Siri is an artificial intelligence program built into the iPhone and newer iOS devices. Siri is a powerful time management and productivity tool. Understanding this tool will dramatically improve your daily efficiency and memory.
Getting started with Siri
1. In order to access Siri, your iPhone has to be on but it does not have to be unlocked. Simply hold the “Home Circle” at the bottom of your iPhone for two seconds and you will hear two little delightful beeps. You will see a microphone image appear on the screen and just to the left of the microphone is a tiny question mark inside a circle.
2. Tap the question mark to immediately view examples of the wide variety of tips and time-saving shortcuts included in the current functionality of Siri.
I was unfamiliar with the full functionality of this iPhone feature. Once you hold down the home circle key and you tap on the question mark at the bottom left of the image shown above, your iPhone will walk you through the images shown throughout this article.
Siri has thousands of practical uses.
The following screen shots are from my personal iPhone 5s. Let me give you a guided tour of how I have used Siri in just the last seven days.
The capability to speak a text message via Siri has boosted my efficiency exponentially. No more typing and retyping. Instead I can say:
- Text John Arnold (if you pause, Siri will politely ask, what would you like to text John Arnold? If you don’t pause, your message just continues): “Will you resend me the link to your last webinar”
- Text Mom: “Mom I will call you back in 30 minutes”
- Reply to Teresa Beck: “We will meet you at the restaurant at 12:15”
- Send a message to Susan: “So proud of Bowen’s three point shot”
- Text Mary Ann: “Thanks for picking me up at 4:30. Is that 4:30 Central Standard Time or 4:30 MAG time?” (My friend MAG runs 15 minutes late–she functions in her own time zone. MAG’s very last text message to me was “MAG time plus I am running 15 minutes later than that!)
Adding and Changing Calendar Events
This Siri feature is #2 on my iPhone most loved capabilities. The abilities are remarkable. This is just a partial list of how I use the calendaring functionality Siri offers:
- “Siri, what is on my calendar today?”
- “Move my 9:30 am meeting to 10 am”
- “Schedule a call with Michele at 9:30 am today”
- “Meet with Ellen at noon to discuss new book concept”
- “Set up a meeting with Bridget in the conference room at 2 pm
- “Cancel my 2:30 pm appointment”
- “What is on my calendar for this Friday afternoon?”
I love being able to tell my phone the time and date of a meeting, event or appointment, and have it instantly put on my calendar. And, if I have an overlapping conflict, Siri will let me know that as well.
Maps and Navigation
I am one of those women who understands left and right, but not north, south, east and west. Every few days I push the round home button on my iPhone and say:
- “How far is it from Jonesboro, Arkansas to Memphis, Tennessee?”
- “Give me directions to my house”
- “How far am I from the next turn?
- “What is my ETA?
- “What is Abby’s address?”
- “What are the walking directions to Gina’s Restaurant?”
Using Siri to set reminders is the feature I use the most. Your short-term memory is like a dry erase white board. Ideas, thoughts and tasks will briefly creep into your conscious awareness, but if you don’t have access to an immediate place to capture that idea, it will be gone forever. The best part of the reminder functionality is that you can request the exact date and time you would like Sire to remind you to complete a task.
- “Remind me to pick up the milk at 5:30 pm today”
- “Remind me to write the budget proposal at 10:00 am tomorrow”
- “Remind me to take my car into the shop next Thursday at 7:30 am”
- “Remind me to write James a thank you note”
Email, Alarms and Other Clock Uses
Siri is efficient for emailing your friends and asking about specific emails you have received, but I would be careful about sending verbal emails to people you don’t know well. Siri sometimes misinterprets your words. However, I love the alarms and other clock uses. At the touch of a button I can tell Siri:
- “Wake me up at 7:45 tomorrow morning”
- “Set alarm to leave for lunch at 11:35 am”
- “What is the date for next Tuesday?”
- “Set the timer for 15 minutes” (this is great for baking cookies)
Web, Notes and Questions
With the search the web feature and questions you can find out almost anything. Periodically Siri might say, “Hhhmmm, let me check the web for that” or “I am unable to retrieve information at this time”. You might ask:
- “What is the address of the nearest gas station?”
- “Who won the baseball world series in 1964?”
- “What movies are playing at the Malco Theater in Jonesboro, Arkansas?”
- “Why should I buy a hybrid car?
Notes allow you to store information that is less time sensitive, but you still want a place to capture that information for retrieval at a later time. You might say:
- “Note that Abby wears a size 7 shoe”
- “Note that Ann’s favorite color is turquoise”
- “Note that Heather is allergic to shellfish”
You can even add individual note to a specific note:
- “Note that we use the 12 oz package of noodles to my grocery note”
Siri is a powerful time management and productivity tool. Everyone relies on time management and reminder tools to function more efficiently in life.
With Siri you can begin to rely less on:
- the back of envelopes
- sticky notes
- the palm of your hand
- paper calendars
- formal written to-do lists
- calling your own voice mail
- emailing yourself
- even putting rubber bands around your wrists
Fun Siri facts
- Siri is a limited intelligence personal assistant
- Siri uses a natural user language interface to answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions by delegating requests to a set of web services
- The name “Siri” is Norwegian, and means “beautiful woman who leads you to victory.” It comes from the intended name for the original developer’s first child.