This Shortcut creates a new note in Agenda (yes, that’s a referral link for a bonus 6 months on a subscription), titled with Today’s date, containing calendar events and tasks for the day.
I used the Agenda native Shortcuts actions (now federated across all platforms, hooray!), so no more bonkers URL encoding everything (another big hooray!), and the newer Shortcuts actions in Things to get those tasks on its Today list, linking back to them in Things natively.
My Agenda Widget Shortcut builds an Agenda widget that works alongside daily journal entries. Using an Agenda note with the title EEEE MMMM d, yyyy, the Shortcut generates a widget where top title is the current day of the week, and the “body” of the widget text is comprised of today’s date and the third line of text from my Agenda journal entry from today (the first line is the title, the second line is blank, the third is where content starts).
The widget, when tapped, will open the Agenda note, having used its identifier and the Agenda URL scheme to craft the URL linked to in the widget.
That reminds me: I should highlight that getting note content is using Agenda's newer Shortcuts actions and not a URL scheme! The bonus? This can be automated and run in the background without calling Agenda to the forefront. 🎉 The possible catch is that means this does require iOS 16.
It's probably also worth noting that, because I used relative sizing for the shape elements here, this looks nice as a small or medium widget, but is not intended for the large size. There wouldn't be content enough to fill it, anyway. 😂
The Agenda app has great widgets, but I find myself wanting to make sure I always have at-hand access to my automated daily journal. To conquer that, I thought I'd share the process I used to make this not only possible, but highly useful.
Agenda can save searches, and since my journals have predictable text in them, I figured a saved overview would be just the right solve for what I wanted to do.
Here, I did a search for Rapid log, since I know that text is in my journal:
Now this returns all my journal notes, so next, I need to filter results for Today:
This search now has a grand total of one result 🎉, so I can save is an an overview:
Now my relevant daily journal is always available in the Agenda sidebar. Awesome.
But wait, there's more! Saved searches can be linked to (right click the saved search):
With this URL, I can now get to my relevant daily journal from... anywhere. The Lock Launcher app was my first stop, so now my daily journal is always a tap away on my Lock Screen. I can also use this Agenda URL in Shortcuts or bookmarks or anywhere to easily navigate from where I am to today's journal note, which I find incredibly helpful.
Would love to hear everyone's reactions, let me know what you think!
Structure your day, combining the notetaking and task management experiences.
I love having a structured day, and using my favourite apps, OmniFocus and Agenda, coupled with Shortcuts, I have been able to establish that structure in a way that I'm excited to share.
These Shortcuts serve to enable a digital Bullet Journal system, where ideas, information, and tasks can be easily captured and put together, with an aim to making future task management easy by using OmniFocus' powerful organization and integration with Agenda to surface tasks of importance.
Author's note: This post will serve as the definitive home for this set of Shortcuts, and will be updated as versions change.
Agenda Daily Journal Builder
This Shortcut, for use with the Agenda app, creates a new note titled as EEEE MMMM d, yyyy (i.e. Saturday September 3, 2022) in the project of your choosing (as named with a text action, filled out as an import question for this Shortcut).
The note contains a list of all-day events from your calendar under the heading Today, as well as a list of timed calendar events under the heading of Events.
Next to each event is an arrow which, when clicked, creates a new note (as named with a text action and also filled out as an import question for this Shortcut) linked to that calendar event and pre-populated with that event’s name, location, organizer, and attendees (taken from the calendar). This makes it easy to generate relevant notes for the day. All calendar items in the note are preceded by a designated emoji.
Next, under the heading of Tasks is a checkmark list of tasks from OmniFocus that are either due today or overdue (designated by the emoji 🚨) or flagged (designated by 🔶). Each item is is followed by links to view or complete the OmniFocus task (using OmniAutomation). The latter requires security settings in OmniFocus to allow external scripts, which you can get help with on the Omni Automation site.
Lastly, a horizontal rule is added with a heading of Rapid log, where logging of notes for the day can be added as they occur (which is supported by the Rapid log Shortcut below).
1.0: Initial version. 1.1: Added fixes for URL encoding and link quality. 1.2: Changed OmniFocus task presentation: now title of task is no longer linked, but is followed by links to view in OF or complete the OF task (using OmniAutomation). Renamed Shortcut.
