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3 min read

How to automate busywork in your personal life

By Kristie Wirth · March 2, 2020
A blonde woman sits at an airline gate with a suitcase on the floor next to her. An airplane is visible through the windows.

I love to automate things. And not just work things, but also personal things. After all, the more efficient I am at life, the more time I have for one-sided conversations with my dog.

So here are a few ways Zapier helps me stay on top of my personal life.

Personal and work calendar alignment

Keeping your work calendar up to date with personal appointments is important: you don't want people scheduling meetings during your oil change. But maybe you don't want your coworkers to know about your secret tap dancing lessons. So I created a workflow that helps keep my personal life separate from my work life while still letting my colleagues know I'm busy.

Whenever I add anything to my personal calendar that has the word "appointment" in it, or other keywords like "doctor" or "therapist," Zapier automatically copies that same block of time in an anonymized fashion to my work calendar.

Copy new Google Calendar events to a different Google Calendar

Copy new Google Calendar events to a different Google Calendar
  • Google Calendar logo
  • Google Calendar logo
Google Calendar

It also adds buffer time for me, since I don't want people to schedule a meeting right up against my dentist appointment. This keeps everything organized, and my coworkers thank me for not sharing what awkward questions I'm asking my doctor.


Flight check-ins

I have a mental block that prevents me from remembering to check in to any flight ever until hours before takeoff. Not a huge deal usually, but when I'm flying Southwest or any other airline that makes me pick a seat during check-in—it's a guarantee for a middle seat in the back of the plane.

So I have a simple Zap that reminds me to check in.

Whenever I have an event on my calendar that has the word "flight" or "DEN" (my home airport) in the name of the event, 24 hours beforehand, I get a text that tells me to check in—with all the info I need to do so (like my confirmation number). I keep the airline apps on my phone, so when I get the text, I can check in within a few seconds.

Send Twilio SMS messages for Google Calendar events

Send Twilio SMS messages for Google Calendar events
  • Google Calendar logo
  • Twilio logo
Google Calendar + Twilio

Daylight saving time

My mom used to remind me about daylight saving time, but she stopped doing that for some reason, as if I'm an adult who can handle these things on my own. After missing it for the first time, I went into crisis mode and had to figure out a way to do it myself.

Google Calendar has a holiday calendar, and daylight saving is an event on that calendar. (I guess enough people's moms stopped reminding them?) So I use a similar Zap to the flight check-in one that sees the Google Calendar event and sends me a text. Since implementing it, I haven't once been running late for everything the day after the clocks change.

Human interactions

I have forgetful people in my life that I need things from on a regular basis. I could just communicate with them, but that sounds hard.

So instead, I've figured out a way to get around it.

For years now, my sister and I have gotten my grandparents a personalized subscription box for Christmas. It sends them some goodies and photos and a note from each of us. And yes, we're everyone's dream grandchildren.

Anyway, I'm in charge of this operation. What that means: every month, I send my sister an email and ask her to send me some photos to include in that month's box.

She does not send me those photos.

I have to remember to bug her, and it's very stressful for all of us. Instead, I made a Zap.

An annotated version of the Zap Kristie made to remind her sister to send her photos

It sends her an email. Then it waits to see if she sent me an email. Inevitably, she did not send me an email. Zapier sends her another email. And so on, until I get the pictures.

I'm pretty sure she doesn't know it's a robot. And I really hope she doesn't read the Zapier Blog. (Hi, sis.)

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A Zap with the trigger 'When I get a new lead from Facebook,' and the action 'Notify my team in Slack'