Revealed: The Morning Routines of Highly Successful CEOs, Entrepreneurs and Celebrities!

Get it Now

Day 3 of Personal Automation Challenge

By | 251 comments

Welcome back to day three of the Automation challenge. Before we move on to today’s challenge, be sure to complete Day 1 and Day 2.

At this point, you’ve learned that automation can be quite simple. Today we’re going to expand upon that with hidden features that are in Windows and Mac. 99% of people don’t know these features exist, but once you use them, it’ll speed up so many repetitive tasks you do on your computer.


Since Windows and Mac have different hidden features, each operating system user will implement something slightly different but equally useful. Watch the video below to discover how to do that.

Mac users: start at [6:09] (Mac – Quick Actions) where you’ll learn how to use Quick actions.

Windows users: start at [15:45] (Win – Task Scheduler) where you’ll learn how to schedule an automated task. You can get really creative with it, i.e. launch Outlook at 10 am and 4 pm to check email.

Challenge for Mac users:

  1. Annotate a document (can be any type) with a Quick Action.
  2. Comment below that you did it!

Challenge for Windows users:

  1. Create a Diary Prompt like shown in the video to show up every day at 4 pm.
  2. Comment below that you did it!

If you use both operating systems, just pick one.

Let us know in the comments that you’ve done it! It’s important to do this to be eligible to win one of the prizes (Oura Ring, AirPods and Atomic Habits). See you tomorrow for day four! That one will be a challenging one.

Update: Day 4 is now live!

Discover the 1 Lifehack of Highly Successful People

This one lifehack led to the biggest breakthrough of my career. People like Steve Jobs and Oprah have used it to catapult their success, and now you can too.


Posted by Alexander Peter Gray  | September 16, 2019 at 11:46PM | Reply

Created Split PDF – I love it!

Posted by liz Mac  | September 9, 2019 at 2:29PM | Reply

Done! I didn’t know this existed!

Posted by BA  | September 9, 2019 at 6:48AM | Reply

Did it.

Posted by Frank Mason  | September 8, 2019 at 10:28PM | Reply

Scheduled opening of OneNote to remind me to check my daily tasks.

Posted by Kamil Skrok  | September 8, 2019 at 7:21AM | Reply

Again – Im so proud as I knew and used it for a long time! :)

Posted by Alex  | September 5, 2019 at 7:14PM | Reply

This is fantastic – I never knew you could zoom in on a document like that!
I am wondering if there is a way to create my own “add to calendar” quick action – I get stuck on the input dates. Any resources?

Posted by John Sepples  | September 5, 2019 at 3:10PM | Reply

I scheduled the accounting software that my firm uses to open at 5 PM daily as a reminder to complete my timesheet.

Posted by Jeremie  | September 4, 2019 at 3:57PM | Reply

done, thanks for the tips

Posted by Daniel  | September 4, 2019 at 1:36PM | Reply

Done. In fact, I’ve done a couple of them. Thanks!

Posted by Katie  | September 4, 2019 at 4:24AM | Reply

Done! So cool – had no idea that I could zoom in on a section of document, let alone the quick tool to access document mark-up!

Posted by Bryan Yang  | September 3, 2019 at 10:49PM | Reply

Did it! Thanks~ Diary thing is cool

Posted by Travis  | September 3, 2019 at 4:32PM | Reply

Did it – thanks!

Posted by Terrence G Liu  | September 3, 2019 at 1:19PM | Reply

I created my task in windows. I created the diary – really a task to remind me to do a 5 min plan for the next day. I have meetings every Tuesday and Wednesday. I have to pull up meeting notes, reference materials, vacation schedules -etc. Roughly about 5 webpages each time. Most are on confluence. Couldn’t figure out how to pull up just those pages in chrome. What I ended up doing is creating a chrome group to open everytime I open chrome which included those pages. One other issues was that the pages I open up each week are different because we create a new page everytime we have a meeting. I want to be able to open up the last meeting notes. Haven’t figured out how to do that yet. What I’m ending up doing is creating a tab of the location that is the overall meeting area and then still have to make a click over. At least it brings it down to only 2 clicks that I need to do. Other possibility I thought of was to use a different browser so that only those 5 pages open. Still working on it. Again Thanks for this challenge, it kind of feels like I have accountability.

Posted by Cathy  | September 3, 2019 at 12:17PM | Reply


Posted by Gerd  | September 3, 2019 at 8:33AM | Reply

Used the journaling prompt and implemented it when the challenge came out. So far this is quite interesting how it makes a difference in that I actually did journal since then without missing a day.

Posted by Keith  | September 3, 2019 at 8:28AM | Reply


Posted by Carolyn  | September 3, 2019 at 8:05AM | Reply

Cool. Started Outlook and Chrome when I logon.

Posted by Mary  | September 1, 2019 at 7:01PM | Reply

I’ll have to work on this one with my new work computer. I couldn’t locate the commands to open the apps I wanted. I’ll find the executable files and try again. Also want to investigate using the event trigger.

Posted by josh  | September 1, 2019 at 4:10PM | Reply

I did it. It’s nice to know about this option, but it’s not something I’ll use super often. thanks for the tip!

Posted by James  | September 1, 2019 at 7:42AM | Reply

Day 3 done

Posted by Gayle  | August 31, 2019 at 5:42PM | Reply

I set up up a task to check email, and I’ll have to think to see what else I might be able to set up. Very cool!