Agenda Rapid Log
This Shortcut, for use with the Agenda Daily Journal Builder Shortcut above, appends provided input to the note titled with today's date EEEE MMMM d, yyyy (i.e. Saturday September 3, 2022), working in cooperation with OmniFocus for task capture.
The Shortcut asks for input, and multiple lines of input can be provided. Lines of text are each added as bullet list items to the Agenda Daily Journal, each with a timestamp to represent when they were entered.
If a line of inputted text begins with two spaces, it will be treated as a subbullet to the line above it, and so will be indented and will not include the timestamp.
If a line of inputted text begins with a dash and a space - , it is given special treatment and treated as a task. in this case:
It will be created as an OmniFocus Task (in the Inbox, unless otherwise specified, more below)
It will be shown as a checklist item in the Agenda note instead of a bullet list item
The Agenda checklist item’s text will be followed by links to view or complete the OmniFocus task
Additionally, for these task items, text can be entered inline to add treatment to the task created:
Adding @flagged in this line will flag the task created in OmniFocus, and indicate the checklist item in Agenda with an orange diamond emoji (the actual @flagged text will not be included in either the Agenda text or OmniFocus task title)
Adding tags inline as #tag1#tag2 (no spaces) will add those tags to the OmniFocus task created (this text will not be reflected in Agenda)
Adding a project name as +(project name) will add the task to the first matched project name in OmniFocus
Adding // (space slash slash space) as a delimiter, followed by content, will place the content following the slashes in the notes of the generated OmniFocus task (and omit them from the Agenda text)
In fact, all supported Taskpaper format parameters can be added to a task's line.
1.0: Initial version 1.1: Added comments for OF task with // 1.11: Fix for undesired repeated use of task comments 1.2: Added subbulleting 1.3: Changed tag identification to require preceding space for hash mark (so that Agenda tags can be added with \#), maintaining only the OmniFocus version (no longer building for Reminders) 1.4: Added OmniAutomation links for viewing/completing OmniFocus tasks
Agenda Email Clipper
This Mac-only Shortcut (because of the need for AppleScript and iOS' lack of Shortcuts support for Mail), for use with the Agenda app and my Agenda Daily Journal Builder Shortcut, appends provided input to the note titled with today's date EEEE MMMM d, yyyy (i.e. Saturday September 3, 2022), along with the currently selected email.
This Shortcut works very much like my Agenda Rapid Log Shortcut, except that it captures the currently selected email. That email will then be appended to anything entered in the Rapid Log, referred to by a reference that is asked for following the entry of Rapid Log content, linked back to the actual email itself.
The Shortcut will then (optionally) archive the selected email (using the sending of keystroke ^ + ⌘ + a), and then allow choice as to which app to return to (Mail, Agenda, or OmniFocus).
The use case here is fast inbox processing, and this Shortcut is best used when invoked by a keyboard shortcut. Note that this Shortcut here offers all the same syntax support as the Agenda Rapid Log, meaning that tasks can be generated in OmniFocus (which also contain the link to the referenced email), tagged and noted accordingly.
1.0: Initial version 1.1: Handled error for running on non-Mac devices, added email subject capture, added choice for app to return to at end 1.2: Added OmniAutomation links for viewing/completing OmniFocus tasks
Agenda Safari Clipper
This Shortcut, for use with the Agenda app and my Agenda Daily Journal Builder Shortcut, appends provided input to the note titled with today's date EEEE MMMM d, yyyy (i.e. Saturday September 3, 2022), along with the currently selected email.
This Shortcut works very much like my Agenda Email Clipper Shortcut, except that it captures the currently selected Safari tab (Mac only) or the Safari page shared to it via the Share Sheet (all platforms). That page will then be appended and linked to alongside anything entered in the Rapid Log.
Note that this Shortcut here offers all the same syntax support as the Rapid Log, meaning that tasks can be generated in OmniFocus (which also contain the link to the referenced email), tagged and noted accordingly.
