Tim Nahumck (Website) (Twitter) is our go-to guest on the Automators podcast (episodes 23 and 73) when we want to talk about Drafts automation. He’s also a pretty swell guy and, based on his picture here, a complete bad-ass. So, Tim, show us your Home Screen.
What widgets are you using and why?
I only use a single page for my Home Screen, but I have multiple widgets stacked on top of one another in a four small and one medium widget layout. I like having the information density with this configuration. For each stack, I have one widget in each that belongs to Clear Spaces. This allows me to have a clean Home Screen at the end of the day. When I’m done with a particular stack, I simply swipe it to a clear space, and the entire stack is hidden. This started off as a purely neat trick I could do, but I started realizing how much of a productivity hack it ended up being.
The two left small widgets are for calendars and tasks. The top-left widget is Calendar, and the middle-left widget is a stack of Reminders and my Work workspace in Drafts to manage my tasks. The top-right widget is all Carrot Weather. I have a Forecast, Daily, and Hourly widget for when I want to see different aspects of the weather.
The middle-right widget is the health stack, including both fitness and food. I have Fitness, FoodNoms, Fitbod, the meal planning note that I share with my wife, and the Grocery list for quick access to add an item when I’m not using Siri.
The bottom stack is two Drafts and one Shorcuts medium widgets. They are all a grid, so I have quite a bit of power right at my fingertips (which is also why it is located at the bottom). I have quick access to my workspaces and widget-friendly actions in Drafts; for Shortcuts, I have a few frequently used shortcuts in each widget, most of which can be run using Compact UI.
For the Today View, I have a few installed: A small Battery widget and a small Shortcuts widget which runs my Garage Hub shortcut, allowing me to utilize Shortcuts to open or close my garage. Sometimes I need these quickly and don’t want to open the phone and can simply swipe left to get them. I then use two medium widgets for Carrot Weather, for the access reason I just mentioned. The last widget I use in the Today view is PCalc. This is the old style of widget, which allows for it to be interactive. I wish there were interactive widgets with iOS 14, and I remain hopeful this will come to iOS / iPadOS 15.
One other thing to note about my Home Screen are the dock icons. They aren’t widgets, but they are shortcuts. Each one of these are launchers for other apps. The shortcut provides a menu, and allows me to select other apps with a couple of taps. I recently made a change to my dock and have the outboard icons mirrored. I thought of this as a “left brain” and “right brain”: left brain is for creative and media apps, right brain is for more analytical items. The center icon is for social apps like Messages, Twitter, etc. I’m sure there are other ways for me to get to the apps, but I appreciate that not having icons on the home screen that are badged are better for me. Badges generally give me a minor level of anxiety, and I feel compelled to check them.
Combined with my widgets and the dock shortcuts, I have a multi-functional Home Screen layout that works for me and helps keep me focused.
Which app is your guilty pleasure?
Definitely a few games. On the iPhone, it’s Sneaky Sasquatch on Apple Arcade. It might be one of the most fun games I’ve played on iOS. The gameplay is a mix of cute with just a hint of intricacy that makes it fun for not only me, but my youngest son as well. It’s been regularly updated and has a ton of new adventures and challenges to complete. I haven’t even been able to keep up with it given everything else I have going on! For iPad, it’s Need for Speed No Limits. I do love some car racing.
What app makes you most productive?
Drafts. I know, I know—this is SHOCKING. But it’s true. I’m in it many, many times a day on my devices. In my life, Drafts is the central hub from which my productivity flows. Need to write? I’m in Drafts. Need to get some notes down? I’m in Drafts, sometimes with my Apple Pencil. Need to send an email or a message or a tweet? All started there. I even use it schedule events and reminders, send them to the native Calendar and Reminders apps, respectively. Over the years, I’ve written extensively about Drafts on my site and MacStories, and recommend starting there if you’re diving in.
What app do you know you’re under-utilizing?
My mind says Shortcuts. My waist says Fitness/FoodNoms. I’m working on being better at both.
Do you have an Apple Watch? Show us your watch face tell us about it.
I have multiple watch faces, but I keep going back to two: Infograph Modular and Modular. The Infograph Modular face in multicolor gives me the best visual to what I feel is critical on my wrist: the date/time, weather via Carrot Weather, my rings via Activity, heart rate using HeartWatch, and my Reminders (though I wish I could specify a specific Reminders list like you can in widgets). The Modular face is red for nighttime wearing, and contains the time, the moon phase; it’s the darkest color and minimal amount of information I need to see. I do use two Shortcuts automations to set them at specific times of the day to switch contexts visually, and remind myself that it’s either time to get more alert for work or time to start shutting down for sleep.
What’s your wallpaper and why?
I’m a big fan of black-and-white backgrounds. Always have been. They tend to make the colors pop in widgets or icons. For a while, I would get different pictures and make them black and white. Since iOS 14 came out, I’ve been going more with abstract art. I searched to find a wallpaper that had some dimension, and stumbled upon this wallpaper. Of course, I tweaked it myself into a black-and-white version. It adds some texture to my phone, and fits well with the widgets and neumorphic dock icons I have.
If you were in charge at Apple, what would you add or change?
I’m very much an iOS-only person. And if I were in charge of Apple, I’d treat the iPad as a first-class computing device. Give me XCode. Give me Logic. Give me Audio Hijack and the ability to record a podcast just like I would on a Mac with multiple audio streams. Let me side-load music into my iCloud Music Library without having another computer around me. Let me plug into an external monitor and have the device morph into more of a desktop-like experience. At the same time, let me have widgets in more than one space. Keep developing on the Apple Pencil. Let me run 3 apps side-by-side-by-side.
I’m not claiming to have the answers on how to fix all this. I’m not sure how some of this would be possible. But don’t hinder my ability to be creative and make me choose between one device or the other because of my pocketbook. Let me choose freely what works best for me to get the most out of my iPad.