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Simplify Your Digital Note-Taking

Stop losing your ideas and increase your productivity


If you’re a fan of the digital note-taking application Drafts, you owe it to yourself to set up a Keyboard Maestro macro so you can quickly open the app no matter what you are doing.

Even if you haven’t heard of this Mac application, Drafts, I encourage you to keep reading if you are trying to simplify your life using technology.

Why is a macro important, I hear you ask? Here’s why…

Let’s say you’re writing an email or just cruising the internet and an idea pops into your head. Where do you capture it?

Over the years, I’ve tried out all different sizes of paper notebooks and many different flavors of digital note-taking applications. Because I’m an official Mac Geek, I always defaulted to Apple Notes, TextEdit, or Stickies; depending on whichever I could get to first.

And if I really didn’t have time to stop what I was doing, when in Chrome, I’ve been known to type cmd-N (create a new browser window) and start typing my idea into the search bar; just to quickly write it down before I forgot it.

Maybe it’s just me and my advancing age, but there are an endless amount of things that I could be in the middle of and suddenly, a realization or thought pops into my head—even something as mundane as a grocery item—and I need to “write it down” somewhere for future reference.

I’ve learned that the more things I write down, the better my thinking becomes. I do my main writing and thinking using Roam, but for quick notes, you can’t beat Drafts. (I wrote an introduction to Roam here if you don’t know about it.)

If you are already using Drafts, you know how great it is for capturing things quickly; especially using it’s mobile app. If you are not using it on your desktop Mac, I would invite you use it there to streamline your quick note capturing instead of using ANY OTHER digital note-taking application.

I’ve found a way, with one keyboard command, to open Drafts, jot down a quick note, and then switch back to what I was doing. So, the reason a macro is important is to increase productivity and help get ideas out of your head before you forget them.

How do I use it?

No matter what I’m in the middle of, I type F13 and Drafts automatically opens up to a blank page waiting for me to start typing.

That’s it. That’s my secret!

I won’t go into how to use Drafts here because each day I’m still learning more about it and how amazingly flexible and universal it is.

The real magic happens with the help of the miraculous MacOS application called Keyboard Maestro: which I’m also not going to talk about how it’s the “Meryl Streep” of Mac applications: flawlessly malleable.

So, what good am I?

Here’s what I can do. I’ll tell you that if you don’t already have Drafts and Keyboard Maestro installed on your Macintosh, you owe it to yourself to do both. You can download Drafts here and you can get Keyboard Maestro here. (Those are not affiliate links, btw.)

Just as a “bonus” tip: If you have any questions about learning how to best use either, you should really visit their community forums for lots of answers:

TL;DR If you want to program your Mac so that you can type F13 (or whatever key you want) to quickly open the Drafts app, click here to download my exported macro and import it into Keyboard Maestro. If you are already good with Keyboard Maestro, here’s what the macro looks like:

digital note-taking macro

It’s handy no matter what you are doing, whether online or offline, when you want to jot down a quick note to save it for later. You may never pick up a pen or pencil again.

A quick afterthought: if you have already started putting your notes into one SINGLE application like Apple Notes and you don’t need to start using Drafts, that’s fine. The point of this article was to show you how to get to a single note-taking app, as fast as possible. This increases your productivity because you’re not wasting time with your notes all over the place. You’re welcome to change change my macro from using Drafts to something else. It’s easy…just let me know if you need any help.

Click here to download the macro.

If you find this information helpful, please leave me a comment below so that I know. If you would like to contact me directly, please visit my contact page here. Don’t forget to sign up for my email newsletter in the sidebar.


Bernard Burch

Bernard-Joseph is a francophone and property rental expert offering relocation & other travel services to individuals and corporations in Paris for over 10 years. Passionate about everything related to France: history, property, culture, and daily life in Paris.

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