Time Hack: Automate your responses

Rubber stamp meeting confirmations

In our previous time hack we learned how to hide a slash command to avoid the need for an ad hoc meeting confirmation email. But what happens when an ad hoc meeting request is unavoidable? Continuing the saga of our friendly test account JenBot, there are certain situations where JenBot necessarily has to receive and respond to an ad hoc request. This is because when an unknown address emails JenBot and CCs Andrew, Andrew will ask JenBot if it is OK to schedule the meeting. Now we have a situation where robots talking to each other over email. Welcome to 2020!

PRO TIP: Want non-users to be able to schedule with you by CCing Andrew? Add them to your VIP list! Better yet, invite them to join your scheduling network so you don’t have to bother.

When an unknown email comes in and Andrew sends an ad hoc confirmation email to JenBot, we have to do something in order to confirm the meeting. Once again, advanced users know that you can simply reply “yes” to an ad hoc meeting confirmation email in order to allow it to be scheduled, as highlighted below:

But replying “yes” is a rookie time hacker trick!

I do not want to monitor the JenBot email account and reply to every inbound meeting request, there are dozens per day! So I turn to Zapier to automate the response. When a new email arrives in Gmail matching a search for “would like to set up a meeting with you” (see the screenshot above) this zap triggers: 

Boom, done! I immediately respond to inbound requests for meetings from JenBot’s email account and Andrew gets on the case immediately. The guest is none the wiser. I will note that I also have JenBot follow up with a nice note to the user that they ought to add that email address to their account.
If you are confident that the way you request ad hoc meetings is understood every time, you too can set up a Zapier zap to quickly respond “yes” to confirmation emails. Think you’re ready to hack time over email? Add this Zap to your Zapier account! (the disclaimer here is that you understand that ALL of your ad hoc meetings will be approved, making it hard to tweak your availability in a confirmation email. But that’s a different hack).

Articles in the Time Hacker Series

  1. NEW: Prioritize your people: Get the availability for the most important guests first
  2. NEW: iPhone text replacement: Quick access to your Calendar Pages (on Android, too!)
  3. NEW: Get some FaceTime: Hack your Meeting Template to offer FaceTime URLs
  4. NEW: Cloak your availability: Block out time but still allow certain meetings
  5. NEW: Share a colleague’s availability: Schedule on behalf of your colleagues
  6. NEW: Make guests feel important: Add hidden restrictions to meetings
  7. NEW: Crowd control for calendars: Limit attendees for your group meetings
  8. Look busier than you are: Mask your true availability
  9. Stash a Slash: Surreptitiously include instructions to our AI to save you a step
  10. Automate your responses: Create email workflows to manage meetings for you
  11. Customize your overlap: Use Meeting Templates to optimize time zone overlaps
  12. Separate work and play: Route events to different calendars, personal or professional
  13. Make time for yourself: Instantly block out focus time with an email
  14. Add Amy to your emails with zero clicks: Loop in our AI with a simple email hack
  15. Leave yourself a graceful exit plan: Allow meetings to run long… or cut them short
  16. Gotta keep ’em separated: Double-book your time with multiple guests

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