Because I get a lot of email, it is often the source of knowledge, wisdom, and tasks, and so being able to refer to emails in other contexts (say, from tasks in OmniFocus or rapid-logged journaling in Agenda) is really valuable. So I set to work to make a Shortcut to manage just this.
This Mac-only Shortcut (because AppleScript) is for use with the Agenda app and my Agenda Daily Log Shortcut. It appends provided input to an Agenda note titled as EEEE MMMM d, yyyy (i.e. Saturday September 3, 2022), along with the currently selected email.
This Shortcut works very much like my Rapid Log Shortcut, except that it captures the currently selected email. That email will then be appended to anything entered in the Rapid Log, referred to by a reference that is asked for following the entry of Rapid Log content, linked back to the actual email itself.
The Shortcut will then archive the selected email (using the sending of keystroke ^ + ⌘ + a), bringing you back in to the Mail app, so that you can go on your merry way and Rapid Clip the next one (or hopefully just delete all the email).
The use case here is fast inbox processing, and this Shortcut is best used when invoked by a keyboard shortcut (there are too many kinds of shortcuts). Note that this Shortcut (capital S Shortcut) here offers all the same syntax support as the Rapid Logger, meaning that tasks can be generated in OmniFocus (which also contain the link to the referenced email), tagged and noted accordingly.
I shared my Rapid Log Shortcut for Agenda the other day, and it serves its purpose, but I am an OmniFocus user, and so really, my rapid logged tasks need to land there. As such, I have been fine-tuning my Shortcut for use with it, and with some bonus features.
I won't rehash too much about what I already posted, but this Shortcut:
There is no enforced order here, so one could totally thoughtstream the entry (which I do). For example:
- Call Marie about the budget #Urgent @flagged +(budget presentation) @due(fri) #Calls // The budget presentation is on our shared folder
Metadata does not need to be entered in a particular order.
I find that by rapid logging this way, I capture my commitments in OmniFocus, but I also diary that capture in Agenda, and also give myself the freedom to capture non-actionable things I have discovered or know.
When it comes to capturing things as they come in to my life, I love the notion of rapid logging as is done in the Bullet Journal Method. The catch for me is that while I adore analog work, it often can't scale to the pace or reusability of digital. This is where I have built up a solution for my daily logging that works digitally.
This is all about my Rapid Log Shortcut, for use with the Agenda app (yes, that's a referral link) and my Agenda Daily Log Shortcut. The basic conceit of this Shortcut is that it appends provided input to note in Agenda titled as EEEE MMMM d, yyyy (i.e. Wednesday June 29, 2022).
The Shortcut asks for input, and multiple lines of input can be provided. Lines of text are each added as bullet list items to the Agenda Daily Log titled as today’s date, each with a timestamp to represent when they were entered.
If, however, a line of inputted text begins with a dash and a space (- ), it is given special treatment, treated as a task:
It will be created as a Reminder (in a list chosen by an import question for this Shortcut)
It will be shown as a checklist item in the Agenda note instead of a bullet list item
The Agenda checklist item’s text will link to the Reminder
Additionally, for these task items, text can be entered inline when being asked for input by the Shortcut to add treatment to the Reminder created:
Adding @flagged in this line will flag the task created in Reminders, and indicate the checklist item in Agenda with an orange diamond emoji (the actual @flagged text will not be included in Agenda nor in the Reminder title)
Adding tags inline as #tag1 #tag2 (no spaces allowed in a single tag) will add those tags to the Reminder created (this text will not be reflected in Agenda)
Certainly, the overall construct of this Shortcut could be fairly easily manipulated to have tasks created in OmniFocus or other task managers, but I wanted this to work out of the box for anyone using Agenda (and if you aren't, there's that referral link again). And yes, in the end, what this Shortcut produces is markdown, which could be sent to another note manager if you prefer. The key is having a predictable and always correct destination for the content, which is why I use today's formatted date as a title.
I'd love to hear what you think and if this is useful!
I thought it would be good to do a series about how I automate my days as a means of keeping myself on track and conserving energy. The first part of this is in how I set up my day using the Agenda app.
I have been using the Shortcut I'll describe here for a while now, but have been inspired to improve it and make it shareable so that everyone can benefit from it. I think the features this creates in my Agenda experience are super cool.
