Anti-Distraction Hack with Text to Speech

Cover photo by Matan Segev - found on Pexels

Discord has been an atypical resource for my business productivity. I have a private server, which I send important notifications from other services to (as only one example.) As soon as I realized Discord had a built in text to speech or TTS, I wondered if I could build a simple “voice assistant” that would check in with me about things I should be doing, when I should be doing them?

My go to for connecting apps is either IFTTT or Zapier, and Zapier had a Discord connection so that was where I went.

Sadly, the API was set to a default “no” when I tried to do this, confirmed by their support, with no apparent workaround.

Only to have Zapier support add the feature in less than a week after I brought it up!

Now I don’t need to rely on a specific “beep” to tell me something I care about is happening. Calendar events, and certain emails, filtered by specific labels, now tell me specifically what I need to know, when I need to know it. This allows me so many more minutes to work on projects, which adds up to hours a week easily. I appreciate the peace of mind that “Jeeves” is going to tell me when I need to worry about something.

How did I do it?

  1. I set up a private Discord server, which I leave open in a Chrome tab.

  2. Connected Calendar to Discord using Zapier, with “Text to Speech” turned to “Yes”

  3. Enjoy my new assistant! He’s not Jarvis, but he’s all mine :) I’m going to have him tell me when certain clients email me, or when I should ideally walk the dog, stretch, etc.

Other Applications?

In trying to do this, I found a lot of hurdles. I presumed there would be a text to speech app that did this, but didn’t seem to find anything. This could be useful for folks with visual impairment, or attention issues. Let me know if there is a better way to do this, or if you have any neat things you’ve automated.