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Category Archive: Workflows

Obsidian vs. Roam: Which PKM App is Right For You?

While there are lots of apps doing lots of interesting things with notes right now, by far the two most popular options are Roam Research and Obsidian. In this article, we're going to compare these two connected note-takers and help you choose the right one. »

Appending Captured Text in Drafts to Daily Notes in Obsidian

Drafts has long been the place that text starts on my iOS device. But lately I've been doing a lot more in Obsidian, and was looking for a way to get that text into Obsidian easily when I was done. While this is pretty straightforward using a cloud service like Dropbox to sync your vault, I then began wondering if I could do something more than just dump my text files into a synced folder. »

Journaling Using Daily Questions in Obsidian

I'm a big fan of the mindfulness I gain from journaling, but have been searching for years for the perfect set of prompts that could completely eliminate the friction from my daily journaling workflow. I've tried many different prompts (and many different apps) over the years, but have settled on a practice called Daily Questions which has just clicked for me. In this post, I'm going to share how I implement my Daily Questions inside of Obsidian. »

Planning Your Day Using Time Blocking (VIDEO)

This is a video lesson from the Time Blocking module in our Simple Time Management course. Downloads:Timeblocking Cheatsheet (PDF) »Daily planner template (PDF) » In this video, we’re going to dive in and create a time blocked plan for our day. I’ll walk you through it by planning my day so you can see how […] »

Triggers & App Open Automations

This is a video lesson from the new Time Tracking module in our Simple Time Management course. It’s 20% off during launch week. On iOS, we can easily create an automation that allows us to start a timer anytime we open an app. This is one of many tricks I use to help me track […] »

Creating My iOS Time Tracking Dashboard

This is a video lesson from the new Time Tracking module in our Simple Time Management course. It’s 20% off during launch week. In this video, I’m going to show you how you can use Timery on iOS to set up a time tracking dashboard using widgets in iOS, which can not only make it […] »

How Rose uses Shortcuts and App Launchers to Track Time

Time tracking is something that yields really useful results, but it can be a pain to do accurately. I tried to do it manually for a long time, but after spending three consecutive days "reading" due to a stopped timer, and realizing how much of the rest of my data was completely inaccurate, I could see I needed a better approach. »

Mike’s Idea System 2.0

How to use an idea development system to prime the creative pump and set yourself up for success when it's time to create. »

How I Time-Block and Plan in a Traveler’s Notebook

When the group at The Sweet Setup suggested we'd be talking about knowledge and idea workflows in the early part of 2021, I couldn't pass up the chance to talk about my analog adventures that live alongside all the apps I use each day. We can't do everything on our iPhones, after all. »

Capturing Ideas on the Apple Watch with Drafts

The productivity space has been going through a bit of a revitalization recently, and maybe surprisingly, it’s note-taking apps that are causing the bulk of this excitement. Solutions are sprouting all over the place lately, with things like Roam Research, Notion, Obsidian, Bear, Craft, RemNote, Drafts, and oh yeah, Evernote, occupying a considerable amount of […] »

How to Use the iPad for Study and Deep Learning

It’s my education experience that has led me to believe the iPad is the world’s greatest learning tool. Ever. In the history of humanity. The iPad is humankind’s greatest educational achievement. »

How to Track Your Habits Using Streaks

Whether or not you set New Years resolutions for yourself, keeping track of habits is something we could all stand to be a little bit better at. Streaks is our favourite app for this—available on all Apple platforms—so let’s take a quick look at how easy it is to get started. Creating a Basic Habit […] »

How I Use Time Blocking to Increase My Efficiency

Time blocking is something that took a while to click for me. I understand the concept of dependent tasks, and time restrictions well, and once the pieces fell into place it really became a game changer for me. »

How I Use Systems to Build Habits, Reviewing My Life

Systems, habits, and workflows are all inextricably linked. I have lots of systems (perhaps too many), and at some point you reach a place where things no longer feel like they flow — more that you're being bounced all over the place with poor suspension because review inertia has got you this far. »

How Roam Research Helps Me Time Block My Day

In this post, we share how time blocking works, why you should consider using it to plan your day, and how my time blocking routine is supplemented by my use of Roam Research. »