Posted by Melch Chun  | August 31, 2019 at 2:12PM | Reply

Now I can probably uninstall Skitch.

Posted by James  | August 31, 2019 at 8:22AM | Reply


Posted by Ana  | August 31, 2019 at 8:22AM | Reply

Couldn’t do it because the feature on Windows 10 that I wanted to use was marked as deprecated.

Posted by Melissa KInkaid  | August 31, 2019 at 6:53AM | Reply

Done :) Simple and so helpful. I can totally see me using this when my new work computer arrives. For now I am using it to remind me to write in my morning journal

Posted by Paul  | August 31, 2019 at 4:59AM | Reply

Yeah, I need to think more about my use cases for this. I “know” I should be batching my email, but since I work in sales I tend to leave my Outlook open all the time. I also hear that I should be journaling, but I haven’t started that habit either. Anyway, I pinned Task Scheduler to my taskbar in Windows, so that it is only a click away if I think of something. Or maybe I should create a keyboard shortcut for it? :)

Posted by Vicki G  | August 31, 2019 at 3:15AM | Reply

Done! I set up a “Morning Routine” task, to Open OneNote to my GTD notebook.

Posted by Andy Cochrane  | August 31, 2019 at 3:03AM | Reply

I’ll give this a go and see if the IT dept allow me to do it.

Posted by Andrew  | August 30, 2019 at 10:49PM | Reply

completed previously – a couple of app launches

Posted by Anthony J  | August 30, 2019 at 10:44PM | Reply

Had to catchup on video but now done. Easy.

Posted by Linda  | August 30, 2019 at 6:21PM | Reply

My mac is still on High Sierra. So I don’t have Quick Action. I had to use Automator without it. Thanks for telling me about features in Mojave I actually want.

Posted by Jason  | August 30, 2019 at 4:41PM | Reply

Done- daily report automated to run via Task Scheduler

Posted by Michael  | August 30, 2019 at 4:30PM | Reply

I annotated a pdf

Posted by Helen  | August 30, 2019 at 1:42PM | Reply

Update: I persisted even though I don’t have Mojave, which required searching online for Automator with El Capitan (!). I created an automation that takes the selected images and creates one PDF. Done!

Posted by Kimberly Black  | August 30, 2019 at 1:30PM | Reply

I’ve used Automator before but not with a Quick Action. Great tip.

Posted by Glenn Simmons Jr  | August 30, 2019 at 1:24PM | Reply

My mac is still on High Sierra, my IT guys will not okay the update! So not quick actions for me :-(

Posted by Donna Shenk  | August 30, 2019 at 1:05PM | Reply

Ok this was one I’ve never heard of and I’ll utilize it daily!! Thanks for another great time saver!

Posted by Mark  | August 30, 2019 at 12:40PM | Reply

The Diary Prompt for Windows is life changing! I just set it up to open Outlook, and open internet browser to the three windows that are part of my morning KPI review routine.

Posted by Federico Guerra  | August 30, 2019 at 11:00AM | Reply

Diary Prompt created!

Posted by Jon  | August 30, 2019 at 9:19AM | Reply

Done have never used Automator before

Posted by Alexander Nielsen  | August 30, 2019 at 5:02AM | Reply

Done! It is really fun to play around with!

Posted by Markus  | August 30, 2019 at 4:28AM | Reply

Did it!

Posted by Travis Firth  | August 30, 2019 at 2:36AM | Reply


Posted by Justus  | August 30, 2019 at 12:34AM | Reply

Whenever I pay a bill I mark it as ‘Paid’. I do that, normally, with a third-party application like PDFpenPRO . This quick action is much better for these simple tasks. The fact that you don’t have to open an application first, feels very good.

Posted by Mike Peterson  | August 29, 2019 at 11:21PM | Reply

Actually had already done this one before rewatching

Posted by Dennis  | August 29, 2019 at 5:34PM | Reply

Got er done

Posted by Christian  | August 29, 2019 at 5:15PM | Reply

I did it!

Posted by marian phillips  | August 29, 2019 at 4:56PM | Reply

Done! Set up two, one as a reminder to listen to a podcast i love, but tend to miss…

The other was the diary entry which I set for later in the evening when I’m home,

Will transfer a few off my phone to computer in the next few days as they make more sense on the computer.

Posted by Veronica  | August 29, 2019 at 4:39PM | Reply

Finished! I remember seeing the feature highlighted before but never gave it a try.

Posted by Katie  | August 29, 2019 at 4:06PM | Reply


Posted by Sam  | August 29, 2019 at 3:05PM | Reply


Posted by Elizabeth Taylor  | August 29, 2019 at 2:14PM | Reply

Done, with 2 different apps.

Posted by Katherine  | August 29, 2019 at 12:24PM | Reply

gone yesterday but it’s done now.

Posted by John  | August 29, 2019 at 12:20PM | Reply


Posted by Moody Erica  | August 29, 2019 at 11:29AM | Reply

I don’t have an OS for my Mac that has this feature..but good to know for when I do!

Posted by Jeremy Brown  | August 29, 2019 at 11:05AM | Reply


Posted by Melissa Dease  | August 29, 2019 at 11:00AM | Reply

Couldn’t do it. I think it’s because I’m not on my personal computer, and the work computer is seriously locked down so we don’t “accidentally” destroy something. But I can’t access program files at all.

