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Trick to work from home: «busy light» connected to the calendar

Trick to work from home: "busy light" connected to the calendar

If you work from home and do something like this now, you may be familiar with something I like to call the perfect break.

No matter how quiet and flexible 90% of the day may be, the perfect break never manages to find that. time where you really can’t be bothered. Maybe I have one video conference call with a very important client. Maybe you’re directing a team meeting . Or maybe record a podcast or even appearing live on a national news program (look at you!).

Invariably, this is the moment your little offspring, partner or top-secret marsupial who lives on the spot will decide to jump into the room singing a song or making weird adorable wallaby noises (as my three-year-old often likes). Whether you are new to work at home or a veteran working in the basement like yours, it is an inevitable part of the equation.

Or so I thought, until an ambitious and slightly crazy idea came up in this juicy old noodle: What if I had some kind of «ON AIR» light, a light bulb that would have been placed in front of the office door my home and would light up? when I’m in the middle of something that can’t be interrupted? It would serve as a signal to everyone that the fat wildebeest inside should not be disturbed while the light is on. When the light is off, then enter properly at your own risk (as usual).

Also, I’m not just thinking about a simple lamp with a switch. (Come on – what kind of column do you think you read here ?!) I imagine a fully automated, intelligent system system that he would know when I am busy and I will turn on the light on my own and then again afterwards – without any necessary thought or action on my part. Because, clearly, if active thinking is needed, my rapidly declining old noggin will fail.

Here’s how to do it:

1. REGISTER on Zapier , if you haven’t already. It is an established and reputable service to make different applications and technologies work together in quite powerful ways. And its use is completely free for these purposes, though also know Are available superior operation and team-based subscription plans .

2. Open this zap , a fantastic way to say recipe or automation in Zapier ingot. Follow the steps to sign in to Google Calendar and give Zapier the permissions he needs to access your events. (Are you using Outlook instead of Google Calendar? Please sign in this Zap in his place; is just as basic, but with Microsoft instead of Google acting as an associate service).

3. Zapier will ask you to choose which calendar in your account you want to use, if you have multiple calendars set up. Choose the most relevant one for this purpose (or choose the default calendar, if you only have one).

4. Then you will see a field that asks you how long before an event the process should start. You will have to leave that set as the default «15» with a free Zapier account, because technically the service checks your Zaps only once every 15 minutes. That being said, it always ends up starting the process at the right time for me, so go figure it out.

5. Perhaps the most important step of all is the «Search Term» field. There, you’ll want to enter the word you want to act as a trigger variable in your events, so that an event in your calendar only triggers light if that the word is present in your title. You can use something obvious that appears contextual, such as «meeting,» or you can set a specific code word that you can then add to events when you want the light to come on.


Once you have completed all this, Zapier will ask you to test the connection and ready for this first part of the process. Then just follow the steps in the service to sign in and set up your Hue account. Note that you will need to select one bedroom completely to activate instead of easy individual , so you may need to set up a special room for this purpose within Hue app for Android with any light (or lights) you want to include.

Homework, busy light (2)

All that’s left is to click the button at the bottom of the screen to start your Zap and then wait for your first associated event to begin.

Busy light to work from home (3)

The «busy light» at work, adorned with an elegant combination of Google Reader and Android Intelligence products while testing it on my desk.

If you want to take smart home office automation another level from there, you can complete the circle and create a second Zap what will stop easy when the end of any relevant event is scheduled. Just open it this page , select «Event ended» as the trigger, select «Lights off» as the action, then fill in the rest of the fields and activate Zap.

And with that, my colleagues who can work from home can officially say goodbye to the perfectly timed outage and greet an automatic miracle that will bring a little more attention to your life.