App Suggestion For Morning / Work Routines

My girlfriend is trying to organize her morning / work routines.

Basically, she has half a dozen things she needs to do in the morning before she goes to work. These aren’t rigidly time-bound, so this doesn’t need to be “5:00 AM - Wake Up / 5:05 AM - Make Coffee / 5:10 AM - Morning Exercise” - but they do need to be done before she leaves. So a list of some sort - with individually checkable items so completion can be noted (this is the single most critical feature!) - that pops up 10 minutes after she wakes up (and maybe reminds her 10 minutes before she needs to leave) would be more than fine.

Same with work. There are a number of recurring, non-varying, very specific tasks that have to be done every day (“cranking widgets” in GTD parlance), and they occur in groups based on locational context. “While you’re on the 5th floor, make sure you do a, b, c, d, and e.” The work tasks, however, won’t have as predictable of a start time. An unscheduled staff meeting, situational emergencies, etc. could all delay them. They would have a predictable maximum “end” time though, in the sense that they all have to be done before she leaves work.

The location-based tasks for work can’t be geofenced, as this is all in the same building. And as far as app restrictions, Wi-fi and Internet access in general at this location is overloaded and thus spotty - so the app + data would have to be able to live 100% on her device while she’s at work.

Speaking of devices, she has an iPhone + iPad, with the phone being what she’d have at work - but it would be nice to be able to use her iPad to manage the lists when she’s sitting on the couch at home.

She doesn’t have a task manager currently, and because her job is largely “cranking widgets” she doesn’t have nearly as much need of one - but a non-fiddly task manager that would let her track other basic “life” things (vet for dog, oil changes for car, etc.) would be an option too.

I could almost certainly set this all up in Omnifocus (which is what I use), but (a) she doesn’t already have Omnifocus, (b) I feel like that’s massive overkill, and © Omnifocus is rather expensive, and (d) Omnifocus provides too much “fiddly-ness”. She and I are both the sorts that can sometimes tend to get obsessive over little details and get bogged down in tweaking rather than doing.

Any apps that y’all recommend?

I’m an Omnifocus user, but don’t have it installed on my work Mac. I use shortcuts and reminders for that. So my ‘morning routine’ shortcut creates my ‘morning work’ tasks. Can use a combination of scenarios when I’m traveling (never thought I would miss traveling) for work.

I would recommend Due:

I know you said that they don’t have to have specific times, so recommending Due might seem odd, but I actually think it’s a good choice because of the way that it handles reminders.

Due’s best-known feature is that it will keep reminding you to do something until you do it. What makes this feature especially great is that you can also set the time between reminders. So, here’s an example, working with your 5:00 a.m. wake-up time.

Set her tasks for 4:55 a.m. (repeat every weekday) and have it remind her every 30 minutes. (It doesn’t have to be 30, just a suggestions.) Assuming that Do Not Disturb will be on while she is sleeping, Due’s first alarm/reminder will go off just before she wakes up. When she turns off her alarm, she’ll see a ‘6’ on the Due app, telling her she has 6 things to do, at some point, before she leaves.

As she does them, she can quickly check them off (and they will reset to go off the next day). At 5:25 a.m. she’ll get a reminder: “Hey, these are the things that are left.”

Here’s the third best thing about Due: you can set custom snooze times.

So she could look at 4 reminder and quickly say “Ok, remind me of this one in 5 minutes, this one in 10 minutes, and the other two in 30”. If she ignores the reminder, it will go off again at 5:55 a.m.

I would also recommend adjusting the start / snooze / repeat times so that unfinished items are chiming on her phone about 10 minutes before she has to leave, so she has time to finish them or deal with not finishing them. For example, if she leaves for work at 6:00 a.m. then instead of having the first alarm at 4:55 make it 4:50 so that two-default-snooze-cycles later it is 5:50.