Posted by Jim  | August 29, 2019 at 10:30AM | Reply

Complete! :)

Posted by Abigail  | August 29, 2019 at 10:13AM | Reply


Posted by Jennifer Willis-Rivera  | August 29, 2019 at 10:06AM | Reply

Done! Nice and easy!

Posted by Jeff  | August 29, 2019 at 9:51AM | Reply

I don’t use Mojave so didn’t have access to quick actions

Posted by Jessica Ryan  | August 29, 2019 at 9:49AM | Reply

Did this yesterday, just didn’t comment here.

Posted by Ian  | August 29, 2019 at 9:33AM | Reply

Done! Annotating PDFs with Quick Actions is a really cool feature I never knew existed!

Posted by Tanya  | August 29, 2019 at 9:26AM | Reply

Annotated invoice in PDF. It was easy

Posted by guy Schofield  | August 29, 2019 at 9:25AM | Reply

I have set up Task Scheduler This is Awsome! I have been wondering about this capability for years

Posted by Trevor  | August 29, 2019 at 9:13AM | Reply

Day 3 done today – maybe a day late.

Posted by Diane Thompson  | August 29, 2019 at 8:54AM | Reply

Done. What a help having these automations have made!! Very helpful!!!

Posted by CG  | August 29, 2019 at 8:43AM | Reply

Done! Really cool tip – I’ve sent a few friends to follow the challenge too.

Posted by Scott  | August 29, 2019 at 8:41AM | Reply

Did it! Saving time already

Posted by Nicky  | August 29, 2019 at 8:37AM | Reply

Attempted to “Task Schedule” Outlook e-mail check in for 10am & 2pm – locating the Outlook application was the trick.

Posted by Virginia  | August 29, 2019 at 8:36AM | Reply

I don’t remember if I left a comment yesterday, so I’ll leave another. I put in a shortcut key for MS Publisher and will do several more shortcuts since using the mouse is so aggravating to me! Thank you!

Posted by Don Pavlik  | August 29, 2019 at 8:35AM | Reply

Completed this yesterday, just didn’t get it logged here that I had created the scheduled task.

Posted by sharon  | August 29, 2019 at 8:32AM | Reply

So, a day late…
Had some trouble finding the program to start Evernote on my desktop. Was going to give up, then read some of the comments and tried again. I just put in start Evernote. We’ll see if it works when I start my computer up again… if it does, will have to tweak it. but I’m always intrigued with finding new ways to establish new habits!

Posted by Erzsebet  | August 29, 2019 at 8:27AM | Reply


Posted by Mark  | August 29, 2019 at 8:26AM | Reply


Posted by Sharon  | August 29, 2019 at 8:02AM | Reply

Since I spend 10 hours a day at work on my computer there, this will be handy. Home is a morning thing so I set up a diary prompt for 5am.

Posted by Katie Santos  | August 29, 2019 at 7:47AM | Reply

Did my bullet Journal prompt!

Posted by Cathy Skippington  | August 29, 2019 at 7:17AM | Reply

could do the Journal prompt but got an error message when I tried to set up a message

Posted by Rob de Vries  | August 29, 2019 at 7:12AM | Reply

For Mac: This challenge “annotating a document with a Quick Action” is only possible as of macOS 10.14 Mojave. In macOS Mojave, Apple has introduced a range of new Finder Quick Actions.

If you are not on macOS Mojave you can create your own Mac Finder Quick Actions via the Automator app, but you are limited to the actions available in the action library.

For Windows: I added the task to open Onenote as soon as I login on.

Posted by Colin Gold  | August 29, 2019 at 7:06AM | Reply

I did it, got er done late, but I got it done

Posted by Joe Foltz  | August 29, 2019 at 7:02AM | Reply

This made marking up an image so easy. I was totally unaware of this feature and it actually made me excited to use Automator.

Posted by Joann  | August 29, 2019 at 6:56AM | Reply


Posted by STEPHEN COX  | August 29, 2019 at 6:36AM | Reply

Done 😄

Posted by Cindi  | August 29, 2019 at 6:11AM | Reply

Could not get this to work, but I am not giving up. Just need to wait for software downloads and my S L O W internet to finish.

Posted by Kimi  | August 29, 2019 at 5:32AM | Reply

Sorry. The computer I am using is not upgraded to Mojave so does not have Quick Action available. I tried to do this, so I hope I am not disqualified.

Posted by Doug  | August 29, 2019 at 4:35AM | Reply


Posted by Shaun Barlow  | August 29, 2019 at 3:05AM | Reply

Created the journal prompt, but will still need to tweak it a bit to better fit my workflow.

Considering setting up some other scheduled prompts during the day to keep things flowing.

Posted by Keith B  | August 29, 2019 at 2:40AM | Reply

Completed. Annotated a photo and split a .pdf and added to the Quick Actions. Already thinking of some other QA to add….

Posted by Jaymie Horak  | August 29, 2019 at 2:25AM | Reply

Awesome. Done!

