Implementing Mental Cigarette Breaks

PKM Mental health mindfulness

So for those of you who are interested in how I got on with my "mental cigarette breaks" thing - my first problem was how to set up a recurring reminder on the hour, every hour but only during weekdays.

This seems like it should be easy - but damn it if it isn't really stupidly hard

The problem with things like regular reminders in calendar apps is that they’re not really what calendar apps are for. Calendars are made for scheduling actual things, like meetings, events; real things that happen during your day, that you might need a reminder for.

A reminder (just a reminder) is different. It doesn't actually HAVE an end time - just a start time.

Setting regular reminders is a challenge for the “repeat” functions of most calendars - They’re usually pretty lo-fi - you can schedule something to repeat every day, every week, every month etc - but what if I want to schedule a reminder for every HOUR? (But only every hour between 9-5 on days within my working week) - this is beyond even Microsoft Outlook’s neat little scheduling dialog box.


This set me on a wild goose chase for the best calendar app for macOs - one that would allow me to enter just reminders (there isn’t one that I could find). I did happen across Fantastical, which I’ve had an on-again off-again relationship with for years - I like their natural language date input which allows me to type things like “In calendar /MCB create event Mental cigarette break every Wed btw 09:00 & 09:01 alert 10 min” - which will create a recurring event in my “MCB” calendar at 9am every Wednesday with an alert 10 minutes beforehand. This is really helpful

I beat my head against this for a while - thinking “this would be so easy to do in Javascript” - so I wrote myself a little Node.JS script to do it.

const workdays = ["Mon", "Tue", "Wed", "Thu", "Fri"];
const workHours = [
"09:00 & 09:01",
"10:00 & 10:01",
"11:00 & 11:01",
"12:00 & 12:01",
"13:00 & 13:01",
"14:00 & 14:01",
"15:00 & 15:01",
"16:00 & 16:01",
]; => { => {
`/MCB Mental cigarette break every ${day} btw ${hour} alert 10 min`

#NTS - don’t forget to mention javascript in Apple script editor and bizarre format for scheduling events that stopped me trying

What do I do in my mental cigarette breaks?