How to Automate Your Workflows on iOS

Let your phone work without waiting for you.

Anything you do on a regular basis (which you can’t eliminate or delegate) can and should be automated. If you have to do it, you may as well make it as easy as possible. (You’ll also waste less time procrastinating and actually do it.)

It’s not even the big things that need automated. Sometimes, it’s the small things—the deaths by a thousand cuts—that we appreciate more.

On macOS, you have AppleScript, a powerful language to create custom workflows and tie apps together. There’s also Automator, an app that lets you create workflows by combining actions with drag-and-drop simplicity—no programming required!

On iOS, there’s the aptly-named Workflow. Like Automator, you create a workflow by dragging together a series of actions. Each action performs a task and passes the result on to the next step.

To be honest, I didn’t really get what Workflow was capable of when I first heard about it. I knew how Automator (and AppleScript) worked, and I knew that wasn’t possible on an iPhone. It only made sense after I downloaded it and started using it.

So let’s create one of the workflows that I use the most: telling my wife I’m on my way home.

Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / nd3000. I’m sure the photo wasn’t taken while the car was in motion.

6 Ways to Improve the Quality of Your Sleep

All sleep is not created equal.

According to the National Institute of Health, we need 7–9 hours of sleep each night. On average, we get only 6.8 hours.

This isn’t sustainable.

After being awake for 17–19 hours, you’re functioning with the equivalent of a 0.05% blood alcohol concentration. Your reaction times are down and you can’t think clearly. You would never show up to work drunk, so why do we regularly show up just as impaired and ineffective from chronic lack of sleep?

With only 168 hours in the week, ambitious goals, and an ever-increasing barrage of distractions, it’s tempting to skimp on sleep and get a little more done. This is a trade-off with modest short-term benefits and disastrous long-term effects on our productivity, our health, and our relationships.

No matter how busy we get, we have to protect our sleep. Here are six tips to get to bed on time and get the best sleep possible.

Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / olly

How To Triage 3,000 Emails In Just 10 Minutes

Stay on top of email in just minutes a day

Triage started with the battlefield practice of focusing medical treatment on the wounded soldiers who would most benefit from it. Medics would quickly assess the condition of a patient and focus their efforts where they would have the greatest impact.

We send 269 billion email messages per day. The average knowledge worker spends 28% of their time on email. It’s little wonder that getting through your email can feel like you’re shoveling the sidewalk while it’s still snowing.

Even when you eliminate all the email you can, even if it’s actually your job to process email, you still want to get in, get out, and get on with your day.

Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / BillionPhotos.com

How To Make Your Weekend Work For You

Re-create yourself for the coming week

You probably spend a fair amount of time planning your big vacations. How do you get there? Where will you stay? What will you do while you’re there? What will you take with you?

It would be crazy to show up at the airport without all these details thought through in advance. Nobody shows up at the airport with just the clothes on their back to ask where the next available flight is headed.

That would be a memorable—if not enjoyable—vacation.

Do you give your evenings and weekends the same amount of thought?

You should, if you want to live the best life you can.

Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / Dasha Petrenko

Should You Separate Personal and Professional Tasks?

Build a better planner by separating concerns.

Your trusted system needs to cover every aspect of your life. If it can’t handle everything you throw at it, you won’t trust it to handle anything.

Many people will get by just fine with a single system that will track all of their tasks, goals, projects, calendar, and notes. But for a lot of people, having everything in a single system like that can be distracting. For some, it might even be illegal, or at least a bad idea.

Designing your system to keep personal and professional tasks separate can actually give you a better system overall.

Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / blacksalmon