Posted by Lizzy  | August 29, 2019 at 2:14AM | Reply

Hoorah, seems I still can run the (from the run… function) , so I could start the schedular from there (as long as our IT department lets me……)
So with a workaround mission accomplished 💪🏻

Posted by Jasper Jamir  | August 29, 2019 at 1:50AM | Reply

Doneee! Thankss:D

Posted by Bryan Thompson  | August 29, 2019 at 1:49AM | Reply

Done. A nice wee document markup.

Posted by Paul  | August 29, 2019 at 1:10AM | Reply

Done. Had to upgrade my MacBook Air to Mojave first.

Posted by Shelley  | August 29, 2019 at 1:09AM | Reply


Posted by Morgan  | August 29, 2019 at 12:55AM | Reply


Posted by Julie Mehlow  | August 29, 2019 at 12:54AM | Reply

Windows, Done!

Posted by Peter  | August 29, 2019 at 12:50AM | Reply

I did it!

Posted by Christian Stenner  | August 29, 2019 at 12:27AM | Reply

Done. My browser now opens every day at 12:00 am opening my main Trello board to re-focus on the tasks I set out to do.

And I pinned the task scheduler app to the Windows start menu. ✌

Posted by Jennifer  | August 29, 2019 at 12:26AM | Reply

Done. Thanks!

Posted by Linhan  | August 29, 2019 at 12:20AM | Reply


Posted by Lisa Young  | August 28, 2019 at 11:52PM | Reply

I did the annotation, and made a quick action for splitting PDF for good measure!

Posted by Moses Kaulaity  | August 28, 2019 at 11:50PM | Reply

I did it! I realized that annotate can mean “combine PDFs” ;)

Posted by Heather Milton  | August 28, 2019 at 11:40PM | Reply

I didn’t create the diary yet, but I realized a real life use case tonight before seeing the challenge… I have to launch Bark everyday from my laptop to scan my daughter’s phone, so I set this up to do automatically at 5 a.m., so we’ll see in the morning if it worked!

Posted by Joe  | August 28, 2019 at 11:20PM | Reply


Posted by Dr.Amrita  | August 28, 2019 at 11:15PM | Reply

I just dit the diary task scheduler thing and wrote too.

Posted by Ryan Randall  | August 28, 2019 at 11:13PM | Reply

I did it! I annotated png and PDF with a Markup and Split PDF quick action, respectively. Thank you!

Posted by Dr.Amrita Basu  | August 28, 2019 at 11:09PM | Reply

I added the diary prompt and have started using it!

Posted by Doug Warren  | August 28, 2019 at 10:57PM | Reply

Okay. Done.

Posted by Julia Stewart  | August 28, 2019 at 10:52PM | Reply

This is great! Love quick markup on Mac

Posted by Hazel  | August 28, 2019 at 10:46PM | Reply

Mission accomplished

Posted by Brian  | August 28, 2019 at 10:44PM | Reply


Posted by Sander  | August 28, 2019 at 10:36PM | Reply


Posted by Amanda P.  | August 28, 2019 at 10:25PM | Reply

Done. Set on my personal computer. Had some issues trying to set it on the work computer.

Posted by Joel Thomas  | August 28, 2019 at 10:11PM | Reply

Odd… the 3rd and 5th paragraph from my original comment documenting the various complications that arose when I tried integrated my existing AHK workflow and Task Scheduler automation for my journal entries isn’t displaying properly, or got automatically redacted or something?

Haha well whatever, so long as the part where I said “challenge finally completed” can be clearly seen by the AE team, I guess that’s all that matters…

Posted by Bob Skattum  | August 28, 2019 at 10:10PM | Reply

Done and done

Posted by Lana B  | August 28, 2019 at 9:59PM | Reply


Posted by Joel Thomas  | August 28, 2019 at 9:58PM | Reply

Hmm… this challenge turned out to be a little tricky to implement. Primarily due to the fact that I already had an automated reminder in place prompting journal entries, but my system relied heavily on an interactive GUI powered by AutoHotKey scripts (at the time I created this script I was attempting to replicate a quick and dirty “nvALT for Windows” type of journaling workflow) rather than a simple system task scheduled to launch a blank text editor.

At first I thought it would be a simple enough matter, comment out the code that triggers at specific time intervals and just create a scheduled task to take over that function instead. But it turns out that Task Scheduler can’t/doesn’t launch items with the *.ahk file extension for whatever reason. Strange, but not entirely unprecedented. After all, back when I had a Mac I recall being unable to automate launching some of my applescripts unless I explicitly converted those into applets. Turns out a similar solution was called for here, except Windows doesn’t deal with *.app file extensions but rather *.exe

But even after compiling my Journal.ahk to Journal.exe, launching it via Task Scheduler would repeatedly throw up alerts onscreen asking me to confirm what program to use to run this file and I had to keep manually selecting the “keep using AutoHotKey” checkbox. Again, a bit bizarre considering that .ahk files are automatically associated to run with AHK, so intuitively you feel like a simple compiled_ahk_script.exe should continue that association, but here yet another (admittedly minor, yet annoyingly repetitive) complication arose.

