More than a year ago I began exploring the Shortcuts feature that Apple introduced to iOS (and later, into MacOS). It took me a while to figure out what the shortcuts were all about and longer to figure out a practical use for shortcuts. There were plenty of examples of things that people were using shortcuts for, but I was looking for something practical for me. Eventually, I found it.
At the time, it was my job to put our youngest daughter down for her nap, and I usually napped with her. We napped at lunch and our routine was always the same. I’d look for when my next meeting was–if I had one within the next 2 hours–and set an alarm so that I’d wake up before my meeting. Then I’d adjust the volume of my phone and put on a playlist that we’d listen to while we napped. Inevitably, my phone would buzz with some alert or other so I’d then remember to put my phone into Do Not Disturb mode. Of course, I’d forgot to take it out of DnD and wonder why I saw no notifications for the rest of the afternoon.
Could this all be handled by a Shortcut?
It took me an hour of two of playing around with shortcuts, but I finally created one that did just what I wanted it to do. Because Siri can activate a shortcut by voice command, I named my shortcut “Let’s nap.” When we were ready to take our nap, I’d set my phone down and say, “Hey Siri, Let’s Nap.” And Siri would take care of everything else.
Here is what my shortcut does:
First, it sets the volume on my phone to 22%, which experiment has shown is the perfect volume for napping. Not too loud, and not too soft:
Next, the shortcut plays a playlist that we listen to while we nap. The playlist is called “Grace Music” because it is a playlist that I used to play for my older daughter when she would nap. The shortcut sets the playlist to repeat indefinitely.
This is where things get interesting. All I wanted to do when it was time for us to nap was say “Let’s nap” and have the Shortcut take care of everything else. So, what it does next is check my calendar for the next meeting that shows up on the day the shortcut runs:
Having gotten the next event, I filter the list of upcoming events for things on my calendar. It seems like I am filtering twice here, but for some reason that I can’t recall at the moment, this was required to find the next event.
If the event is within the next 2 hours, then I grab the start date of the calendar event and subtract five minutes from it. I use that time to create an alarm so that I get woken up before the next meeting (assuming I am not already awake, which I usually am.)
I also turn on Do Not Disturb until the same time the alarm goes off:
Now, if there is no event on my calendar, or there is an event more than 2 hours in the future, then there is no need to set an alarm. I just set Do Not Disturb until 2 hours from now and that’s it.
My youngest daughter stopped napping for good at the end of the summer when school started and she began kindergarten. But I enjoy my lunchtime naps and I still use this shortcut nearly every day. It works like a charm. I eat a quick lunch, lay down, say, “Hey Siri, let’s nap” and Siri and my shortcut take care of everything else for me.
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