Introducing isBusy: A Personal Status Page for Remote Work


3 minute read


I wanted to write a little post to announce a side project/fledgling app to the world: isBusy. 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So I thought about setting up a “flag” system outside my office door but that would invariably get out of date fast and be annoying to update constantly.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. I’ve set up a Patreon if people want to donate to reduce costs. But fundamentally I want to make sure I can keep making tools like these for folks to help them thrive, especially in these hard times.

Some quick looks at the app:

isbusy explainer isbusy status screenshots isbusy screenshots

Features

This was a side project worked on over the last few weeks, so the feature list isn’t too crazy:

  • isBusy is launching with calendar support for Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook. If there are more calendars people want, I’ll add those in, too.
  • users get a personal status link they can easily share with family or others so they can easily see whether you are busy or available.
  • You can set up “working hours” so people can more easily understand what your schedule looks like
  • change your display name
  • automatically display in your local timezone
  • profile management (reset password etc.)

Hoping to add more if there’s demand!

Fin

I’m launching this on Product Hunt and a few other places to get the word out. Give it a spin at https://isbusy.app. Let me know if you have any feedback on Twitter 🤗

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