Talking Apple Watch with Draft-maestro Tim Namuck | Multiple Watch Faces and Minimal Notifications

Hi friends,

Wasn’t that just a fantastic WWDC keynote? I have taken the plunge and installed WatchOS 7. Found a few really interesting little nuggets, which I will point out at the end of this post.

A huge welcome to the 83 new subscribers since Saturday! Welcome to the club! 🎉

From the beginning, I wanted this newsletter blog to be more than just a one-way conversation. Stories are powerful. It’s not just about apps. It’s about specific actions, methods, routines and habits. The best way to learn more about the Apple Watch is to learn from others, and see how they integrate it in their life.

With this in mind, I can not be more thrilled to have Tim Nahumck, the Drafts-maestro-extraordinaire, to be the first interview features on here. It should have come as no surprise, but the depth and detail in his answers blew me away.

What initially made you get an Apple Watch? How does it fit in your life now?

I think what really got me into the idea of having the Apple Watch is two-fold: first, the fitness tracking features and then having better notifications. I had been using a Fitbit of some kind, but it didn’t provide the same health data and was no where near as complete for notifications. I was able to return my Fitbit and get the Series 1, which at the time was a huge upgrade.

Today, it’s still very much those same things. With the improvements to the hardware (I have a Series 4 watch) and software, it’s been made better over time. I use it for the fitness and notifications, but I also make sure I check weather and save notes using Drafts. I use Siri quite a bit as well to add an item to the grocery list, start a timer, or set an alarm. I’m excited to see what the Series 6 watch and watchOS 7 have in store. I would love some custom watch faces to finally make their way to the platform.

I see you’re also an advocate of minimising notifications on the Watch. Why do you do this?

With my first watch, the Series 1, it was actually to save battery: all of those buzzes on my wrist along with the subsequent looking at my wrist resulted in more battery usage. Over time, as much as I like having the notifications on my wrist, I’ve come to recognize that these are for the most important notifications: messages, calls, calendar alerts, timers, alarms, etc. I don’t have email, Twitter, and others going to my wrist because they just aren’t mission-critical. My world won’t collapse if I don’t see a response to a tweet; if I miss a call or a message from a family member or friend, that will be bad. Pairing it down to the bare minimum lets me know how important a message is coming to my wrist. If it’s going to be attached to my body, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What do your Watch Faces look like? Do you use multiple Watch Faces?

I do use multiple watch faces. Generally, it’s whatever fits my mood and/or my watch bands, of the 17 bands I now own. They change quite frequently, but I’ve settled in on a few key faces which might change complications from time to time. The central face is the night face, and I can swipe left or right to change to work or home.

From left to right, I have the Solar Watch face, which is really cool looking and functional when you know how to interpret it. I do enjoy this one a lot, but it’s my least used watch face. Next I have the California watch face, with the circular dial and California numerals. This is what I usually use for when I am work in the office; it’s more of a “fancy” watch face, while still providing the most data possible. My next face is my night watch face: this is the Modular watch face in red. This doesn’t shine brightly at night, and is perfect when I need to look at the time in the dark. The next two – Modular Compact and Infograph Modular – are my most-used faces. I’ve been experimenting more with the Modular Compact face over the Infograph Modular, as the date in the corner seems not to matter much right now. And the last face is the Numerals Duo, which I use often to coordinate my bands. It’s set up for the Vitamin C band I recently received as a gift.

In all of my watch faces, I have Drafts available to me so that I can quickly capture something if I have the need; it is typically in either the top left or bottom right for consistency and quick access. Muscle memory is key here.

Talk me through what made you get really into Drafts?

I honestly don’t remember what first got me into Drafts. I know I needed a scratchpad for text at the time Drafts v3 was around. With Drafts v4, it started to change my world: the actions and what you could do with them opened up new possibilities. I used Drafts to create a journaling solution and used it as my only text editor. I started to imagine what the future of Drafts would look like, but I had no idea how Drafts v5 would fundamentally change my world with the improvements I hadn’t even imagined. I’ve been an evangelist for the app for a long time, and it’s only been made better with the frequent updates since that review.

Do you use any Shortcuts or auto-tag entries when using Drafts on the Watch?

I keep it simple. The drafts generated by the watch app are tagged with ᴡᴀᴛᴄʜ. I don’t have auto-dictation enabled, as sometimes I do use the scribble feature for something small, like where I parked the car. The watch app for Drafts is really good for quick notes. I would love to, at some point, see the checklist functionality that Drafts uses for Markdown tasks make its way to the watch. This would enable me to use it in the grocery store without having to take out my phone.

