Drafts: The iPhone productivity app you didn’t know you needed

Back before smartphones, my best productivity tool was a “Hipster PDA” (otherwise known as a stack of 3×5 cards held together with a binder clip). The idea with the Hipster PDA was that you always had someplace to “capture” to-do items. When you thought of an idea, task, or other random piece of information you would just write it on a 3×5 card (with the pen you always kept with you) and then you would process that idea into your to-do list later (when you were in the mode of processing your to-dos). The beauty of the hipster PDA was that you didn’t have to remember tasks, ideas or phone numbers or anything — you could just jot those things on a 3×5 card and take care of them later. The Hipster PDA was ubiquitous, always on, and easy to use. It worked great.

Drafts is the Hipster PDA for the iPhone (and more). When you open it up, it presents you with a blank document and a keyboard. So the minute you open it, you can start capturing your ideas, notes or other information. The next time you open the app, it presents you with another blank note, saving your prior note in the stack. In this way, it works just like carrying an endless stack of sticky notes or 3×5 cards.

This alone would be useful, but where Drafts goes from here is where it gets mind blowing. Once you have a note down in Drafts, it enables you to do something with it in lots of different apps. You can sent your note as a tweet or email, you can add it to a reminders list or other task management app or append it to a text file in Dropbox … there are literally hundreds of things you can do with your text with just one click.

But that’s not all! You can build your own custom actions too. Have an email group that you frequently send to? You can make a custom action to send the text you created to that group with a certain headline. You can create an action to tweet the last picture saved in your camera roll with the text you’ve created.

But it gets even better! (I’m starting to feel like I’m selling Ginsu knives.) Drafts makes use of all the best tools for text capture that the iPhone has to offer. So you can use TextExpander snippets to make text entry really fast. You can also use Siri to dictate your notes. You can enter notes with Markdown syntax… all the bells and whistles.

“Ok, this is cool, but I’m still not seeing that it’s life changing.”

What’s life changing about it is that you don’t have to think about it. Have an idea, see a task, want to remember something? Don’t hesitate; grab Drafts and capture it. Then decide what you want to do with it later. Just like that stack of 3×5 cards, Drafts is ready to take your ideas, tasks or information and hold it, whatever it is, or do something with it with the push of a button.

Give it a try. It may not change your life, but it will change how you capture and process information. Drafts has earned a place on the iPhone dock of each of the hosts of MPU (they did a terrific show featuring Drafts too). There are also some well done tutorial videos that reveal lots of this app’s special features. The iPhone app is $2.99 and there is a separate iPad app for $3.99 that uses iCloud sync to move your notes from one device to the other.

Do you use Drafts or another productivity app? 



  1. Hello Brad,
    Great post!
    What about Must Do Today?
    It’s a useful app for productivity and time management.

  2. Evernote App and Dropbox App are some
    of the best apps which people generally include in there app lists. Some goods
    app here. You can also include Future Scheduler and Location Alerts in this
    productive iPhone apps list.

Speak Your Mind