Project Templates in 2Do with Workflow

For the past several months I've been trying out 2Do as my task manager. While there are many complicated reasons for my tentative, and possibly temporary, move away from OmniFocus the main reason for the switch is templates.

As explained on the Cortex podcast I run my whole life as a series of checklists, which was only possible with OmniFocus on the Mac and only with now-abandoned 3rd party software.

Looking for replacements on iOS yielded exactly one: 2Do. While it doesn't have native template support, it does have a decent plugin for Workflow which allowed me to write a template creation script on iOS.

How To Make Templates on 2DO

1) Get Workflow

2) Download my script

3) Understand the syntax:

Inside of the script is a text box where you can paste your own project template. Each task needs to be on its own line:

Example task 3 $variable | tag1, tag2 | 3 | 4

The first text before the pipe is the name of the task. It can include a variable that is the same as the project name. For example my videos have task items with names like:

Write draft 3 for $variable

Where $variable is the name of the video.

After the second pipe can come any number of tags separated by commas.

The final two pipes are for defining variable start and due dates. When the template runs it asks for a project due date. The first number is how many days before the project due date the individual task should be due. The second number is how many days before the project is due. This can also be replaced by a NULL (as shown in the template) to give the task no start date so that it is immediately available.

When run, the script defaults to dumping all the tasks and the project into a list called 'Templates'. This allows you on iOS to easily bulk move all the tasks into the project and them move the project to wherever you want in your system.

H.I. #60: The Beautiful Game

Brady and Grey discuss: transporters and dying while asleep, Brady's return from The Forbidden Kingdom, hotstopper follow-up, the best month of gaming, the temptations of a smaller phone, conclusion of the Super Bowl of Flags, ye olde corporate compensation corner, and robots are coming to take your job corner.

Growing & Cutting: Two Ways of Writing

I've always found editing scripts by hand to be useful. But getting typed words onto physical paper to actually edit always incurred resistance: difficult printers, paper and toner supplies, pens running short of ink, to say nothing of the need to plan ahead. For a while I had a script that automatically printed my active writing projects in the morning so I could grab them and go. But it was wasteful and unreliable. Each OS X update brought new trouble and I eventually abandoned the project -- reserving handwriting for only the most dire of situations.

But the Apple Pencil and iPad Pro changed that.

Now with the press of a button in Editorial I can spit out a triple-spaced PDF, open it up in Goodnotes and be editing by hand in seconds. No planning ahead required -- now any cafe table or train cabin is just as good a place to handwrite as to type.

Given my past technological cheerleading, it may surprise some how much I value working with messy handwriting and clumsy arrows.

Writing by hand mode-shifts the brain. A keyboard under the fingers makes it easy to add more and more -- the click of the keys is the wind at your back. But the constraints of the printed page make adding indefinitely an impossibility, while subtracting is simplicity, slashing is satisfying.

The blank page needs filling, but: concision improves writing.

Growing and cutting are the horticultural cycles of writing. Keyboards grow, pen(cils) cut. Both are needed to shape as desired. If you write anything that matters (school essays where the goal is length and obfuscation excluded) I suggest you give hand-written drafts a try -- with an ink pen or a digital pencil.

Long before my independent career began, I read Stephen King's book On Writing in which he showed a draft of a short story he edited by hand. To see the nitty-gritty details of how a writer changes his work a younger me found enlightening.

In that tradition, I've included below a draft of Zebra vs Horses as it was about two weeks before release. If you, like younger me, are interested in how such things are slowly shaped, watch the video, then read the script. You'll see how it isn't yet the final product and how the edits bring it closer.

Domestication Draft Page 1.png

If you're interested in seeing more of my drafts, I'll be releasing more over at Patreon.

Letter to Jake on the Agonies of Parallel Creation

Parallel creation is one of the hazards of a creative professional career. Ideas are memetic so it's no surprise that people are often working on the same topic at the same time. My slow production cycle means I've often gotten bitten by it and I know I've bitten others. I came across this video by Jake of Vsauce3 talking about the transporter paradox video he intended to release today... but... yeah.

It's a sucky situation with no one at fault and no easy answer of what to do. As such I wrote a letter this morning to Jake trying to express my thoughts:

Jake's video asking for advice:

My transporter paradox video:

Jake's Transporter Paradox video: