[Pending] ‘Boomerang’ draft or ‘hide and return to inbox’ function to stay tidy

I love the email inbox metaphor being used in Drafts!

I work on longer drafts and I frequently want to put the draft down for a few days without thinking about it before I dive back in for a session. In this case I don’t want the draft to crowd my inbox and I don’t want to have to remember to get back to it at a later date by finding it manually (or setting a reminder elsewhere)

As a long time user of boomerang and a current user of simplehuman for my email, one of my favorite things is to be able to clear by inbox by being able to temporarily hide an email from my inbox and designate a time when It will pop back into my inbox

This really helps me (or could help me in the Drafts app) keep my inbox tidy because I can remove the visual clutter of in-progress drafts without it affecting my day to day process for other drafts I may be editing at a different cadence!

My first thought was that this should already be possible.

I started by creating a Workspace with some date filters on it to only include things created up to and including today.

Next I created a quick test action to allow me to set a specific creation date.

Note this is not good practice and you should always have good reason for messing with Drafts’ dates. They used to be read only for good reason.

Then I modified a draft to be created tomorrow.

Unfortunately, my date filter didn’t work.

I don’t use date filters in my workspaces currently, so I may have simply set it up incorrectly. Or, it could be an edge case that isn’t covered in the current logic because it isn’t real world possible to have stuff written in the future.

@agiletortoise any pointers?

I don’t love this idea, setting future dates is flirting with trouble, but what you describe is working here in my quick test. Are you sure you re-applied the workspace after you had all the date ranges setup?

I don’t know about automatically popping those items back into the inbox, but I’d recommend just using a “defer” tag and a workspace setup to so your default workspace has an “!defer” tag filter to omit those items…and another workspace showing only “defer” tagged items to check periodically. Or use a sweep action to loop over the deferred drafts and remove the tag if it’s been more than a certain period of time.

If you want to get fancy, you could combine tags and do something like “defer, 1w” or “defer, 2w” and the sweep action could compare those additional tags to the creation date to determine which to restore to the inbox.

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I thought I did, but I guess that must have been the issue. Just went back and it was working as envisaged.

I’m also not keen on the principle of the future dating drafts creation dates… but it does seem to work, and it does get round the need to trigger an automated sweep, which is what made me consider it as an option in the first place.

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I would solve it with a tag or a text line with a name/content like review 2020 KW42

this could be easily integrated in an action based review. Or even simply with a workspace on the tag.

@Adrian_Head what would you prefer?

I just remembered that this ide is implemented by the Flash Card action group

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@Andreas_Haberle I was thinking the same thing: that the flashcard action would serve as a template for a boomerang of any kind.

Thanks for the quick responses everybody!

This sounds very interesting - are you aware of an existing simple drafts actions which perform a similar kind of sweep action? @agiletortoise? I would love to look at some simple code to try and reverse engineer since my programming skills are pretty non-existant :stuck_out_tongue:

This sounds like a dream – would this be a super complex script?

I’m curious how you would see this functioning more specifically – If i’m understanding the behavior correctly the Create Flashcard action only tags the current date and then the date tag is not editable.

I’m also not able to find an action which will allow me to generate a date tag in the future.

Am I missing something?

The process is quite simple. It is based on the fact that tags are simple strings (words) that could be written and red from the action.

So the modification of a seemingly fixed tag is a

  • read tag from draft (now deemed as old)
  • remove old
  • modify old to new
  • write new to draft

Hence we are in a process anyway this is quite simply done.

only important thing is to keep the tag computer recognisable to make the script not messing with other stuff.

Could you quickly write up your process then we will setup a action script you can work from.


I think it would go something like:

  1. I tag the current draft with the date something like #YYYY-MM-DD in my Working View
  2. I tag for number of days I want it to remind me in (ie: #5 for reminder in 5 days)
  3. Script removes and updates the tag (and it filters out of my working view)
  4. I or a script initiates an action that somehow brings the draft back into my working view

From the flashcards script I understand that my tags might have some modifiers on them which would be totally acceptable!

Let me know if I have conceived of that in a realistic way @Andreas_Haberle – thanks for you help!

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sounds workable and compact

I would prefix both tag types with something like review or a $ to ensure that it is easily identifiable.

Flashcards actions do a similar thing and it might be advisable tokeep it workable in parallel. if you want to review different lines of review we could do that in its own tag. maybe add this complexity right at the start and working with a constant there for now.

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I tried the drafts action for creating and reviewing Flashcards. It works great, but I realized that this discussion here is what I am looking for: an action that enables me to open a draft, edit it, then when I hit the action again it opens the next draft in the queue, and so on and so forth. But I can’t code, so I’m just snooping around the forums, keeping tabs on developments to see if something like this is being developed. Have there been any developments? Thanks. @Adrian_Head @Andreas_Haberle


What does “next draft in the queue” actually mean?

  • What constitutes a queue?
  • How would you define “next draft”?

Sounds picky but (loose) definitions for both are necessary to code a solution.

Lets say I’ve got 5 notes, named Alpha, Beta, Charlie, Delta and Echo. These are what constitute the queue.

When I run the action, it opens Alpha.
I then edit Alpha.
I then run the action again.
It opens Beta. I edit Beta.
I then run the action again.
Charlie opens up.
I then edit Charlie.
I then run the action again. To edit Delta. Then to edit Echo. Once I’ve edited Echo, it opens up Alpha again.
But let’s say in this second round of editing, between Charlie and Delta, I create a new note, named Foxtrot. I add it to the queue. So when I get to Echo, when I run the action, it will open up Foxtrot.

Does this make sense? This is the backbone of Iterative Writing/ Incremental Writing, which I think can be done in Drafts via Actions.

Right. But is this queue a workspace? Or Inbox? And how are they sequenced? I assume by Modification Date (or Creation Date).


I’d never thought about it, so I’m glad you asked. It seems to make sense for the queue to be a Workspace. The Incremental Writing wouldn’t apply to every note in Drafts, but only to those with a specific tag. They would be sequenced by Modification date.

Why not create a Workspace (perhaps named “Simmering”)with drafts restricted to those with a tag, e.g., “#simmering”? The Simmering Workspace can be set to list drafts in Date Modified order, either ascending or descending.

You would then need only open that Workspace to solve the problem – as I understand what you have said.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication!
Thank you for this simple workaround. It will work nicely for now, I suspect.

I’ll use it for the time being.
Having said that, it’s not quite exactly the functionality I was looking for with Incremental Writing. I think such an action would be great to have in Drafts. I came across it in Obsidian, but Drafts has become my goto app for starting off things…And Obsidian for Linking them together once they’re done…

Here’s a Youtube video that explains it a bit better than I am: Obsidian: inbox review with spaced repetition - YouTube