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I work remotely. What does it even mean?

Remote work. What does it even mean?

I’ve recently done my quarterly retrospective. One of the topics I chose to review was my workflow, especially in a remote work context. A couple of recent years accelerated the remote work movement. The most popular variation nowadays seems to be the hybrid approach. We spend some time working from home and some time in the office. If we spend even one day working from home and if we have even one person working from home – we work remotely. But what does it even mean?

🏝 I work remotely. What does it even mean?

One of the first things we want to address when switching to remote work is the ability to work from anywhere under similar or identical conditions. It’s not just about the hardware, though. Most of the time, it’s impossible to reproduce the exact configuration we use in our spacious offices or comfortable homework installations.
What I am talking about is the work environment, applications, and our β€œworkflow”.

It is often the case that we start doing something on a desktop computer at home or in the office. Then we move to another place, meet with the client or pick up the child from school, where we may use a laptop to write the report in a go. And then we finish working in a cafe. It would be good to have our environment designed so we can take it with us. The most straightforward app I’ve even used is one application that allows this.

It is called Drafts. As the name suggests, I use it to take quick notes, which can become a blog post, a sneak peek on social media, a podcast description, a page in an electronic diary, or a nicely-looking email or report.

πŸ—’ Let’s take some notes

Remote work. What does it even mean?
Draft app | credit:

Drafts works on a Mac, iPad, iPhone and even an Apple watch (sorry, Windows users :)). It is crucial because wherever we start taking our notes, we immediately have access to it from another device. We can add or change anything; the same note is available on all synchronised devices.

Another feature that is extremely useful in the context of remote work is the ability to dictate text to your notes. It works great for both English and Polish. It is where the watch version comes in handy. We can dictate notes even while walking without taking the phone out of the backpack.

πŸ”„ Integrate everything

And the last feature I would like to present is the possibility of creating the so-called automation. Drafts has built-in support for x-callback-url. In short, it is the ability to transfer various parameters, including text, between different applications that support this functionality.
For example:

  • I dictate a text, which then becomes a task in my TODO application
  • I write a longer text, Drafts divided into sections, and send it to Twitter as a β€œTwitter storm.”
  • I make a meeting note using markdown formatting, edit it and send it as an email, which is neatly formatted straight away.
  • I highlight some excellent quotes from an article I’ve just read and β€œshare” it to Drafts, where it is saved together with a link to the whole article, and the draft is tagged accordingly for easy search.

🦾 Automate everything

When we talk about automation, we have to mention Draft Actions.

In Drafts, actions are commands used to output to other services and apps, manipulate the text in drafts, and much more. They can take many forms, from simple helper actions that insert text, or special characters, to full-blown scripted integrations with web services to output text.

By default, Drafts ships with a large default set of actions. There are also many ready-to-use actions that can be installed from the Action Directory. Drafts Pro users can also create and edit actions. Some of the most popular:

  • Things Parser
  • Add to List
  • Fantastically Good Event Parser
  • New Draft with Template
  • Copy to Notion
  • PDF Export
  • Day One
  • Send to Things
  • Daily Notes

There are plenty of possibilities.

πŸŽ“ Conclusions

I’ve had several approaches to different note-taking systems. I still use apps like Evernote, Apple Notes, and Microsoft’s One Note occasionally for some other variations of my workflow. The nice thing is that I can start any text in Drafts and then quickly export it to any other application. The most important thing is the habit and the fact that such a trivial activity as taking notes takes me very little time and energy.

We have to remember that remote work is a broad category. It has to be a strategy. To do it effectively, we need to prepare. Part of the preparation is our work environment. What does it mean to work remotely? To me, it means being as efficient as I was working in my best environment.

I’m curious about your opinion on this topic. What is remote work for you? What is your favourite application that makes your work smooth?

Thanks for reading!

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