How I Pull Myself Using Dead Man’s Snitch

I make lists when it comes to getting things done, so much so that I have lists on my lists. But who will hold me accountable or remind me if I forget the assignment? I got inspired by our developers to set up alerts with Todoist, Zapier, and Dead Man’s Snitch.

This post originally appeared on the Collective Idea blog .

Here are just a few of my current lists:

  • Bring clothes in the trunk of my car at Goodwill
  • Practice MindWise
  • Bathe the dogs
  • Call Grandma to Make a Dinner Plan
  • Brainstorming New Blog Ideas for Personal Blog
  • Apply for a Girls on the Run Coach Position

As you can see, some of these items do not actually have a deadline, they just need to be done. I want to make sure I keep cracking my awful long list, so I told myself that I would check off an item on my list at least once a week. But what happens if I forget to do this?

Well, here I got some inspiration from the talented developers in my office. Many of them regularly use Dead Man’s Snitch , one of our products at Collective Idea , to monitor periodic tasks such as cron jobs (scheduled tasks in Unix / Linux environments) or Heroku Scheduler . How Dead Man’s Snitch works is that you set up a “snitch” for each job, task or process that you want to follow. Each snitch is then associated with a URL that is checked each time the specified process occurs. If the Snitch is unable to register, you will receive a notification about this.

To make Dead Man’s Snitch work, I somehow need to set up the Snitch to alert me if we forget to check off a task from my to-do list every week. That’s where Zapier comes in . There are several to-do list apps connected to Zapier, and after reviewing all of them, I settled on Todoist .

How to set up weekly reminders

So, to get started, the first thing we need to do is create a new “Zap” on the Zapier by clicking “Make a Zap!” From there, you will be prompted for “Select Triggered Application” where you search for Todoist. This is because Todoist will be a trigger that checks your Snitch’s URL every time you check in an item from your to-do list.

After selecting Todoist as the trigger app, select New Completed Task as the actual trigger. Each time a new task is executed, a trigger fires.

When prompted, connect your Todoist account and upload your project (or in other words, the list you want to highlight from). You should see a dropdown menu with all the lists in your Todoist account. I only have one called “Personal”.

The next window asks you to “test the Todoist trigger by uploading an existing completed task.” This is where things get a little shaky. Go back to the Todoist app, add the test item to your list, and then mark that test item complete.

Now go back to your Zap in Zapier and click Get and Continue. If it worked correctly, it will say, “The test was successful!”

Now we need to add the “Webhooks by Zapier” action; you will want to select the “get” option. This is what will ping our snitch url every time the trigger fires – the item in our Todoist list that terminates.

Then it will ask you for a URL. This is where you are going to put your Snitch, so let’s move on to Dead Man’s Snitch to create it.

I named mine “Mark an item from your to-do list” and set an interval that will turn off weekly as I want to be notified every week if I can’t complete a task. Click Save.

You will now get your unique snitch url.

Let’s copy that url and go back to Zapier where you will paste the url into your Zap.

Basically, we just said, “Okay, every time the Todoist item ends, use Webhooks to navigate to that URL (our snitch).” If the URL is visited every week, Dead Man’s Snitch considers it a success. If it is not received (that is, I did not complete at least one item in a week), Dead Man’s Snitch will see this and send me an email with a message about the missing check.

Next, you need to test everything. Click “Save and Continue” and Zapier will echo the Snitch and tell you if the test was successful or not. In addition, at the same time, you will receive an email from Dead Man’s Snitch in which you learn that your Snitch is reporting correctly for the first time.

I’ve installed another snitch in Zapier that uses MapMyFitness and Webhooks to alert me if I forget to run every day. I’mtraining for a marathon right now and alsotrying to run #runstreak , so I hope this combination keeps my honesty!

Completing the Task with Dead Man’s Nitch | Collective idea


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