Control When You Can Be contacted – With Rules

Notice: This article is maintained for historical purposes. The Bixly Automate/Nebri OS platform that Bixly built, and this article features, is no longer available. Checkout Serverless Providers as an alternative.

The functionality that I am looking for is actually very difficult to come by.  I want to be contact by certain issues/people at certain times, and NOT at other times. This goes for my inbox, phone, and IM client, and more. For instance, if an important site goes down for a large baby-eating client, I need to know ASAP, even if I am sleeping off my Christmas dinner.  On the other hand, when someone contacts me about a new business idea, it can easily wait until the morning.  The answer?

Dictating When You Can Be Contacted

This is a huge productivity concept actually. Automation for your inbox, phone, and more. If you are constantly in contact with every issue always, you will start to loose sight of the forest through the trees.

Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention – Herbert A. Simon

Software today should be able to handle this situation, right?  This approach is actually very easy with a rules based approach. First we must understand the rules which we want our communication framework to follow. I created three simple priority leaves that allow information that is important to be filtered up to the top of the heap. The are:

  • Priority One – Contact me now, no matter what. SMS and email.
  • Priority two – Contact me as soon as I am working. SMS and email.
  • Priority three – Just email me and I will read it when I have time.

While the rules are easy to follow, it takes a little bit of code to get this done.  If you notice priority 2 means we must have a schedule of availability defined, both blackout days and regular working schedule. We of course are using Python scripts to create rules and funneling communication through Nebri.

Getting Started

And the result? These simple scripts. Load them into your Free Nebri instance and add a dictionary with your schedule and contact information. Here’s a sample:

You will also need to add your Twilio API keys to the script to get SMS up.