Tracking Trainings Using Dafts and Launch Center Pro

 Track Trainings for CEUs and Clock Hours using Drafts 4 & Launch Center Pro

Track Trainings for CEUs and Clock Hours using Drafts 4 & Launch Center Pro

A couple of weeks ago, I spent some times further diving into Drafts and Launch Center Pro. Both are amazing applications for iOS, and have greatly improved my productivity and ability to get things done. I have been absolutely loving my Milage Tracker that I put together, and use it multiple times a day (and find that it makes it so I don't forget to track). As I have written before, I'm a big fan of using plain text files and Markdown.

Several years ago, when I started working at Tri-Cities Community Health Behavioral Health Services, and attending various trainings post MSW I started keeping a word document listing all of the various trainings that I attend. If you work in an industry that requires documentation regarding trainings received, hopefully you have started doing that too. I since have change my system around. I now have a plain text file that I keep on dropbox which has a listing of every training that I have received (whether that be in agency or for some sort of professional development certificate). As I have been looking towards applying for my LICSW and having my ESA which requires so many clock hours, I decided that I wanted to also have an easy way to calculate how many CEU's or Clock Hours without combing through my long text file of all my trainings. I created two CSV files which I could open in Excel or Numbers and have calculate the total number of hours easily. The problem is, I didn't want to have to write entries sometimes three times. I also wanted to be able to add these entries either from my phone or from my iPad easily when I get to the training. Never having to worry about it again.

With so many iOS automation tasks that I do, it starts in Launch Center Pro (LCP) for me. I have a main entry that collects data in several prompts (you can install it). The content is as follows:

launch://x-callback-url/clipboard?text=[prompt:Review=[prompt:Date], [prompt:Training Title], [prompt-num:Number of CEUs or Clock Hours] [list:Type|Clock Hours=Clock Hours|CEUs=CEUs|Both=Clock Hours and CEUs], [list:Type of Units|Ethics= Professional Law and Ethics|Suicide=Suicide Assessment Treatment and Management|General=General Continuing Education Credits|None=|ESA Suicide=ESA Suicide Prevention Intervention Training]]

It creates a final review prompt that includes text regarding the training date, the title of the training, the number of hours, and the type of hours (i.e. Professional Law and Ethics or Suicide Assessment Treatment and Management).

I have this LCP action in my "base" actions folder along with a couple of different actions related to my trainings. All of them send the contents to Drafts for different actions. One action posts the clipboard to an action that appends it to my Clock Hour CSV, one to my CEU CSV, and one to my text file. I then have a main action that calls all of the other actions and let me select if I want to post it to one, two or all three of the actions.

The two actions that I have which append to my Clock Hour CSV and my CEU CSV files are very simple and just append to the files. There are two actions to append to my overall text file. One action takes the comma separated data and uses some JavaScript to split the text at each ", " and return the text with each section as a new line. You can install the drafts action or see the JavaScript below:

// Function to Parse Comma Separated Value Text
// Jacob Campbell -- http://jacobrcampbell.com/

function parseText(s){
    var temp = new Array();
    temp = s.split(', ');
      var result = "";
      var i;
    for(i=0; i<temp.length; i++) {
        result += temp[i] + "\n";
    }
return result;
}

// Commit content to draft

var text = draft.content;
draft.content = parseText(text);
commit(draft);

The drafts action then passes that data to another action which takes those new lines and adds it to a template page that has the following information:

## [[line|2]]
* __Date__: [[line|1]]  
* __Location__:   
* __Facilitator__:   
* __CEU / Clock Hours__: [[line|3]], [[line|4]]  
* __Duration__:   
* __Certificate of Completion__:   

Each of the the parts that say [[line|n]] takes that line from the draft and puts it there. I then add the last little bit of information (i.e. location, who facilitated it... etc) and I'm all done.

What is amazing, is I can write it once in LCP, have it post to both CSV files and then prepare it for posting it to my text file with only typing minimal text. I have taken it to another level, and have made some OmniFocus task templates that I can post and remember to follow up and see if I have received my confirmation form for my clock hours.

If you have the need to track your clock hours or CEU's its a pretty awesome system, and I'd highly encourage you steal what I have put together and change it for your own needs.

Mileage Tracking Form and Launch Center Pro

On my favorite podcast, Mac Power Users I feel like I've heard about Launch Center Pro a number of times. I've thought about purchasing it a number of times, because I really like the concept automation. I've kept putting off purchasing it because I didn't know exactly what I would do with it. I use Drafts all of the time on my iPhone and my iPad, and it's always seemed like enough.

