Unfortunately, as you’ve noticed, the NOW() function updates irregularly and unreliably.
Airtable says that the NOW() function will update approximately once an hour if your base is closed, but I’ve found that it sometimes won’t update for 48 hours.
For example, I have a nightly automation scheduled to run at midnight Pacific Time based on the NOW() function. This table keeps track of the dates and times that the automation successfully runs:
You can see that the times are wildly unpredictable, and it even skipped 2 recent nights altogether: March 12, 2021 and March 15, 2021 were both completely skipped.
Sometimes my base was open at midnight Pacific Time, and sometimes my base was closed at midnight. The nights where the time was closer to midnight Pacific Time were the nights where my base was open.
So using the NOW() function is imprecise at best, and unreliable at worst.
Airtable recently rolled out a new automations trigger: “At A Scheduled Time”. I have no idea if this new trigger is more reliable than using the NOW() function for scheduling actions to occur reliably & precisely, but I will setup a nightly test to test it on my end.
This new nightly test will take place here:
However, if you need precise & reliable & dependable scheduling of your emails down to the minute, I would highly recommend using Integromat, which is an external automation tool with very advanced scheduling capabilities built into it. It also has 100% full support for Airtable:
(I am a professional Airtable consultant and a Registered Integromat Partner, and the Integromat link contains my personal referral code. If you have a budget and need to hire a consultant to help, please feel free to contact me through my website at scottworld.com.)