Bottom Line: This post is about an Automator script that I have run every day before I wake up to make sure my computer is up and running by the time I am.
Most Apple computers released after 2005 (OSX 10.4) include “Automator.app,” which you can use to – you guessed it – do things automatically. It has a user-friendly interface that most people could learn without much trouble.
One of the first things I did with Automator was to make a “GoodMorning” script that gets a few things going before I wake up. Honestly, one of the main motivators for me was to make getting up and out of the house as quick as possible during my clinical rotations. However, Checklist Manifesto style, I do generally like to glance over my task list and calendar before I leave the house. This script helped make sure that those apps were already launched and on-screen, ready for a once-over before I head out the door.
Also, if you can’t tell, I love to tinker.
Here’s the gist of the Automator workflow, let me know if you have questions on any of the steps, and I can go into specifics.
- “Set Computer Volume” – Makes sure my slumber isn’t prematurely disturbed by any sounds.
- “Quit Application” Flux.app – An app that tints my screen at night to supposedly not disturb melatonin / biorhythm as much.
- “Run AppleScript” UpdateiOSApps.scpt – see my post on automating iOS app updates.
- “Launch Application” OmniFocus.app
- “Launch Application” Calendar.app
- “Get Specified URLs” omnifocus:///perspective/Due – A special URL supported by OmniFocus that goes to my “Due” tasks
- “Display Webpages” – Needed to use #6.
- “Run AppleScript” Sync iOS Devices.scpt – see my post on syncing iOS devices with AppleScript.
- “Run AppleScript” tell application “OmniFocus” to activate – makes sure my tasklist is frontmost. If I only have time to glance at one thing before running out the door to the hospital, this is it.
That’s it! Previously, I had running Mail.app in there, but my school discontinued IMAP support for our school email, so that’s no longer necessary. There are a few ways to get this to run automatically. One is to save it as a calendar alarm (one of the options in the Save dialog), which makes a special “Automator” calendar with events that run the workflow. The big advantages of doing it this way is the simplicity of scheduling custom repeats and changing times; if you want it to run M-F at 04:00 and S/Su at 07:00, most people can figure out how to do that on a calendar.
Currently, I have it running with a custom LaunchAgent .plist that is scheduled by a process called launchd. It’s a bit more work this way, but I had some trouble getting the scripts to run after updated from 10.7 to 10.8 due to some security settings. One quick tip here: save the workflow as an application and direct the .plist to the “Application Stub” in the application contents (right click -> show contents). Here: …/GoodMorning.app/Contents/MacOS/Application Stub .