Action Group

Bullet Journal

Posted by @ianlhayes, Last update 6 months ago

Bullet Journaling

Write Now, Do Later

We all love the idea of bullet journaling and nothing beats a good old-fashioned pen & notebook, but the advantages of digital note-taking are too great to ignore. Ubiquitous access, cross-device syncing, and cloud backup make Drafts the ideal tool for bullet journaling.

This action group lets me write down whatever strikes me, whenever it strikes me, and makes sure it goes to the right place so I can actually act on it later. It is based heavily on Kirk Strauser’s Quick Journaling action group, and I was inspired by his craftsmanship to make some modifications. Some additional actions were adapted from @nahumck’s GTD action group.

This method uses three symbols to facilitate rapid-logging:

- [ ] Tasks: Things I have to do will be sent to my Things Inbox.

- Notes: Things I want to remember are compiled and sent to Day One.

@ Events: Things that happen at a specific time and place will be sent to Fantasical for its wonderful natural language input processing.

Each of these entries gets added to the same draft that acts as today’s journal. If I forget to add any of these prefixes, a hyphen is prepended so it gets logged into my journal. After migrating the entries to their respective apps, the draft is archived.

An example entry might look like this:

 # Journal for 2021-01-18

- Wrote three pages in the morning. Progress is as progress does.
- Chatted with my wife about weekend plans.
@ Cook dinner on Friday at 5:00
- [ ] Buy Parmesan
- [ ] Find the peppercorns
- I hope 2021 turns out better than 2020!

Once I migrate today’s entry, I’ll end up with a calendar event for Friday, two new tasks in Things, and an entry in Day One that reads:

## 16:19

Wrote three pages in the morning.
Chatted with my wife about weekend plans.
I hope 2021 turns out better than 2020!
---

Actions

Write

Note, Task, and Event prepend the current line with the corresponding symbol for processing, i.e. -, - [ ], and @, respectively. I prefer using Drafts’s Tasks so I can check things off without leaving the app before they get migrated to Things. Completed tasks are appended to the journal entry in Day One for accurate records-keeping. Append to Today’s Journal adds the total contents of the current draft to Today’s Journal (or creates one, if there isn’t one already,) prepends a second-level header timestamp to it and appends a horizontal rule to keep things tidy between entries.

Format

Header, Italic, Bold, Make Link, and Block Quote are all lifted directly from agiletortoise’s Markdown action group and simply make it easy to add common formatting to your notes (although Day One may be the only app that displays said formatting). Update Tags (originally by @nahumck) opens a prompt to add or remove tags that will be carried over into Day One and/or Things (Things requires that the tag already exist to be applied.) Finally, Promote Tasks finds all incomplete tasks and moves them to the top of Today’s Journal for convenience.

Migrate

Add to Index creates a link to the current draft using Drafts’s Cross-Linking feature and adds it to a draft titled “Index”. If it doesn’t already exist, this action will create it. One thing I love about bullet journaling is having a master index, and iOS 14’s new Home Screen Widgets give me one-tap access to mine.

Migrate Journal Items process each line of the current draft according to its prefix, but you have to choose the draft it runs on—it will not automatically go to Today’s Journal first.

Navigate

Go To Index and Go To Today’s Journal take you to those respective drafts, creating them if they don’t already exist. These actions also make great Home Screen Widgets on iOS 14.

Configuration

As with Kirk Strauser’s original Quick Journaling action group, Bullet Journaling supports:
- Day One
- Fantastical
- Things
- GoodTask
- OmniFocus
- Todoist

When you run Migrate Journal Items for the first time, it will create a draft titled, “Quick Journaling Settings” which you can edit to connect each symbol to the app of your choosing. By default, - sends lines to Day One, @ to Fantastical, and - [ ] to Things, but you’re welcome to modify those to other supported apps. More URL schemes may be added in the future.

About the Author

While others more versed in the intricacies of JavaScript did the bulk of the work, Ian L Hayes spliced and stitched these actions out of a love for journaling and his intractable absentmindedness. Let me know if it helps!


Included Actions

  • Write
  • Note
  • Task
  • Event
  • Append to Today’s Journal
  • Format
  • Header
  • Italic
  • Bold
  • Make Link
  • Block Quote
  • Update tags...
  • Promote Tasks
  • Migrate
  • Migrate Journal Items
  • Add to Index
  • Navigate
  • Go to Today’s Journal
  • Go to Index
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