Tuesday Tool Tip: IFTTT

monkey computer toolsToday I thought I would re-introduce you to the tool IFTTT.  This is one of those productivity tools that you don’t remember that you are even using till you find a need for it again.

Perhaps, like me, you think of IFTTT as that cool little tool that lets all of one’s social media accounts stay in sync… what I post on Twitter magically appears on my blog, on Facebook, etc.  True.  Those tiny little pieces of IFTTT code do accomplish those tasks, but, if you are like me, that might not be a big deal.  I don’t have a Facebook account, and I prefer to be separate and selective regarding what I post where.  But to relegate this tool to a social media distributor is to seriously shortchange what this little productivity powerhouse can do.

With a plethora of services (which IFTTT refers to as Channels) already on board, practically any cause and effect sequence you can think of between services can be automated with an IFTTT recipe.  Just browse the IFTTT site for many slick ideas of ready-made solutions to problems you have been manually solving, or create your own personalized recipe to solve just the “if then…then that” scenario you want to automate.

Consider the following IFTTT solutions to some common productivity problems:

  • “I’m constantly being distracted by Twitter posts with links to articles that sound like something I need to be reading.”
    • Solution: Don’t stop and read now! Use an IFTTT recipe to send those links that you favorite on Twitter directly to Pocket for reading later when you can schedule an appropriate time for that activity.  (Twitter to Pocket IFTTT)
  • “Colleagues send me great Youtube videos of TED talks that don’t have time to watch, but then I lose the email with the link.”
    • Solution:  Mark that YouTube as “watch later” and IFTTT will create an Evernote entry of the video for you! ( YouTube to Evernote IFTTT)
  • “I have a bunch of pdfs and WORD docs saved to my Dropbox.  I wish they were formatted for my Kindle for reading on the go.”
    • Did you know that you can set up a special public folder in your Dropbox called “convert2kindle” and then use an IFTTT recipe to automatically send items added to that folder directly to your Kindle?  Check out that, as well as a few other Kindle IFTTT recipes (RSS To Kindle!) in this handy little post from the Epubor site.
  • “I have several great library technology blogs set up for RSS feeds, but I never get around to reading my stored feeds.  Wish I knew what the topics were so I could weed them out easier.”
    • Send those RSS feeds to your email with this IFTTT recipe! Then move the emailed blog posts that you want to read more carefully to your Pocket for later.  You can even set up a Weekly Pocket Digest to be sent back to your email to remind you of what is still waiting to be read!

These are just a few of the useful ways that IFTTT can help your productivity.  If you are new to IFTTT, this older article from Guiding Tech will introduce you to the main concepts so you can get started. PC Magazine still lists IFTTT among their Editor’s Picks and they also just ran a nice article in March on the application that is worth checking out: Read it here.

What are your favorite IFTTT recipes?  Share with us your IFTTT productivity hacks so we can all progress on our paths to better productivity.

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