I suppose at this point I should’ve just given up on trying to force this to work. I could just as easily have created a simple task to launch an empty text editor and commented here that I completed the challenge… but I already HAD a working solution! I just couldn’t get it to work with Task Scheduler nicely for whatever reason lol. So maybe call it tenacity or perhaps call it stubbornness or call it whatever else you will, but after pulling my hair out and some more super-sleuthing online I finally came up with the workaround of putting quotes around my Task Scheduler entry and connecting my actual Journal automation script to the executable for AutoHotKey itself… and if that doesn’t make sense, simply put, I had to do this number: “C:\Program Files\AutoHotkey\AutoHotkey.exe D:\jvtho\Dropbox\Apps\Editorial\Journal.ahk”

So now I can get rid of the Journal.exe I compiled earlier, which is great since I prefer to get hands on and tinker with optimizing my script once every few weeks or so and having to recompile an executable copy each time would’ve been a chore. Just before commenting on here I also realized that I could drop the quotes and just paste the Journal.ahk script as the argument parameter in Task Scheduler once AutoHotkey.exe is launched from my Program Files folder. So there, after much trial and error I finally completed the challenge! I’ll be honest though… I most likely will just unfreeze the segment of code I commented out which handles the timed launching of Sublime Text whenever I get around to tinkering with the script next. Till then, I’ll let Task Scheduler handle it for the next few weeks and see how it goes, but it just makes more sense not to bifurcate how I automate my journaling triggers, with the script now only handling the keyboard combo that aspect whereas Task Scheduler now handles the timing trigger.

In any case, that’s how I completed this challenge to augment my existing workflow that automatically launched my preferred text editor of choice, loaded with my date/time stamped journal entries in the sidebar, before offering a GUI prompt onscreen for Title entry, tags, etc… by literally still doing all of that, except now having it launched via Task Scheduler rather than directly from my Journal.ahk script :)

Posted by Bob  | August 28, 2019 at 9:54PM | Reply


Posted by Teresa  | August 28, 2019 at 9:45PM | Reply

Done. Diary prompt is made.

Posted by Craig arnoldt  | August 28, 2019 at 9:40PM | Reply

love the task scheduler. notepad doesn’t have cobwebs anymore!

Posted by Dave  | August 28, 2019 at 9:40PM | Reply

Used Markup Quick Action on a PDF on Mac. I did not know about this before this challenge!

Posted by Judy  | August 28, 2019 at 9:37PM | Reply

Set up windows diary prompt.

Posted by Isaak  | August 28, 2019 at 9:06PM | Reply

Done. Tried it on iOS as well. :)

Posted by Nina  | August 28, 2019 at 9:01PM | Reply

Done! Such an old school interface, funny

Posted by Jesse  | August 28, 2019 at 8:41PM | Reply


Posted by Ellane  | August 28, 2019 at 8:00PM | Reply

Done! I usually do annotations in PDF Expert, but it’s good to know there’s a quick way to do it from the Finder.

Posted by Bill Pasierb  | August 28, 2019 at 7:59PM | Reply

Added a task for entering the days ministry notes.

Posted by Jenson  | August 28, 2019 at 7:56PM | Reply


Posted by Phil Hershkowitz  | August 28, 2019 at 7:46PM | Reply

I created a scheduled task on Windows.

Posted by Gordon Lanpher  | August 28, 2019 at 7:41PM | Reply

I created diary prompt for 3 because 4pm didn’t work with my schedule. But it is still awesome

Posted by Aaron  | August 28, 2019 at 7:38PM | Reply

Did it!

Posted by Steve Finegan  | August 28, 2019 at 7:28PM | Reply

I annotated a PDF document on my Mac.

Posted by Marc  | August 28, 2019 at 7:22PM | Reply


Posted by Paul  | August 28, 2019 at 7:13PM | Reply

Done. Quick Actions was what I found most interesting in the video and it was good to experiment with using them. The PDF splitter is really useful. Ii tried setting up a merge action (merging PDFs is something I quite often have to do) but I couldn’t find a way to specify a save location – any suggestions?

Best, Paul

Posted by Daniel R  | August 28, 2019 at 7:06PM | Reply

Well…that was certainly easy. I didn’t have a use for the document I annotated today, but I’m sure this will work great in the near future. I’ve always opened up PDF files in Preview and annotated from there, so I’m excited to reduce the number of steps needed to get this done quicker.

Posted by Joe  | August 28, 2019 at 7:04PM | Reply

Done. Thanks.

Posted by Noah R  | August 28, 2019 at 6:59PM | Reply

Done! That was certainly easy and convenient. I knew of annotation via iOS, but not on the Mac. I have a feeling this will come in ultra handy in the next few weeks.

Posted by Jesica  | August 28, 2019 at 6:57PM | Reply

Done! :)

Posted by Daran  | August 28, 2019 at 6:54PM | Reply

You’re right didn’t know I could this so easily. I always opened PDFs in preview. Such a useful tip.

Posted by Allie  | August 28, 2019 at 6:38PM | Reply

I created a Task in Task Scheduler: at 11:00 AM every day, my Year to Clear Journal will open for that day’s entry.

Posted by Ovi  | August 28, 2019 at 6:36PM | Reply

Completed the 3rd day challenge. I really did not know about this useful hidden feature. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Chris  | August 28, 2019 at 6:35PM | Reply

Going to try having it open Outlook at specific times to prompt email routine.

Posted by Newton Mota  | August 28, 2019 at 6:30PM | Reply

Done! Also, ended up creating another quick action to extract highlights that I usually do in my PDFs. Hooray!

