GitHub Actions
Scheduled workflows

Leveraging GitHub Actions for Scheduled Workflows

by: Jerrish Varghese

December 20, 2023


Automation plays a pivotal role in continuous integration and deployment by streamlining software development processes. GitHub Actions, a powerful feature of GitHub, enables developers to automate workflows directly within their repositories. While GitHub Actions are commonly associated with triggers like pushes, pull requests, and issue creation, they also offer a scheduling feature that allows workflows to execute at specific times. In this blog post, we'll delve into leveraging GitHub Actions for scheduled workflows.

Understanding Scheduled Workflows

GitHub Actions' scheduled workflows enable developers to execute tasks at predetermined times or intervals, providing a convenient way to automate routine processes such as backups, maintenance tasks, and scheduled deployments.

Setting Up Scheduled Workflows

  1. Create a Workflow File: Begin by creating a YAML file within the .github/workflows directory of your repository. This file will define the workflow and its scheduled trigger.
  2. Define the Schedule: Within the YAML file, specify the schedule using the schedule event. This event utilizes cron syntax to define the desired execution time. For instance, to run a workflow every day at 2:30 PM UTC, the cron expression would be '30 14 * * *'.
  3. Configure Workflow Steps: Beneath the schedule event, outline the steps that the workflow should execute. These steps can include tasks like code linting, testing, building, or deployment.
  4. Commit and Push: Save the changes to the YAML file, commit them to your repository, and push the changes to GitHub.

Example Workflow YAML

name: Scheduled Workflow

    - cron: '30 14 * * *' # Runs every day at 2:30 PM UTC

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest

      - name: Checkout code
        uses: actions/checkout@v2

      - name: Run tests
        run: |
          # Commands to run tests

Benefits of Scheduled Workflows

  • Automation: Scheduled workflows automate repetitive tasks, reducing manual intervention and freeing up developers' time for more critical activities.
  • Consistency: By executing tasks at predefined intervals, scheduled workflows ensure consistency in processes such as testing and deployment.
  • Efficiency: Regularly scheduled tasks, such as backups or maintenance, can be executed without manual oversight, improving overall efficiency.

Use Cases

  • Daily Testing: Run automated tests daily to ensure code quality and detect regressions early.
  • Scheduled Deployment: Deploy updates to staging or production environments at specific times, minimizing disruption during peak usage hours.
  • Data Backup: Schedule regular backups of databases or critical files to prevent data loss.


GitHub Actions' scheduled workflows offer a convenient and efficient way to automate tasks at predetermined times or intervals. By harnessing the power of scheduled workflows, developers can streamline their development processes, enhance productivity, and ensure the consistent execution of essential tasks. Whether it's running tests, deploying updates, or performing maintenance, scheduled workflows enable developers to focus on innovation while automation takes care of the rest.

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