This Shortcut creates a new note titled as EEEE MMMM d, yyyy (i.e. "Saturday September 3, 2022") in the project of your choosing. The note contains a list of all-day events from your calendar under the heading “Today”, as well as a list of timed calendar events under the heading of “Events”.
Here's the coolest part, though: next to each event is a linked arrow which, when clicked, creates a new note linked to that calendar event and pre-populated with that event’s name, location, organizer, and attendees (taken from the calendar). This makes it easy to generate relevant notes for the day. The Shortcut builds Agenda URLs for each of those events.
All calendar items in the note are preceded by a designated emoji, defined in a dictionary at the top of the Shortcut.
Next in the note, under the heading of “Tasks” is a checkmark list of Reminders from a designated list that are either due today or overdue (designated by the emoji 🚨), flagged (designated by 🔶), or tagged with a particular tag (and designated with an emoji, both of which have text actions to let you customize). Each item is linked back to the actual Reminder to update as needed.
Lastly, a horizontal rule is added with a heading of “Rapid log”, where logging of notes for the day can be added as they occur.
I chose to do this with Reminders so that everyone can benefit, but this could be modified easily enough to be used with OmniFocus, or any other task management system that allows either Shortcuts or URL access to its content.
I posted about this on the Agenda community, but figured it belongs here as well: I made a Shortcut that provides for find and replace of term on the iOS version of the app, since it can't (yet) be done natively.
Please test this before using in practice, this method is a bit… brute force.
This Shortcut is run by sharing a whole note (Markdown) to it. It will ask for a term to search for, a term to replace that with, then replaces terms accordingly (case sensitive) in the original note, replacing the original note in its totality with the updated text.
Be cautious, because this will replace the matched term absolutely, so if you replaced “tow” with “truck”, the word “toward” becomes “truckard”. You get the idea.
Also, I'll admit this is a list bit brute force, because it is a wholesale replacement of a note with updated text, but I think this could be quite handy for turning keywords in to tags, or just plain renaming stuff.
Hope this is useful - your feedback is always welcome!
Update: The links for the Get To It and Dashboard widgets have been updated with fixes (addressed an error if no matching OF tasks in Get To It and changed iconography alignment for calendar events in Dashboard). Enjoy!
Home Screen fever calmed down a bit as iOS 14 wove its way in to my every day. I had settled in to my routines and was living my best widget life.
After playing with the colours of Charty and placing it in the middle of my Home Screen, I thought, "Huh. That screen looks like part of an app." So I opened up WidgetPack and worked more on creating a header widget to lead my screen with, and a revamped widget with OmniFocus actions.
I figured if I can visualize and list my actions, what else could I do? I needed ways to not just see things, but an interface to do things. That led me to adding buttons to the header widget, and then more buttons to run the Shortcuts to refresh the data of these widgets.
Saddened that I couldn't have a calendar widget that suited my needs and aesthetic, I started imagining a second screen that would show upcoming events, as well as counts of and access to more things.
I'm really happy with the result, both in form and in function.
To break it all down, the rest of this post will go widget by widget, sharing just how each is built and what all each does, and giving you the tools to do this, too. Hopefully, this can help you either customize a similar experience, or just plain implement what I've made. Enjoy!
This was pretty purpose built for me, so substitutions and edits of what I share here may/will be needed. The apps I use to make the widgets are:
I'll also note that my intent, like I said, was for this screen to feel like an app. As such, I employed a black wallpaper and designed the widgets as white on black. A white Home Screen, even with the intent to feel app-like just felt like too much.
Obviously, this WidgetPack widget shares the day and date, which I had originally pegged WidgetSmith to do, but I wanted to add functions, which is what those four circles are:
Add new item to OmniFocus
Start new draft in Drafts
Refresh the OmniFocus Get To It widget below
Refresh the Charty chart
To make sure it's current, the Shortcut has an automation to run every day at 00:00, which I highly recommend.
I use a Toolbox Pro action here to return home at the end of the flow (this is true for each of these Shortcuts, actually), just so that if I run it, I end up back at it, but this is optional (though you should still support Toolbox Pro for many reasons).
