How to Add Time Delay and Schedule Tasks in Document Studio
When you create a workflow in Document Studio, all the tasks (or actions) that are part of that workflow will execute as soon as the trigger event happens.
For instance, if you have configured to run a workflow on Google Form submit, then all the tasks (or actions) that are part of that workflow will execute as soon as the Google Form is submitted. Similarly, if you chose to manually run a workflow inside a Google Sheet, all the unprocessed rows of the data source will be merged immediately.
Time Delay feature in Document Studio allows you to add a delay and hold the execution of the tasks in the workflow until a certain time.
Please note that you require a date field in the Google Sheet for scheduling workflows. The time delay can be configured to run at a certain time before or after that date field. Google Form responses already have a date field (Timestamp).
Add a Time Delay
There are two type of delays that can be configured in Document Studio:
- After - Postpone the workflow for a specific number of hours, days, weeks or months.
- Before - Schedule the workflow to execute at a certain time before the specified date and time.
Open the trigger screen of the workflow you want to add a time delay to. Then click on the Add a Time Delay option and specify the delay time. You may add delays for hours, days, weeks, or event months.
The time delay is associated with a workflow and is not associated with a specific task. If there are multiple tasks in the workflow, the time delay will be applied to all of them and not any specific task.
Schedule Tasks with Delays
Here are some scenarios where you may want to add a time delay to schedule tasks in the workflow.
Invoice Due Reminders
If you have a Google Sheet for sending invoices, you can create a workflow that will send email reminders 5 days before the invoice is due and maybe another email reminder 1 day before the invoice is due. The workflow can also be configured to include payment links from PayPal or Stripe in the email or SMS.
Online Meeting Reminders
If you are hosting an online meeting using Zoom or Google Meet, you may use the time delay feature to send a reminder email to the attendees 1 day before the meeting starts.
A second workflow can be added to send the actual meeting invitation link to the attendees via SMS 4 hours before the online meeting starts. You may also configure a third workflow to send a feedback form link to the attendees 1 day after the meeting.
Appointment SMS Reminders
If you have a Google Form for scheduling appointments, you can create a workflow that will send email reminders 5 days before the appointment is scheduled and maybe another text message reminder 1 day before the appointment is scheduled.
If you are using Document Studio for sending mail merge, you can add a date column in the Google Sheet and configure a workflow to send the email to the recipients 1 hour before the date field.
Time Delays are useful for sending follow up emails to customers. You can add a time delay to schedule the follow up email to be sent 1 day after the last email was sent. Please note that messages are sent in separate threads and may not be part of the same email conversation.
Handle Dates in the Past
If a workflow is scheduled to run around a date that has already passed, the workflow will be executed only if the past scheduled date is no more than 2 days behind the current date.
To give you an example, let's assume that the current date is January 15, 2022 and the workflow was scheduled to run on January 10, 2022. In this case, the workflow will be skipped since the due date is more than 2 days behind the current date.
Important Things to Remember
- The workflows are often executed ±30 minutes from the scheduled time and may not run at the exact scheduled time. If you have configured a workflow to run at 00:00 hours, it may run anytime from 11:30 PM to 12:30 AM.
- A date column is required in the Google Sheet for scheduling workflows. If the data source is Google Forms, the date field is already included in the Google Form responses.
- If the scheduled date has already passed, the workflow will run only if the scheduled date is within a day or two of the current date.
- You may find the status of scheduled tasks for individual rows in the Google Sheet itself.
- If there are multiple tasks in the workflow, the time delay will be applied to all of them and not any specific task.
- If you are capturing dates in Google Forms, please ensure that the date question is configure to include year as well.