I have a confession to make: I have a personal assistant.
But it’s not what you think.
I have nothing against having a personal assistant, but at this stage of my life, it wouldn’t be the easiest thing to manage. I have absolutely outsourced some of my work (I have a manager, a photographer, lawyers, and accountants). But in terms of day to day tasks, I rely pretty much on myself. While there are times when it’d be nice to have an extra set of hands around, my schedule is too all over the place to be fair to another person’s schedule.
With that said, I heavily heavily rely on Siri to help me throughout the day. I legitimately consider her a personal assistant and she’s so worked into my everyday life that I don’t know how I’d stay on top of everything without “her.” Now, while she works great for me because I work from home and work for myself, I think Siri would be able to assist a lot of people with random everyday tasks no matter what your employment situation looks like. And once you start, it’s addicting. There are so many ways to utilize her capabilities. I’m going to share how I use Siri throughout the day, but if there’s another tip/trick I’m missing, please let me know!!
HOW I USE SIRI IN MY EVERYDAY LIFE:
1. My Schedule. I have a pretty standard morning routine right now. (Let me know if you want a post on that!) While I generally have a good memory of what every day holds, I still have Siri do a rundown of my calendar for the day right when I wake up. As I walk down the stairs to let the dogs out, I ask, “Hey Siri, what’s on my calendar for today?” And Siri reads off what I have going on. Even if I know everything, it helps to hear it.
2. Ask for the Weather. Because of blog shooting and travel schedules, I stay really on top of the weather. I’m constantly asking Siri for updates. If I know I’m shooting with my photographer on Wednesday and I have a deadline on Thursday that I need photos for, I’ll ask for weather updates to make sure we’re staying on track and don’t need an emergency reschedule. I also ask in the morning so I know what to wear and how to plan for my hair, ha.
3. Set Reminders. Probably my most used feature with Siri is to set reminders. I set them for EVERYTHING. “Hey Siri, remind me on Thursday morning at 7 am to pack my passport.” “Hey Siri, remind me in an hour to check my email for a response for my manager.” “Hey Siri, remind me in three days to call my grandma again.”
4. Geo-Specific Commands. An underutilized feature with Siri is that she knows where you are geographically. Even though this technically falls under the “Set Reminders” category, I had to highlight this one separately. I use geo-specific commands all the time. “Hey Siri, remind me to take out the trash when I get home.” Make sure you have locations saved in your maps and she’ll do the rest for you! You can add your home, your work, any place of interest. Before we moved in together, I had “Mike’s Apartment” inputted.
5. Set Alarms. I live by alarms (and timers). Alarms are actually how I set up my entire day. I probably have six on at any given moment. When I wake up, I turn off that alarm and pretty much immediately start setting other alarms via Siri for my day. Alarms keep me on task. I tend to have anxiety about being late or missing something or not having enough time to get ready, which leads me to obsessively check the time. Which is, as you can imagine, terrible for my productivity. Now I just set alarms and timers throughout the day so I don’t have to stress. Since iPhones only let you set one timer at a time, I mostly set alarms. In the morning, I may set alarms for when I need to be done with my hair/makeup, when I need to finish emails, when I need to walk out the door, etc.
6. Ask Questions. Yes, I’m also that person talking to their phone all day asking all kinds of questions. Whether it’s “How long will it take me to drive to Whole Foods?” or “Is pumpkin puree healthy for dog?” or “Hey Siri, what song is playing?” I’m always relying on Siri to help me answer my questions.
7. Hands-Free in the Car. I have my phone automatically go into Do Not Disturb mode when I’m driving and I solely rely on Siri whenever I need to make a call or ask for directions. The biggest tip I have here is to make sure you have your contacts up to date. So you can say “Hey Siri, call my Mom’s cell phone” and she knows to call my mom’s mobile number (because I have it in that slot in her contact info).
8. Scheduling Events. I mostly schedule events from my computer, but sometimes when I’m out and about I ask Siri to schedule events for me. I love that it’s synced with my calendar and it gets added automatically once I ask her to.
9. Photo Commands. As you can imagine, I have a ton of photos and need to pull up photos throughout the day for all kinds of things. Siri and the Camera Roll sync so well together. I ask for random things like, “Hey Siri, pull up photos from Surfside Beach” or “Hey Siri, pull up photos from June 2016” and bam! All the photos you specifically need!
10. Siri Shortcuts. If you’re super well-versed with Siri, one thing you may want to do is to set up Siri Shortcuts through your iPhone. Basically, you set up “recipes” for things you commonly do and you can assign a Siri voice command to it. (i.e. “If this, then that.” I’m pretty sure there are LITERALLY endless ways you can utilize this function. In full disclosure, I haven’t played around with this too much, but you may want to. And I probably should automate some of my frequent uses!)