Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Put Siri to Work For You While You Walk, Run or Drive

I have a love hate relationship with Siri. Sometimes she really helps me and sometime she infuriates me.  After several years of training she’s finally learned how to listen to me closely then find my wife in my contacts and dial the number...all this while using only my hands free device in my car.

But what can Siri really do for you...let’s consider the many things…

  1. Answer stupid questions..."Siri, what is 0 divided by zero?"
  2. With two iPhones face-to-face she can have a goofy conversation with herself
  3. Siri can mispronounce my last name and hundreds of other people's names
  4. She can also completely louse up my voice to text translation so badly that I curse. that wasn’t a very helpful. Let’s try again...this time with positive energy...

  1. Create notes on the run or while driving to capture important thoughts or actions, "Siri, take note I figured out a way to solve world hunger".
  2. Create calendar, "Siri, schedule meeting with Elon Musk tomorrow at 11:30"
  3. Simple research, "Siri, who is steve teske?"
  4. Open an App, "Siri, please open evernote"
  5. Play Music, "Siri, shuffle all music"

Everyone pretty much knows how to use Siri these days, but let’s see if we can get some more mileage out while we are on the road or on the run.  Honestly, my number one productivity boost from Siri is (drum roll)...Creating notes with voice commands.

As a Getting Things Done (GTD) fanatic (i.e. supreme productivity process create by David Allen) I believe in the methodology of capturing everything that I think about.  Yes that’s right, I try to capture everything I think about.  That is rather scary I know.  And I don’t succeed at it because I guess I don’t necessary want to remember EVERYTHING I think about.  So let’s reduce ‘everything’ to ‘everything inspiring or energizing or that needs done’.  

This is where Siri comes in.  GTD creator David Allen suggest that you have pen and paper available everywhere so you can capture “everything”.  When I run and when I commute (a long commute), I don’t have paper or pencil, but I do have lots of inspiring and energizing thoughts as do you.  So instead of capturing inspiring thoughts on paper, I ask Siri to help.

Me: “Make Note” [cease talking]
Siri: “I can take that note for you”
Me: “I want to have a conversation with my boss about a raise this year”
Siri: “I’ve created that note for you.  It’s says, [insert Siri’s mis-translation here]”

I’ve linked my iPhone and MacBook to gmail account and guess what, that means my Apple Notes (iOS and OSX) are stored in my ‘Gmail’ account and they are synchronized across all of my devices.

And for the black belt users, you can add an extra twist...

Using a service called IFTTT (IF This Then That) [], you can synchronize your Apple Notes (stored in gmail)  to evernote or Trello or many other applications. So if you are an Evernote user, you could take notes with Siri, and IFTTT forwards those notes to Evernote and then you can review them later. This is great for people constantly on the go.

Wow.  I love it when Siri can do my transcribing for me.  She doesn’t always to a great job, but it’s usually readable enough to make sense later.  

This is especially handy in the car.  I have a JABRA Freeway hands free device.  I push a button on the JABRA (which is attached to my visor) and Siri is activated.  I then put my inspirational thought into a note or record my next action or dictate a critical project status or capture vacation ideas and I can review them all later. Now that I can effortlessly and quickly take important notes and seamlessly integrate them across my other productivity tools, I am able to get the most important things done quicker and be more productive in my professional and personal life. Thanks, Siri.

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