Using Roam Research for GTD-Style Task Management

As a self-proclaimed productivity nut, I’ve been using some version of the Getting Things Done (or GTD) task management methodology for many years. I’ve also been experimenting recently with Roam Research, and am intrigued by the app’s ability to tie everything together. I’ve tried to do this before and it’s failed miserably, so I was […] »

Ulysses Mini-Masterclass (Video Replay)

Ulysses is one of the best writing and notes apps out there. And it keeps getting better and better. Watch the replay of our mini-masterclass webinar. »

How to Build a Daily Writing Habit

When it comes building a daily writing habit — or any sort of endeavor for that matter — one of the biggest challenges is to keep showing up every day. »

How to Set Up Custom Swipe Gestures in Airmail (Video)

This is a free sample video from our new course, Calm Inbox. The course will normally sell for $99, but right now you can save 20% during launch week (just $79). The full course has over 50 videos to help you get less email and more focus. It shows you how to handle any message […] »

Command + Space on iPad: App Launching, Productivity, and More with the New Universal Search Feature in iPadOS 14

The new and improved Universal Search in iPadOS 14 is possibly one of the biggest power user improvements for the iPad in recent memory. Coupled with an external keyboard, iPadOS 14's new Universal Search can open notes, documents, folders, and webpages; it can start a FaceTime call or send a text message; it can help you play music in a flash; and with the power of Shortcuts, Universal Search brings automation to the iPad's Command + Space keyboard shortcut. Command + Space on an iPad with iPadOS 14 has a whole new meaning. »

Underwater Portraiture with iPhone

I moved from the Pacific Northwest to Texas a year ago, and due to the large amounts of swimming pools here, a whole new world of photography opened up to me. I wanted to learn to take photos underwater. »

Four Part Writing Process (Webinar Replay, Part 2)

This is part two from our Focused Writer webinar we hosted for The Sweet Setup community a while back. If you missed part one you'll want to go back and watch that first as the principles in this video build upon those laid out in the first part. »

Four Keys to a Better Writing Workflow (Webinar Replay, Part 1)

We recently hosted a Focused Writer webinar for our Sweet Setup community. It was an hour-long call and it was jam-packed golden nuggets of writing wisdom. So much so, we decided to split up the replay into a couple different segments and share them here on the TSS blog for everyone who wasn’t able to […] »

Ulysses Writing Tip: Using Text Replacement for Inline Notes and Annotations

When I am writing an article for my website or newsletter list, I try to focus on just that: writing. But the problem is that as I am writing, I am also thinking about what links, photos, or screenshots I want to add to the article. And there is usually at least a specific section that I know needs more writing or more research before it’s ready to go. »

The Ultimate Guide to Collaborative Writing in Ulysses

In this guide, we’ll show you how to get Ulysses set up for collaboration with others using a version control system known as Git, as well as a companion app for working with Git on iOS/iPadOS called Working Copy. »

A Comparison of the New Apple Pencil Features in Apple Notes & GoodNotes

There was a ton that was announced in the WWDC keynote presentation on Monday. iOS 14, iPadOS, watchOS 7, macOS Big Sur, a bunch of privacy and Home updates, and even a big upgrade for AirPods. But one of the sections that really caught my attention was the announced improvements to the iPad with Apple Pencil. »

Building My Bullet-Journal-Based Hybrid Productivity System

It's fun for me to find new and better ways to do things - especially if it involves Apple-branded technology. I love trying new apps and making my devices dance. But with everything going on in the world the last couple of months, I've also found it to be especially difficult to navigate emotionally, which is a big reason why I’ve started doing a lot more with pen and paper. »

How I’ve Set up iA Writer After Moving from Ulysses

Once every couple years, I find myself doing a deep clean of the apps on my iPhone and iPad. 2020 drew the short straw — in so many ways — and I've spent the better part of the last three months questioning each app on my home screen. »

How to Use Your iPad as a Second Monitor with Sidecar

Using a second monitor can make computer-based tasks much easier and be a big boost to your productivity. But, if you find yourself having to work from home, that doesn’t mean you have to drop hundreds of dollars on new hardware. Here’s a short guide on how to set up your iPad as a second […] »