I was reading Dr. Drang's article Late to Launch earlier today, and decided that I did need to buy Launch Center Pro (LCP). I figured that it was ok, because he is late coming to LCP too.

Basically LCP is an iPhone / iPad app that launches other applications or does tasks within those application. It also gives interaction for IFTTT (which I talked about here), which opens up so many other possibilities.

In reading Dr. Drang's article, I decided that I needed a simple way to track my mileage. Whenever I go in between schools at my new job, I can submit for a reimbursement for the gas and wear and tear on my car. They don't require a listing of miles driven, but from one building to another building (the school district dictates what the milage is between buildings, for those people who tend to drive circuitous routes). For last month, I went through my calendar and tried to pick out the days that I drove between different buildings. I'm excited about my new system using LCP and think I will save myself time. One of my co-workers told me that she never has time to fill out her form, so maybe I will have to share this with her.

For all of the non nerds out there, this might sound kind of complicated, but really it is not, and it's kind of fun to put together. I'll walk you through what I did. Basically I have an action in LCP that opens two lists which I select from which schools I'm drive from and to, sends those as a row in a google spreadsheet, and then at the end of the month, IFTTT sends me an email with a link to the spreadsheet to remind me to copy and past it onto the correct from.

A screenshot of the new action screen blank and ready to be set up. iPhone mockup thanks to Pixel Den

A screenshot of my completed action. You can have it go through and make a list, or add text or a number.  iPhone mockup thanks to Pixel Den

A screenshot of my list in action. Two clicks and I'm done...  iPhone mockup thanks to Pixel Den

The first step is to create a new action in LCP. I just went through their action composer, found the IFTTT trigger, had it complete a Trigger Recipe with Values. I named my Recipe "Mileage Tracker" (I had to name it the same thing when creating my recipe on IFTTT). Then I set two values as "input with a list." I made list items of each of the schools that I might go from so that one list is the school building I was leaving and the second would be the school building I would be going to.

Then the IFTTT magic starts. It sends my answers to an IFTT recipe where it appends a spreadsheet in google docs to add the new data (along with the date) to cells in the the spreadsheet. I made a second IFTT rule sending my work email an notification every month on the last day to complete copy and paste the values from the Google Docs to the appropriate spreadsheet and turn it in to receive my reimbursement.

After I got it all working, I was super excited. It feels amazing to know that I can track my mileage with a couple of clicks on my phone and I won't ever have to worry about it again. I might have to think about making it based on location... but we will see so that I don't even have to click anything on my phone.

Is My Mac Magic?

A photo of my Macbook Pro taken as I was writing this post at Starbucks off of 390 in Kennewick... 

This last week, I had my last day at Tri-Cities Community Health Behavioral Health Services, and my have started some of my training for my work at the Pasco School District. I've also still been spending quite a bit of time preparing my class lectures for the Heritage Courses I will be teaching. All that being said, its still a really busy time right now. I figured I'd share some of my geekary from last night that I put together. One of the benefits of being a geek is that can make my computer do magic tricks sometimes, and save myself a lot of hassle and time (although it also means that sometimes I spend a significant amount of time doing things that don't deserve that much time, but that's neither here or there).

The reason I am so in love with my mac, is some of the amazing software and things that I can do with it, that just weren't possible on a Windows PC. I just downloaded Keyboard Maestro - KM, a really powerful and amazing piece of software. I'm very excited to see what I can all automate with it on my mac. I've put together a couple of what KM calls macros. The first one I did was in apple mail to make keyboard like shortcuts. I'm not going to write about about it, but I did the same as described Stack Exchange.

I love my Apple TV, and even like the little four button remote that comes with it. I like to use it even when I'm given presentations as my clicker. The only problem is that it always tries to control my mac. We will be sitting on the couch and watching Chuck, our current show of choice on Netflix, and you click a button and it turns on iTunes or click another button and the volume on my mac goes up and down. It's a bit of a pain to toggle the IR remote on and off. It's kind of hidden in the system preferences. If you are turning it on and off, it might look something like this short screencast. While it doesn't take way to long, it is kind of an annoying process, and KM can come to the rescue. It wasn't too hard to set it up and automate the process. I created a keyboard short cut that goes though the whole process with minimal needs for me to do anything when turning on and off the remote.

Basically here is what it does:

A screenshot of my Keyboard Maestro's macro for toggling the IR remote. 

  1. Click ⇧⌘→
  2. Open "Security & Privacy Preferences Pane
  3. Pause for 1.5 seconds (so that it has time to open)
  4. Click the gatekeeper lock to unlock the advanced settings
  5. Pause until "Advanced button is available" (waiting for me to put in my password)
  6. Press "Advanced..." button.
  7. Wait for user to (I have to click the check box and pair the IR remote).
  8. Click the "Ok" button
  9. Re-lock the gatekeeper.
  10. Quite the system's preferences pane.

