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Hello Hacker News!

Even though I'm a semi-lurker, Hacker News and its community have been a staple in my life pretty much since launch, through 3 startups and 3 kids. So I'd love to hear what folks think of my latest creation.

Requirements to try out: Google Calendar plus ability to grant edit permissions; optional Slack integration. We are not a chrome extension or new calendar app, nothing to install.

My cofounder and I started Reclaim after working together as product management leaders at New Relic for several years. While there, we experienced what many busy middle managers feel: super impacted schedules that often resulted in working late at night just to try to stay afloat. We decided that if we could build a product to help better defend and focus time for these people, we could ultimately also help capture the oft-hidden conflicts and dependencies within organizations that are often the root cause why people, teams, and companies burn out.

Here's how it works: in addition to helping sync your personal calendar(s) to block out your work calendar (launched in January), we now also block out time for important habits/routines that you want or need to do, professionally or personally. You do this by defining a "habit" that has a title, start/end window of time, ideal time, and min/max duration. Reclaim will then find free time on your calendar and tentatively block out the time.

We say tentatively because if your schedule isn't too busy, we may mark the time as "free", making you still appear available to meet with others -- something we think is really important for managers. But as your schedule fills up, we will defend the time by marking it as busy. This is a job that is just too tedious for a human to do, but ideal for a virtual assistant like Reclaim. So for example, your 11am to 2pm could be wide open, but if you suddenly get invited to several late morning and early afternoon meetings, Reclaim would defend your lunch slot by marking it as busy and, optionally, even declining any further incoming meetings.

I use it to block out my entire day for personal and work routines meals, time with kids, bedtime for kids, exercise, morning and afternoon emails, morning and afternoon coding.

The result is that my agenda looks fairly well planned out every day, but often slightly different because of the meetings I have with people throughout the day. And because of the flexibility and throttle of the free/busy time, I can hand out Calendly links and feel good that I'm offering up my most flexible availability but also that if too much comes in at once a "circuit breaker" will flip and my day will get defended.

In terms of the tech stack, it is a React-based frontend and a Java (Micronaut) + Postgres backend, deployed on AWS Fargate. We're getting the most out of Postgres by using jsonb, hstore, and have even turned it into a fairly scalable little pub/sub + job service, utilizing the listen/notify + for update skip locked features. We deploy 10-15 times per day.

Thanks for checking it out. Feedback welcome!

What are the main differences from Clockwise?

The main thing seems to be the syncing between personal/work calendars. This is actually something I've been looking for because right now I manually sync events between calendars (annoying), but just curious if there are some other differentiating features?

Our Habits feature has a lot more control over the blocks of time. It's not just generic "focus time" and you can be very specific about days of week, time of day, etc.

And probably the biggest difference is the throttling of free/busy time, which we think makes things much better for manager-type personas who need to remain available for supporting their team.

For example, if you say you want 1 hour every Friday afternoon to write your weekly status, we'll tentatively block it out at say, 3pm but mark it as "free" if your afternoon is clear. That way someone who needs to meet with you at the same time can and we'll just shift it before/after the incoming meeting and then block it out as your afternoon fills up.

This looks awesome and almost exactly what I need.

I don't have the luxury to implement a Mark Wahlberg-style schedule. I have multiple responsibilities (family, work, etc.) and their associated interruptions that would make an attempt at such a rigid schedule laughable.

Something like Reclaim that is adaptive to reality would be perfect.

Any chance of CalDAV integration in the near future? Unfortunately, I am not using Google Calendar (I use Fastmail, FWIW).

Thanks!!!

We would love to add support for other calendar platforms, including generic iCal support.

I’d also love to eventually support a super privacy-forward deployment option that, for example, keeps your data on-Prem or in control in your own cloud.

Just need the time, people, and investment to do it. We’re hiring, btw ;)

I may not be the target demo (I’m a solo founder) but I would never give another company my schedule to analyze and optimize. My time is my most valuable asset as a human and an entrepreneur, and I believe that for anyone intent on success, time management is a function that must be internalized as a core competency, not outsourced
I've had jobs ranging from solo founder (2x) to co-founder of a 4 person startup (this one!) to SVP of Product Management of a mid-sized publicly traded company. In all cases: you're absolutely right that managing my time was key to my success -- and often a cause of my failures when I didn't do it.

That said: I think your framing of our product and the intent behind it is wrong. We aren't trying to take over the job of how you strategically manage your time. We're doing jobs that are otherwise tedious so that you get better control of your time.

If you prefer doing the job by hand, then we're of course not the tool for you. But I can assure you our users don't view Reclaim as some opportunity to give up on being strategic or thoughtful with their time.

I second this (Reclaim beta user here, and they didn't ask me to post this) - Reclaim makes me think about my time more, but drag appointment boxes around less.
Huge fan of Reclaim! I spend a lot of time programming my calendar and always challenge myself to be more proactive BUT my nature is to give in to reactive work first. With Reclaim I'm able to "trick" myself by having the bot add proactive things to my calendar that I want to do, but never get time for (like taking a mid-day exercise break). My brain perceives this as reactive work (i.e. I didn't schedule it, someone else did) - and as a result I'm more likely to make the time to do the proactive work.
YES! I've wanted solutions related to Reclaim's concept for years! I can not make and stick to a strict schedule of tasks at specific times. I have routine tasks to do, that I want automatically suggested to me at opportune moments during the day. I hope Reclaim inspires similar innovation.