Productivity: Back to the Basics (Webinar Video)

We recently hosted a live webinar for the TSS community. In it, we covered some productivity misconceptions as well as a handful of quick-wins and workflow ideas that you can use right now. Here is the full video replay. »

Sending Ideas from Drafts to Your Task Manager

A while ago when I was reading a post Mike wrote about how he manages his ideas, I spotted a tiny little thing in a screenshot, which sparked this whole post. Here's an automation to automatically add one tag to something when sending it to a task manager, with a choice of which other tag(s) to add as a bonus. »

Working From Home Linked List: Some of Our Favorite Things Right Now

If you're struggling to figure out how to effectively work from home, you're not alone. It can be difficult enough under normal circumstances when you've had time to prepare, but millions of people are having to figure this out on the fly. Fortunately, there's a lot of great advice out there that can help ease the transition. We've put together a collection of resources from around the web that can help you get off to a good start if you find yourself suddenly needing to figure out how to work from home. »

How to use mind maps when running a business and personal life

Recently, I shared with a couple of friends about the new mind mapping course we just released, and one of them (Brandon Wentland, who previously shared his sweet setup here started telling me about some of the cool ways he uses mind maps to run his digital marketing agency. »

4 Ways I Use Mind Maps to De-Stress My Life

Mind mapping has long been one of my favorite tools to help me get thoughts out of my head and onto paper (or screen) as well as give things a _semblence_ of order without enforcing a strict structure. I realized some time ago that there are particular areas for which I frequently turn to mind maps, and the benefit of this is tangible. »

How and Why to Make the Time to Think

If you've been following along, we've covered quite a bit when it comes to capturing and developing your ideas. In this post, we'll delve into why it's important to schedule thinking time for your work. »

iOS Calendar Automation with Shortcuts and Fantastical 3

The all new Fantastical 3 offers a huge number of new features and a whole host of new actions for Shortcuts. These make doing some actions that would otherwise require you to fine tune the native calendar shortcuts much easier, and easier to integrate into your workflows. »

Why Mind Mapping Works

How a mind map can save you time, energy, and anxiety when it comes to writing, creating, planning, and more. »

Enhance Your File Search with Alfred

Many people use Alfred to search for files on their Mac and to launch applications, but these functions barely scratch the surface of this great app! Today we show you how to make the most out of the files integration in Alfred. »

How to Take Great Holiday Photos

To take great holiday photos, it's all about mood. Here are eight tips to getting the most out of your holiday photos this year. »

Enhance Your Home Automations with Logic

iOS 13 brought many things — including automations in Shortcuts. These automations allow us to do lots of things, but they also added the ability to seriously enhance our home automations. »

Set Up Your Drafts Workspaces for an Improved Writing Experience

Drafts is an excellent app for note taking and writing, and workspaces are a very powerful feature that can make it even easier to use. With the release of version 5, it became my preferred writing app for nearly everything. Workspaces are the key to that transformation. »

15 One-Action Shortcuts to Make Your Life Easier

Shortcuts is a wonderful app, but it can also be overwhelming. Today, I'm going to show you 15 one-action Shortcuts you can create, and let's be honest — with one action, there's not a lot of work for you to do! »

Using Prizmo Go In a Long-Term Research Workflow

Prizmo Go is a powerful app that instantly converts pictures of physical book pages into digital text, and combined with a research app like Keep It creates a magical workflow for managing your notes and research. »

Create Your Own Services Menu Items for Files on macOS using Automator

On your Mac, when you right-click files in the Finder you may well have seen an entry on the shortcut menu called Services, which contain some helpful actions that you can perform on the file. But, did you know you can create your own Services that can show up in this menu? Today, I'm going to show you how to create four services that will help you get the most out of your Mac. »

Curtis McHale’s iPad and macOS Book Publishing Workflow

One of the things I enjoy doing is writing books. Sometimes, I even start a blog post and realize after 20,000 words or so that it's really a book and a series of blog posts. This is the nature of creative writing, and I really enjoy the process of taking an idea to a fully fledged body of work. »

