Import Siri Reminders into 2Do with Workflow

I refuse to use any reminder app that doesn’t support Siri.

For a long time, that meant I was stuck with Apple’s Reminders.app. It’s slow, glitchy, and a pain to use. In addition, I hate that you can’t set a due date without also getting a notification at 9am. Then I discovered that 2Do can sync with iCloud reminders, allowing me to set reminders with Siri, but then use 2Do to mange those reminders. I switched over a year ago, and 2Do is so much better than Reminders.app.

However, there are some weird issues with syncing this way. But I was stuck, both because of Siri and because I refused to pay $50 for 2Do’s Mac app (I was still using Reminders.app on the Mac). But when 2Do for Mac went on sale for $25 two weeks ago, I couldn’t resist. Having picked that up, I started to wonder if there was another way around my Siri problem. A way that would allow me to ditch iCloud and switch to 2Do’s recommended sync option, which uses Dropbox as a backend.

Enter Workflow. I set out to create an importer to take data from Reminders.app and bring it into 2Do. Here’s how it processes reminders:

  • Find all reminders on the default list.
  • If the reminder is a location-based reminder, recreate it on a “Location” list within Reminders.app. I don’t use many location reminders, so I decided to leave those in Reminders.app since it has better access to location data in the background.
  • Get the title, date, and notes from each reminder and create a new 2Do task. The workflow accounts for three possible ways I may have set the reminder:
    • “Hey Siri, remind me to…” results in no due date in Reminders.app. The workflow sets the 2Do due date to today, with no alarm time.
    • “Hey Siri, remind me tomorrow to…” results in a due date of tomorrow at 9am in Reminders.app. Since I didn’t specify a time, that means I probably didn’t want to be reminded at a specific time (you hear that Siri?), so the workflow sets the 2Do due date to tomorrow (or whatever day it may be) with no alarm time.
    • “Hey Siri, remind me tomorrow at 3pm to…” results in a due date of tomorrow at 3pm in Reminders.app. Since I specified a time, I probably wanted a time-based alarm, so the workflow sets the 2Do due date and alarm time accordingly.
  • Remove all processed reminders from the default list, and then launch 2Do.

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And that’s all there is to it! It works great, and now I just have to remember to run this every few days or so. But even if I forget to run it, I’ve left notifications on for Reminders.app, so worst case if a task triggers before I’ve imported it, I’ll still get a notification. You can download my Workflow and tweak it to your needs here. There are lots of great todo list apps out there, but sometimes you need to cobble together more than one to do the job!

What’s On (And In) My Desk

Two weeks ago, Jason Snell, one of the hosts of the Clockwise Podcast that I love so much, bought a new Retina iMac.  He then posted a picture of it on his desk.  Apparently, some people had been very interested in what Jason Snell had on his desk!  After the internet analyzed the photo, Jason actually made a post about it himself, detailing everything there.  Just for fun, I thought I’d do the same.

So what’s on my desk?  Not much really.  Right now, there are two solitary objects on my desk: an electric pencil sharpener, and my MacBook.  I like having a clean desk so that I have room to spread out with whatever work I’m doing.  Despite the barrenness of the top of my desk, there are many, many other things in my desk, so I’ll include those as well.  My desk has four drawers; two of which are pivotal to the work I do there.  The long drawer centered under the desk is half a useful drawer, half a junk drawer.  The thing I use most out of there is paper.  I use a lot of lined notebook paper for homework, so I keep some stockpiled.  I also keep my external hard drive and some USB cables in there.  Finally, there’s a mint copy of a local newspaper from the day I was born, which is super cool, even though it doesn’t really apply to my workflow.

The other, smaller drawer is where the magic happens.  This drawer is fully stocked with pens and pencils, as well as a graphing calculator, sticky notes, ruler, protractor, scotch tape, flashlight, erasers, scissors, highlighters, Sharpies, and a stapler.  The goal here is to never have to leave my desk for supplies while I’m doing homework.  Generally, it works pretty well for this.

In addition to my desk, I also have my backpack that I take to school with me.  This is like a mobile command center version of my desk, with everything I need to do homework from just about anywhere.

I’ve got one final plot twist to throw in here: I actually have another desk as well.  The desk I just described in the one in my bedroom, which I use most of the time (especially since I got my laptop).  My other computer, a Windows 7 desktop, is at another desk downstairs.  I share this desk with my brother, so there’s really not room on it for much more than my monitor, mouse, keyboard, and USB hub.  There’s also a shelf above, but that’s so full of junk I won’t even try to describe what’s on it.  ••

My (very clean) desk

My (very clean) desk

Update 11/22/14: I moved my nice desk chair upstairs from my desk downstairs.  I got the chair last winter, I’m not sure why I didn’t move it up earlier.

My "new" chair

My “new” chair