It always comes back to that chart

· 462 words · 3 minute read

EFFICIENT BEFORE YOU'RE SPENDING MORE TIME THAN YOU SAVE? and a table that correlates how much time you save with how often you do the task

Matt Gemmell on using Drafts as a local wiki:

“Drafts on iPadOS, iOS, and macOS can now be used as a first-class personal knowledge base, ideas repository, Zettelkasten, and so on. I think that a wiki is a useful concept (and measurement) for such situations, and in that regard Drafts now stacks up well.”

I was just sitting down to write down photo hosting requirements. Drafts and Obsidian both came to mind. My first thought in that ad-hoc side-by-side was “I wish my tool notes were in Drafts and not Obsidian.”

My main Obsidian vault is overgrown with plugins, and Drafts workspaces are compelling. The idea of having a slipbox workspace, a thinking workspace, and an activity workspace, with constrained lists of actions appropriate to each is pretty compelling.

I really like the idea of staring an idea in the thinking workspace and using the “Sheet in Ulysses” action when it’s ready to be moved over as raw material for writing.

Somehow, there’s a friction thing there, too:

Obsidian has all these plugins. Drafts has a ton of actions.

When I think of plugins, I think “this is a thing that will do something for me.” When I think of actions, I think “you still have to do something with this thing once you install it.”

Drafts has been a little repellent to me over the years because its most ardent supporters are also automation enthusiasts on a level I have not been for years and years. That doesn’t land with me the way it did. I remember losing hours to automating trivial things because the process of writing the automation was fun and soothing. These days I lose more hours to the irrational hope and troughs of despair that is installing and trying out plugins or add-ons.

It reminds me a little of when I was on the other side of the line with, say, Linux desktops: Constantly rebuilding, tweaking and updating my GNOME install, super proud of how I was on the cutting edge. Then I’d run into someone who was, like, “never needed more than twm” and had, like, accomplished things in life.

I said a few days ago that I want “works everywhere and is simple.” I also want a little protection from myself, but not so much that I can’t make some things simpler with a little automation if I truly feel driven to it.

Like I also said as a marketing content lead years ago, contemplating new tools: “For now it’s text files and spreadsheets. We’ll consider a new tool when we understand what’s truly painful about our work when it’s only being done in text files and spreadsheets.”

Then I was promoted to management. I’m assuming there was an orgy of tool-buying within a week.