Why aren't you using Shortcuts?
3 min read

Why aren't you using Shortcuts?

Shortcuts is an app on your iPhone that lets you perform multiple tasks/actions using visual blocks. Shortcuts save you time. Shortcuts make you feel like you live in the future, and technology is there to help you and not annoy you.
Why aren't you using Shortcuts?

Two quick observations.

  1. It's 2020, and technology is still too ______. Fill in the blank (challenging/difficult/annoying/frustrating)
  2. You paid $1,000 for an iPhone, and you're still not sure what Shortcuts are.

DRY is a principle in programming. It means Don't Repeat Yourself. DRY also applies to humans. What I mean is, if you ever have to do something more than three times, why not automate it!

Shortcuts is an app on your iPhone that lets you perform multiple tasks/actions using visual blocks. Shortcuts save you time. Shortcuts make you feel like you live in the future, and technology is there to help you and not annoy you.


Perhaps your New Year resolution is to read more.

Shortcuts can help you with your reading goals. Huh? How?

Let's look at this in more depth. First, some assumptions, you already have a reading app on your iPhone and have downloaded a book. Also, you want to set aside X minutes, and you don't want to be disturbed while reading.

Look at what you're going to build. Let's do it!

The power of Shortcuts is that you can chain multiple actions into one shortcut. Think of a shortcut like a recipe. You have a bunch of ingredients and a set of instructions to follow. For shortcuts, the ingredients are apps on our phone, and the instructions are the actions represented by visual blocks.

TL;DR Take me to the solution

My Reading Time Recipe (aka shortcut)

Ingredients (the apps)

  • 🎵 Music
  • 🛠 Settings
  • 📖 Kindle
  • ⏱ Notifications

The Recipe (the steps we want to automate)

  • Start playing my Chill Mix and keep the volume low
  • Please don't disturb me, and save my battery
  • Open Kindle and start reading where I left off
  • Please notify me when my reading time is up, and stop playing music, and let people disturb me!

Don't be overwhelmed. You got this!

📖 Let's start with a baby step and have Shortcuts open the Kindle app. Replace Kindle with Books if you prefer. You're probably thinking, "ah, I can just press the Kindle app icon myself." Patience, young padawan.

Open Shortcuts app 👉 Press + to add 👉 Pick an icon and name it Baby Step (optional: Show on Apple Watch) 👉 Done
Press + (to add an action) 👉 Search for Kindle 👉 Add Open my book action 👉 Click on the new shortcut!

🎧 For our second step, how about if we start the music.

👉 TIP: Long press on the Baby Steps shortcut and duplicate it.

Duplicate Baby Step and call it Read with Music 👉 Add Volume action 👉 Add Get Playlist from Music
Select the playlist you want 👉 Shuffle songs 👉 Add Play from Music 👉 Drag the Kindle action to the bottom

Congratulations!

You have now graduated and are ready to conquer the world, one shortcut at a time. If you don't want to recreate all the steps, take a shortcut and install my shortcut - pun intended!

⏱ How do we know when to stop?

Help needed?

If you aren't sure or get stuck, schedule some time on my calendar, and I'll give you a hint. If you want me to build a set of shortcuts for your business, let's chat!

Be seeing you!

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