Charty Omni Rings Widget
This is the crown jewel of the design, and creates three rings with Charty to show progress based on tasks in OmniFocus:
[tasks completed today with a due date before 11:59pm] / ([available tasks today with a due date before 11:59pm] + [tasks completed today with a due date before 11:59pm])
This is a great visual of my day and its state. One gotcha, though, is that this is a beta, and so doesn't handle zero values elegantly yet. For example, if you have zero flagged tasks, it substitues 100 for the denominator and reports 0/100 complete. I think I'd like to see a closed ring for 0/0 done, but we'll see how this develops.
The Shortcut does require a particular colour scheme, and I've linked to it below.
For the widget, I chose to set the left background to 000000 for both light and dark, and the right to 0F0F10. I turn off the title and legend, and the chart takes care of the rest.
To keep the chart current, one might want an automation set to run the Shortcut on particular intervals or events. I tried doing it each time OmniFocus is closed, but I trigger many Shortcuts from OmniFocus tasks (as URL schemes), and found that exiting OF to run one Shortcut but automation trying to run another produced less desirable effects.
Like the Charty widget above it, this grabs available actions that are either due, flagged, or forecast-tagged, but then colours the checkbox indicator for each accordingly to match the Charty colour scheme.
Each action in the widget links to its OmniFocus task, and if there are more tasks that can be shown, the "and x more" line links to a particular perspective.
Unlike other iterations, I specifically designed this widget in these colours, or responding to light/dark mode. I have an aesthetic I wanted, and so that's baked in, but it would be possible to edit this otherwise.
Run the Dashboard Shortcut (to refresh the widget's contents)
Run the Charty Omni Week Widget (to refresh the chart below)
Lastly, I struggled with the best way to see calendar events. I don't like the design of the stock Calendar widget, and it can't be forced in to dark mode to match the rest, so what the heck, I made my own.
Events are shown for the calendar day the Shortcut is run on, but only ones that have not yet occurred/started. As with OmniFocus tasks, each event in the widget links to its event in Calendar (by way of a separate Shortcut, since the Calendar doesn't have a lovely URL scheme of its own). If no events remain, the widget will say so (with a moon, because moons are relaxing).
I've shared this before, but I wanted to have this on my screen as a clear visual of my accomplishments. This Charty-based widget shows the count of OmniFocus tasks completed today and on the six days prior to today, giving me a sense of my wins.
While the principles of this are often a saving grace of augmented focus, I love the advantages of a digital system:
I can search and refer back
The right metadata surfaces the right things at the right time
It is easily re-organized based on changing needs
Of course, aspects like metadata, information architectures, and infinite choice make digital systems complex and nuanced. I need something sustainable through simplicity, particularly to make sure I’m ready for change, like how Rosemary Orchard and I talked about on our Nested Folders podcast (and, more recently, on Automators episode 49).
Thinking of this, I embarked on a journey to digitally bullet journal. After a few iterations, I came up with a list of interoperating tools, which I think will prove a very effective stack.
The platform consists of five pieces on iOS:
Agenda: This acts as the journal and reference system.
Daily Journal Shortcut: I've written about this shortcut before, but to recap, this Shortcut sets up a daily journal (that's why it's named that way) with today's weather, calendar appointments, and OmniFocus due, flagged, and forecast-tagged actions.
Rapid Logger Shortcut: This is the game-changer. When run, it asks for input, where I can Bullet Journal style add multiple items, each thing on a fresh line. Each line then gets appended to today's daily journal in Agenda, timestamped. If a line starts with a dash, it gets treated like an action, and so appears as a checklist item in the Agenda daily journal note, but also gets added to my OmniFocus inbox as an action. As a bonus, the text going in to OmniFocus is treated as TaskPaper, so I can add flags, tags, and dates accordingly, which is awesome, but that metadata is not included in the Agenda note, keeping that list clean and tidy.
Daily Wrap Shortcut: This is the icing on the cake. When run, this Shortcut helps me reflect on the day by asking guiding questions, the answers to which are then appended to the daily journal note in Agenda, along with a list of the tasks I completed today from OmniFocus.
