Last week, I noted that the Workflow app was on sale.  I just checked and it is still on sale. Get it at the reduced cost while you can.  Once you start using it, you will find more and more uses for it.

When you first open the app, you will have the option of viewing the Gallery or creating your own workflow.  Look through the Gallery for some ideas on what is possible.

When I first purchased the app, I didn’t really know what I could do with it.  Now, it is one of the most used apps on my iPhone.

Here’s one of my recent workflow creations.  I got the idea one day when I was driving into work. I knew I had a teleconference starting in a few minutes, and had the thought that if I had the number listed in my calendar entry, my phone could find that number and call it for me.

Of course, I could just call the person, but what would be the fun of that?

What would even be better is if I could use Siri to say “Call Teleconference,” and have that action performed for me automatically. Enter the Workflow app.

Using this Workflow does require a little bit of preparation and consistency with how you make your calendar entries.  First, you create the calendar event. Then, add the text “Call:” in the note field, followed by the number you want your iPhone to call.  This is what Workflow will search for to make the app work.

If you read my Technology for Time Management pdf, I give some recommendations on creating checklists so this information can be added by your assistant.  Don’t have a copy?  Simply sign up for my e-newsletter before the end of June, and I’ll send you a copy.

Now, set up your Workflow app.  First, create a new workflow.  You’ll have to tap around a little bit to figure things out.  Click on the gear icon to change the name and add the workflow as an action extension or to your home screen.

Next, you can swipe the screen to the right to see “Actions” you can add to the workflow.  Add the “Action” that is titled “Find Calendar Events Where” and match the photos below.  You can adjust the time to suit your preferences.  I chose 10 minutes because that is generally when I’m getting on a call.

Workflow 01

Next, add the “Get Details of Calendar Events” Action.  Then, the “Get Text from Input” action.

Workflow 02

 

Now, you want to tell Workflow to remove the text “Call:”, leaving just the phone number.  Then, you “Get Text from Input” to put the phone number into the next action.

Finally, simply add the “Call” Action to tell your iPhone to call the phone number.

If you add this Workflow to your home screen, you can use Siri to activate the Workflow (i.e., say “Call teleconference” and Siri will run the workflow for you).  Basically, the app creates a shortcut back to the workflow that looks like an app on your home screen.  You can either tap the icon to run the app or activate it with Siri.

The Workflow app gets more powerful the more you use it.  If you can think of an action that you do over and over on your iPhone, chances are you can make a Workflow to help automate the process.   Let me know if you need help.

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