Posted by HP  | August 28, 2019 at 6:22PM | Reply


Posted by Roy  | August 28, 2019 at 6:19PM | Reply

Annotated pdf’s. Good. I do this on a regular basis. Automator is also good. Could not find specific workflows that are applicable to me. However, I see how this works and will be thinking about what I can automate through Automator.

Posted by SP  | August 28, 2019 at 6:17PM | Reply

Set up to launch outlook at 10 am and 4 pm everyday on my work PC to try out the “twice a day focused email time” approach in the book “Make Time”.

Posted by Jose  | August 28, 2019 at 6:16PM | Reply

Use quick actions all the time to annotate images. In this case I had an application screenshot with errors in the GUI used the annotation to highlight the label that needs to be changed

Posted by Adam Hill  | August 28, 2019 at 6:14PM | Reply


Posted by Jeremy  | August 28, 2019 at 6:10PM | Reply


Posted by Theo Bell  | August 28, 2019 at 5:56PM | Reply

Annotated a PDF!

Posted by Bill Johnson  | August 28, 2019 at 5:40PM | Reply

Created a Diary Prompt. I am toying with the idea of an automated email to remind me to complete my workday shutdown every day also!

Posted by Mascha  | August 28, 2019 at 5:19PM | Reply

Done! Never knew it would be so easy to markup documents.

Posted by Leo Gift  | August 28, 2019 at 4:34PM | Reply

Done. Set up outlook to open at 9 and 1. Having a hard time trying not to look at emails

Posted by Lisa notes  | August 28, 2019 at 4:34PM | Reply

So many things I didn’t know existed! Did the PDF splitter.

Posted by Gloria-Jean Brown  | August 28, 2019 at 4:33PM | Reply

Done. I set a Task Scheduler to do “Planner Review” at 4PM to review the task in Simplified Planner and checkoff the completed and set up for the next day. Love this!!!

Posted by Anu  | August 28, 2019 at 4:31PM | Reply

Done, used Task Scheduler to launch a few programs when my computer starts.

Posted by Dale  | August 28, 2019 at 4:24PM | Reply


Posted by Adelle  | August 28, 2019 at 4:23PM | Reply

Did it!

Posted by Andy  | August 28, 2019 at 4:10PM | Reply

Did the diary prompt even when I don’t need it. Can’t think of anything useful for me right now but the time will come… Have to check out in detail what possible is. Certainly an interesting tool. Thanks.

Posted by Cordell BaanHofman  | August 28, 2019 at 4:06PM | Reply

Did the iOS one…I had no idea these were in the iPhone!

Posted by Jodie  | August 28, 2019 at 4:03PM | Reply


Posted by Helen  | August 28, 2019 at 4:02PM | Reply

I wish I could say done, but I’m using an older Mac OS for compatibility with music-making apps that I use. When those apps become fully compatible with Mojave, then I’ll consider changing my OS. Saving this tip for that day. :)

Posted by Alice  | August 28, 2019 at 3:59PM | Reply


Posted by Sharon  | August 28, 2019 at 3:50PM | Reply

Created a diary prompt.

Posted by Aneesh Ghosh  | August 28, 2019 at 3:43PM | Reply

Cool, implemented on Mac

Posted by Ashala Faircrest  | August 28, 2019 at 3:37PM | Reply

Completed the task.

Looking forward to the prompt, although I may adjust timing to better fit my obligations.

Thanks for having this be so easy!

Posted by Tessa  | August 28, 2019 at 3:35PM | Reply

Completed on Mac. These new found apps are really great.

This 5 day challenge of breaking things down into each of the elements we learnt about on Monday has been great to clarify where I still have gaps in knowledge and ensuring that I can practice applying the knowledge several times to help it become embedded. The reinforcement of listening to the short clips more than once has been helpful.

I also learned about the use of chapters when viewing the material which I had not been aware of.

Thanks so much for this free guide to personal automation and the associated challenge to help us move from guided practice to independent practice. So many high fee online courses fail to include these two important elements to ensure transformation can take place.

Posted by Neil Kelly  | August 28, 2019 at 3:30PM | Reply

Annotated a screenshot I had around. Super easy.

Posted by Jacob Wall  | August 28, 2019 at 3:29PM | Reply

Jeremy – you can always use the search option to find notepad.exe – it’s a little easier and faster than spelunking through the file system.

Posted by Cassandra  | August 28, 2019 at 3:28PM | Reply

Created diary prompt – worked like a charm. 99% of what I do in my job is online, and when I tried to have it open a specific website for a specific time/reason…. IT blocked me. Sadness.

Posted by Jacob Wall  | August 28, 2019 at 3:27PM | Reply

I’ve set this up. I use Windows for work and for my family computer at home; however, my office computer is Linux. I’m currently looking for counterparts in Linux – it takes a little more searching and setup, but so far, so good.

Posted by Chris  | August 28, 2019 at 3:26PM | Reply

Done! Thanks AE!

Posted by Teejay  | August 28, 2019 at 3:04PM | Reply


I actually use OneNote as my digital “brain” … so I just created a prompt that will launch OneNote when I start the computer.

Posted by Patricia  | August 28, 2019 at 2:48PM | Reply

Day 3: check!
So far so good!

