What is Carmela?

Carmela is a virtual personal assistant. She uses SMS as a means to make it easy for you to connect with her. Carmela will make your life better by allowing you to gain more control over your life. With Carmela you can more easily focus on building habits, be alerted of important things, and record thoughts that are important to you.

Why Carmela?

Everyone has things they could use a little help remembering or changing. We've got apps for everything under the sun yet if you want to do something as simple as quickly make a note or be reminded of something, opening up an app provides just enough resistance that you simply don't do it. Carmela was created to help give you the best possible odds for success by reducing the amount of effort required to accomplish tasks like these to an absolute minimum. I created Carmela after reading "Hardwiring Happiness" where it prescribes to "Take in the good" at regular intervals throughout the day. After having a few different occassions where I wanted a dead simple way to send myself reminders with an easy way to respond or send quick notes and have something useful happen with them I decided it was time for an app just for me. My hope is that you may find Carmela useful as well.

How does Carmela work?

For things you want to remember to do, simply tell Carmela the messages you'd like her to send and what hours of the day she should send them. Carmela takes care of scheduling and sending you the messages via SMS. You can also reply to the SMS messages which will be recorded and kept for you for later review. Carmela will also soon respond to commands you send her as well as serve as a filter for all of the notifications and reminders you get from other apps and services via SMS, email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. The main benefits are:

  1. Remember to do important things - Carmela remembers and reminds so you don't have to.
  2. Focus - Messages show up in your SMS app which most people prioritize and process more quickly than email or other notification mechanisms.
  3. Quickly record thoughts and commands - Carmela will save and process any messsages you send to her.
  4. Measure progress - Carmela will automatically follow up with summaries to help inspire you.
  5. Reduce noise - Carmela will serve as a gatekeeper for your attention with apps and services that want your attention.

What can Carmela do for me?

At the most basic level Carmela is a way for you to remind yourself of important things and record important things that you don't want to forget about. You can use Carmela to:

With each of these usages Carmela will keep track of your responses and compile a daily summary for you.

You can also send Carmela things you'd like her to remember. Soon you'll be able to send her commands like "remind me to call my sister tomorrow" which will cause Carmela to setup a reminder for the next day during the window of time she's active for you.

Can't I just use email reminders, apps, and app notifications?

Yes you can, but they all require more effort to use, behavior change, and are lost among a sea of noise. Here there's no need to install an app to get started, just a phone that can send/receive SMS. There's no new app to learn, the interface is minimal. Nearly everyone pays attention to SMS messages much more readily than any of these other channels. Other channels are sure to be introduced (Native apps) but SMS is the main channel for now. At its core Carmela is intended to be a personal assistant to help you focus on the things that matter to you.

Why the name Carmela?

When I was a kid the kindest and gentlest person I knew was my grandmother whose name was Carmela. If she asked me to do something I did it (well most of the time... I was a kid after all). When I thought about what an app like this means to me, I felt it needed to be very personal, loving, and inspirational. Each time I receive a message, I want it to be an injection of encouragement and love. Though she's been gone for the better part of my life now, my grandma Carmela represents those things to me so I decided to name this app for her. If you use Carmela yourself I suggest that you use whatever name inspires you and engenders a feeling of happiness, gentleness, love, and encouragement. Who would be the person that would lovingly support you and send you a gentle reminder as you try and make positive change in your life? It could be a family member, friend, anyone that you respect and admire. That’s who you should set as your phone contact for Carmela’s number. That's the name you should use when you setup who your messages are coming from.

Grandma1
Double the fun with 2 birthday celebrations! (My dad and one of my sisters. Photo credit: Mom)

Sounds awesome, how do I get started?

Carmela is in private beta right now. If you're interested in joining the waiting list simply sign up, look around, and wait for your account to be enabled.

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