Workflow and Health Tracking

It's the New Year and that's the time when many of you take a hard look in the mirror and say "I want to change".

I'm the same to a degree, although I have to say that is more of a daily statement rather than one that is localised to the start of a fresh twelve months!

In any case, whilst I was browsing through the gallery of one of my favourite apps, I couldn't help but notice something that would be more than useful to many of you who read this site and subscribe to my newsletter.

Workflow, for those of you who don't know, is an iOS application that chains different commands and actions together from separate applications. For example, you could create a workflow that allows you to automatically take the last five photos you have taken and upload them to Dropbox or Social media, air-drop them to another user or device. You can create workflows that automatically detect your location, assess the driving conditions and send a message to your loved ones letting them know when you will be home. It's an amazing application and, irrespective of whether you find the tip below useful, one that I urge you to pick up from the iOS App Store.

Workflow has a built-in gallery that allows you to browse workflows created by people far more intelligent and creative than I. I have an OmniFocus 2 action setup, reminding me to browse this gallery to see if there is anything new that might be worthwhile checking out and lo and behold, I found one. Well, several, and they relate directly to Health

Whilst I don't hold with the idea of resolutions (you should be continually assessing your goals and habits all year, not just in January), I've been meaning to lower my caffeine intake for some considerable time now. I feel I've made good progress and the quality of sleep I now get is slowly starting to improve. However it would be great to be able to track, with ease, how many cups I'm having a day and have thee ability to look at a visual representation of the progress I have made.

As you can see from the screenshot above, once you go into the Gallery in Workflow and select the Today Extension section, there are three pre-defined workflows for Health - namely Log Run, Log Caffeine and Log My Weight.

Adding these workflows is as simple as clicking them and selecting Install and once you have enabled the Workflow widget on your iOS device, you will be able to swipe down from the top of the screen at any time, click the workflow you wish to record data for (in my case, I do this every time I have a cup of coffee) and you answer the questions presented. The caffeine one is great, it simply asks if I am having a regular cup of coffee or espresso and then logs the data in the Health app. (you MUST have the Health app installed on your device otherwise the Workflow will naturally fail).

The Log My Weight one is similar, asking you for your weight and then adding that to the Health application.

If there are other areas of your health you wish to track, you can duplicate the Workflow and then edit the parameters to suit. I have one that tracks every time I drink a cup of water as I am trying to replace caffeine with water, especially in the afternoon and early evenings. You could track your waking-up time if you don't use a dedicated sleep-tracking application. There is a lot of scope for using Workflow to help track your habits and health goals.