Over the past few years, TechWiser has grown from just an idea to a startup with 10 team members. And to manage a team this big, we use Slack. In fact, Slack has been a live saver for us on a number of occasions. That said, I do miss few features here and there. One of those is the ability to schedule Slack messages.
I begin my day, by asking every team member what project they are working on. And as of now, I had to manually type this every day to each team member. But as they say, a man can only take to an extent. So, I finally decided to schedule Slack messages and there are few options I found out.
Schedule Slack Messages
1. Remind Command
The first thing you may want to try is Slack’s native Remind command. You can remind (using /remind slash command) your team members about – important meetings, lunch, or just remind yourself to drink water every 3 hours.
To set up a reminder on Slack
/remind [@someone or #channel] [when]
/remind @username to do something in 1 hour
/remind @username to do something at 10:00
/remind #channel to do something every Monday
Where it fell short?
While it’s a great feature, there are 2 things that it lacks. One, you can’t do with the Remind command. One, it sends the reminder via Slackbot (and not from your personal account), so the other person can’t reply to Slack Bot, they will have to take extra steps to reply to you. And second, it can’t send a reoccurring reminder to other team members (although you can send yourself repeated messages like drink water every 3 hours).
Overall, it didn’t fit my requirement. I was looking for a way to set up reoccurring message to my team members as a direct message and not through Slackbot. So, let’s explore other options.
P.S – To sent recurring messages in Slack via SlackBot, you can use Schedule by Zapier.
Timy is a new online service that lets you schedule slack messages to channels and direct message. However, unlike the /remind command, Timy can send a personal DM from your user account. This way, your coworker can’t really tell if it’s a message by a bot or from you. The only downside is, Timy can schedule messages up to twenty-four hours, not more than that.
To get started, add Timy to your Slack. Once done you can use it just like the /Remind command but with few changes. First, you have to use /send instead of /remind. And second, you will have to use it in the DM to whom you want to schedule the message.
/remind to do something [when]
/send what are we working on Today in 1h30m
/send Happy Birthday! at 12pm
And not just that, it also packs some other useful features. For example, to see the list of all the messages that have not yet been delivered type /list all command. If a message hasn’t already been delivered, you will be able to cancel it. You can also send a self-destruct messages using /delete command.
/delete Feed me, Somebody! at 2pm
Where it fell short?
As the name suggests it’s mostly a reminder rather than a schedule message. There is no option to setup daily recurring reminders. Also, you can’t schedule messages more than twenty-four hours. Again, this isn’t what I was looking for, so I continued my search.
The problem with both the above methods is that you can’t automate this every day. Even though you can schedule for a few hours in advance, you still have to type those commands manually.
Thankfully, you can send a reoccurring reminder on Slack with good old IFTTT recipe. It can send a personal message as well (not via SlackBot). The only downside is, the message is sent from IFTTT account (shows the name and display picture of IFTTT) so you coworker can tell, the message comes from the bot and not in person.
To get a started login or create an IFTTT account if you haven’t already one, then add this applet. Connect it with your Slack account, next you need to specify – the message, what day and time you want it to go through, and then save changes. That’s pretty much it. In our testing, the IFTTT applet is reliable, but it does have some issues.
Where it fell short
To begin with, it shows IFTTT in the display picture and name. IFTTT also take some extensive permission while installing itself. So, if you are concern about your privacy, this might not be an ideal route for you.
4. Message Scheduler
While all of these options are good but it doesn’t change the fact that the messages are being scheduled by a robot and doesn’t feel personal.
Slack actually updated their API to include the ability to schedule messages natively, and Message Scheduler is the first app to utilize this. As the name suggests, this simple app schedules your messages on Slack and sends the text automatically from your account.
To get started, go to Slack and open your workspace. Add Message Scheduler to your Slack Workspace. Select a thread where you want to send the text, enter the slash command, type the content and hit enter. /schedule [message] in [time]
It lets you schedule a message from anywhere between 30 seconds and 120 days. You can use the following slash commands to perform various tasks. You can see what messages are in the pipeline and delete them before those are posted using the app without any effort.
- /schedule delete
- /schedule list
- /schedule help
Where it fell short?
The only catch is you have to do this for every user separately. That’s you have to manually open a thread and type all the scheduled messages one by one.
Unlike other apps for Slack, this app is not free and you would have to shell out $20/month (30-day free trial). This is both good and bad because, on one hand, you get a lot of great features with a fixed price irrespective of users in your workspace. On the other hand, this price is a little too steep for budding organizations who don’t have a huge workforce.
Check out Message Scheduler
So these were few ways to schedule Slack messages. The closest one to my need is the IFTTT’s Scheduled Slack Messages. The only downside is, it shows IFTTT in the display picture and name, instead of showing mine. That said, I would ideally, like the fusion of IFTTT and Timy. Let me know if you find an alternative way to achieve that. I’ll see you in the next one. Happy Slacking!