Finding additional time at work can be an arduous task. However, in this blog post, we reveal a huge variety of ways that you can automate your repetitive day-to-day activities.
“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job, because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”
Wouldn’t your life be easier if there was a way to automate your entire working day? That way, you could concentrate your mental energy on the things that actually require your talents, instead of unthinkingly doing the same menial chores over and over again.
Of course, we don’t want to push the envelope too far and render ourselves redundant – but there’s still a lot to be said for speeding up those little tasks that clog up the working day. In doing so, we’ll be able to make ourselves more productive – and less bored, too. Such change can only be positive.
If This Then That (or IFTTT – pronounced ‘ift’) is an automation service which specialises in allowing us to easily update internet services – as well as a number of other technological tasks. All of the major social networks, blogging platforms, sync services and media-sharing websites are supported, and so it affords individuals and businesses a means of participating in all of them with the minimum of effort – thereby creating the maximum possible online presence without having to hire a roomful of people to press copy and paste for eight hours a day.
IFTTT works by pairing a ‘trigger’ event with a corresponding ‘action’ event. The former might be uploading a piece of music to Soundcloud, or a new blog to WordPress; the latter might be posting a link on Facebook, Twitter. By daisy-chaining triggers with actions, it’s possible to achieve an enormous amount without pressing any buttons or clicking any icons – leaving your hands free to do more important things.
A combination of an event and an action is known as a recipe. You’ll find many such recipes online, and they’re easy to create yourself, too. Let’s examine some of the more effective of these recipes.
There’s no big secret behind blogging automation – if you want it done well, it needs a human being in full control.
It may even need another human checking it for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, although online tools can help with this too.
However, maximising the success of blogging through IFTTT automation is easily achieved.
Below, we’ve listed our favourite IFTTT blogging recipes:
Social Media Share to Blog Post – Facebook posts, Pinterest pins, email newsletters and Instagram pictures can all automatically be shared to your Tumblr, WordPress, Blogger and more. This is perfect if you run a blog that is primarily focused on photography.
Blog Post to Social Media Share – this is the reverse; every time you post a new blog, it will automatically be shared via your social media channels. This is a great timesaver – blog posts are typically under-shared and having them automatically shared to social media sites helps you to prevent forgetting.
Blog Post to Google Drive – this one will back up any new post on WordPress as a new document on Google Drive. It’s great for keeping an automated backup – you never know when you might experience problems with your site or blog.
Businesses are advised to tweet a minimum of 5 times a day, 7 days a week for maximum growth opportunities.
They’re also told to post to Facebook regularly.
Oh, and Linkedin. And Pinterest.
And Google+. Okay, maybe not Google+ anymore.
Then there’s the growth of other social media sites that you just have to be on – and suddenly it all becomes a bit overwhelming.
There are tools like Buffer to help schedule posts in advance, but this still needs a reasonable amount of effort – and that’s just for one social media site!
Below, we’ve summarised our favourite social media IFTTT recipes:
Keep Your Profile Pictures in Sync – Whenever you update your Facebook profile picture, your Twitter picture will also automatically be adjusted to the same picture.
Facebook Status to Tweet – Every time you post a status, this recipe will automatically tweet the same thing.
Tweet to Facebook Status – This recipe will post tweets to facebook – but only when you use the appropriate hashtag. This is easily fixed – just make it your brand hashtag!
Pre-Arranged Status Updates – Never miss annual occasions again; Christmas, New Year, Ramadan, Hanukah…you’ll have your tweets handled way in advance – so no embarrassing slip ups!
Save Your Tweets – This one allows you to create a searchable archive of your tweets on a Google spreadsheet. It’ll even include the tweets you later decide to delete. This can help you to analyse your tweets at a later date for any reason.
Print Facebook – Using a HP printer, this app allows you to use the hashtag #print to print any Facebook post immediately.
Read Tweets Later – Any tweet you ‘like’ will be automatically saved to the app Pocket, meaning you can find and read them more easily at a later date. This is perfect if you’re busy whilst browsing but you like the look of an article that has been shared onto your feed. Give it a like, and return later on to give it a read!