It makes me feel a little bit like my mac does magic for me, so beautiful. You can see the short screencast.

Now, I can just click a couple of keys, and turn on and off my Apple TV Remote when I'm teaching... easy as that.

Who Said Traveling With a Toddler Was Easy

 Disney World Magic Kingdom Entrance Sign to Lake Buena Vista Hotels

Disney World Magic Kingdom Entrance Sign to Lake Buena Vista Hotels

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.
— Colin Powell

I'm a firm believer in preparation and planning. I've been told that I'm hyper organized and spend to much time preparing. While this might be true, I find that preparation improves my life in so many ways and that I end up making much better products (whether it's my individual clinical work with my clients, the classes that I teach, or just fun traveling). I think that this is even more true when it comes to parenting, outings with kids, and other fatherhood related topics. When it has come to my travel adventures, I've always been uncharacteristically unplanned.

On Saturday evening we flew out of Seattle / Tacoma International Airport with well laid plans. We thought that taking a red eye flight would mean that Mateo would be sleeping and that the flight would be worry and stress free. It started out looking great. He was running all over the airport, super excited about meeting all of the new people that were everywhere. I talked to one of the workers for Alaska Airlines and they were able to hook us up with an extra seat (we didn't buy one because he is still young enough to be a lap seat baby). Even once we got on the plane, he was doing excellent. About an hour in to our four hour flight, we had thought that he was going to fall asleep, but then it took a turn for the worse.

Mateo started to get super fussy, uncomfortable, and unhappy. He cried loudly on and off for probably a total of two hours of the flight. Minnie described that it was like a nightmare. It all turned out just fine in the end, but it was hectic when there wasn't much that you could do to make things better.

The whole team from both the Pasco Discovery Coalition and Prosser CIA.

We made it safely to our hotel, The Hilton at Lake Buena Vista, which is a really nice hotel. When we arrived, at 6 something in the morning, we found out that they had given away our room because we didn't check in yesterday. I had to wait until somebody from the Pasco Discovery Coalition came down and verified their card for us to make up to the room. After a little sleep, everything felt much better. The weather in Florida has been on and off rain and thunder storms. Which I find somewhat annoying and somewhat fun.

We went to Downtown Disney) and got a bit to eat at the Earl of Sandwich) and made our way back to the hotel to relax some. During the days I've been attending the CADCA Mid Year Conference and Minnie and Mateo have been hanging out poolside (which Mateo loves). We've had the opportunity to go to the Magic Kingdom which was a lot of fun. My phone was dead almost as soon as we arrived. In the evenings we've mostly been hanging out with other coaltion members. My conference has been really good. There has been a mixture of some really great sessions (especially one session on working with coalitions in Latino communities), and some that weren't so great.

Probably Time to Eat My Wheaties

 One of Michael Jordan's boxes of Wheaties.&nbsp;

One of Michael Jordan's boxes of Wheaties. 

Well, it's almost two as I am decided to get up because I couldn't shut my mind off, so I decided to get up and write. Just one of those nights when you just can't unwind and fall comfortably into a deep and restful sleep. Currently we are in Puyallup and getting ready to go to Orlando Florida for CADCA's 2014 Mid Year Conference. I'm super excited, although somewhat worried about how Mateo will do on on the red eye flight tomorrow night. Here's hoping that he sleeps.

As I sit here thinking about how I can't sleep, I'm reminded of the Wheaties commercials from the 80's and 90's:

I feel like maybe I haven't been eating enough of my Wheaties lately, if by Wheaties I mean not overwhelming myself with having too much on my plate, keeping everything organized (generally in a GTD fashion). It feels like I just have so many things that I have coming up this fall and things that I need to get ready for.

You better eat your Wheaties.
— Michael Jordan

With changing jobs to the Pasco School District, I have a PRAXIS II exam that I need to start studying for, along with a training and just getting ready to change positions. Along with that, I am still trying to manage my current clients, follow up with all of them before I transition and determine if they will be transferred to a therapist, to whoever gets hired as a new case manager, or if they just need to be closed.

More than the PRAXIS II, I'm also going to be eligible to take my test for my clinical social work license this fall. While these tests and changes are in the back of my mind, they are not anything that has priority right now. My focus the last couple of weeks has been the two new classes I'm going to be teaching at Heritage this fall. I taught case management last Fall, but it was an online course. I decided that it would be a better format to have it be an in class format, which means I'm having to go through and revamp the course completely. I am really excited about it, and have really enjoyed my time teaching in the past, it's just a lot of work.

