Capturing into Drafts

How I capture all of my ideas and thoughts with one tap

Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple, learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen. -John Steinbeck

If that isn’t enough for you to realize how important it is to capture ideas I don’t know what is.

As someone that writes a regular newsletter and reads lots of blog posts in my field, ideas come to me all the time. The issue for me has never been coming up with ideas or things I want to say. The issue is capturing them so that I can choose between the good ideas and the bad ideas.

Thankfully, I created a couple of Shortcuts that allow me to make capturing ideas dead simple no matter where I am. I have one that allows me to quickly type an idea out, while I have another that allows me to record myself and have it transcribed for later capturing and processing.

Typing New Ideas

A simple yet effective way for me to capture ideas is to make a Shortcut that simply asks for text input, takes that input and creates a new Drafts note in my Inbox.

As someone that lightly follows the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology it is important to capture everything and make time to process those things later.

It is more important for me to save the bad ideas than to decide what idea is bad or good each time I have an idea populate in my mind.

As I said, this Shortcut is prominently on my Home Screen and has created a dead simple process for me to capture thoughts and ideas throughout my day.

Recording Ideas while Driving

The only time where it can be dangerous for me to type something into my phone is when I am behind the wheel. As someone that drives 90 minutes a day commuting to and from work I often think about things and gather ideas in my mind during that time. This created a predicament for me as I don’t want to put myself or others in danger by texting while driving, but I also know how fleeting these ideas can be for me.

I needed a way to capture my voice and have that recording captured and transcribed for later processing.

Siri Still Can’t Cut it

I first tried to use Siri and capture my ideas that way, but there were two show-stopping problems using Siri for me.

The first problem was getting it to create a new Draft. I would say things like “create a new Draft” or “create a new note in Drafts” and it would have moderate success. Sometimes it would create a note in drafts with no problems, other times it wouldn’t work that way at all. In the same vain as this, I often lost my train of thought when I would think about the syntax I needed to use when creating a Draft with Siri. Too many times I would start talking into Siri and lose the through line to the idea I had previously, all because I had to rethink on how I wanted to talk to a robot to save my ideas.

The second issue I had was when I did capture those ideas with my voice I always felt like I was up against a clock. Siri often would cut me off as I am talking out an idea, or I would pause between sentences as I form what I want to say and Siri would see that as me ending my request. I wanted to be in control of when my mic was no longer hot, and I can’t do that with Siri. To combat this, I decided to download Just Press Record.

Just Press Record (JPR) is a fantastic app to capture and transcribe your voice for later use, and it allows me to be in control of my own destiny when I have an idea while my hands are preoccupied. After a few changes in the app’s settings panel I managed to enable transcriptions of every item I record into Just Press Record. So now I can tap a Shortcut to begin capturing ideas into the app and tap the screen again when I am done, and JPR does its magic.

The only problem I have faced with this is that JPR’s Shortcut support isn’t great. So along with a recording in the Shortcuts I also create a standard task in Things 3 reminding me to process that recording later today and take that transcript from Just Press Record and share it to Drafts.

Both of those Shortcuts live on my Home Screen for quick access and they have been fantastic additions to make sure that when I have something pop up in my mind I am able to save it for later no matter what I am doing.

If you want to download these and give them a shot feel free! The links are below.

If you find out another solution to this problem or have improvements to the Shortcuts I have created drop me a line.

Drafts Capture Typing Shortcut

Drafts Capture Recording Shortcut