It’s no secret that I love to travel – and I also love to be organized! Making a packing list is great fun, until you forget something so in this episode of Automators David and I decided to find as many ways as we could to solve the problem of creating a packing list. Naturally our techniques overlapped in a few places, but we still came up with a variety of solutions – which you can use to solve other problems too.
I’ve documented most of the Shortcuts in the show notes for this episode, but my Drafts action group (and accompanying Shortcut) need a little more space – so let’s dive in!
First of all, no matter how organised I might be I still need a task in my task management system to actually do the packing, so I kick off my process with a Shortcut, it looks through my calendar for all day events, I choose one of them, and then it creates a new Draft (tagged with packing) before adding a task to OmniFocus with the title “Pack”, a due date of the start date of the trip, and a link to my Draft in the note. You can download the Shortcut here: Create Packing List (Drafts & OF)
Now let’s look at my Drafts action group, this has 8 actions (I’ve expanded a little since recording).
Manage Template List This gets you started with creating your basic lists if you don’t have them yet – you choose categories (it suggests Clothes, Toiletries, and Technology), and then set the emoji for each category before adding items to it. If you already have a list you get 4 choices:
Add category – Asks you for the name of the category, an emoji to represent it, and items to add to it.
Update Emoji – Shows you all your categories and the emojis associated with them for editing.
Delete Category – Gives you a choice of categories to delete.
Manage Category Items – Allows you to add or remove items in a category as well as correct spelling.
None of these actions affect anything in any of your packing list – maybe someday I’ll get to it, but not yet.
To find emoji quickly use Emojipedia, it has a great search and you can copy the emoji with just a tap.
Add a 🔋 emoji after anything that needs charging – I have a few actions to help you keep track of those.
Tag Packing List
This just adds the tag “packing” to your Draft so you can filter for these quickly.
Add Packing Items to List
This shows you a prompt with a list of your categories, you tap a category, deselect items within that category you do not wish to include (I assumed that you’ll likely want all items in a category), and the items are added to your list. After this it runs the action “Sort Packing Items” automatically.
Sort Packing Items
You might be wondering why I’m bothering to assign emoji to my categories – aside from “they’re cute”. It’s simple: Emoji are sortable. So everything with a 👖 tag is grouped together. This way I can both visually identify items in a category, and the sort action (which is alphabetical) groups them together. All the items are in the task format in Drafts, this looks something like this:
- [ ] 👖 Jeans
- [x] 👖 TShirt
- [ ] 🛀 Shampoo
Tapping on one of the [ ] boxes checks it off ([x]) or unchecks it. The x is sorted below the space so unchecked items stay at the top.
I like to reuse my packing list on the way home to make sure I don’t forget anything and that everything is charged, this unchecks everything, resets charging icons, and sorts the list again for me.
What should I charge?
Maybe I travel with too much tech, but I do travel with a lot and most of it needs charging – after all, what good is a battery pack that isn’t charged? Everything that needs charging has a 🔋 icon at the end of it, this action grabs all of those items and shows them to me, selecting one replaces the battery with a 🔌 emoji, so I can see it is ready.
For items that you add outside of your list you may wish to add the battery emoji, instead of hunting though your keyboard for it use this action. It will also replace the battery with a plug or vice versa.
This just deletes the current row in Drafts.
This all works with scripts in Drafts, I can’t guarantee it will work perfectly so I would love to hear your feedback!
As many people know, automation is a topic near and dear to my heart – therefore I often think about automating something before I really know what that something is! Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Really it depends on the circumstance – so Scotty and I talked about it!
In episode 5 of Nested Folders Scotty and I dived into our weekly review routines. It was also good to review traps we’ve both previously fallen into with our reviews – I’ve been considering making a printed list of how I do my weekly review and if I do so I’m also going to make a list of “not to do” on it – as a reminder of those lessons that I’ve learned over the years!
Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go and watch Netflix and tap the same prompt 900+ times.
Update! I’ve been experimenting and there’s also a way to just tap “Create Links” once: Get Markdown Links to Shortcuts – you get the links first and then iterate through them grabbing the names of the associated Shortcuts. As long as the order of the Shortcuts remains constant this is a much more user friendly workaround.
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