Going to Florida for a week is going to be a lot of fun with some great learning experiences, but also feels like a lot in the midst of everything. You can rest assured that I will be writing up some posts about my time there and the conference. I might even be able to get around to the book that I brought with me to read, but we will have to see about that one. I can say one thing for sure, when I get back, I'm going to have to buckle down and eat my Wheaties.

Positive Life Transition, Did Somebody Say Summer

My son, Mateo, at my mom's for the 4th of July after playing in the sprinklers.

This weekend we got the opportunity to go boating for the first time this year. While I've been able to BBQ a couple of times, it was the first thing that we've done all summer and spring that really felt like summer. It was really great, although I'm a lit more red for the ware (don't worry, my redness tends to turn into brown every year). You can even check out some photos from our boating extravaganza.

 

The Tri-Cities has been experiencing extremely high temperatures, with it expected to be up to 106 on Wednesday. With all of my thoughts about summer, and how summers have changed since I was in college, I'm really excited to announce a pretty big change in my professional career.

i-heart-pasco-schools.png

Starting in the middle of August, I've turned in my notice at Tri-Cities Community Health that I will be terminating my employment there. I've been working in their Behavioral Health Services department as a case management and therapist for the better part of three years, you can check out my resume if your interested. It's been a really great experience. I have great co-workers, enjoy working with my patients, and have really learned a lot. That being said, working for a community mental health agency is difficult and fraught full of really high case loads and paperwork demands.

I've accepted a position with the Pasco School District as a mental health therapist. I'll be working at the elementary school and middle school levels leading groups, doing individual assessments, coordinating with outside agencies, and more. I'm very excited for this position, and have been ready for a change. Other than the fact that I'm sure I'm going to love the work, I'm really looking forward to having a school schedule and spending more time with my family and friends.

Ever Wonder How You Can Play Video Games and Get Paid

I'm not much really much of a gamer. I own a Playstation 3, but it hasn't been plugged into my TV for probably almost a year. I did enjoy playing Grand Theft Auto IV and Assassin's Creed. I recently listened to In Social Works podcast with Michael Langlois: Gamer-Affirmative Practice: Today's Play Therapy.

Mike Langlois has a blog called Gamer Therapist. While I'm not super interested in video games specifically, I have for a long time been interested in the interaction between mental health treatment and technology. The reason I originally bought a mac is wanting to learn how to create some iPad apps related to mental health treatment. While I still haven't learned Objective C (well, now it would be better to pursue SWIFT), my practice has been greatly been improved by technology.

I'm not sure if I'm going to bring my playstation into the office anytime soon and start implementing it my practice. It is an interesting avenue to pursue and look into.

Fishies and Eggs

It's been a while since I've posted any family stuff on here, so I figured I needed to put together some recent throwbacks. The last couple of weeks I've had my head down and working on my business. I've been doing more side graphic, logo, website, and other design services. I made a website for my mom's dōTERRA business (Judy Dirks, A Guide to Living Well). It's super beautiful and uses a parallax design on the header images and turned out pretty amazing. I made it in Squarespace, and am pretty proud of my work.

 The logo I put together for my new business,  The Design Clinic .

The logo I put together for my new business, The Design Clinic.

I've also put together a website and new logo for my business. I spent a couple of months trying to come up with a name that I felt really worked and wanted. The Design Clinic was the name that I ultimately came up with.

While, I know that Easter is quite a while ago, but I put together a short little video of Mateo doing his Easter Egg Hunt. He is super cute, you can view it on YouTube (Fishies & Eggs -- Easter 2014).

Fishies & Eggs -- Easter 2014 video and photo clips made in an iMovie of my son, Mateo.

I also put uploaded a new album of photos from Mateo's visit at his Grandpas farm in Benton City. His first time riding a horse, there were some pretty cute photos. You can find it on the Facebook Album, Grandpa Lives on a Farm.

Quick Happy Birthday Graphic

SOA style Happy Birthday Graphic for Minnie

Not going to be a long post, just a quick graphic I put together for Minnie's Birthday. She really likes Sons of Anarchy, so I figured that theme would be fun (even if it is a day late). I found the picture on Northwest Harley Blog and used the magic healing brush to erase the writing. I used the Carnevalee Freak Font to try to match the Son's of Anarchy Font with applied shadow and stroke. The SOA Logo was taken from one of lots on the internet with the background deleted and a circular shape with opacity placed behind it to help it stand out (and some other blending options). If you're interested, you can download the photoshop file.

Jump in The Stream, Favorite Podcasts

A photo of me when I was going to Columbia Basin College doing a back flip into the Columbia River in Richland.

