How To: Link To Separate Trello Boards with Drafts

My workflow for Task Management has taken a bit of a new direction over the last few months or so. I’m not putting everything into Omnifocus anymore. There are some things that are simply better suited to another style of application, which is why I’ve started playing with some Kanban alternatives, namely Trello and Zenkit

If I have a project that has a number of recurring steps (for example, creating a series of videos), this is much better suited to a Kanban board, with a centralised task sitting in OmniFocus telling me that today, I’m going to be working on this project. In that task is a link to the Trello/Kanban board that I’m working on. 

I’m also using these boards for capturing ideas and moving them to maturity. Which booksdo I need to buy/read/am I reading? A board system is great because I can move the book title card as I purchase/read/start reading accordingly. I can tag the books with author names to keep a record if I wish. What apps do I want to perfect? Are there new TV Programmes or films that I want to buy/watch? GamesGift Ideas - these boards really help me with projects that always follow the same template

As lots of ideas go into these boards, I need to be able to capture efficiently, so that’s why I’m going to show you how I use Drafts on iOS to process these ideas and send them to the Trello. 

1 - Get your Board ID

Each Trello board has a unique Board ID. The easiest way I have found to locate this ID is to:

  • Navigate to the Web Interface of the board
  • Click on More Settings
  • You will see a box named Link To This Board and within is a URL. The Board ID is the character string that follows http://trello.com/b/. Make a note of this Board ID. 
  • Obviously if you wish to use Drafts to post to other boards too, each will have a unique Board ID so these will need to be collected.
 
trello5.png
 

2 - Configure Drafts

For the purposes of this walkthrough, I am using Drafts 5 however the process is very similar for Drafts 4. 

  • Within Drafts, go to the list of current actions and click on the + button in the bottom right hand corner. Select Add New Action
  • On the next screen, name the action appropriately, click Steps and then + again.
  • On the Step Type screen, scroll down to Callback URL
trello1.png
trello3.png
trello2.png
trello4.png
  • On the Callback URL page, copy the following text into the Template box, substituting BOARDID with the ID you captured earlier. 
 trello://x-callback-url/createCard?shortlink=**BOARDID**&name=[[line|1]]&description=[[line|2]]&x-success=x-drafts5://x-callback-url/create
 
trello6.png
 
  • Go back to the main Drafts page and type your text. 
  • In the Actions list, click on your newly created action and the text should go to Trello. Also, as we have defined the success parameter within the callback-url to go back to Drafts when completed, so it doesn’t keep you in an application you don’t want to use right now.
  • Repeat this for as many boards as you need to add to. 

I love the fact that I don’t have one central inbox anymore for all of these ideas and I can send them directly to the correct board with one touch. They stay in the left-most list until I’m ready to process and this works really well for me. 

I hope this helps - feel free to comment with how you automate this kind of idea capture with Drafts/Trello/Omnifocus or any Task Manager of your choosing! We’re always happy to hear your thoughts.

Customising Keyboards in Drafts

This is a quick tip for Drafts on iOS that I cannot believe escaped me for this long!

Drafts is a great application for capturing information quickly on your iPhone/iPad and then moving it to the application of your choice. Myself, I use it as an entry point for almost all of my thoughts. It's a great gathering point, which I empty at least once a day. Most of the entries go to OmniFocus 2 however I also use it to post ideas to Evernote, send messages to family and colleagues and as a scratchpad for thoughts and ideas that need separate processing. When I perform my weekly mind-dump, everything goes into Drafts before I even think about what I want to do with that information. Capture first, process later.

The on-screen keyboard in Drafts has a customisable top row for frequently-used actions. For some reason, I thought this was a fixed collection of actions, but No! If you scroll to the far right of that row, you will see the magic pencil icon, which in Drafts means Edit.

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When you press this Edit button, you are taken to a screen that allows you to edit the keys displayed. You can change the order as you would expect by long-pressing the action you wish to move, then sliding up or down (or, click Edit in the bottom right hand corner). However, to add your own action, you need to press the + button in the top right hand corner

You have options here to choose a Command, Label, Text, Script, Run Action or Visit the Directory. As I've usually already created the Action, I choose Run Action.

 
 

Now, I create a long-form description of the action (to allow for easy referencing when it is listed in the Edit window) and choose the text that will be displayed on the key (Label). Clicking the + button next to Action Name allows you to choose one of your pre-configured actions to set.

If you use an external keyboard, you can assign a Keyboard Shortcut to this action which will run the action as soon as the shortcut is invoked. This is something I use a lot on my iPad. I use the same shortcut on both Mac and iOS for sending text to OmniFocus and this allows for some great consistency across devices.

 
 

Customising that top keyboard row in Drafts seems like a small win, but when you use it for the first time, I guarantee your mind will automatically start thinking of other ways you can use this feature to save precious time.

Using nvALT and Drafts

For the last few weeks, I've been working to modify my workflow for taking notes. For the last few years, I've been an avid user of Evernote, however I've been looking to move away from this and develop a process for note-taking that only involved plain-text files. 

Why have I done this? One reason is that I was becoming increasingly frustrated with syncing errors that I was experiencing between the OS X and iOS versions of Evernote that I was running. I would find duplicated notes, discover some notes missing - the performance has been less than optimal shall we say. 

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Capturing Ideas with Drafts and Evernote

Like many of you reading this, I get a lot of my most inspirational ideas when I am away from my laptop. They could be thoughts about blog posts I want to write, maybe automation tasks I want to try out. There could be a gift idea for a loved one that I see, or maybe some vital information that I just have to capture at this moment, for fear of it leaving my head for ever. 

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