Deliveries Automation - The easiest way to track your packages

Here is a quick tip I wish I figured out before the holidays….There is a nifty application for Mac and iOS called Deliveries (by JuneCloud). The app aggregates tracking information of all your packages. I used it over the holidays to track the progress of my gifts. Out of the box, the app uses iCloud to sync data between your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Although Deliveries has handy features, it was a multi-step process to get my tracking numbers into the app.The app was so useful, I decided to figure out a way to automate the process of tracking number extraction. JuneCloud was way ahead of me. It turns out there are two ways to sync data in Deliveries: through iCloud or through JuneCloud’s own cloud service, JuneCloud Sync. If you sign up for a JuneCloud Sync account, you can send an email with a tracking number to and Deliveries takes care of the rest.I find auto-extraction from forwarded emails extremely easy to use and is a key feature of several of my favorite apps (e.g. Tripit for travel itineraries, of FlightView for flight tracking).I wrote a rule for my email client, Airmail, that automatically forwards tracking emails to the JuneCloud Sync Service:Although I’ve only been using JuneCloud Sync a few days, so far it’s worked flawlessly (with Amazon packages) and has saved me the hassle of cutting and pasting tracking numbers from emails. I’ll report back if I have any trouble with other vendors.

Travel Receipt Workflow

Here is a handy workflow to keep track of your reimbursable / billable expenses on the road.Set-up:

I have an Evernote Notebook that is used solely for professional receipts. This notebook is named “Receipts_Work”. I’ve set up an If This Then That (IFTTT) Applet to send an email when the notebook receives a new note.When I receive a receipt on the road, I immediately scan it with Scannable then save it to my Receipts_Work Notebook. IFTTT monitors the Receipts_Work Notebook. When the new note is detected, it automatically sends an email to both my assistant and my Omnifocus Maildrop address (so the item is added to my Omnifocus Inbox).After my trip, I can go back to my Evernote, select all the receipts/notes from my trip and make a “Table of Contents” using a single button push in Evernote.This workflow simplifies management of reimbursement receipts. Hope it works as well for you as it does for me.

Drafts Script to Capture Ideas to Ulysses

As I've mentioned in previous writing, I am a big fan of Ulysses. I now do all of my short writing in Ulysses, so I decided to transition my blog idea script from Drafts->Evernote to Drafts->Ulysses.The script prepends "BlogX" and the current date, erases the Drafts file, then places my new idea in my Ulysses Inbox.In Ulysses, I keep three blog related groups: Ideas, In Process, and Published. I no longer have to take time to move my ideas from Evernote to Ulysses. Instead, each idea is submitted to Ulysses, eliminating entirely the need for Evernote. If you use lUlysses, you can adopt this script for capturing other ideas as well. I hope you find it useful.C-4BD1E907-BF45-4BDF-A537-FD4B164DE1163.C-594A6F3A-763C-4292-8CF5-2B232346AC1CC-AD6CA981-BA55-4179-93A7-F7067F434527

Macsparky Video Field Guide on Hazel 4

My friend David Sparks has released a new video field guide--this time on Hazel. In true Macsparky fashion, he's delivered yet another outstanding resource. Even though I'm a seasoned Hazel user, I learned quite a few new tips and tricks--especially pertaining to the recently released Hazel 4. Pick up your copy of this and other excellent resources on the Macsparky website...and Hazel-on!

Quick Idea Capture Using Drafts and Evernote

Although I’ve already  written about the way I capture ideas using Drafts and Evernote, I thought it was worth repeating since these techniques were buried in another entry. I literally use this method multiple times a day. Using Drafts, I’ve efficiently captured hundreds of ideas, blog thoughts,and lyrics. As you’ll see below, I also use Drafts to start entries in Day One., ------------------------------------------Capturing Ideas in Evernote using DraftsEvernote extends its great power by linking to many other applications. I’ve found capturing snippets of text into Evernote is even easier than the method I described a few years ago using plaintext.I use Drafts on my iphone and iPad to capture / brain dump just about everything. Drafts is an essential program on my iPhone. Drafts allows me to capture without thinking about what app I need to open. Once the text is captured, Drafts routes the information wherever I choose. I wrote about one way I use Drafts to capture and process meeting notes. When I want to capture an idea, I merely open Drafts and type or dictate my idea into the app. When I’m done, I route the information to Evernote using the following custom action:IMG 0608The action automatically derives a title from the first line of the text and appends the date and time. Furthermore, it files the note in my “Ideas” Notebook in Evernote and tags the note with the keyword “Ideas."The note ends up in Evernote looking like this:Screenshot 2015 11 27 13 29 52When I get to Evernote, I append further information in the note as needed. I use IdeaX in the header so when I search for a list of my ideas, they are not mixed together with information I’ve gathered from other sources. If I search for a keyword(s), I not only see my ideas, but all the information I’ve gathered in Evernote—very useful.Capturing Blog Ideas, Lyric Ideas, Quotes, and other Snippets in Evernote using DraftsI use a similar scripts in Drafts to capture a whole host of other information on the go. Each class of information is filed into it’s own Notebook in Evernote. For example, here is the action I use to capture information for my blog: IMG 0609  Using Drafts for entries in Day One.Although I love Day One, I was not entering information often enough. Action URLs are a powerful feature of Drafts. Action URLs-open other applications, then perform functions. In order to increase my capture rate,  I decided to make an Action URL that transfers text  from Drafts to Day One.Here is how simple it is…..Drafts Day1 Action.jpgI have configured  Day One on my Mac and iOS devices to sync. I also enabled the #hashtag feature in Day One. Hashtags are translated into keywords in Day One.Since enabling this script, I find myself capturing both personal and professional snippets each day. Give it a try!By incorporating Evernote, I’ve greatly simplified many of my capture processes. I highly recommend giving Evernote Premium a whirl and trying out a few of these workflows on your own. You won’t be disapointed.

Using Hazel to Organize Grant and Manuscript Files

It is almost the beginning of February and thus I am in the throes of writing another grant (2 actually). I thought I'd take a quick break to tell you how I keep my grant information organized using Hazel.I have a folder that has a template for all the subfolders I use during the preparation of the grant. When starting my project I make a copy of this template and name the parent folder including the funding agency, the year, and the type of grant.Folder Template 2Hazel can rename files and subfolders. I take advantage of this feature to keep the names of my files consistent.I navigate to the folder I am working on and set up new Hazel rule to rename the file and subfolders. The rule looks like this:Hazel Script 2Anytime I put a file into a subfolder, it is automatically renamed appending the name of the grant to the end of the file. This appended name is hugely helpful when I go back to search using program such Houdah Spot or Foxtrot.Folder Results 2I use the same method when I'm preparing manuscripts or working on other projects. Using Hazel I never have to think twice-every file I put into the parent folder or subfolder is appended with the name of the project.Try it out.