Streamlining Making Projects & Tasks for Student Letters of Rec

I’m trying to streamline my process for keeping track of letters of recommendation I write for students. I’m hoping to hear about other workflows or ideas you all might have. Any pointers or starting points are welcome.

Each year I write letters of rec for about 70 students. Each student asks me for multiple letters of rec. So it ends up being quite a bit of info to keep track of. To help me keep track, I have students fill out a Word handout that requires them to include specific information for each program. When a student returns their Word file to me, I create a project in Things and then manually add the student project, include each letter of rec as a task.

I’ve created a keyboard maestro shortcut that helps streamline some parts of the process, but I still need to input the video manually. In the gif below, you can see it in action. After I press okay, everything is entered automatically. I have half-second delays between each tab because it was buggy with shorter delays.

While this helps, I’m wondering how I can streamline the process. I’ve narrowed down the process to improving how I capture the info and converting the captures info to Things project/tasks.

Step 1. Capture the student information (Google Drive? Square space form? excel form?) I currently use a Word doc.

Step 2. Convert the information to something Things 3 can interpret with

  • Project Name: - <degree type Master’s or PhD> in at
  • Create a task for each letter of rec with
    – (1) tag for Master’s degree or Ph.D. Degree
    – (2) deadline
    – (3) dropbox link to the student folder I create to keep all files they share with me


I feel like step one might be streamlined if I could somehow act on the email form submitted by students through Squarespace or google drive. I imagine I might extract information from the email and format it into a taskpaper format, then… somehow import it into Things 3? Maybe through Drafts? Hmm. As you can see, there are some holes in my plan. Any thoughts?

I’ve found Airtable helpful for capturing information. You can create a form that will feed an Airtable table.

They also offer lots of integrations with other services.



Perhaps create a Google Forms data collector with fields for all the information you want the students to provide. The students could use that rather than send you an email. Google Forms can be configured to collect the student responses in a spreadsheet. You can use that spreadsheet to track your work.


You can also use add-ons to email you a report in PDF or various other formats from Google Forms/Sheets. I use Document Studio, which is okay and gets the job done.


Thanks @beck for the recommendation, I’ll look into that

@JohnAtl @quorm I hadn’t considered airtable! I think I will go with something like a google fo or air table. The issue I’m currently thinking through is how I can streamline the process of having them add informatin for a school. I could just add university 1 through 10 (e.g. University 1 name , university 1 program, university 1 deadline) and hope that no one ever request over 10 letters. It would be neat if they could simply click something like “add school” and add as many or as little schools as they’d like. Maybe this can be done with airtable?

Sounds doable in airtable.
Here’s a jumping off point for you:

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Awesome! Thanks for the link

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