As with sleep management apps, they all seem to enforce going to sleep or waking up at specific times. I want to have it suggest when to sleep, then detect once I am asleep, count from there, and wake me in the best phase after the optimal length for me that day. Length determined depending on whether I have to get up or can sleep in (use calendar).

Is there a calendar with automated suggestions and drag-and-drop preset events? Events should have flexibility in how long they can and have to be.

Please do not require me to hand over my calendar data. Please do not silo the calendar into an app; it should use or synchronize without issues with regular calendar.

I've recently watched several talks of Matt Walker [1], a sleep scientiest. And he often states that it is not only important to sleep enough, but to do it on a regular schedule. So that the body and mind can adapt. So perhaps there is a good reason why most sleep management want to enforce a fixed schedule. Nevertheless, if that is not possible, it would certainly be helpful to have such a tool you describe.

[1]: https://www.ted.com/talks/matt_walker_sleep_is_your_superpow...

I started down the path of building a simple version of this at one point. One thing I discovered is the necessity of marking some time as busy within the window for an event. If I have a 2 hour block free for a 1 hour lunch, someone could still schedule a meeting which makes my lunch impossible, like a hour meeting starting 30 minutes in. That would leave two 30 minute chunks on either side, and I can no longer have my 1 hour lunch.

The solution is to preemptively block key times which guarantee you can still schedule your flexible task. In this case, you need to block 30 minutes (or whatever your smallest schedulable unit of time is) in the middle of the 2 hour window, either right before or right after the midpoint. This will leave the maximal amount of schedulable time while still guaranteeing no single event can wreck your lunch.

Just an observation in case it's useful to the founders here.

TOTALLY!

Yeah, there are a lot of little tricks we do (and many more we still need to) to help defend the time. Part of the solution also involves asking the user how "aggressive" they want us to defend the time.

Sounds like you've got very relevant experience here. We're hiring btw ;)

I saw this a few days ago, cool product. I'm making something similar (details in my profile, don't want to shill my own product on a Show HN out of respect) which deals less with automatic suggestions but more making it much easier to schedule tasks yourself. This includes things like sub tasks and other features. I'm also making it open source for people who want to self host it.

For this, is there are reason that there are two landing pages?

https://reclaim.ai/daily-habits/

https://reclaim.ai/

They seem similar but have different parts.

Yes what we're showing off today is the flexible Habits, but we have some other features (like calendar sync, and some upcoming stuff, including -- full disclosure -- tasks). So that's why the website is laid out the way it is.
Nice, good luck! There can never be enough todo list apps on the market haha. Hopefully it goes well, maybe we can chat and learn business tips from each other as well.
I'm very busy, and it is hard to find slot in my calendar for deep work, if I do not put it manually in advance. I was using similar concept by manually reserving 2h slot windows each day for a deep work. And it worked great! But I want more distinct habits like this, with more flexibility, like you have with "defensive" settings. Really cool stuff, can't wait to try it out!
Nice concept!

A suggestion as a potential user:

I work across time zones, sometimes I’m overcommitted (eg early rise for a meeting and one at end of day).

In that example I’d think when that happens you could flag I should end the following day early (and block it out) to make up for lost personal time. Keep a balance in case I delete the entry because I need to stick around at work.

Since habits and time planning are very particular to people's personal preferences...

is there any chance that this will later have the ability to configure things with some javascript or lua or python that I've copy-pasted from StackOverflow?

We'll have an API available soon. We're actually doing some prototypes right now using https://pipedream.com/, which I fully recommend as a nice "glue layer" for stuff like this that is simpler than Lambda but gives you a bit more control than, say, Zapier.
What's the key difference compared to using the native Goals feature of Google Calendar and making the free/busy status from those events be visible to coworkers?
Our Habits feature has some similarities to Goals for sure. There are two big differences:

1) We purposely flip the free/busy time back and forth depending on your agenda and habit policy, without your intervention. With goals, it shifts, but it still appears as a busy block (unless you changed it by hand to free), which isn't quite accurate since it can move. Our approach is good for managers who want to be more available for their team.

2) Habits offers a lot more flexible in terms of defining schedule (days of week, min/max duration, defense strategy, etc). It also has some nice integrations with Slack that give you more control in fine-tuning your schedule each day.

Hi,

It didn't worked for me. I've signed up, i have the events created by Reclaim in my calendar, but if I invite myself from another account, nothing happens.

Hmm... not sure what you’re getting at re: “invite myself from another account nothing happens”.

Do you mean the habit event isn’t moving when an incoming invite comes in?

If so: right now we don’t move things unless we see an RSVP of Yes/Maybe. Give that a try? You should see things shuffle after 10-15 seconds.

I love it. At least, the idea, without having tried it yet. The moment you support Office365 calendars, you can have all my money.