Get Started with Mail Rules on Your Mac

macOS Mail has built-in rules and filters that you can use to manage all of your accounts. These run whenever your Mac is awake and connected to the internet and allow you to do anything from set the background color of emails in the list to executing AppleScript! »

A Guide to Sketchnoting on iPad (using GoodNotes)

Sketchnoting is a powerful and visual way to take notes that helps you retain more of the information you hear. It’s an excellent way to capture ideas during meetings, workshops, conferences, and more. »

A Beginner’s Guide to Excel on the iPad

Excel on the iPad is a competent spreadsheet application, and if your needs are simple or you just plan on making edits to spreadsheets you created on macOS or Windows, then you’ll likely really enjoy this app. »

A Beginner’s Guide to Word on the iPad

Whether we like it or not, Microsoft's Office suite of apps is going to work its way into most of our lives at some point or another. Matt Birchler takes a look at how Word differs between the iOS and desktop platforms. »

Shawn Blanc’s iPad Blogging Workflow

A detailed look at how Shawn Blanc captures ideas and links and what the process looks like for moving those from the starting line of an idea to the finished product of a published article. »

My iPad Writing Setup

These days I do just about everything from the iPad. iOS and the iPad have helped me to slow down, simplify, and focus more on the task at hand — especially when that task is writing. »

A Different Photography Workflow

iPads and cameras — it seems to be the name of the game these days. With the Fuji and the profoundly capable iPad Pro in hand, there’s little that gets in the way of making wonderful photographs. »

My iPad Photography Workflow

Here is an outline of the process I use to get images onto my iPad, how I edit them, and why there are a lot of best practices that I’m intentionally bypassing. »

How to use 1Password as a digital will

1Password is fantastic for storing login credentials and secure notes, but it's also well-suited for providing a digital will for you family and loved ones. »

How I Use 1Password

1Password is an essential, must-have app. Here’s a quick look at what all I store in 1Password and why it’s so helpful. »

Stop Leaving Emails In Your Inbox

Whereby we take a look at how to better process email and take a look at a workflow to move necessary emails into your GTD system. »

Get More From Your Calendar

I find when I use my calendar to plan my weeks, I’m improving in two areas. One, I’m more honest with myself. Second, I’m better at recognizing the importance of rest and play. »

Getting to Doing

The purpose of GTD and other tools like it is twofold: to help you do your work well and to give you peace of mind. If your current ways of working are not providing both, something is amiss. »

Setapp: A new approach to app subscriptions

Rather than subscribe to your apps one at a time, Setapp is designed to allow you to pay one subscription price that gives you access to many different apps. Like Netflix, Apple Music, or Spotify, but for Mac apps. »

Accidental Digital Detox

In 2009, I went on an unexpected digital detox. My wife and I had booked a cabin for a week and when we arrived, I discovered there was no wifi or cell service… »

Five tips for getting more from your App Launcher

The operating system is what sets Apple products apart from others. macOS (aka OS X) is what drew me to make the switch from the world of Windows, with its sleek look and brushed metal. It was not only better looking, but the form and function were both far better than what I was used to. »

Seven Ulysses Superpowers

The more you use Ulysses, the better it gets. Here are my seven favorite Ulysses superpowers. »

Shawn Blanc’s Ulysses Setup

Ulysses has become the central spot for where I store all my notes, research, and other tidbits of inspiration. It's also where I toss all my writing ideas, and it’s where I actually do all my writing. Here's what it looks like... »

How to automate Day One entries using IFTTT

Day One makes logging important conversations, milestones, and special moments incredibly easy by allowing you to automatically create journal entries by connecting various services via IFTTT. »

Creating custom Perspectives in OmniFocus

One of the most powerful features a task manager like OmniFocus offers is the ability to filter your tasks and projects to show you only what you want to see at any given moment. »

Working with email URLs on macOS

Mail and Airmail both offer methods of copying individual message URLs so you can easily create references in action items, notes, and more. »

Digitizing and organizing your receipts

Digitizing and organizing your receipts using Scanbot and macOS make it easier to prepare your taxes so you have more time for more important things. »