Scheduling reminders and performing routine computer tasks are easier when using automation programs like Keyboard Maestro, Hazel, and OS X’s own Automator. If these applications are more than what you need, a new minimalist program called Clockwise ($6.99) provides access to your automated tasks right from your menu bar.
The app includes actions and event functions you may typically use in Calendar or Automator, but Clockwise vastly simplifies the process involved in setting up repeating tasks.
Accessed from the menu bar, Clockwise is ready to go right after being installed and launched. Automating tasks is done over two steps: create and schedule an event, then add one or more actions.
Clockwise must be running in order for events to be triggered at their scheduled time; however, there is a handy option to run events after the computer is turned on or logged into (or when Clockwise is launched) — even though it’s past the trigger time.
An event can be triggered by an alarm, a timer, or keyboard shortcut. Say you would like to schedule a couple of websites to open everyday at a specified time. Click on the Clock icon in your menu bar and select the alarm button, then input the time and how many days you want the event to run (clockwise uses the 24-hour clock).
Feel free to select an event to Run forever because Clockwise makes it easy to change the schedule at any time from the menu bar. Next, click the calendar icon and set the start and end dates for your events, and then set the days of the week and months you want the event to run.
Already you can see that Clockwise makes setting up events easier than using Automator workflows and Calendar.
Now click on the “actions” button (the circle with a right-facing arrow), and then click the plus “+” button on the bottom-right to add an action.
Clockwise actions are tucked away under the drop-down Alert menu at the top. Notice that Clockwise includes many actions most of us perform on a regular basis, such sending a tweet, adjusting the sound volume of your Mac, opening a file, or sending an email.
As we still want to schedule a couple of websites to open on the days and time set, select the Open Internet address action, and then input the desired URL. Hit the Return key, or click on the check button, to add another website. If you need to edit your input, double-click on the action item to re-open the editor.
When you’re done, click the check button again, which should take you back to the main events manager window. That’s all there is to setting up scheduled events, and there are many more actions to find ever more interesting uses for.
What’s great about Clockwise is that you can access and manage your events right from the menu bar, instead of having to open and edit an Automator workflow. Simply double-click on an event to edit it.
In the application’s preferences, you can select to have Clockwise show the time left for an event, or the actual scheduled alert time.
When you create a new event, you can select the calendar exceptions button and set specified dates to include or exclude from an event. AppleScript applications, Automator workflows, and Shell scripts can also be scheduled as events.
Also in preferences you can find an option that will prevent your Mac from going to sleep, to make sure an event runs at a scheduled time.
Nifty and Useful
I’m a huge advocate of computer automation, and thanks to applications like Clockwise, we non-developer Mac users can run automations without knowing a single line of code. The more time you invest in learning what Clockwise and other automation programs have to offer, the less time you will spend performing redundant tasks.
Let us know what you think of Clockwise, and what other features or actions you would like to see added. Also, check out our reviews about other automation programs, including the multifaceted Keyboard Maestro and folder action program, Hazel.
Download: Clockwise ($6.99)