As far as the work situation, I know how I’d handle it (at least in theory): NFC stickers. Get a pack of GoToTags Heavy Duty On-Metal NFC Tag and stick them somewhere near whatever door/elevator she uses to go between floors.

Then setup a Shortcut that will respond to that NFC tag by bringing up a specific task list “Fifth Floor To-Dos”. As she arrived on the 5th floor, all she has to do is tap the tag, and voilà! Instant to-dos.

(I suppose she’d probably need approval from some pointy-head boss and/or IT person, depending on the size and rigidity of the business where she works.)

I’m sure there are other options, maybe better options, but that’s what came to mind for me at least.

Reading your explanation, yeah - that makes a ton of sense. :slight_smile:

I love the idea of the NFC stickers! That said, this is a huge corporate healthcare facility - so the answer will probably be “no” to affixing any stickers to anything. :slight_smile:

Although I think the Shortcuts idea would work with a manual trigger as well - like a shortcut button on a home screen.

Great ideas. Thanks TJ!

Yeah, I suspect that would be true of a lot of places… I’d be tempted to just stick them up, wait a week to see if anyone notices, and then start using them. People have an amazing ability to assume something that they’re used to has always been that way.

But healthcare… yeah… with the stress levels I assume are going on right now, it’s probably best not to press one’s luck, as it were.

Have a look at TickTick - they’ve recently introduced Habits - actions that you perform daily, not t8me-related. It’s also a rather nice task manager in its other aspects too. Runs on iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows.

If sync is a challenge, TickTick will run very well standalone.

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We used to have a closet at a place I worked that NOBODY used for anything. It was off of the server room, so the server/programming people would relocate stuff that they wanted to see disappear - but didn’t want to try to get the byzantine bureaucratic permission to dispose of - into that room. If it went for three months without being mentioned in any way, they tossed it.

Although the most fun story I had was from a church I used to go to - and give your background you’ll probably appreciate it.

This was a church with multiple mini-fiefdoms, aka “ministries”. There were a number of areas that were shared (dividers that can be pulled out and relocated, etc.), and very little useful communication - so nobody ever threw away ANYTHING unless it was very clear and obvious trash. We cleaned a cupboard once and found abandoned kids’ projects that were around a decade old.

I had a little plastic walrus figurine. It was 3" long, obviously not collectible or valuable, but large enough to be noticed - and something that obviously doesn’t belong in a church. I didn’t want it anymore, so I brought it to church and set it on a windowsill in the library. The library was cleaned weekly, and people were in and out frequently, including the pastor, but it sat there for three months without being disturbed. So I decided to move it somewhere a little more public - the corner table in the dining room. It sat there for over a month (again, constant activity in this room!), then disappeared. I looked around quick, and it was on a counter inside the kitchen. No note or anything, no mention, just relocated. So I put it back in the library, and as far as I’m aware it’s still there. :smiley:

Morning routines - ah, morning routines. I have landed on Routinist for iOS. The idea is that you set up the amount of sleep you’d like and what time you need to be out the door, and this app keeps you on track as you get ready in the morning.

You set up a list of tasks and their approximate duration, and can be as granular as “Breakfast” or just “Get ready”. Tasks recur on particular days each week. It can act as an alarm clock, although I set my watch alarm a few minutes before. You start it off each morning, and as you tick tasks off, it tells you the time that you’ll make it out the door, adjusted for how long each completed task has already taken, so you can adjust your behaviour and either skip things or lounge around for a bit and still make it to work on time. At the moment, I skip my commute and can get up later.

There is a small monthly subscription, but I’ve done this for about 2 years now and don’t regret it. You can set it up for evening routines too, but I don’t feel like being bugged at night time - it just tells me the time I should be in bed by to get my desired amount of sleep. The routines are also integrated across to your calendar. There are also adhoc routines that aren’t linked to morning or evening routines. I use that for going to the gym at lunchtime while still respecting my commitment to my employer. That might meet some of your other use cases, but there are other tools that might be a better fit. Can’t hurt to try it out?