If you could recommend one new thing for someone to try with their Watch, would would it be?

I can’t just recommend one thing. I’d actually suggest three:

  1. Minimize your notifications. This needs to be the bare-minimum number so that you can get the important things that are critical to your day as I mentioned before. In fact, turn them all off and turn on things one or two at a time. Live with that for a while, then add a few more if needed. (I also recommend doing this for the other devices you have as well.)

  2. I would look through the number of apps you have installed and pair those down as well. In this process, you might find an app that could actually improve your life. Drafts can be one of them for quickly capturing a thought; you can also try an app like Just Press Record or Voice Memos to capture a spoken note to refer to it later. You might find that an app you hadn’t even thought of will make an impact. Conversely, you’ll also find that you don’t need so many apps installed on your watch.

  3. Use Siri on the watch when you can. Using Siri makes it better over time. Now that I use it often, it generally understands what I am requesting. If you haven’t tried it in a while, you might be surprised by the result.

Talking more broadly, what’s something technology related that you’re grateful for?

The entirety of my home office studio setup, centered around my 11" iPad Pro. The iPad Pro is probably the most amazing piece of technology I’ve ever owned. I am delighted to use it in the way I have been for the past few months: whether it is docked at my desk, or in the Smart Keyboard Folio, or when I’m just holding it and consuming content. The portability and uses of this computer is unmatched for me. For my needs, it’s the perfect device.

Apart from your epic MacStories reviews on Drafts, what’s the writing or work that you’re most proud of?

I’m really proud of the reviews I’ve done on Drafts for MacStories. I would have written them for my own site, but I’m honored to have written for them. Hoping to do more of those in the future, especially once we find out everything that will happen at WWDC 2020. Aside from those, I’m proud of everything I’ve written for my site; anything that I’m not proud of doesn’t get published and remains a file or a journal entry.

Some of my favorite posts on the site are:

  • Rethinking Reminders: These were my thoughts on Apple revamping Reminders. It was so fun to generate the screenshots for this one, all on my iPad. Some of this came to fruition, but Reminders has some definite improvements yet to come. I hope they come soon.

  • Move Your Thoughts to 2Do: This was my first big post, and I even worked to create an ePub with it. It showed me that I can do more than a simple review.

  • Drafts 5.0: A Wish List: This one was special. I wrote it 2 years ahead of the eventual Drafts 5 release. I was happy with it because I carefully considered everything in there, and I got almost everything I wanted and then some when Drafts was finally released.

What WatchOS 7 features are you most excited about?

First off, I’m excited for all of it: the improvements to iOS/iPadOS 14, watchOS7, and – my favorite bit of the keynote – the AirPods Pro upgrades. For watchOS 7, I’m excited about the improvements to watch faces and the return of the Shortcuts app. I’m excited to use multiple complications for third-party apps, and even more excited to be able to share watch faces. I hope that the sharing shown in their demo is just that easy, and it’s easy to implement on my site. I can see that being extremely useful for the future on how I use my Watch.

Also - automatic Watch Face switching!

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I’m really excited about the future of the platform: iOS, iPadOS and watchOS comprise a great mobile-and-touch-first suite of software that I really enjoy every day. I’m hopeful that they will be improving all of these OS’s going forward to improve upon the foundations they’ve made. This is absolutely the best platform for me to use with the way I work, and I look forward to all of the new functionality I will be getting in the years to come.

There was so much valuable information in there! Thank you Tim for taking the time to write this.

Here’s the original story on how to use Drafts to ever lose an idea again:

If you’re interested in more interviews like this, or the regular in-depth editorials on making the most of your Apple Watch, please subscribe.

Apple Watch -> Wrist Supercomputer series

As promised, a couple of quick nuggets on WatchOS7. I have added this to the list of WatchOS features not shown on screen post.

  1. Be better than me and avoid installing the beta if you can. If there are any issues and the Watch gets bricked, you need to send it back to Apple for it to be restored.

  2. Sleep tracking seems limited (no ‘deep sleep’/’REM’ information), but is actually really well integrated within the whole of iOS and WatchOS. I will write about this.

  3. Force Touch is gone.

  4. WatchOS 7 animations are much faster.

  5. Music app now finally has search and auto-play.

Hope you enjoyed reading this. I’ll see you next week!