These parts working together are helping to create structure in my life, but even better, it’s sustainable structure, because I can apply the simple notion of rapid-logging from Bullet Journaling combined with the complexities of a nuanced digital system.
Great side effect: I am more disciplined about what I log. A historical problem for me in my collection of actions is overuse of shorthand as a “bookmark” of thinking for later. That’s how I’ve ended up with items in my OmniFocus inbox like “Fifty-four”. I’m sure I knew what I was referring to when I wrote it down, but no idea later. With rapid logging, and thinking of things not just as actions or notes but as journaled facts for future reflection, my capturing is much more robust.
Now that Agenda supports both re-organization of sidebar items and the creation of projects via URL scheme (woohoo!), I have aligned my project structure between it and OmniFocus, allowing me to have consistent ways of reflecting reference and action material.
For my own absorption of what I’ve done and in hopes that it inspires ideas, I thought I’d share my folder structure here. I’d love to know what everyone thinks!
This folder houses a project for each of my 2020 goals (Horizon 3, or the 30,000 foot horizon in GTD speak), ensuring that I am regularly looking at, reflecting on, and creating actions about my goals and themes for the year. Having this folder at the top of the pile is also helpful to me in ensuring that I’m considering my themes in everything I decide to take on (or not).
This folder holds projects at my work that are highly visible, highly important, and highly strategic. In other words, these are the projects that need particular attention, because they are the ones that I can use to elevate my brand and career.
Also for my work, these are projects my team has taken on in service of internal client needs. Most of these are production-oriented, as my team designs and builds intranet experiences.
Again, for my work, this is for projects that have definable outcomes but that didn’t come from clients. These projects tend to be enablement-oriented, perhaps around process design, consultation, or strategy development.
More projects for my work! These ones are projects in that they are containers for actions, but do not have outcomes. They are single action lists in OmniFocus, with each “project” representing a different web application, site, or property that my team supports.
The last of my professional project folders, this one again homes never ending “projects” that represent areas of focus at work (Horizon 2, or the 20,000 foot altitude in GTD speak). There is a list for each member of the team I support, and lists for administration, reporting, budget management, networking, etc.
This folder has a mix of outcome and neverending projects related to this blog, the Nested Folders podcast, and several web sites I build and support. As this area of my life grows, I could see it breaking out into several folders over time, but for now, it can be contained in one, and I like seeing the totality of this aspect of my life when I look at projects there.
Relating to my personal life, these are outcome projects relating to my home, family, and self.
This is kind of the personal equivalent of Domains above, a group of never ending projects/single action lists that relate to the 20,000 foot level of my life. This would be lists for my wife, and each of my kids, home and household, car, finances, health, friends and family, and so on.
This is for lists that have contain items more than actions. Some examples are lists of books to read, gifts to consider, things I might want to buy myself, foods and wines to try, and so on.
And that’s he breakdown of my folder structure! I like that it is flat, because I feel it is manageable enough that way, and helps me look across all my things easily.
I’m interested to hear if this resonates or inspires, and thank you for taking the time to read this through!
I had a blast writing about Shortcuts with OmniFocus 3.4 last week, but based on reader Jason Clarke’s feedback, I think it would be good to round out my Daily Journal Shortcut with a bit more detail, as well as a second partner Shortcut that leverages it.
What I love about using Agenda for this is that the way its x-callback-urls are constructed (making and opening notes based on titles), I can know the URL to open a given note before I even make it.
With that in mind, I also have a Today Shortcut, whose sole job is to open today’s entry in my daily journal in Agenda for referencing throughout the day. This is a great way to make sure I am maximizing the value of the journal entries.
Thanks to Jason for the feedback, and hope this extended version of the Shortcut is valuable for all!
A weekly status review on projects with one’s boss tends to be part of having a job, and I was recently asked about how I use OmniFocus and Agenda for this process. It was a great question, because it made me think about my workflow so that I am optimizing for both:
Simplicity - having the right amount of detail and ease of execution
The audience - making sure my workflow makes it easy for my boss to consume the content I’m offering up
This isn’t super tricky, but it does require some thoughtfulness to make sure that I’m not optimizing for one at the expense of another.
