Sandy and Jott: Create Your Own Free Virtual Assistant

Nobody has ever accused me of being the most organized person. I don’t carry a PDA, a dayplanner, or even a notebook/moleskin. It’s pretty much just Outlook at work, and a lot of Post-Its at home. But recently I’ve discovered two applications that help me remember all the thoughts that flit in and out of my mind. This is in turn saves me money indirectly with less late fees and missed opportunities. Both have been around a while, but were new to me:

Sandy
First up is IwantSandy, which is an assistant that you can interact with by sending e-mails. She communicates back to you via e-mail or SMS text messages.

Say you want someone to remind you for your doctor’s appointment at 4pm next Monday. No problem, just send an e-mail to Sandy:

Remind me about Dr. appointment at 4pm next Monday.

Sandy will send you an e-mail or text message to do just that, both in a daily digest and a specific reminder 15 minutes (by default) before the event. Most casual language is recognized. You can set repeating reminders easily:

Remind me to pay off Citi 0% credit card on 4/24 @monthly

You can also tag items for easy organization, add contacts, and or create To-Do lists.

Remind me to call contractor back in 3 hours @newhouse

Remember Melissa Valiant (415) 555-1212 mval@gmail.com

Remember my United mileage number is A4362215 @travel

Remind me to refill my prescription tomorrow @todo

You can even “snooze” by replying to a reminder with “snooze 4 hours”. Lots more examples here. I live by my e-mail and I have unlimited text messages, so this system has been working out well for me. (Text messages can be better if you are under e-mail overload.) I basically just shoot Sandy an e-mail anytime a thought pops into my mind.

Remind me to blog about Sandy @daily @blogposts

Remind me to sign up for Citibank 25,000 mile banking bonus @daily @todo

Try it! It’s free and even a bit fun at first. I’m not quite sure how or even if they intend to make money. More organized people might not need Sandy, but I learn a new feature every day. For example, if I e-mail Sandy from any computer with “lookup blogposts”, I get a reply with all my post ideas. Very handy while traveling.

Jott
Now what if you’re away from your desk? Jott is a service that convert your voice into text and sends it as an e-mail. It’s like having your own secretary transcribe your thoughts.

On top of that it, even integrates with Sandy. Just add Sandy as a contact, and call her. From the EfficientMD:

Let’s say you’re on your mobile phone and a colleague tells you about a meeting you have to attend tomorrow at 3pm. You’re walking quickly and don’t want to slow down, so you call Jott’s toll-free number and have this conversation:

“Who do you want to Jott?”
“Sandy”
“Sandy. Is that correct?”
“Yes.”
BEEP.
“Remind me about meeting tomorrow at 3pm.”

And that’s it. Sandy/Jott will email you a confirmation to ensure that they’ve heard you correctly (which in my experience, is practically 100% of the time), and then tomorrow before 3pm, you’ll receive a text message reminding you about the meeting.

Together, it’s like having your own personal administrative assistant. She’ll remind you about stuff, remember important contact and numbers, and you can just e-mail or call her like a regular person. You don’t need to install any new software or buy any new gadgets.

More Reviews
LifeHacker posts on Sandy and Jott
Mrs. Micah on Sandy
Efficient MD on Sandy and Jott

Comments

  1. Jeff Davis says:

    That’s really neat. I have been using the reminders for a while now, and it seems like the only way to keep track of all your responsibilities in the modern age.

    I personally like using Nozbe. It integrates with both Sandy and Jott, but you have the additional capability of sorting your tasks into projects, contexts and adding notes.

    For those who aren’t naturally organized (like myself) having a good system set up like this can really make it a piece of cake.

  2. Josh Raines says:

    This sounds kind of interesting to me. I am not the most organized person on Earth and when I handle my finances I generally forget to do something I had planned on earlier. These tools would help me greatly. Thank you for reviewing them. Great Post!

  3. Thank you for your wonderful blog!
    I just tried JOTT. It works great! I am a pretty organized person, but I am glad I am having a new tool JOTT!

    Currently I use MemoToMe to send “remind” email to me. It’s free and great too. http://www.memotome.com/

  4. Jeff Davis says:

    I should probably include the link to the explanation of how to integrate with Jott: http://blogs.hitrss.com/nozbe/.....-and-notes

    Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t know what I was talking about.

  5. The Google Calendar has a lot of similar features you mentioned.

  6. Jonathan,

    So you have a Motorola Q… why don’t you use it for keeping track of tasks and appointments?

  7. narcissus black says:

    Finally – no need to remember wife’s dress size vs. mistress’s dress size – Sandy… take a memo… send yourself flowers.

  8. It’s just so much more natural for me to shoot off an e-mail saying “remind me to do X” rather than to peck at the letters on my tiny Moto Q pad. And it will hound me at set intervals until I do it :)

  9. I still use Outlook / BlackBerry for most appointments and reminders but have increasely began using Sandy to remember the little stuff that doesn’t ‘rate’ an outlook appointment or reminder. My favorite example of late is where I stash stuff..

    Sandy, remember that the extra screws for the roomba are in the junk drawer in the kitchen. @hidingspot @roomba @junk drawer

    or

    Sandy, Remember the allen wrench in the Jewelry box is for the Bed. @hidingspot @bed @tools @jewelryBox

    Fast forward 2 months and

    Sandy, lookup @hidingspot or @roomba

    and I can fix the roomba without wasting a day looking for the friggin’ screws!

    Great way for me to remember all the stuff I have stashed around the house. :)

    Enjoy!
    CARLO.

  10. Thanks for this tip, Jonathan, I think I may get some good use out of this.

    In trying to figure out how I could best use this, I found a combination that is working well for me – I’m using the Sandy link with Twitter.com. I don’t have much use for the “regular” use of Twitter (I think it is a little silly), but in combination with Sandy and a Firefox extension called Twitterbar (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4664), anytime I want to send a reminder to Sandy I can just type it in the address bar of Firefox and send it off. American cheese is on my Sam’s Club shopping list!

  11. EBounding says:

    Thanks for pointing this out. I also use e-mail to track everything I do instead of calendars and planners. I used to just e-mail myself a reminder and leave it in my inbox. Now I won’t have to worry about that clutter.

  12. Thank you so much for posting this. It’s exactly what I need! I just called Jott twice to send some reminders to Sandy. Wonderful tools.

  13. I can’t get the Jott to Sandy link to work … hrrrummmpphhh! … I followed the instructions (pretty easy … Jott: Add Link/Sandy … Sandy: Accept Link) but I get a server error at Jott. Anyone else have this problemo?

    AJC.

  14. Very cool – exactly what I need.

  15. Frankly- I don;t see the need for this- I use outlook for all reminder and minutea- and it works. I glance my agenda (and “reminders” as part of my agenda) the day before so I know what is due and am ready- it’s not super glitzy like a real admin but- it works.. I’d personally rather just have one source for all info (and that is my outlook calendar- i glance at what is hte next day- per week- upcoming month).

    p.s. I am not endorsing the conglomerate microsoft- just saying your online calendar can do all of this.

  16. On Friday, December 19, 2008, Sandy and Stikkit went offline.

    Jott is no longer free.

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  1. [...] Create Your Own Free Virtual Assistant Let’s say you’re on your mobile phone and a colleague tells you about a meeting you have to attend tomorrow at 3pm. You’re walking quickly and don’t want to slow down, so you call Jott’s toll-free number and have this conversation: … [...]

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