There is a new tier of applications aimed at speeding up our actions on iOS. What started as integration between applications evolved into dedicated apps such as Launch Center that exist to get us where we want to go faster. Now, with the introduction of two new text apps, Pop and Drafts, that same speed is available to our writing.
Pop and Drafts exist for a singular purpose: open the application, start writing without having to hit another key and then decide what to do with your words later. Both apps approach the same task with a different focus, Pop exists to only to capture and copy your ideas where Drafts aims to take your words and help you use them in a variety of ways. The focus is entirely on capturing your words, so these applications open faster than traditional note-taking apps. They reduce the friction and the time it takes to get words out of your head and onto your screen.
I don’t want to talk about the minutia or potential uses of each app; they’ve already been well covered. I don’t want to dismiss them; both of these applications are well executed and are already proving useful, even those those who didn’t expect it. I do, however, want to talk about the idea of write first, determine second. While I see the benefit of these apps, I also see a potential concern. What we gain in speed, we give up in intention. I want to capture an idea as quickly as it occurs. I’m terrified of losing inspiration, but the more I attempt to create, the more I benefit from determining where my ideas belong.
I am as distractible as one can get, but I’ve found I can hold onto it long enough to consider where it goes and push the right buttons. I can take a short-term loss in speed for a long-term gain. There is something to writing and then figuring out what you want to do with your words, but today I’d rather write with intent. Sometimes I’ll start moving on something and discover I was wrong or chose the wrong tool for the job, but more often than not, the decision to write with intent has led to better results. Choosing a specific tool, like Simplenote or OmniFocus provides a structure and begins a workflow that guides an idea forward.
I’m a fan of shortcuts. I’m a fan of giving your mind creative space, but I’m a bigger fan of acting with intent. Inevitably, you have to hit the button, to take all of those steps that these applications save you (or possibly more). There’s a real argument to be made that these applications benefit us. That they help us to get an idea down faster, but they also add yet another layer of abstraction between capturing and acting on an idea. So consider forgoing them and consider your intention at the onset. Get your idea to the right place, determine if it is a worthwhile, and either act on it or eliminate it.
What is your priority? Intention or speed? Make that determination first and then choose your tools wisely.