Daniel Jalkut has just released the final version of FlexTime, a fantastic little Mac timer deftly suited for the (10+2)*5 procrastination hack. It still has no out-of-the-box support for Growl’s nifty notification system. Luckily, FlexTime now has robust support for AppleScript, allowing a backdoor into the Growl system.
With a little tinkering, I’ve put together an AppleScript to let FlexTime use the Growl system to gently remind you when a new activity starts, such as when to work and when to play. I call the script, FlexTimeGrowl. (Imaginative, huh?)
Here’s how to use it:
Download the script here:
Create activities for work and play
Click the plus icon on the upper left corner of the window to create a new activity. Under “Activity Schedule”, a new item will appear. Create two activities: one titled “Get back to work!” with a duration of 10 minutes, and one titled “Time for play!” with a duration of 2 minutes.
Set up cues to run the FlexTimeGrowl script
Next to “At Start” choose “Run Script”. To the right of that, there’s a pulldown. Use it to choose the FlexTimeGrowl script you just downloaded.
Save your routine, and press play.
All done! When an activity starts, Growl will gently notify you with an alert that pops up, stays for a couple seconds, then goes away on its on. With Growl’s “Music Video” style notifications, it looks like this (you can adjust the speed in Growl’s preferences):
Growl uses the filename of the routine as the alert’s heading and the name of the activity as the message. So, if your FlexTime routine is saved as “Procrastination Hack” and your work activity is titled “Get back to work!”, it will look like this:
To change the titles, just rename your routine and activities.
Note: Small bug as of version 1.01: For some reason, FlexTime won’t run AppleScripts until the first activity that plays finishes. This means Growl notifications won’t start working until the end of the first activity. Once the next activity in the routine starts, notifications appear as expected.
Why use Growl’s notification system?
If you’ve set up FlexTime to show a text message when an activity starts, you have click the message to make it go away. With Growl, notifications appear and disappear gently without you having to do anything.
Growl allows you to customize the appearance of notifications, and comes with a few customizable styles to choose from. My favorite is the “Music Video” style shown in the example above.
My knowledge of AppleScript is very rudimentary. The script I made is hacked together from samples on the Growl and Flextime websites. Sources:
If you see a better and cleaner way to do this, please let us know!