Life of a leader of a software development team includes a lot of meetings - planning work, helping out teammates, reviewing their work, interviewing people, and lots more. Ever since I became one, I had to start to attend those meetings.

Unfortunately for me, during work hours I also receive a lot of notifications, which often compete for my attention. I tried ignoring them, but it doesn’t work for me. Whenever a notification pops up on my screen, I immediately switch focus to it.

Previously it was only irritating, but in the last couple of weeks I have started attending a lot of interviews, sometimes even one every week day. And during these I don’t want to ask the interviewee to repeat something they have just said because I got distracted by a notification. Having some free time, I decided to solve this issue once and for all (hopefully).

Since I’m solving this issue for my specific use-case, there will be two assumptions that I will make:

  1. If I have a tab with a meeting open, it will always be focused, because:
  2. I use Chromium for meets, since Firefox doesn’t let me share my screen exactly how I want to do it, and I don’t use Chromium for anything else.
  3. I will control my notifications using dunstctl

The whole thing turned out to be rather simple - the only software that I use for my meetings in my work is Google’s Meet (unfortunately), and I noticed that whenever a meet tab was open, the window name had a specific format; first there was Meet -, then the meeting code or number and then - Chromium. The code is in format xxx-xxxx-xxx where each x stands for a random letter, and the name format is just whatever it was set up by the person organizing the event. When no meet is active and the tab is opened on the dashboard of meetings, the window’s name is just Meet.

After some work, I prepared a quick script that detects an opened meeting and disables the notification. It ain’t the prettiest, but it gets the job done. To have it automated, I just added it to cron to run every minute. The delay between joining a calendar event and the notifications being stopped doesn’t hurt me.

Tags: english technical programming shell bash dunst

Posted on: 2021-07-28, last edited on: 2021-08-08, written by: Kavelach