Tag Archives: productivity

IFTTT – supercharged productivity

For my first blog post about something I’ve learned on my Master’s, I shall expound the benefits of IFTTT – a web tool I’ve found both useful and elegant.

What is IFTTT?

IFTTT screenshot

IFTTT stands for ‘If this, then that.’ The aim is to save the user time by managing output across the user’s various different internet accounts.

For example, I could wish for all of my blog posts to have a link posted immediately on my Facebook timeline, or, in IFTTT-speak: ‘If blog post, then Facebook post.’

Recipes

This is what is known as a recipe: any action that causes a corresponding action on another website, program or application. Another example is getting tomorrow’s weather forecast texted to you; the possibilities are so extensive that it’s almost impossible to list them all. Helpfully, IFTTT has a list of its most popular recipes.

IFTTT recipes

What is particularly exciting, though, is that anyone can create a recipe. This doesn’t require knowledge of coding – everything is made very simple by the IFTTT system. The only requisite is that the channel exists.

Channels

A channel is any website, program or application that works with IFTTT. For most people, this will include everything that has anything to do with productivity: Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, Last.fm, calendars, text messages, email – the list goes on. There are currently 72 different channels.

IFTTT channels

All the user must do is grant IFTTT permission, and Bob’s your uncle – the channel is connected.

Triggers

Channels work through triggers. A trigger is the part of the recipe that controls the interaction between the channels.

To use the earlier example, a user might want his Facebook profile to publish links to his blog posts. This publishing involves the simplest of triggers. A slightly more advanced trigger would be to have only posts with certain tags posted. In IFTTT-speak: ‘If blog post with ‘social media’ tag, then Facebook post.’

IFTTT trigger

A further example of a useful trigger is to be notified of the weather only if there’s a storm coming. This would save the user from having to trawl through the weather every day to check for himself.

Ok – but What’s the point?

Productivity. IFTTT can save you an awful lot of time. Even if you consider yourself an infrequent internet user (if those still exist), IFTTT could help you. Who doesn’t want to know if a storm is coming, for instance?

Don’t just take my word for it. The site is ultra user-friendly, and even has a mobile app. The possibilities are vast, and growing every day.

As IFTTT says, put the internet to work for you.

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Have I missed anything? Is there a better tool out there? Have you had a bad experience with IFTTT? Let me know by posting a comment below.