Everyone has certain habits that they adopt over time. Simple things like checking the weather as soon as you wake up in the morning or looking over your tasks for the day when you get to work. While all of these habits may seem small at first, they soon add up until you spend more time than you realize on the little things. Today we are going to explore the integration between Fantastical and Shortcuts that is specifically designed to help you automate your everyday tasks.
If you are new to the Shortcuts app, Apple offers a beginner’s guide, that will walk you through the basics and help you create shortcuts of your own. By utilizing Fantastical’s support for Apple’s Shortcuts app, you have access to multiple actions that can be set to run automatically, by giving Siri a quick command, or by tapping the shortcut on your home screen or in the Shortcut widget.
Want to see your schedule when you first wake up in the morning? How about having your shopping list automatically open on your iPhone when you arrive at the store? You can do all this and more with a few simple steps in the Shortcuts App. Shortcuts save you time by condensing the multiple steps you normally take into a single quick action that instantly displays the information you are looking for.
This post will share some examples of easy shortcuts you can set up to work with Fantastical that will make your day more efficient. In some cases, if the shortcut is shareable, there will be a link you can tap to add the shortcut directly to your device without having to create it yourself. When there is not a link included, the shortcut is not shareable and you will need to set it up using the options shown in the screenshots. If you have never added a shared shortcut to your device before, you will need to set up the ability to “Allow Untrusted Shortcuts”, in the Shortcuts App settings. You can turn this setting off again after importing the shortcuts from this article.
Starting the day with a Good Morning shortcut
In the morning when you are just getting started, two things that can help you prepare for the day are knowing what is on your schedule and knowing what the current weather is for your area. The first shortcut we are sharing can help with both. When you add the “Good Morning” shortcut to your device, all you have to do is say “Hey Siri, Good Morning” and Siri will give you the current forecast for your location and your schedule for the day. Not only do you get the benefit of being reminded of a meeting you might have forgotten about, but you will also know if you need to change your schedule based on the weather.
A quick way to let someone know you are running behind
You’ve used the Good Morning shortcut, know what is on your schedule, and are headed to your first meeting with time to spare. Everything is going great until you get stopped in unexpected traffic and realize you are not going to make the appointment on time. You could look up each attendee for the event, find their contact information, and notify them one by one that you are running behind. Or, you could simply say “Hey Siri, Running Late!” and have your shortcut do all the work for you. The “Running Late” shortcut will check the upcoming event and create the emails for you to send to let each attendee know that you are running behind so they can start without you. This saves you time and lets you keep your attention where it needs to be, on getting safely to your destination.
In this example, if you don’t want to receive the “Start without me!” email, you need to change “firstname.lastname@example.org” to the email address you have linked to the event so that you are not notified when the shortcut runs.
Adding an event or task on the go
One of Fantastical’s most important features, the natural language engine, lets you easily add new events and tasks to Fantastical by typing the information the way you would normally speak it. This allows you keep your schedule organized so that you always know where you need to be and when you need to be there. The “New Fantastical Event” shortcut takes the natural language feature one step further by letting you dictate the information to Siri so that it is added directly to Fantastical. Using this shortcut lets you gain the ability to quickly add an event or task to your schedule, no matter where you are or what you are doing, by simply saying “Hey Siri, New Fantastical Event”.
Using Automations with Fantastical and Shortcuts
The shortcuts we have shared so far all require direct action from you, either through using “Hey Siri”, or by tapping the shortcut when it is added to a widget or directly to your Home Screen. The last examples we want to share will simplify your life even more by using the Automation option tab in the Shortcuts app. You can set some automations to run in certain conditions without needing any additional actions from you, while others just need a simple confirmation on your lock screen. This makes the automation feature a very useful tool to employ.
Let’s start with a variation of the “Good Morning” shortcut from earlier, this time set up to run automatically. You can choose to enable “Ask Before Running” so that you are prompted to start the process, or you can turn that setting off, so the process starts automatically when your conditions are met.
Next, we have an automation that uses the “When I Get a Message Containing” option. When you select this, you can choose which sender you want to check and what phrase to look for. Then when these conditions are met, Fantastical will display your calendar so that you have an instant look at your availability. Set the sender to a co-worker or boss, the phrase to “Meeting”, and as soon as a message arrives containing the word meeting you will have easy access to your calendar. This allows you to confirm that you are available or suggest a new time quickly, without the stress of having to open multiple apps or the potential mistake of overbooking yourself.
Finally, another excellent use of automation involves the task lists you keep in Fantastical. Want to view your overdue tasks as soon as you arrive at your office during work hours? Set up the following automation and when you reach your location, your Overdue Tasks list is ready for you. This allows you to start your workday knowing which items need to take priority and what can be completed later in the day.
You don’t have to limit automations to your work life, they can be used in your daily personal routines too. Maybe you want to be able to see your shopping list when you arrive at the store so you don’t forget an important item. The “When I arrive at” setting will allow you to do that. Choose your favorite store, set the list to your shopping list, and you have a convenient way to make sure you can quickly and efficiently purchase everything that you need.
If you currently use the Shortcuts app, we hope this post has shown you some helpful ways to expand on your interactions with Fantastical. For those that are new to shortcuts, we hope these examples along with seeing how easy it is to use Fantastical in the Shortcuts app, will give you the boost you need to try them out for the first time.
Interested in learning more about shortcuts in general? There are some great resources on the web, including a site from Matthew Cassinelli, who helped with the original Workflow app before it became Apple Shortcuts.
We’ll see you next time as we continue to highlight all of the great features Fantastical has to offer!