4 Creative Ways to Use IFTTT

January 12, 2016 • Devin Partida


You can easily lose time on small tasks that you either have to do or feel that you have to do. A ton of time can be gained by making all of those little tasks more efficient, but streamlining is difficult for everyone. With IFTTT, you can use technology to automate tasks you didn’t even know needed automating.

You sit down to work on a project and you figure you should check your email first. Before you know it, you’re down a rabbit hole of Star Wars memes on Google Images. With all the accessible technology these days — and the distractions that come with it — your productivity can sometimes take a hit. The trick is to get in front of it by turning your tech addiction in a productive direction.

What Is IFTTT?

IFTTT stands for “If This, Then That.” IFTTT is a free service that provides automated processes for little tasks you think nothing of every day. IFTTT has catalogs of different “recipes” that use APIs to connect cloud-based apps and products to make your life way easier. From basic, everyday needs like knowing the weather to slightly more circumstantial needs like a fake phone call to get you out of awkward situations, IFTTT has you covered.

Here are four creative ways to use IFTTT to increase your productivity at work and at play.

Automatically Log Work Hours in IFTTT

If you’re a freelancer or if you work hourly for your company from home, this great IFTTT recipe can save you time on tracking your hours. The recipe determines that if you’re in a certain location (i.e., an office or a place where you always work,) your hours will be tracked in a spreadsheet on Google Drive. Easily track how much time you spend on each project, bill your clients and evaluate the time you spend at work or at home by setting different locations to track to different sheets. This way, when you’re done working, you can spend more time relaxing at home instead of logging your hours.

Automatically Save Attachments

You probably don’t even think about saving the email attachments someone sends you. If you need it, you save it. But now, you don’t have to save it yourself, because there’s an IFTTT recipe for that.

Use this one to automatically download attachments from Gmail and catalog them in a Dropbox folder by sender. You’ll always know where your attachments are saved, and they’re easily searchable. This could save you anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours every month.

Automatically Post Facebook Birthday Notes

Especially if you’re a product of the digital and social media age, the number of contacts and friends you have on your multiple social accounts can be a lot to keep track of. Never miss someone’s birthday again by using this IFTTT recipe to send the Facebook notes for you.

Connect Facebook and your Google Calendar to the recipe, so that any time a birthday calendar event pops up, a heartfelt “Happy Birthday!!” is sent to their profile without you opening either app. Imagine all the time you’ll save by not having to type all of those out.

Automatically Hear About New Craigslist Postings

Apartment hunting? Looking for a gig as a freelance blogger? Want to buy a lightly used beige couch? Install this IFTTT recipe and avoid the Craigslist time suck. Every time a new Craigslist posting that matches your search term comes up, get a Gmail message that lets you know. That way, the jobs will come to you instead of forcing you to wasting your time searching through old posts.

Check out the IFTTT site for all their recipes. You can even write your own recipes quickly and easily. IFTTT recipes can help you automate your online life, making you more productive and getting you back a ton of valuable time that you probably didn’t realize you were missing.