each was in an acceptable state. But after reading Kourosh...

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Categories
Productivity OmniFocus

Creating a Daily Standup Perspective With OmniFocus

Like many of you in the software industry, every morning at 10am my team has a standup meeting. It’s meant to be a quick five minute meeting where everyone says what they accomplished yesterday, what they’re planning on doing today, and if anything is blocking them from moving forward. If...

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Categories
OmniFocus

Must, Will, Might

Last month I came across a clever post about using just two GTD contexts by Matt Henderson (by way of SimplicityBliss). Like many of us, he’s experimented with lots of different ways of managing contexts. There’s the traditionalist approach where your contexts mimic the tools or location available to you:...

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Categories
Productivity OmniFocus

Connecting Amazon Alexa's Todo's with OmniFocus

Last week Amazon Alexa and IFTTT hooked up in a big way. They now have triggers that allow you to do things whenever you add an item to your Alexa to-do or shopping lists. This is awesome because now those items don't have to live within Amazon's ecosystem. With a...

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Where do External Triggers Belong?

The great thing about blogging vs a shorter medium like Twitter, is you can have actual, in-depth conversations. There's nothing better than someone replying to a post you wrote with one of their own. So here's one... Last week I wrote about External Triggers in OmniFocus. Sven Fechner of SimplicityBliss picked...

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Categories
Productivity OmniFocus

Creating a Weekly Preview from your Weekly Review

I've long felt that the two most important aspects of following GTD are having an inbox where you can quickly record any task that occurs to you and then the regularly scheduled review that keeps your system on track and up to date with your priorities. For me, the weekly...

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Categories
Productivity OmniFocus

External Triggers in OmniFocus

In OmniFocus, and in other GTD systems I'm sure, there is the concept of a sequential project. A sequential project is any task with two or more steps that have to happen in a specific order. You can't move on to the next step until you've completed the first step. An...

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Categories
Productivity OmniFocus

Lowering the Project Threshold

One part of GTD and OmniFocus that I've always struggled with is the idea that any action that requires more than one step is actually a project. It sounds simple, and I agree with that definition in theory, but I've never followed through in practice. My OmniFocus project list has...

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Categories
Productivity OmniFocus

Twelve Hours

A few months ago I wrote about how I've spent my software career constantly building new ideas and putting them out into the world to see what sticks. It's scary as hell to release a new product into the world - never knowing how it will be received. But that's...

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Handling Repeating Tasks and Routines in OmniFocus

After reading my last post about my OmniFocus setup, Evan Lovely asked Could you talk more about your Routines? What's in there? Does anything repeat? Do you set defer or due dates on them? He's referring to a Single-Action List I have inside my "Personal" folder called "Routines". Inside this project are...

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Categories
Productivity OmniFocus

"Not sure where he got that from"

I should probably explicitly say that much of...

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Categories
OmniFocus

My OmniFocus Habits - Four Years Later

I've been using OmniFocus since the Kinkless days. Over those many years, my life has changed in countless ways, and with it, so has the way I use OmniFocus. Perhaps the best compliment I can give the app, is that it's always managed to be exactly what I needed it...

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Categories
Productivity OmniFocus

Delegating Tasks and Outsourcing Your Indie Business

A few weeks ago there was some discussion online about hiring virtual personal assistants to help offload non-essential business tasks. Around that same time a Twitter user messaged me (and quite a few other indie devs) asking what sort of business tasks we would consider outsourcing. I'm pretty sure this...

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Constraints

I often find that constraints, real or artificial, can be a huge motivation and productivity boost when I find myself stalled on a project or piece of work. Forcing yourself to work within a specific limitation can cause you to find a creative solution in a direction you might otherwise...

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Assigning Relationships Between Tasks and People in OmniFocus

For years I've used on-hold "waiting" contexts named after coworkers and family members to denote tasks that I've assigned to other people and am waiting on them to finish. But a few weeks ago I had a realization that there are two other types of relationships between tasks and people...

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Categories
Productivity OmniFocus

Minion for Mac

In case you missed it, I've been working on a new Mac app for the past month or so. I spent the last few days polishing things and getting it into an MVP state - not quite as full featured as I'd like, but complete enough that I felt comfortable...

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Nostalgia - Rename Your Photos

I have a problem. Half of my photos come from my iPhone (via the Dropbox uploader), which creates filenames based on the date they were taken. But all the photos from my awesome DSLR are named BLAHBLAH_7001.jpg and BLAHBLAH_7002.jpg. That annoys me. I want all of my filenames to be...

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Choosing the Right App

Just a quick reminder that occurred to me today. Always remember to use the appropriate tool. Don't be afraid to split your data across multiple apps and inboxes when appropriate. For example, I store all of my action items and tasks in OmniFocus. But last night I remembered I needed to buy...

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Categories
Productivity OmniFocus

Using Hazel to Highlight any Uncommitted git Changes

Today I thought I'd share one of the more esoteric Hazel rules I use to monitor the files on my Mac. (If you're not familiar with Hazel, an indespensible Mac utility that everyone should own, here's a brief intro.) This rule monitors the folder containing all of my git repositories and...

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Categories
Productivity Hazel

OmniFocus for People Who Work From Home

Two and a half years ago, when I first wrote about how I use OmniFocus, I was working a full-time job in addition to my committments at home and my freelance work. A year ago this week, I left my day job and ventured out on my own — devoting...

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Categories
Productivity OmniFocus

How I Use OmniFocus to Organize My Life

I've noticed a resurgence on the web of people talking about OmniFocus and how they use the app to manage their task lists. Despite being a user for nearly three years — since the first public beta — for some reason I've never gotten around to writing about why I...

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Categories
Productivity OmniFocus