Posted by Ralph Hershkowitz  | August 28, 2019 at 2:12PM | Reply


Posted by Giacomo Pasini  | August 28, 2019 at 2:07PM | Reply

This was the second thing I made when I back home from work (after kissing my family members! 😉) I had to set on my personal PC as my company Windows laptop is totally blocked to changes by my IT department. I set a prompt to check my Image gallery every time I turn on my PC and share some pic to my iPad on Dropbox to populate my DayOne journal backwards with significant moments spent with my family!

Posted by Josh  | August 28, 2019 at 1:55PM | Reply

Done – easy peasy lemon squeezy

Posted by Alexa  | August 28, 2019 at 1:52PM | Reply

OK, 3rd day. Really lost. I think I must be the only one because everyone who has commented seems very happy. I haven’t upgraded to Mojave so Quick Action appears to be out. I tried Automator instead. I had a couple of ideas: 1) send all photos attached to email to Photos or 2) convert selected webpages to Word documents. I couldn’t figure either out. Then I thought I’d try (3) putting together PDF pages into one PDF. Couldn’t figure that out, either. Just spent an hour on this, have a terrible headache, and I guess I’ve “flunked” today.

s there any help in addition to the tutorial in doing these exercises?

Posted by Angela V Langlotz  | August 28, 2019 at 1:42PM | Reply

Loving the “convert to pdf” feature for the image files; I didn’t even know we could do that. That is going to save me tons of time.

Posted by KC  | August 28, 2019 at 1:27PM | Reply

Done! Made a quick action on the Mac.

Posted by Richard Fosmoen  | August 28, 2019 at 1:11PM | Reply

Done! Can’t wait till tomorrow!!

Posted by Zaf  | August 28, 2019 at 12:58PM | Reply

Done. Fantastic, didn’t know about this feature

Posted by Mat  | August 28, 2019 at 12:48PM | Reply

Yup, did it. I suppose that the real power comes from modifying these to my needs. Sadly, the quick menu is not appearing in third-party apps.

Posted by Shelly  | August 28, 2019 at 12:46PM | Reply

Done for Windows! I set it for 12:45 so I could test it. It works! Now I’ve reset it for 4 pm daily. Many thanks for this great tip!

Posted by Eric Sinclair  | August 28, 2019 at 12:44PM | Reply

Handy tip for automator usage – worth some more exploration (the sample is interesting, but not something I expect I’d use all the time).

I’m a big fan of Hazel (as covered elsewhere) and use it to automate a whole load of folder watches to manage downloads / music / video intelligently. Fun, and useful!

Posted by Drew  | August 28, 2019 at 12:41PM | Reply

Thank you again! 🙂

Posted by JL  | August 28, 2019 at 12:39PM | Reply

Done! I annoted an image and created also a quick action to split pdf files.

Posted by Gordon  | August 28, 2019 at 12:38PM | Reply

Done. Never really considered using Windows task scheduler for more than Windows maintenance type tasks.

Posted by Brian  | August 28, 2019 at 12:33PM | Reply

Great tip!

Posted by ismael adekunle  | August 28, 2019 at 12:24PM | Reply

done for mac

Posted by Butho  | August 28, 2019 at 12:18PM | Reply

Looks like we are repeating the same video from day 1, 2 and 3…. I did the exercises on day 1….

Posted by Amrei Dizon  | August 28, 2019 at 12:10PM | Reply

Done! Instead of splitting PDFs, I created a “convert to pdf” action and it worked!

Posted by Tommy Williams  | August 28, 2019 at 12:09PM | Reply


I created a little Windows Forms app that shows the message “Don’t forget your journal entry” that will pop up every week day at 4:00PM.

Posted by Johannes  | August 28, 2019 at 12:05PM | Reply

Done. Since I journal around the same time every day anyway, starting atom automatically isn’t the worst idea.

Posted by Sandie  | August 28, 2019 at 12:01PM | Reply

Done. Thanks for the tip!

Posted by Lee Z.  | August 28, 2019 at 11:57AM | Reply

Done for Windows. Created a diary prompt and also a prompt for stretch breaks between work sprints. Seems like some form of the Pomodoro method could be signaled with automated prompting.

Posted by Tiffany  | August 28, 2019 at 11:53AM | Reply

Ok, I have to say this feature is the coolest! I listened to a podcast a while back on listening to good focus music. So I have set up Spotify to automatically open for me every day. It sounds so simple but I often find myself struggling to take that one extra step to open spotify every morning as I sit down at my desk and see how much other hot priorities I have during the day. This will help set the tone for my day! Love it!

Posted by Eric B  | August 28, 2019 at 11:52AM | Reply

Done! (except I created the reminder for 7am, since I journal in the morning)

Posted by Deb Biswas  | August 28, 2019 at 11:46AM | Reply

This is the similar video.
And I already set up the Diary prompt Task.

Posted by Lisbeth  | August 28, 2019 at 11:44AM | Reply

Done! Imported HEIC photos via Airdrop turned to jpeg with a quick action. Saves me for an annoying task, thanks!

Posted by Oliver  | August 28, 2019 at 11:41AM | Reply

I have used markup before but being able to split pages is really useful.

Posted by D Biswas  | August 28, 2019 at 11:39AM | Reply

Hey, Productive people, great to connect with you again.
I already set up my Diary prompt yesterday.
I was just wondering if any of you could guide me a way to open my Word with this prompt instead of “notepad”.
Thanks for this tip

Posted by Matthew Baran  | August 28, 2019 at 11:37AM | Reply


Posted by Andrew Fallows  | August 28, 2019 at 11:37AM | Reply

Done! I also created a scheduler task that triggers whenever I log in/unlock my Windows machine which opens my Todoist window, as a way to remind me to look at my to do list when I sit down at the computer.

