Emma.ai’s new and improved Buffer Time feature allows you to define and implement Rules to help you add in time around events or meetings directly into your schedule.
Buffer Time Rules automatically add buffer time before and/or after appointments in your calendar. They are designed to free you from the scenario of back-to-back meetings with no time in between to plan, take notes or simply catch your breath!
How do the rules work?
Rules allow you to set up how much buffer time is added to which meeting automatically. You can create multiple rules for all the different types of meetings that you have in your calendar, helping you to add different amounts of buffer time when needed. For example, you may want to always have 15 mins planning time before a sales demo meeting but you don’t want to have this time for all your other meetings in your calendar.
Rules are processed top from bottom, which means you can order your rules based on which ones are more important.
Set up video
The following video shows you an overview of how to create and implement your Buffer Time Rules. For detailed instructions keep reading our step-by-step guide.
Step One: Create a new rule for your buffer time
To create a new rule, you can either edit the ‘Default rule’ - which will automatically be there when you first sign up to Emma - by selecting the button to the right hand side of the line, or select ‘Add new rule’ as we have highlighted in red below.
Step Two: Add information to your rule
Let's begin by giving your rule a name. This will help you understand what the rule is for later and help you decide the best way to prioritise it.
You then can add in the information for this buffer time rule.
In this example the box called ‘Title’ has been selected, this ‘is equal to’ which means it has to be exactly the same title in the description as it does in the calendar invitation. We’ve called this ‘Marketing Weekly Catch up’ and in the calendar it must be called the same and it is important to note that the fields are case sensitive.
Emma offers numerous ‘conditions’ for each rule so you can precisely match the correct appointments to add buffer time to. These are:
Title = the name of the appointment within the event details.
Location = a specific location referenced in the ‘location’ field within the event details.
Invitees = can be specified either by a whole email address if referencing a particular invitee, or just an email suffix if you wish to apply the rule on a larger, company-wide scale for example.
Organiser = can be specified either by a whole email address if referencing a particular invitee, or just an email suffix if you wish to apply the rule on a larger, company-wide scale for example.
Description = the description within the event details.
You also have the option to specify how you want the conditions to be measured:
‘Is equal to’ = the rule will be applied where the specified event details match the rule conditions exactly.
‘Contains’ = the rule will be applied where the event details contain part of a specific word or the whole word.
‘Does not contain’ = the rule will be applied where the event details exclude part of a specific word or the whole word.
The following additional options can also be selected from when selecting the 'Invitees' condition:
‘Is empty’ = the rule will be applied where the details are empty.
‘Is not empty’ = the rule will be applied where the details are not empty.
Step Three: Specify Rule Details
After clarifying which conditions need to be met in order for this particular rule to apply, you can now set how much buffer time to add for this rule.
From the drop-down box you can select for buffer time to be added either before or after an event. Pressing the ‘+’ button on the far right hand side of the box gives you the option to add buffer time to both sides of an event if you wish: before and after.
To collapse the second option simply press the ‘-’ button to return to just one condition.
You can add the number of minutes you need for your buffer time or use the up/down arrows to choose the minutes. Lastly, enter a title for this specific buffer time so you can easily identify it when it gets added in your calendar.
Step Four: Activate your rules
You can make rules active or inactive. Selecting the ‘Yes’ box next to active means that once saved, Emma will apply this rule to any future events that meet the defined conditions. Inactive rules are simply ignored.
Step Five: Apply your rules to all events
It is important to note that rules that you have saved are not fully applied to your calendar until you click the "Apply rules" button. You will see in a small bubble the total number of events that this rule will impact.
Step Six: Setting up rules in priority order
The new buffer time feature applies the buffer time rules in order of priority. The way you organise your rules is completely up to you.
Emma will work in order from the top of the list of rules downwards, attempting to apply each rule when new events are scheduled in your calendar. If the conditions of the first rule are met, Emma will apply this rule and will not apply any further rules. If the conditions of the first rule are not met, Emma will attempt to apply the second rule. If the conditions of the second rule are not met, Emma will continue working down the list until a rule does apply or no rules applied.
The priority of the rules order can be changed at any time. You can drag and drop the rules to reorder them at any time. You can also deactivate any rules that you don’t want Emma to apply at all for a particular time; Emma will only try and apply rules that are set to ‘active’, and will ignore any that are not. It is important to click the “Apply rules” button when you change the priority order for it to take effect.
Your Buffer Time Rules in Action
Once you have created all necessary rules, and they have been applied to the desired events, the buffer time will appear in your schedule automatically and look like this:
You can see the meeting event in purple, and that the green buffer time has automatically been added beforehand, according to the details of the rule applied. This information will also pull through to your Google/Microsoft calendar depending on the calendar you have integrated.
Once set up, whenever there are any new events or updated events in your calendar, your Buffer Time Rules will be instantly applied to them.
Over to you
We hope you enjoy using the new Buffer Time feature, and that it helps you regain control over your schedule! Don't forget you can sign up for a free trial - no credit card required - right here. Already an Emma.ai user? Log in here and get started now!
If have any questions or feedback, please be sure to drop us a message: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For tips on other Emma.ai features, check out our how-to guides and videos here.