Convert this OF list into a text list: I use this iOS Shortcut, into which I paste the copied OF into for conversion to a nice text list (copied to clipboard). It includes only project names, as I’d like the discussion to be what shares appropriate detail, and not the list itself. I just want this to be a stage-setting of topics.
Paste this new list as an agenda into the meeting calendar event: By putting this content in to our calendar meeting request, I can be assured that the content is in the most appropriate place for both of us to reference before and during our meeting.
Create a note in Agenda: I create a new note in Agenda and link to the meeting with my boss. This gives the note the appropriate time/date, a bit of a temporal audit trail, and sucks in the agenda (pun) that I put in the calendar request as a framework for me to take notes against.
We hold the meeting: I refer to my OF perspective with the projects worth talking about, using those projects’ actions as context (ha) for the discussion. I make notes of what we talk about in the Agenda note, and identify follow-up actions in the note as checklist items.
I process the meeting: Running my favourite iOS Shortcut, I process the notes I took into OF as actions to follow up on and into an email to my boss so that we have a shared understanding of everything discussed. It also gives my boss an open platform to correct anything I might have missed or misunderstood.
I do the actions I said I would: Because commitments.
That sums up my process, bit by bit and piece by piece. Interested to hear from comments how this could be improved, or what you’ve found really works for you!
In a previous post, I wrote about my iOS Shortcut that connects Agenda to OmniFocus. With thanks to everyone for their questions, I wanted to follow up with some additional details around how I use the Shortcut and what my workflow is like.
This is all surrounding the fact that I attend a lot of meetings, so the goals here are to:
set myself up to take good meeting notes
store these notes for later reference
peel out and handle the actions arising from the meeting
share all of the above with the other attendees
This sounds like a lot, but this is why automation is awesome.
I’ll start off by making a new note in Agenda and linking it to the appropriate meeting in my calendar. This brings over text from the event that might be relevant, and also gives the note a temporal assignment (my favourite part of Agenda is how things get dated by when they happen, and not necessarily when they are created/edited).
During the meeting, I take notes as bullets, and identify actions as checklist items:
At the end of the meeting, I use the Share function to send the Markdown (this is a premium feature of Agenda) to my Process Meeting Notes iOS Shortcut.
This does a couple of things:
It creates a project in OmniFocus called “Complete Actions from ”, including each action in the note and an additional flagged action (Review these actions for contexts, due and defer dates, or other needs) to draw my attention to the project:
It starts an email to whomever I like, using the title of the note prefaced by “[NOTES]:” as the subject line. The body of the email is the notes but with action items (and completed actions) grouped under a heading:
This workflow is a massive timesaver for me, and also helps me to manage commitments with others, while also helping others to also be aware of how I perceive both their commitments and my own.
Also, I meet all four of those goals with one note and one Shortcut. Not shabby.
I’m a meetings guy. Largely not by choice, but a lot of my work day is meetings.
One of the biggest traps of meetings is that, unless they are very well facilitated (spoiler alert: many aren’t), it gets really easy for agreements or commitments to be made but then later lost or never acted on.
After all, saying stuff is easy.
I’ve found just the right solution to this that works for me, though, and so I wanted to write about it.
It was only a few months ago that I discovered Agenda which, after I’d spent a great deal of time looking for a solid note-taking/storing app, was a great relief.
Agenda’s main conceit is that each note belongs not only to a project (which in turn belongs to a category for organization nirvana), but can also be linked to a date or specific calendar event. In this way, content is searchable by topics and times, giving me multidimensional control over how my content is arranged.
Moreover, Agenda, though it writes in its own kind of editor experience, can export content in Markdown, making it wildly recyclable and reusable.
All of this adds up to my ability to take great thoughtstream-based notes that link to meetings that clearly identify notes and actions/commitments.
The magic happens, though, when I share Markdown from Agenda to this iOS Shortcut I built. That shortcut takes the Markdown from Agenda, identifies lines that are actions, pastes them to OmniFocus (since they get converted to TaskPaper format), and then organizes an email I can then send to all participants.
In this way, I can store content for later reference in Agenda, track the actions through OmniFocus, and create a trail of agreement by sharing all of this.
So as easy as it might be to say things, this means everything said really means something. Nothing lost, nothing left behind.