How to automate your life with NFC tags and the Shortcuts App

3 min read Nexus Nook

Last Thursday I was at a Notion meetup in Berlin and I presented my favourite page, Day Starter (post incoming!). In that presentation, I tried to explain that you can just open the Notion widget on your homepage, or use an NFC tag.

Using NFC tags with the Shortcut app is a great way to automate your life and make things more convenient. Here's a quick guide on how to get started.

An NFC tag is a tiny computer chip that can be embedded into products, packaging, or posters to trigger digital content on smartphones and other devices. When an NFC-enabled device, such as a smartphone, is held close to an NFC tag, the tag's chip sends information to the device's NFC reader. The NFC reader then triggers the appropriate action, such as opening a website or launching an app.

NFC tags are passive devices, which means they don't have a power source of their own and rely on the NFC-enabled device to power them. This also makes NFC tags more durable than other types of technology, such as QR codes, which can be damaged if they're exposed to the elements.

iOS and Android both have NFC capabilities, but today I would like to specifically talk about the iOS app Shortcuts and how powerful it can be when combined with these kinds of chips.

For starter, open the app, the go to the tab “Automations”.

Tap on top left and select “Create Personal Automation”, then on the list of possible automation, scroll to find “NFC” :

If you look at the list, you have several options. For example, you can write a daily note on apple note with the times you open and close every app. You can track in this way how long you use any app, if you’re up to that.

Following the topic of this post, now you can scan your NFC tag by keeping your phone close to it, then select whatever you want it to do!

One great place to put an NFC tag is on your business card. This way, when you give your card to someone, they can quickly and easily scan it with their NFC-enabled device to get your contact information.

Another great place to put an NFC tag is on a product label. This can provide customers with quick and easy access to product information, such as instructions, nutritional information, or even product reviews.

Finally, you can also put NFC tags in public places, such as on billboards or in store windows. Passers-by can access quickly information about your business or product.

That’s the real problem with that: you have infinite possibilities. For example, you can place a tag on your doorstep and open the music app as soon as you go out, by scanning the tag. Or you can use it to turn off your smart-home lights.

In my case, I use it to open a Notion Page called 🔆Day Starter, where I place the actions that “jump-start” my day. Look at this video:

Frequently, I can’t make myself do things that I should do that effectively make my day and life easier. I created this page to “kick myself in the ass” and look straight into what I should do, and I’m not doing.

For example, I placed “Meditate at least for 3 minutes, DO IT” or “Can you plan exercise today? Gym or Fitness+, DO IT.” and so on.

For the video above, I bought the cheapest NFC tags I could find, and attached it to an old Floppy Disk, just for the giggles. Had to anyway remove the magnetic part from the disk since it was interfering with the chip itself 😅.

Here you can find the amazon article that I bought.

That’s how I currently use NFC tags, and you? Were you using NFC tags before? How?

Thanks a lot for reading, feel free to share if you liked it! See you next time!