in Apps, iPad, iPhone

Drafts 3: The Army Knife of Notes Applications

Drafts 3 was launched earlier today with new features that makes it one of the best quick-notes applications in the app store. I don’t say that lightly either. You can challenge me to a stand off and I’ll unlock my iPhone and write a quick note and send it to Things before you had a chance to launch your notes app.

Drafts doesn’t try to be too many things (cough, evernote, cough). Their primary philosophy is that text comes first. As soon as you open drafts you get a blank slate. No fancy bells and whistle, or noises and chrome. The simplicity of the app shines! But don’t let the simplicity fool you, while you can launch Drafts and type your next great idea, you can do much more. So much more.

Drafts Main view

You can update your status on social media, send out an email or text message to someone. If you use reminders you can add reminders from Drafts and if you are the type that uses evernote, you can send the note to it. You can also add a calendar entry, use text expander, send to Things, DayOne, Drobox and so much more.

What’s so amazing about this little app is that you would never realize how powerful it was when you launch it. It look too simple and too safe that you can be easily fooled. When you begin to use the actions you begin to appreciate not only its simplicity, but also its power. This power lies, not so much in the dozens of actions that you can take with each note, but in the workflow you create with it.

I don’t use evernote, I use Simplenote. That’s my main, powerful notes application. I also use Things as my go-to productivity app, I write my journal on Day One and I use Fantastical as my calendar app. This is how my Drafts workflow fits in perfectly with it:

Whenever I get a crazy idea on the go that seems wonderful, I open up Drafts and enter the idea. I close the app and later in the day, I go to Drafts and realize that this idea needs to be an action. So I send the note to my Things app which creates a task in my Things inbox.

Another example is that I just realized that I have to attend a birthday party, so I type: “birthday party @John’s house on Sat 4/27 3pm for 2 hours” on Drafts. I then send the action to “Parse in Fantastical” and when I do, the calendar entry is ready to be saved.

You know how anxiety sneaks into your brain when all you want to do is send an email, but when you open up your mail app you see all of those unread notes? It’s like your brainĀ feels you have to take action. Not cool. What I do, is draft an email in Drafts and when I’m done, hit the action to send email and the email goes off without you ever having to look at your inbox. This is HUGE!!!

Drafts email

These are three simple examples of the kind of actions you can take in Drafts. You can go nuts and set up 60 actions with your notes, or you can take a step back and use it just as a quick notes entry tool. There is no wrong approach. Whatever you decide, you can take comfort that Drafts is easy enough and powerful enough to handle your notes and process them as you see fit.

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