Episode 5 of Automators is all about project templates, and how they can help you to be more productive. David and I are both OmniFocus users, but project templates can be used with almost every task management system out there - even Reminders!
The simplest type of project template is a project you can copy - this is easily done in both OmniFocus and Things, the advantage is it's easy to set up, but it's also static - what you have is what you get.
You can also store project templates somewhere else, the places I have used are:
One thing I have done is to import all of the templates I'd previously saved
into Dropbox and iCloud Drive into Drafts - this was easily done by pressing
and holding the
+ icon which then lets you import a file.
Something I use a lot when making templates for OmniFocus is TaskPaper - and I
even made a
Drafts Action Group to help
me do so easily. What you can do with OmniFocus and TaskPaper is create a
template in OmniFocus, copy it and then paste it into a text editor (like
Drafts) to edit it - this allows you to put "fuzzy dates" in, such as
"Thursday" or "Monday -2d", the latter evaluating to two days before Monday.
You can also include
«variables» which the TaskPaper to OF action
will then help you replace.
I demonstrated how to use this action group in a screencast for you:
And there's also a blog post all about it: Using Drafts 5 Taskpaper with OmniFocus
As I mentioned in the podcast, Todoist supports importing a CSV file - and if your task manager does too then you can use Numbers or Excel and date math to make relative dates.
So, what kind of project templates might you create?
While David and I are both primarily OmniFocus users, there are also lots of great resources for Things users:
And the Todoist blog also has a post called A whole new way to create and share Todoist Templates - Todoist Blog.
One of the workflows/Shortcuts I mentioned on the podcast was one to create an essay project, the options here are somewhat simplified, but demonstrate quite nicely how this works:
Another Workflow/Shortcut I mentioned is the iOS implementation of these scripts:
«variables»and create a new project, with the help of the share sheet and two Workflows I recreated this functionality and wrote about it on Colter Reed's blog: How to Fill Out OmniFocus Project Templates with Workflow | Colter Reed. What is probably interesting for you is that this is not one Workflow but two, and the second one is recursive - that is it calls itself until a condition is met, for this workflow that there are not more variables to parse. Using Workflows/Shortcuts as a function is something I rarely see but is extremely useful.
David also did a great screencast about how he uses Shortcuts to make project
Make sure to check out the show notes for all of the links, and I look forward to discussing this episode and all of your examples for project templates in the forums!