Supercharge your workday by automating meeting notes with your Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
If you are someone who takes a lot of meetings, and you are in the Apple ecosystem, what you learn from this blog post might just transform the way you conduct meetings.
Not only will it help you stay in control of meetings, but it will also make sure you come out of your meeting with every action item possible.
You can divide any meeting into 3 broad segments:
- Before the meeting: Agenda or talking points
- During the meeting: Notes or meeting minutes
- After the meeting: Action items to follow up on
Most likely you have to go through all three of these steps for every meeting that you attend.
So, the same three things for every meeting. Hmm, sounds like repetition to me. And you know what’s the best thing to do when you smell “repetition”??!
In this blog post, we will come up with an automated system that will help you control your meetings, which in turn will help you control your day.
Just like any other automation, I expect this one to greatly boost your productivity.
Most importantly, it will help you remember everything from meetings. If you have a schedule where you bounce from meeting to meeting, it’s very easy to end the day feeling like the “whole day was a blur”.
You fail to retain valuable information from meetings. At worse, you need to reach out to other meeting attendants over and over again for the information you should have remembered in the first place.
Hopefully, that’s enough motivation for you to continue reading and set up this automation with me. Let’s get started!
What Do You Need?
As I have mentioned already, you will need to be in the Apple Ecosystem to create this automation.
If you are not in the Apple Ecosystem, I am sure you can still replicate this using some combination of Google Calendar, IFTT, Zapier, and your notes app of choice, but you will need to read some other guide.
So, now that we know you are in the Apple Ecosystem (hopefully!), let’s see what you will need:
- Apple Calendar (with or without Google Account integration)
- Apple Shortcuts
- Bear App (or any other compatible note-taking app)
Now, let’s build this automation piece by piece, and then see it in action!
First things first, to improve your meeting productivity, you will need an app that actually contains all your meetings! In our case, it will be the Apple Calendar app.
I hear you, I hear you — who uses Apple Calendar when everything is integrated with your Google account?
Fear not. You can just add your Google Calendar to Apple Calendar, with 2-way sync enabled. Just add your Google account to your iCloud and you should be good to go.
Disclaimer: I will be using test calendars and mock data, instead of my real one for obvious privacy reasons!
Here, you can see my Apple Calendar events. I have 4 events for Tuesday (the day in focus for this automation):
- Sponsorship Meeting | ClickUp
- Product Alignment
- Affiliate Partnerships
This particular calendar has been imported from Google Calendar, but you can use it for native Apple Calendars too. If anything, the latter is easier.
To keep things transparent, here’s my linked Google Calendar.
You can see that I have the same events in both Apple and Google Calendars.
What Are We Creating?
Now that we have a place where all our meetings reside, we will use the power of Apple’s Shortcut App to organize all our meeting notes.
We want to eliminate as much manual work as possible while keeping the system very simple to implement.
Let me first show you what we are trying to achieve, or the end goal, before I dive into Apple Shortcut’s technical details.
This will be the output of our automation.
Every morning, the automation will add all our meetings of the day to the top of this note. For every meeting, it will have the following info:
- Event Name
- Meeting Notes
- Action Items
When starting your day, you can fill out the agenda for every meeting.
During the meeting, you can record things of importance in the “Meeting Notes” section.
After the meeting (or during), you can fill in the action items.
The Apple Shortcuts app lets you create insanely powerful automation.
I will first post a screenshot of the automation, and then walk you through some of the important parts to demystify it a little. Afterward, I will also share the automation so that you can plug-n-play if you use the same combination of apps.
I have tried to keep the logic as simple as possible:
- Read all calendar events from your specified calendar — in this case Irtiza Google
- Do some filtering to remove recurring events that I don’t want to take notes on
- Filters for events happening on the current day only
- Then, it does the following for every meeting
- Gets the meeting name from the event and stores it in a temporary variable — meetingTitle
- Creates a pre-formatted text block (fully customizable) and adds in our dynamic data — meeting title and date
- Adds some new lines to create padding for the following section
- Appends the text block to a particular note in my Bear app. The particular note is identified by the Note Identifier. It’s a note called Meeting Minutes
Most parts of this shortcut are customizable.
I personally use the Bear app as my second brain, but you can use whatever you’d like here. However, you will have to tweak the automation a little based on what you are using.
Finally, Let’s Automate It
Awesome! Now we have an Apple Shortcut that does exactly what we want it to.
We still have to run it every day though… I am sure we can do better than that.
You can create automation in your iPhone to run this shortcut every morning. I personally run this at sunrise every day.
That means, when I am ready to start my workday, all my meetings are listed in my second brain, waiting to be fleshed out.
Here’s how you set up the automation on your iPhone Shortcut app:
Tapping on the “Do” block, this is what you get:
The shortcut I created is called “Today’s Bear Meeting Minutes”. You can name it whatever you want.
Essentially, the automation is triggering our shortcut to be run during sunrise every morning.
Now It’s Your Turn
As promised, here’s the iCloud link to the shortcut. You can just plug-n-play if you want to. Alternatively, you can make some tweaks to fit your productivity system.
Even if you are using the Bear app as your note-taking app, you will for sure have to change your note identifier. If you are not sure how to do that, comment below and I can help you with that.
If you “don’t feel safe” clicking the link, feel free to look at the screenshot and re-create it. That should work too as well.
There you go, folks!
I hope you find this valuable.
If you try this out, let me know how you like it.
Also, if you have other cool Apple automation that you use regularly, comment on them below. I would love to know about them!
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