virtual assistant, siri

While using Siri may seem odd at first, it does begin to get more useful the more you put it to use. Source: Shutterstock

Here’s how you can use Siri to power through your work day

AS ONE OF the virtual assistants we all carry with us at all times, Siri can prove useful every day in your working life – your portable friend is not just about choosing music or getting directions on weekend journeys.

Here are just a few of the ways Siri can help you plan and work through your day.

6:00 am Wake Up
Ask “Siri, what’s happening today?” and Siri will let you know what’s on your calendar today, tomorrow, or even next year, at any time. You can link iOS’s Calendar app with Google Calendars, your Outlook/Exchange schedule and many other scheduling and GTD (getting things done) apps.

6:30 Phone Rings
You can have Siri give you the name of each caller, whether that’s every time the phone rings, or just when headphones are in, like during your morning run, for instance.

Siri compares the incoming number with your Contacts, or, if there’s no entry, will simply read out the number to you as the call comes through.

This feature is enabled in Settings > Phone > Announce Calls.

Additionally, you can call people by name, as long as there’s a Contact entry.

Alternatively, you can search for a company’s details online, or even an individual’s numbers if published. But before you call, Siri will ask for confirmation that he/she has found the right person.

9:00 Call The Boss
Once there’s a person on file in your Contacts, you can tell Siri about them. If your boss is merely “The Boss,” you can tell Siri to “Remember Joe Green is my boss.” Then, you can ask Siri to call “The Boss.”

9:30 Set Up A Meeting
Use Siri to schedule meetings throughout the week: “Hey Siri, schedule a meeting with Bob Fleming at 2 pm today.”

Siri will create a Calendar item for you, confirm contact details for the correct Bob Fleming (if you know more than one), and whether to commit the meeting. Then, Siri will send email invite(s) to all participants.

9:45 Add Sacha to the Meeting
If you forget to invite Sacha to the appointment on Friday, just say, “Hey Siri, add Sacha to my 2 pm meeting today”. Job done!

01:00 pm Set off to Meeting
En route behind the wheel, you can ask Siri to “find emails from Sacha,” or “find messages from Sacha.” Hands-free, request Siri to send emails or messages as you travel, or even have Siri read out Messages as you drive.

01:16 Despair At The Traffic
Asking Siri “How long will it take to get to Q-Sentral [in Kuala Lumpur]?” will tell you how long your journey is going to take. Siri can’t yet figure out public transport options everywhere, but this functionality is coming soon.

Siri can always open Maps for you and help you figure out your options if you need to hop on a bus, or your assistant will open your Grab or Uber app for you.

01:50 Realize It’s Too Late
If you’re running late, ask Siri to send a WhatsApp, message, or Email to anyone in your Contacts. Messages can be as complex or simple as you like: “Hey Siri, send a message to Sacha that I’m going to be ten minutes late.”

Or, you can have Siri “Send The Boss a message.” Siri will then ask you what you want to say, and then confirm before your carefully constructed excuse goes off to its recipient.

2:10 Reschedule Later Appointment
“Move my 4 pm meeting to 4:15,” followed by, “Send James a message that the 4 pm meeting has moved to 4:15”, should do the trick.

3:00 Jog My Memory
Siri is happy to remind you of things you’ve been looking at in other apps, such as your Notes, emails or in Safari. These reminders can be set to occur much later: “Hey Siri, remind me about this email at 9:50 am on Friday” – useful for the absent-minded or busy individual.

4:15 Do Not Disturb
Stop all distractions in your meeting with James by turning your phone face down on the table (this feature was appropriated by Apple from HTC, by the way).

5:00 Plan for Tomorrow
In the latest version of iOS, Siri can operate a greater number of apps. You can create new cards in Trello, or make notes and amends in your Evernote documents as easily as in the Apple native apps.

While using Siri may seem odd at first, your digital assistant does begin to get more useful the more you put him/her to use. As Siri is learning your voice and preferences, you’ll also learn about Siri’s limitations and possibilities.