I've heard about people who live outside of New York and other metropolitan areas having to commute for two hours each way. According to US Census Bureau 2011 Report the average commute time in the United states is 25.5 minutes. That number is fairly skewed because it incorporates persons who work at home (with no commute) and persons who don't work at home. They found that amend workers who do not work at home, 8.1 percent had a commute of 60 minutes or longer and that a majority of those tend to drive alone. WNYC has a pretty cool interactive map that you can look at average commute times.

Last year, when I was commuting from Prosser to Tri-Cities for work, about a 45 minute trip there and the same coming back. I found that having such a lengthy trip to get back and forth to work to be extremely burdensome. I would get back home, and just be so tired, not wanting to do anything. It did have some benefits as well. It gave me time to decompress about my day. It also started a new habit for me, listening to Podcasts.

I grew up listening to talk radio and books on tape with my mom for years. I really love NPR and have talked about National Public Radio on my blog a number of times. When I started doing my commute, I ended up starting to listen to podcasts, and I really fell in love. There are so many topics and possible options. The following are what I've been listening to.


Cover art for Mac Power Users

Mac Power Users -- Podcast in iTunes

This is by far my favorite podcast, and I've written about them a number of times. If you are a mac / apple product users, I would highly recommend it no matter what your expertise level is. I have learned so much, and I have improved my productivity with their content so much I absolutely love it. I've even been talked about on one of their episodes, in Podcast Famous. They are a large part of the reason I decided to go to Macworld / iWorld 2014 this year, and I even met them there. All of the other podcasts on the 5by5 Network that I listen to, are because I first heard their guests on MPU.


Cover art for Back to Work

Back to Work -- Podcast in iTunes

While, I don't think that I've posted anything on my website regarding Back to Work or Merlin Mann, I look forward to this show so much every week. While I'm not really a comic book fan (and sometimes I just don't pay attention when they talk about them), I absolutely love their show. This is one of the few podcasts that Minnie is willing to listen too, and she actually thinks some of it is funny. They talk about productivity, communication, work, barriers, constraints, tools, and more. I have learned a ton. The fact that my workflow has changed, and that I've somewhat incorporated David Allen's Getting Things Done (don't worry, I will do a book review sometime soon regarding his book) is due to Merlin Mann and Back to Work. While they do sometimes talk about technology, they don't always so even if your not a tech nerd, I'd highly recommend this show.


Cover art for Freakonomics

Freakonomics -- Podcast in iTunes

This is another show that I've talked about several times on my site. While I haven't read any of the books yet, I am hoping to. Every week they come out with interesting topics, things that just peak my interest and make me want to learn more. The way that they describe it, is that they talk about the hidden side of everything. This is one of those shows that I listen to, and I come away and feel like I'm just smarter. It's great, and even Minnie really likes it.


Cover art for Smart People Podcast

Smart People Podcast -- Podcast in iTunes

The Smart People Podcast has a lot of really great guests that come onto their show. They have professors, doctors, business leaders. Unlike many of the other Podcasts that I listen to, they tend to keep their shows close to a half hour, so you can almost always fit it in in one listening. Even the guests and topics that I don't think I would care very much about end up being really interesting. Much of the show is about finding your passions and being a creator of stuff. It's pretty interesting and great guests.


Cover art for CultCast

Cultcast -- Podcast on iTunes

I have several technology and more apple centric podcasts that I listen to. This one is fun. I even got to meet them and go to a private party when I was in San Francisco. It tends to be mostly news and rumors regarding apple products. I wouldn't recommend it for everybody, but it makes me laugh and has some interesting topics.


Cover art for Systematic

 

Systematic -- Podcast on iTunes

Systematic is hosted by Brett Terpstra who is pretty amazing. I use so many of the great things that he has created and put together. The software he has written and scripts that I've been able to download makes everything on my mac so much better. His podcast is another interview style show. He talks to all kind of people do all kinds of jobs (although a lot of them tend to in the computer sciences). It's always interesting to hear about how people do their work, what they are excited about, and what their lives look like. There does tend to be a lot of discussion regarding technology, especially apple products / apps, but it's really good stuff.


Cover art for Social Work Podcast

Social Work Podcast -- Podcast on iTunes

This is the most recent addition to my podcast listening habit. It's pretty good information. I've been going through his back catalogue. He doesn't post on a schedule, but it seems to be about monthly, but not set schedule. I decided that because I had so many technology focused podcasts, I needed to find something that could keep me up to date regarding my day job too. I looked at a couple, and this was the best one I found. If you your a social worker, or in a counseling related field, it's pretty good with some really high profile guests and a wide range of topics.