Posted by Chris  | August 28, 2019 at 11:28AM | Reply

done. agree with Joshua: not an everyday thing, but so helpful! Went ahead and did a combine pdf action too.

Posted by Mats  | August 28, 2019 at 11:28AM | Reply

Great tip. I would like to see examples of other things to schedule

Posted by Wesley  | August 28, 2019 at 11:25AM | Reply


Posted by Bob  | August 28, 2019 at 11:24AM | Reply

Done, some great ideas here.

Posted by Serrian  | August 28, 2019 at 11:23AM | Reply

Done! Thanks

Posted by Chris  | August 28, 2019 at 11:23AM | Reply

Done both!

Posted by Tor  | August 28, 2019 at 11:10AM | Reply

Completed my Quick action setup; now I password protect my PDFs with it

Posted by Bonnie  | August 28, 2019 at 10:58AM | Reply

I’ve actually been using the Diary Prompt since Monday! :) Great stuff!

Posted by Corey  | August 28, 2019 at 10:55AM | Reply

Done it’s nice to have a new quick action for PDFs

Posted by Shank  | August 28, 2019 at 10:54AM | Reply

This is great. Setup a new quick action for PDF document. Perfect for quick changes.

Posted by Gerry Ann  | August 28, 2019 at 10:53AM | Reply

Did this yesterday and today

Posted by Shirley  | August 28, 2019 at 10:50AM | Reply

done! thanks!

Posted by Philipp  | August 28, 2019 at 10:49AM | Reply

Done – and somehow curious, if tomorrow will be a real challenge

Posted by Misti  | August 28, 2019 at 10:45AM | Reply

Done! Thank you !

Posted by Kim  | August 28, 2019 at 10:43AM | Reply

This video is the same one as yesterday!
I did do more sidebar and smartfolders today :)

Posted by Jodi  | August 28, 2019 at 10:36AM | Reply

Done! :-)

Posted by Christian Handler  | August 28, 2019 at 10:35AM | Reply

Amazing how easy it is once you try it. Thank you for another few free minutes per day

Posted by Sushma Manava  | August 28, 2019 at 10:25AM | Reply

Done :)

Posted by Dean Johnson  | August 28, 2019 at 10:18AM | Reply


Posted by Rafal  | August 28, 2019 at 10:18AM | Reply


Posted by Susannah Jaggers  | August 28, 2019 at 10:17AM | Reply

Set mine up to remind me to start my end of day routine. Maybe that will help me leave on time for a change.

Posted by Juliet  | August 28, 2019 at 10:09AM | Reply

I split a PDF — never knew about this feature before! Thank you;-)

Posted by Vera  | August 28, 2019 at 10:05AM | Reply

I just did a markup on an image. I have wanted to do this for so long and can’t imagine I’ve spent over 10 years owning a Mac without knowing this! THANK YOU!

Posted by Jo Smetryns  | August 28, 2019 at 10:01AM | Reply

Done! 🙇‍♂️

Posted by Greg  | August 28, 2019 at 10:01AM | Reply


Posted by Robyn  | August 28, 2019 at 9:59AM | Reply

Done! Set it to open my daily timing tracker as I tend to forget to complete it.

Posted by Douwe Attema  | August 28, 2019 at 9:57AM | Reply

Did it, Also Like the customazation of the quick actions possible for example split PDF.. great to mention you can do more then only the below shown options

Posted by rob Blankenship  | August 28, 2019 at 9:55AM | Reply

Done – thank you

Posted by Katherine Brown  | August 28, 2019 at 9:54AM | Reply

Done and done! (:

Posted by Ruben  | August 28, 2019 at 9:53AM | Reply

Done! I just automated in windows a daily task that opens a file with my affirmation/motivation phrase from the week. =) Its fun and useful.

Posted by Vaughn  | August 28, 2019 at 9:49AM | Reply

Notepad set to open at 4 pm

Posted by Lori Sanders  | August 28, 2019 at 9:48AM | Reply

That was fun. I have paid many $ for the ability to do that with other apps. I needed to remember to switch my views in Finder, since I’m usually in List view.

Posted by Sherry  | August 28, 2019 at 9:47AM | Reply

I’m not a daily diary/journaling person, so this particular automation exercise was purely for practice. It will be more useful at work for specific weekly tasks.

Posted by Tadej Kobal  | August 28, 2019 at 9:43AM | Reply

Did it! Hopefully, it will save me some time.

Posted by Dan B  | August 28, 2019 at 9:40AM | Reply

I have a common workflow that involves resizing images to a certain size, then opening them with ImageOptim, which shrinks them down further. Used to run it as a shell command but it’s even easier as a quick action from Finder.

Posted by Peter  | August 28, 2019 at 9:23AM | Reply


Posted by Joshua  | August 28, 2019 at 9:11AM | Reply

Done! This isn’t something I’ll use every day, but it will definitely save me some time/headache when I do.

Posted by Jeremy  | August 28, 2019 at 8:40AM | Reply

Done! It took me some time to find the notepad executable, but I got there eventually.

Leave a Reply