How To Email Yourself Meeting Reminders

I can be absent minded sometimes.

It’s not uncommon for me to be sitting down to enjoy a PB&J, but realize that I want something to drink. As I get up for it, I remember I also need a knife, so I grab the knife and sit down. Then, 20 minutes later, after I’ve taken my last bite, I suddenly remember that I originally wanted a glass of water. (Does it take you 20 minutes to eat a PB&J? If you’re doing it right, it does.)

Meeting reminders

are great, but they’re

useless if you’re not in

front of your computer

Here’s an example you might better relate to though. You’re hungry at work, so you go to lunch. When you get back, you’re greeted by a reminder and 3 emails asking if you’re coming to the meeting that you completely forgot about. Not fun, but it happens to the best of us sometimes.

Having been in that situation myself, I decided to find a way for my computer to email my personal address (which I have on my phone) when a meeting reminder pops up. That way, it doesn’t matter where I am; I’ll still get the reminder.

Now, you might be thinking, “Why not just sync your work calendar to your phone?” That’s certainly the best approach if the option is available, but my employer has calendar syncing disabled. So I’m left to come up with a clever workaround!

As it turns out, it’s not all that hard to programmatically send reminder emails; it takes less than 15 lines of code. But I wanted more than just a reminder email. I wanted Outlook to email me only when I’m away from my desk. When I’m at my desk, the standard reminder is fine, so an additional email isn’t necessary.

So here it is, a way to email yourself meeting reminders only when you’re away from your desk. Hopefully you find it useful.

How To Email Yourself Meeting Reminders

Disclaimer: I wrote this using Windows 10 and Outlook 2016 with certain settings locked by IT. I can’t guarantee it will work perfectly on other setups.

Create batch files to track your computer’s lock state

1. Copy/paste the following code into Notepad:
1. del "<Your file path>\Locked.txt"

2. Save the file as Unlocked.cmd in whatever location you’d like. I
2. just saved it <Your file path>, but you don’t have to.

3. In a separate Notepad, copy/paste the following code:
3. type null >"<Your file path>\Locked.txt"

4. Save that file as Locked.cmd

5. Test Locked.cmd by double-clicking it. It should create Locked.txt
5. in the location you specified.

6. Test Unlocked.cmd by double-clicking it. This time, it should
6. delete Locked.txt.

7. Double-click Locked.cmd one last time. This time to officially create
7. Locked.txt.

Create scheduled tasks to run the batch files

1. In the Windows Search Bar, near the Start Menu, type “Task Scheduler” and
1. press Enter

2. In the Actions pane, on the right side of the window, click “Create Task…”

3. Give your task a name. I named mine “Flag Locked”

4. Create triggers for your task
      a. On the Triggers tab, click “New…”
      b. For “Begin the task:”, select “On workstation lock”, and click “OK”

5. Create the action for your task
      a. On the Actions tab, click “New…”
      b. Under “Program/script:”, browse to and select Locked.cmd
      c. Click “OK”

6. Back in the “Create Task” window again, click “OK”

7. Repeat steps 1-6 to create another task, but this time it should have two
7. triggers: “On workstation unlock” and “At log on”, and the action should be
7. to run Unlocked.cmd.

8. Close Task Scheduler

What you’ve just done is create some Windows automatic tasks that creates/deletes an empty text file based on whether or computer is locked/unlocked. That file is what Outlook will look for to tell if you’re at your computer or not (assuming you lock you computer when you’re away).

For you techie’s out there, I did try other solutions like what’s mentioned on this Mr. Excel forum, but they just didn’t work for me; I never could figure out why.

Set up the reminder emails in Outlook

Note: At some point during this process, you may get a prompt from Outlook about enabling macros. In order for this to work, you’ll have to enable them.

1. In Outlook, press alt+f11 to open the VBA Editor window

2. On the left pane, click on:
2. Project1 > Microsoft Outlook Objects > ThisOutlookSession

3. Copy/paste the following code into ThisOutlookSession

Private Sub Application_Reminder(ByVal Item As Object)

   Dim Mail as Object

   If TypeOf Item Is AppointmentItem Then

      ' Only send reminder if the computer is locked
      If Dir("<Your file path>\Locked.txt") <> "" Then
    
         Set Mail = Application.CreateItem(olMailItem)
         With Mail 
            .Recipients.Add "<address@domain.com>"
            .Subject = "Appt starts in " & _
                       DateDiff("n", Now(), Item.Start) & " minutes"
            .Body = Item.Subject & " | " & Item.Location
            .Send
         End With

      End If
   End If 

End Sub

4. Update <Your file path> to the location of Unlocked.txt

5. Update <address@domain.com> to your email address

6. Press ctrl+s to save

Finished!

You’ve just created a system that will send you meeting reminder emails, but only when you’re away from your desk! Go ahead and test it out. Set up an appointment with yourself and stay at your computer. When the reminder fires it should show up on your computer screen, and no email should be sent to your phone. Once you’ve verified that, create another meeting with yourself, but this time make sure your computer is locked when the reminder goes off. You should get an email on your phone (check your spam folder just in case). Then, when you unlock your computer again, the standard reminder should still be there waiting!

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