Simplifying My Life with iOS Shortcuts

May 5, 2024 (1mo ago)

Since moving from Android to iOS, I've been looking into the expanded capabilities of the operating system, discovering new functionalities since I last had an iPhone back in 2018.

Here are a couple of Shortcuts I've created that have become indispensable in my daily life, along with some insights I've picked up along the way. If you're eager to integrate them into your own iOS device I've included links for easy downloading straight from the Apple website.

The Perks of Shortcuts

Conveniently accessible from widgets—check out this guide to learn how to set this up.

They're accessible from Siri, including any requested inputs able to be included via voice. Just add the shortcut to the app, summon Siri with the shortcut's name, and away you go.

Work-Life Balance

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial, and Shortcuts have been instrumental in achieving that for me. I've developed two shortcuts: a break timer to manage Do Not Disturb settings and an automation to limit work-related distractions during downtime.

Break Timer

Because sometimes you just need to unplug and recharge, whether it's a serene lunch break or a power hour to tackle that looming task.

Once activated, this shortcut lets you choose your desired break duration and prompts you to activate Do Not Disturb if needed. When time's up, an alarm gently nudges you back to reality, restoring your Focus mode to its previous state.

Download 'Break Timer' Shortcut

Work Mode Enforcer

If you're prone to checking work emails after hours, this shortcut will redirect you back to the home screen if you're not in 'Work' Focus mode—a handy reminder to respect your off-hours.

Download 'Go home if not working' Shortcut

Setup
  1. Download the shortcut from the link above and add it to any folder in the Shortcuts app.
  2. Head over to the 'Automation' tab and create a new automation.
  3. Opt for triggering the automation when an app is opened.
  4. Select one or more apps you only want to access during work hours, and set the shortcut to 'Run Immediately'.
  5. Choose the 'Go home if not working' shortcut.

Once set up, opening any of your selected apps will promptly, and forcefully kick you back to the home screen.

Swift Reminder Logging

Log an Idea

Got a brilliant idea? My 'Log an Idea' shortcut captures them effortlessly. It's how this very blog post came to be!

Simply run the shortcut, jot down your idea and estimated completion time when prompted, and watch as it's neatly logged into the Reminders app, ready for future reference. You need to have a list set up in your reminders app called 'Ideas' for this to work.

Download 'Log an Idea' Shortcut

Log a Worry

Combat anxiety with this shortcut, inspired by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques. Quickly jot down worries on the go, even while driving, thanks to Siri.

When activated, it prompts you to describe your worry, categorise it, and note your current situation, all neatly organised in the Reminders app for later review. You need to have a list set up in your reminders app called 'Worries' for this to work.

Download 'Log a Worry' Shortcut

Exploring Further

The world of Shortcuts is vast, offering endless possibilities—from calling Web APIs to running JavaScript code on web pages. Dive in and discover what works best for you!

Take a look at the guide for further reading.