“If This, Then That” (IFTTT) is an awesome little app that helps you to save time and automate many aspects of your online life. The idea behind the app is simple; you can set up “recipes” which trigger an action when something happens. For example, if you change your Facebook profile picture, you can set the app to update your Twitter profile picture as well. With just a couple of recipes set up you can save loads of time, leaving you free to focus on the important stuff. Below are my 5 favourite recipes.
1. Photo Sharing
Instagram is my go to app for sharing photos and a lot of my recipes are triggered when I post a new photo. When a new photo gets added to my Instagram account, IFTTT will do the following:
- Save the photo to a folder in my Dropbox which is a great way of keeping backups.
- Share the photo natively on Twitter. It used to be the case that Twitter would give your followers a nice preview of the image. Now that Instagram is owned by Twitters rival, Facebook, this is no longer the case. When you share an Instagram photo to Twitter, a link is displayed which followers have to click. IFTTT can instead share the photo natively so that a preview is shown within your Tweet and followers don't have to click a link to view the photo. This is great for marketers who use Twitter and Instagram to promote their brands as the Tweets get much higher engagement.
— Paul Minors (@paulminors) January 25, 2015
- The photo is added to my Flickr account. Once it's in my Flickr account, two things happen: 1) The photo shows up on the sidebar of my website which is powered by Flickr. 2) Our Apple TV is set to display photos from my Flickr account as a screen saver. So as I take more and more photos, they automatically get added to the screen saver and rotate on the TV while playing music.
2. Have the Weather Report Sent as a TXT
When you wake up in the morning, it's nice to know what the weather plans to do that day. Instead of unlocking your phone and using a weather app (which is of course waaaay to much work), set IFTTT to send you a TXT every morning with the weather forecast for the day. There are lots of other cool things you can do with weather alerts as well:
- Receive a TXT when the temperature is due to drop below 5 degrees. You can even customise the text within the TXT to something like: “Brrr, it's getting cold out. The temperature is now 4 degrees. Remember to turn on the radiator”.
- Receive a TXT when it's due to rain. e.g. “Looks like rain. Remember your umbrella!”.
- If you connect IFTTT to specific smart devices you can do some really awesome stuff like activate sprinklers at a certain time of the day, or if it reaches a certain temperature. Cool or what!?
3. Add Functionality to Pocket
Pocket is my favourite “read later” app and is ideal for saving articles to read at a more convenient time (read more about using Pocket to remove distractions). Here are a couple of the ways I use IFTTT with Pocket:
- If an article/video is favourited in Pocket, it gets Tweeted on my Twitter account.
- If I'm on YouTube and mark a video as “Watch Later” it gets added to Pocket. This is a nice way of keeping all videos and articles in one place vs. having to switch between Pocket and YouTube to find the videos I want to watch.
- If I tag an article/video with “Productivity” in Pocket, it gets added to my “Productivity” notebook in Evernote.
4. Empowering Evernote
Evernote is one of my all time favourite productivity apps and is the perfect place to collect resources and work on important documents. Here are the recipes I like to use to empower Evernote further:
- In Google Mail, if I add the “Evernote” label to an email it gets sent to Evernote. This is perfect for keeping an easily accessible record of important documents or communications.
- If I favourite a Tweet it gets appended to a “Favourite Tweets” note in Evernote.
5. Other Useful Recipes
Here are my other useful IFTTT recipes that help automate my life:
- If I update my Facebook cover photo, my Twitter photo is updated to the same image. This is handy for keeping your online profiles consistent with one another. I'm hoping that in the future IFTTT will bring out the support needed to make this work with Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn as well.
- If an event on my Google Calendar contains the word “Meeting” I receive a TXT 10 minutes before saying something like: “Marketing Meeting is starting in 10 minutes. Go to the toilet now!”.
Are you already using IFTTT? If so please share any useful recipes you've found in the comments below!