Send Thanks to New Followers – will tweet all new followers saying ‘Thanks!’ – this message is customisable. These can be perceived negatively sometimes, so put some creativity into it rather than opting for a generic “Thanks for following!”.
Feedly to Buffer – Buffer is a web app for sending updates to social media accounts at a scheduled time. Feedly is an RSS reader that allows you to read posts from your favourite websites all in one place. Using Feedly and this IFTTT recipe, you can save articles that will then be automatically added into your Buffer queue.
Back-up Photos to an iOS Photo Album – When you’re tagged in a photo on Facebook, this recipe will download them automatically and save them onto your Apple-made device.
Automatic Photo Upload – This recipe will email you a sharable link to any photo you take with your iPhone – great for quick and easy sharing once you’ve taken your picture.
iOS Photo Backup – This one will back your iOS photos to a Dropbox location, instead. If you’re looking to share images with a private group, or for easy access later when you’re in the office, then this is a great way to do it.
Reddit Company Alerts – When your company is mentioned on Reddit, you’ll be provided with a notification. It’s ideal for spotting trouble and taking swift action to either resolve a situation, or simply say thanks.
MailChimp Subscriber Alerts – This recipe will provide you with a notification every time a new subscriber signs on via MailChimp. Perfect for small businesses looking to grow their list, but perhaps not ideal for those adding hundreds of subscribers a day – unless you use separate email filtering!
Mobiles have been taking over for a long time now, but each year they get more and more brilliant at improving your day-to-day working life.
There are so many ways in which your smartphone can be boosting your efficiency and ease of work each day.
For those that are in a rush each day, these clever automation hacks can be extremely useful for saving time and being more organised. They can also help you out in some tricky situations!
Check out the best mobile IFTTT recipes below:
Ring Volume by Location – This allows you to turn your phone onto silent automatically every time you enter the workplace, based on your location settings. It will make phones going off in meetings a thing of the past – for you, anyway!
Email Photos – Automatically back up every photo you take to your email address. This is perfect if you easily wish to access all of your pictures on the computer instantly, and you don’t have access to iCloud or similar services.
Sync New Contacts to Google Sheets – Every new contact you add to your phone will be backed up in a Google spreadsheet. You’ll never lose your crucial connections again!
Escape Via Phone Call – Send a discreet text with this IFTTT recipe and you’ll get a fake phone call, allowing yourself to escape easily from any situation or conversation you’d prefer not to be in. Sneaky!
Get Notified About Important Emails – Receive a notification every time an email lands in your ‘important’ folder, to make sure you respond in a timely manner.
Transcribe Voicemail to Evernote – Miss a call? Have your voicemail automatically transcribed and be sent to Evernote, along with a link to the original recording.
Automatic Welcome – This recipe allows you to send a hello to anyone you add to your contacts, asking them to correct any mistakes in their contact details.
Tell Alexa to Find Your Phone – If you’ve lost your phone, then you’ll be able to track it down with the help of Alexa. Then all you need to do is follow the sound of ringing.
Turn WiFi Off When You Leave an Area – Perfect for saving battery between the home and the office.
Mute Ringtone When Battery is Low – Conserve power by dispensing with the audible part of your ringtone.
Making yourself more productive is what many hard workers wish to achieve.
In fact, even lazy people wish they could do more work in less time!
All IFTTT recipes tend to help with productivity overall but these are our best productivity IFTTT recipes for business use:
Create New Task in Todoist for Google Calendar Events – Meaning that you’ll never miss a deadline again (or at least, that you’ll have one less excuse to fall back on).
Track All Business Trips with Evernote – This recipe will log the trips taken by your car using Evernote – ensuring that they’re all logged.
Business Card Database – This recipe will keep a log of all the business cards you’re ever handed – so that you’ll have a searchable database the next time you’re trying to remember the details of a particular contact.
Github Alerts – This one will provide you with a notification every time a new issue is assigned to you on Github.
Log Time Spent in the Office with Wolfram Data Drop – Using this recipe, you’ll be able to track exactly how long you’re spending in the office.
Create a Journal of Your Life – This app creates a journal in Evernote based on the items in your calendars and to-do list. Great for providing an incentive!
