The Geekiest Automation Ive Ever Created

The geekiest automation I’ve ever created

I love automating different processes using my Mac. In my opinion, if you can make your computer take on more of the heavy lifting and automate repetitive tasks, you can drastically improve how quickly you can get stuff done.

In this post, I’d like to share a new process that I’ve automated using a few Mac apps and internet services.

UPDATE: Since writing this post, I've now upgraded my workflow and use the Zapier webhook to trigger my Zap. You can read more about how to do this here.

Background story

I get dozens of emails every week from subscribers who are responding to my various email campaigns and automated emails. With over 15,000 people on my email list, it’s not uncommon to get some unsubscribes. Most people are pretty good at finding the unsubscribe button at the bottom of my emails, but every now and then, I’ll get a message like this:

“Can you please take me off your list”

Apart from this being really inconvenient (the “unsubscribe” link is right there!), it means I have to open MailChimp, search for their email address and manually unsubscribe them from the list.

This takes way too long for my liking. Time to automate a solution!

The solution

For a detailed breakdown of each stage of this process, check out my walkthrough video.

A basic rundown:

  1. Copy the user's email address from Mail.app.
  2. Launch Alfred (Option + space).
  3. Type “;unsub”. This triggers a TextExpander snippet which expands to “unsubscribe (and then the contents of the clipboard which contains the person’s email address)”.
  4. This prompts Alfred to create a new text file in a special folder of Dropbox with the file name as the user's email. As a little bonus, it also triggers a notification to confirm this action has taken place.
  5. This new file triggers a Zapier automation which then unsubscribes the user in MailChimp by searching for the file name (the user's email) on my email list.
  6. Finally, Hazel goes in after 1 hour and moves the text file from Dropbox to the trash.
  7. Done!

This process takes about 10 seconds which is much better than the 1-2 minutes it used to take before. It doesn’t sound like much, but simplifying cumbersome tasks makes all the difference in your day to day workflow.

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