My Updated Brain Dump Processor for Drafts

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One of my first YouTube videos and first automations that included Drafts was about getting tasks into my task manager, which at the time was OmniFocus.

Over the years, this process has evolved to include JavaScript and Things 3; I’m happy to share the most recent version here today.


In broad strokes, what I want to do is maintain a GTD-style trigger list in Drafts, then, whenever I want to use it, create a copy of that trigger list that I can fill in freely, and finally, move the resulting actions into my task manager.

Previous Work

I made a YouTube video about my previous version, which effectively handled all of the design requirements identified above. You can watch it to get a demo of the list in action:

However, the action that moved all of my tasks over to my task manager only moved the tasks. So sometimes when I would look at the resulting action item in my inbox, I wouldn’t remember the context that inspired its creation.

Admittedly, I could do a better job of wording my action item when I created it in Drafts, but, I decided that automating a solution would be more reliable.

Current Work

If you didn’t watch the video above, here is a tiny example of how my trigger list is set up:

# Home

## Garage
# Work
## EA Training Project

The idea is that each level-1 markdown header corresponds to an Area in Things, and each level-2 header is a component of that Area. I have space under each header to jot down any action items that come up when reflecting on that specific trigger word.

Oftentimes, when I am going through the Home portion of my trigger list, I will physically walk through my house, looking around each room for action items.

This resulted in me creating an action item like “Have Son Put Away Books,” but I had no idea where said books were!

What I decided I wanted was to have the corresponding level 1 and level 2 headers added to each action item as a tag.

New Drafts Action

Drafts is the main reason I want to learn JavaScript, but I have started and abandoned quite a few tutorials and resources over the years. Recently, I have been using ChatGPT to be my personal programmer/tutor to help me with some projects like this, and I feel like it is finally “clicking” for me.

I don’t have the knowledge or experience to say this is the best code around, but after sharing my existing Drafts Action with ChatGPT and explaining my goal, I have a new Drafts Action that does exactly as described above! Granted, it took a few iterations and a little troubleshooting, but the result is where I want it to be, and the process helped me better understand JavaScript.

You can download the Action from the Drafts Action Directory here.

Making the Action Work For You

Importantly, this action will not create any new tags in Things. You need to create a tag in Things for each of the trigger words on your list before trying to run this action.

Also, I only have level 1 and 2 headers in my trigger list, so the code is only set up to process that deep. If you want deeper levels, I am sure ChatGPT can help you out!


Let me know if this helped you create or improve something of yours! If you have a look at the action and there is a better way to code the script (I wouldn’t be surprised) , let me know, I would love to get better at this type of stuff.

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