TaskPaper 3: Fold and Focus

Two days at work alongside TaskPaper 3, and I’m digging these two features:

Folding items – You can now fold items, hiding the items indented under them. To fold and item click the blue bullet point to the left of the items text.

Focus projects – You can now truly focus projects instead of just filtering to show a single project. The difference is when you focus a project like this you’ll no longer see all the leading indentation. This means you can create deep levels of subprojects and still edit them comfortably, instead of seeing a bunch of leading whitespace everywhere.

I keep track of my work through our various ticket (email) queues with a few notes under the task for each queue. Having everything neatly folded when I open TaskPaper and makes me happy. I switch to the Today saved search, then working through tasks one at a time, focusing with ease when needed. Super quick, and entirely from the keyboard.

It’s also fast and handy to start a clean ad hoc brain dump without opening a new file or window. (I did this today reviewing some information for an internal P2 thread.) The following takes a couple of seconds.

  1. Start a new line.
  2. Create your heading.
  3. Go In (⌥⌘→), and all the other text disappears.
  4. When you’re done, you can Go Out (⌥⌘←).

No need for the text? Indent the line after the header for speedy folding (⌘.) under that header. When you’re ready to trash that text, fold the branch (⌘.), select the branch (⇧⌘B), then delete (⌃⇧K).

Try the demo!

Things: Faux running to-dos

I was working on a to-do in Things that I didn’t finish today, but wanted to make sure it was:

  • Noted in the Logbook when my completed to-dos are archived at the end of the day, and
  • Copied to the my scheduled tasks for the next day…

all from the keyboard within a few seconds.

(Aside: Seeing the completed to-dos in my Logbook is more visible as something I worked on that day. The alternative is not keeping the to-do as incomplete, and adding notes to the to-do.)

Steps

  1. Duplicate the item by pressing ⌘+D (Command–D).
  2. Complete one of the items by pressing ⌘+. (Command–Period).
  3. Arrow down () to select the other duplicated item.
  4. Reschedule for tomorrow by pressing Control+] (Control–right bracket).

Why not make a new project in Things?

The project is on an Automattic internal P2. I’ve kept it as a single to-do in Things, and kept recreating it if I couldn’t mark the P2 thread as resolved.

And…I’ve talked myself into realizing that I should create a project for this. Starting…

View an article with Instapaper Text only using the keyboard

As a happy, longtime Instapaper user, I need the Instapaper Text bookmarklet often when settling in for a lengthy read on my MacBook Air.

I’d like to share a tip that’ll save time of switching to your mouse or trackpad.

When the bookmarklet is saved to your browser, you can use it with the page you’re viewing by following these steps:

  1. Move your cursor to the address (a.k.a. location) bar by pressing Command + L.1
  2. Type the first few letters of the bookmarklet name (or the whole thing if you type quickly).
  3. Press Enter.

If you use folders in Instapaper2, you can take this a step further by saving the bookmarklet for those folders as well.


  1. Mac: Works with Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari
  2. Pro tip. If you send saved articles from Instapaper to your Kindle, don’t mix text articles with media so those particular entries aren’t wasting space in that periodical (Amazon’s term, not mine). I have video, audio, and photo folders as well. 

Favorite Mailboxes in Lion Mail

Shortly after OS X Mountain Lion was released, James — or J–Huff, as I’d like to call him — let me know that I should give Mail another try. (I’m a longtime Mozilla Thunderbird user.) While I don’t have a HiDPI (retina) laptop, he said I would settle into Mail just fine, and will wonder why I ever used Thunderbird.

While getting accustomed to Mail, I tried to figure out a way for a keyboard shortcut to move selected messages to a folder I designate. (Reason: Mail uses a default “Archive” folder that I can’t change like my Drafts, Sent, Trash, or Junk folder. I previously setup an “Archives” folder.)

So, I’m really glad I stumbled onto Matt Gemmell’s post, “Favorite Mailboxes in Lion Mail”. I now have keyboard shortcuts to move one or more messages to any of these folders very quickly:

  • Inbox (Command-Control–1)
  • Archives (Command-Control–2)
  • Automattic (Command-Control–3)
  • @Action (Command-Control–4)

By the way, the reason why I used Thunderbird because it’s open source, and I could switch easily from Eudora. Isn’t that a blast from the past?

If you have any other Mail tips, please leave a link in the comments. Thanks!

Pronto writing in six steps

I don’t like hand writing as much as typing simply because I’m a slow writer. The faster I write, the less legible my words become.

It’s incredibly easy to get going with a MacBook Air (Oct 2010), especially since it wakes up from sleep so quickly.

Mac OS X on my MacBook Air

  1. Open lid.
  2. Enter password.
  3. Press Command + Spacebar to activate Spotlight (or whichever keyboard shortcut used to activate Quicksilver , LaunchBar, or Alfred App), type “Bean” or whichever text editor/word processor you use, then press Enter.
  4. Frantically type whatever thoughts are spewing from your mind.
  5. Command + S to save your document, then Command + Q to quit your text editor program.
  6. Close lid.

Windows 7

You can type the program name after pressing the Windows key.

Once you’re done writing, Control + S to save your document, then Alt + F4 to close the program.

Software

Which programs do I use to write? The following are essentially free simple text editing programs, designed with minimal features so you can focus on writing. If you like any of them, please donate to the developers.

I save these small text files to a dedicated folder within Dropbox[1. Affiliate link to Dropbox. “For every friend who joins and installs Dropbox, we’ll give you 500 MB and your friend 250MB of bonus space (up to a limit of 16 GB)!”] only for text files, with a specific prefix to help me find it later. (e.g. BP means blog post in “BP – Pronto writing in six steps.txt”.)

Why not use Microsoft Word, Apple iWork Pages, or OpenOffice.org Writer? If you’re only working with plain text, you don’t need the extra features and bloat.

If you don’t know the HTML tags for post formatting, copy your text[2. Select All for: (Windows) Ctrl+A; (Mac OS X) Command+A], paste it[3. Paste for: (Windows) Ctrl+V; (Mac OS X) Command+V] into your blog post, then format and/or add links accordingly.