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Automate Bear with Apple Shortcuts

Recently I’ve taken to using Apple Shortcuts to automate starting my workday. I can say, “Hey Siri, start workday”. Next thing I know, I’ve got all my work apps open, windows tiled how I want them, my office light and fan are on, and I’ve got my daily Bear note opened and pre-populated with my personal template (similar to daily notes in Obsidian). It’s pretty great.

But let’s dig into how I’m able to create a template Shortcuts can use for Bear.

Plan your content

First, think about what you want the content of your daily note to be. Here’s mine:

screenshot showing my daily note template

I like to keep track of my coffee consumption and how much sleep I get (I know those are at-odds). I primarily use my daily notes for work, so I use the fastly tag (where I work). I put my schedule and work tasks as checklists, which I populate every morning to kind of ground myself and put on my work hat. Finally, I have a section for “notes”, which I use as free-form.

But, you do you. Figure out how you want to organize yourself and your day.

Use Bear's tool

Bear has a great tool you can use to generate notes using a URL. Head over there and fill-out the form. You can do a practice run using the “Run” button, or go ahead and copy the URL they generate for you.

Screenshot showing Bear's online tool

Create your Shortcut

With your URL in-hand, you can head over to the Shortcuts app (any Apple OS). Click the “+” icon to create a new Shortcut. Give it a name. Search for “Open URLs” in the sidebar and drag that action into the main area to the left. In the box you just dragged, click on “URL” and paste-in the URL from the Bear tool and hit “enter”. You can test it out by clicking the play button at the top.

Screenshot showing my new daily note Shortcut

Now you can say, “Hey Siri, new daily note” and boom! You’ll also have access to this shortcut on any device you use Bear (Mac, iPhone, iPad). Not only that, you can add this Shortcut to other Shortcuts — that’s how I built my “start workday” shortcut.

Screenshot showing my start workday Shortcut