I was poking buttons in my Stringify app and found Notifications and Activities. I had built a looping flow based on How To Geek Loop or Chain Multiple Flows. It was built as two flows, one the loop (to do something every loop, in my case send a notification) and one to initiate the loop. In reading Activities, I realized that my timer, set for 2.5 hours, would run one last time before looping and test-fail (it would be outside the "between start and stop times").
This struck me as inefficient. So why not put the test before the timer? I couldn't find where anyone else had posted this, so I spent the afternoon testing various configurations. I also realized that without the test at the beginning, I could in fact make it self starting.
The first "date and time" starts the flow.
The second "date and time" is the test: is the time between start and stop times? If yes, run timer and loop. Else stop.
Ran like a champ.
Then I remembered that the original flows were to run lights while the person was on vacation. I am also lazy. The kind of lazy that will spend two hours building a program that will save me five minutes...every day. So I built the following flow on the assumption that someone who set things up to make his house look occupied would also have set up a way to tell his other automation he was away. I tell Alexa I'm running away and after doing some other things, she tells Stringify.
The flow will not start if the first variable is not set to your status-away variable.
The flow will not continue if you come home while the flow is running and change your status-away variable to something else.
EDIT: It may run one last time if the flow is running the timer. Or you can get really fussy and put another variable test before the connect-flow.
That means this will run if you are late coming home, on vacation, or whatever, just by setting your status variable.
In my particular flow, I want it to send a notification no matter my status, but if I am home, run a couple of sets of notification light settings. If I'm in bed (lazy, reading), the flow will run a different set of notification light settings. I never have to do another thing to it. Well, until I come across another fun thing to do with it.