For a long time, I have been searching for a way to get email reminders sent to me. I wanted reminders for things like changing my air filter every two months or sending a check for my gym membership on the 23rd of each month. Up until this point, I have been using two means to do this.
- A Cron Script: I wrote a cron script and put it on my server to send me an email each morning reminding me to write in my journal. This has been very reliable. However, it really only works well for emails you want mailed more than once. For instance, it would be an absolute pain to write one just to remind me to watch for the shooting stars on the 26th of September.
- iCal Events: iCal is very easy to work in. I keep an eye on my upcoming week using the iCal Events Widget. But in regards to sending email alerts, there are two big flaws. First, if you are syncing your iCal calendars between two Macs, you’ll get an email from each one. And second, in order for the emails to be sent the Mac has to awake, connected to the internet, and open Mail.app. This is not good, especially for those with laptops. If you go camping for a week and leave your laptop closed at home you won’t get any emails sent as reminders. So, if you have it set to send a text to your phone you’re out of luck. But, when you come home and open your laptop, Mail.app will immediately open and send you all the alerts from the last week…even though they are in the past.
I needed something different. At first I looked for some software that could do it. That would eliminate a couple problems, but I’d still have the same problem with closed laptops.
Next, I looked online for sites offering this service. There were a few options out there, but without fail they were either too complex or too underpowered. The registration was usually tedious and the service sometimes sketchy.
After failing to find a good option I thought I’d have to settle for unplanned life of missing meetings and forgetting to backup my computer.
But finally, I found a solution that really works. And it should have been the most obvious one of all. Google Calendar
I always preferred keeping my calendars in iCal so I can view it offline as well. But for email reminders, Google is top notch. It’s free. It’s easy to put in new events. It’s reliable. I’m not giving my email address to some no name, one service company. Even if you don’t use a Gmail address as your main address, you can make one specifically for reminders and set for it to forward all messages to your real email address.
It has been wonderful.
Here are the steps:
First, you’ll want to be sure that Notifications are enabled. Just log into Google Calendar, click on “Settings” and then “Notifications”. You can choose to receive it by email, SMS, or Pop-UP.
Second, Create a new event.
Third, Fill in the information. You can fill in what, when, and where. You can choose to repeat the event weekly, monthly, or on a set schedule.
Fourth, Drop down the options and choose when you would like a reminder sent to you.
It just can’t be easier than that. I use it for everything, big and small. Meetings, sports games I don’t want to miss, which day I need to send in my truck payment (with the address and account number in the description). I let these emails sit in my inbox until I take care of them.
I hope this is just as useful to you.