Everyone has those tiny, annoying tasks that they want to streamline and automate. One of my favorite and most used apps does exactly that.
IFTTT (short for “If This Then That”) is a free app that lets you automate tasks between various internet services and internet connected devices. Want to automatically save all of your Twitter tweets in a Google Doc? The IFTTT app can help you do that. Want to automatically save a copy of all of the Gmail emails you star as important in Evernote? Or automatically log all of your Square payments in a spreadsheet? Or automatically save all of your Instagram posts? IFTTT can help you do all of that that too and more.
You can use IFTTT to connect to up to 185 different online accounts or “Channels”, including Twitter, YouTube, Square, Gmail, Etsy, Google apps, Evernote, Todoist, WordPress, Feedly, Instagram, and many more. You can create a task sequence, what IFTTT calls “Recipes” between one or two of these channels that runs automatically when a specific trigger is activated.
First you activate the channels that you want to use. Then you set up the “If”, the recipe trigger whether it’s a new email from Gmail or a new video on YouTube, or a new transaction on Square.
Then you set up the “Then”, what happens after the recipe is triggered. This could be a new task is added on Toodledo or a new line is added to Google Spreadsheet, or a new event is added to Google Calendar.
For example, I use Pocket to save all the articles and blog posts that I want to read for later. Unfortunately, I would often forget to go back to read them. I created a IFTTT recipe to automatically create a task to read the article in my “Articles to Read” list in Todoist, the app I use to manage all of my tasks. Now, every time I save an article on Pocket a task and a link to the article appears on my to do list.
I’ve also created a series of IFTTT recipes to help me organize all of my shipping tasks from Etsy. Whenever a new order from one of my Etsy stores lands in my Gmail inbox, the IFTTT recipe automatically adds a task to package and ship the order in my Todoist task list. I’ve set up the recipe to include all of the information from the notification email from Etsy in the task notes so that I don’t have to keep returning to Gmail to look up an address or to check the accuracy of the order. I’ve also set up another recipe to remind me to send a follow up notice to my Etsy customer a week after the order had been shipped. My standard follow up message is also included in the task notes so that everything I need to complete the task is in Todoist.
Another useful recipe that I created is one that helps me keep track of all of my promotional opportunities for my jewelry business. I keep all of my potential promotional contacts in a spreadsheet on Google Drive. Every time I come across a new opportunity to research, I put the contact information in as an action item in Todoist. I set up a recipe that automatically updates the spreadsheet whenever I log a new opportunity in my todo list.
IFTTT recently came out with the “DO” button which you can install on your phone or tablet. Unlike the regular “IF” recipes that only run when triggered, the “DO” button allows you to trigger the recipe whenever you want. You can set up the “DO” button to automatically email yourself a photo from your phone, or to send a note from your phone via email or text message. It’s still relatively new, so I’m still figuring out ways to use it.
IFTTT also allows you to publish your recipes so that anyone can use them with just a bit of tweaking. Looking at what others have done is a great way to come up with your own ideas. IFTTT also groups recipes according to use, so you can search for recipes for small business, or recipes for managing social media or recipes for shopping or e-commerce. If you’re just getting started with IFTTT that’s a great place to start.
So what do you think? Are you using IFTTT? If so, what recipes are you using to help streamline your life and business?
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