Use IFTTT to simplify your life

aNewDomain.net – I’m a big fan of automation, especially when it comes to repetitive or boring tasks. In my quest to schedule and systematize the world around me, I discovered a wonderful service called IFTTT.com. If This Then That (IFTTT) – pronounced like gift without the g – is an excellent service you can use to automate actions based on certain events. I can’t say enough about how wonderful it is.

If This Than That IFTTT

Images Credit: Jeremy Lesniak

The premise is simple – you create a Recipe that causes something to happen after something else happens. For example, I receive an email the day before the weather looks appropriate for mowing the lawn. I also have an email sent to me with every local Craigslist post in the Computer Service Required section. Lastly, every time FedEx emails me about something, that email is forwarded to one of my co-workers. All of this happens without any input from me.

Create your own

You can select from a wide variety of web services, or Triggers. Email and social media are the obvious choices for most people, but you may find use for the vast number of other services, called Channels. Once you’ve selected a Channel as a Trigger, you can move on.

If This Than That IFTTT

Here I’ve selected Facebook as my Channel, giving me five options for Triggers:

If This Than That IFTTT

I’ve selected to have something happen every time I upload a photo to Facebook.

If This Than That IFTTT

I then select a Channel for my Action – this is the Then That part of IFTTT – and an action to occur within that Channel.

Here I’m going to send a Tweet.

If This Than That IFTTT

I’ve chosen to Post a Tweet with an image, so now I have to tell IFTTT what I want to happen with that Tweet. In this case, I’m getting a really good recommendation – to Tweet the same photo and use the same caption I applied to the photo when it went on Facebook. I like that suggestion, so there’s no need to change it. Now I click Create Action to confirm.

If This Than That IFTTT

The only thing left to do now is give it a name and let the automation begin.

If This Than That IFTTT

Final thoughts

The biggest challenge to IFTTT is forcing yourself to think logically. There are a good number of Recipes that will work easily, as with the previous example. But if you want to get creative, and I encourage you to do so, try to think outside the box. You can’t combine more than two services into one action, but there’s no reason you can’t have multiple Recipes creating chains of Actions.

There are a lot of ways you can use this personally. But it’s also a great way for managers to help their staff stay organized and hold to company policies on retention and organization. I say, get creative and have fun with IFTTT.

Jeremy Lesniak
Based in Vermont, Jeremy Lesniak is managing editor at aNewDomain.net and founder of Vermont Computing, Inc. and whistlekick.com. Email him [email protected]
Jeremy Lesniak
Jeremy Lesniak
Tags: Productivity,Technology