Reminder to Bring an Umbrella if it’s Going to Rain – This recipe will add a new task to your Toodledo or Todoist to-do list if rain is forecast the following day.
SMS to Todoist Converter – This recipe instructs Todoist to create a task whenever someone sends you a message containing the words ‘remember to’.
Siri Todoist Reminders – This recipe adds new iOS reminders to your inbox on Todoist, allowing you to use Siri to set reminders on Todoist.
Track Internet Downtime – Using Particle, this recipe will track the proportion of time the internet is working. If you’re suffering from occasional downtime, this’ll let you know exactly how big the problem is – information which will prove handy when you come to speak with your provider.
These IFTTT recipes for time may be pure laziness or pure genius. We can’t quite decide:
Bedtime Phone Mute – This will allow you to disconnect for the night by automatically silencing your android phone at the time you set as your bedtime.
Morning Phone Unmute – Of course, you’ll also want your phone to return to life when you wake up. This recipe will do just that.
Lights On! – If you’re lucky enough to have some of those fancy Philipps lights, then this recipe will help make them even cooler. It’s perfect for both the home and office.
LIFX Fade-in Lights On – This recipe does the same thing, except it gradually fades the lights on over thirty minutes.
Create Google Calender Event with a Voicemail – This allows you to use your phone to make entries into a Google Calender.
Package Tracker – This recipe logs packages, and saves the details of the journey to a Google Calender. It’ll update with any changes in shipping status, allowing you to remain on top of the situation.
If you’re interested in currency, exchange rates, stock markets and more, then these money-related recipes are what you’ll want to get your hands on:
Log the Exchange Rate Every Day – this app will follow the changes in a currency of your choice; it’s great for importers, exporters, and those planning summer holidays.
Stock Drop Alert – this app will send you an email whenever a stock drops below a certain price.
Stock Rise Alert – this app does the same thing, except for stock rises.
Closing Price – this app will send you the closing price of a specific stock when the market closes.
Bitcoin Price Notifications – this recipe will email you the price of bitcoin every day.
Dow price drop notification – this recipe will notify you when the Dow index drops by 3%, allowing you to track the overall changes in major stocks and avoid flash-crashes.
Even your health can be automated…well, almost.
If you’re already using fitness apps and accessories, then the following fitness IFTTT recipes will do you the world of good:
Log Hours Slept – this recipe uses Fitbit to track the hours you’re sleeping, and automatically imports them into Google Calender.
Sleepless Reminder – if you’ve not had a great night’s sleep the previous night, this recipe will issue a reminder that you aren’t hitting your sleep target and should probably go to bed earlier.
Go for a Run – this recipe will automatically insert Nike+ running sessions into your Google Calendar – leaving you with no excuse but to lace up.
Go for a Walk – this one works slightly differently; it’ll ensure you’ve met your daily steps target by instructing you to go for a walk if you’re short by eight in the evening.
‘Target Missed’ Notification – sometimes, you might forget about that goal you’d set with Fitbit. This recipe will issue a stern reprimand – instructing you to mend your slothful ways!
Some of these aren’t that useful…
But they are cool. No doubt.
Why wouldn’t you want notifications of space exploration?
Astronaut in Space Notifications – if you’d like to keep track on humankind’s emergence as a spacefaring species, but don’t want to have to keep checking Spaceflight Now, then this is the recipe for you.
New York Times Digest – if you’d like to keep abreast of the world of global business, then this recipe will deliver a selection of the NYT’s most popular articles to your inbox.
Tech News Updates – with the help of an internet-connected LaMetric clock, you’ll be able to keep on top of the latest happenings in the world of tech.
Smoke Detected – if your house is burning down, then you’ll want to know about it. This recipe allows Nest Protect to send a notification to your phone when it detects smoke.
Set Thermostat – this recipe uses special hyper-local weather information to adjust the temperature set by your Nest thermostat. You’ll never need worry about freezing winter offices again!
IFTTT Announcements – this recipe allows you to follow announcements from IFTTT; they’ll arrive in your inbox the moment a blog is published on the IFTTT site. This can help you discover more great recipes that weren’t listed in here!