Hello, World from isBusy!

June 01, 2020

Interesting Times Indeed

I wanted to write a little post to announce a side project/fledgling app to the world. With all that’s been going on in the world these last few months, a lot has changed. Very little of our lives seems to have been left untouched by the Covid-19 pandemic. One area that has been changed dramatically for many people is their work life and situation. Tragically, many people have lost their jobs or face the challenge of a radically different work environment, remote or otherwise.

I’ve found myself adjusting to working from home and now working from home on a permanent basis. And it’s been…interesting. Some parts of it have been really, really good. I find myself having more time for the most important parts in life: family, friends, and being outside in nature. But there have also been some harder parts, too. My family has had to adjust to me being home all the time and I had to adjust my working habits to a new rhythm. I found it harder at times to focus because of everything on my mind and

“Hey! Are you free? Oh sorry 🏃‍♂️💨”

I wanted to make things a little bit easier for my family and myself with all the adjustments happening, so I started on a little nights & weekends project: isBusy. The idea is simple: come up with an easy way for my family to understand if I’m busy and have it automatically sync with all my work and personal calendars. I’ve had more than a few “oops sorry” as different family members made their way into my office (accidentally or not). It’s honestly a welcome addition to the day every time, but I also know it can disrupt my day in subtler ways. I also know that my situation is pretty close to idea (I have a space I can go to, a door I can close, etc.) and that this is not the case for everyone.

So I thought about setting up a “flag” system outside my office door but that would invariably get out of date fast and be annoying to update constantly. I want a way for my family to easily see if I’m busy and know the nuances between “Mark is working” and “Mark is on a call and absoultely cannot be interrupted except for emergencies.”

I’m also planning to make isBusy free for everyone and forever and hope to have it launched within the next month or so. These are hard times and I want to do my small part in making people’s lives easier in whatever way that I can. As for calendars to sync with, my goal is to support Google Calendar and Outlook to start. Not sure if there are other widely-used calendaring solutions out there, but would support those as well if there’s demand.

Looking forward to posting more updates here as we go!

© Mark Thomas 2020