top-tips-header
Business Management

Top Tips: 5 IFTTT recipes you might not know about (but ought to)

Sandra Henshaw is Head of Content and PR at mobile phone comparison site TigerMobiles.com. Having worked in fashion for 2 years after graduating from university with a degree in Journalism, she combined her love of social networking, technology and writing to forge a career in the mobile phone industry.

Sandra shares her top 5 IFTTT recipes to aid with productivity, social sharing and automating simple repetitive tasks.

What is IFTTT?

If you’re anything like me you’ll often find yourself doing certain repetitive jobs that whilst not time intensive, could still be better spent elsewhere.

One way I’ve managed to speed up my own daily processes is by using IFTTT, a completely free tool that joins together various web services and apps.

The acronym stands for "If This Then That" and in layman’s terms it is, when one thing happens on a web service of your choice IFTTT triggers an automatic reaction on another web service.

Once signed up, IFTTT allows you to create ‘recipes’ using their channels which include hundreds of services including Twitter, Evernote, Email, Dropbox and Gmail.

If you have ever wanted to automatically save files to Google Drive or post blog posts to Twitter then IFTTT is most certainly for you. In fact the list of things achievable with IFTTT is virtually endless, but the end result is always the same: you save yourself time and get more done.

At the time of writing there are 132 channels are available on IFTTT and there are also native IFTTT apps available for both Android and iOS so you can set things up across a number of devices.

Without further ado here are my top 5 IFTTT recipes to help streamline your day. Even if you don’t use them exactly as I do, this post will definitely help you think up your own recipes that will save you time and get more done.

Auto Share New Blog Posts to Social Networks - If you’re posting content on a website then chances are you’re also going to be posting it on your Facebook/Twitter pages immediately after hitting publish. With IFTTT you don’t need to as you can automate all of that and save yourself a job.

I have a recipe setup so that any time a new post on our blog is published, it’s added into our Buffer. (Buffer is a scheduling tool for Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn - you should check it out if you’re not familiar with it). The recipe is the following:

THIS Channel: Feed and ‘New Feed Item’ then paste in your RSS Feed.

THAT Channel: Buffer and ‘Add To Buffer’ (You can also use the Twitter or Facebook channels directly if you prefer)

Don’t just use this recipe for your own blog either; you can also use this for sharing articles from industry websites like, shameless plug time, IDG Connect. The RSS channel also lets you trigger by specific keywords, so if you only want to share posts on a certain topic, you can do.

Save Important Email Attachments to Dropbox - I get A LOT of emails with a large chunk of them containing attachments be it pictures, blog posts or press releases written by our content team. I don’t always have time to read them on the spot and often have to delegate them elsewhere for proof reading or amending. I do this by auto saving them to various folders in our companies Dropbox account.

The recipe I use is:

THIS Channel: Gmail and ‘New email in inbox labelled’

THAT Channel: Dropbox and ‘Add file from URL’

In my case, I have multiple recipes setup for different labels, if I label an email Proofread, it will be automatically be added to the proofreading folder in our Dropbox and actioned by a member of our team (who will also be notified of this courtesy of an IFTTT recipe of their own!)

Automatically Put Your Phone on Silent before a Meeting - At one time or another we’ve all forgotten to switch our mobile phones on silent in an important meeting, at best it’s embarrassing and at worst could cost you a pitch or future work. With IFTTT however you don’t need to worry as it can do it for you. Please note the recipe I use requires an Android device.

Here’s how:

THIS Channel: Google Calendar and ‘Any Events Start’

THAT Channel: Android Device and ‘Mute Ringtone’

Now before any meeting or event scheduled in your Google Calendar your Android phone will automatically be muted 15 minutes prior to it starting.

If you’re an iPhone user, you can’t automatically put your phone on Mute but you can get it to send you a text or a Push Notification telling you to do so ahead of a meeting. Give it a try.

Get Notified If Your Website Has Been Hacked - This one doesn’t really apply to enterprise level or high end ecommerce sites (hopefully you already have something else in place!), but if you run a personal blog or have a small business website then this recipe can be extremely useful.

Websites get hacked on a daily basis and often it’s not something that will take a site offline – it’s injecting code or other forms of spam to aid with Google rankings and other malicious uses.

To monitor your website, first set up a Google alert site search at google.com/alerts for common spammy keywords like ‘Viagra’, ‘Garcinia Cambogia’, ‘Valium’ etc. (E.g: Viagra site:www.yourwebsitehere.com)

Then create a recipe on IFTTT:

THIS Channel: Email or Gmail and ‘New Email From: googlealerts-noreply@google.com

THAT Channel: SMS message to your phone

You will now receive a text message alert if Google discovers those spammy keywords anywhere on your site. Hopefully you’ll never receive a text!

I also use this one on the Tiger Mobiles blog to make sure no spam blog comments have been accidentally approved or slipped through the net.

Backup Your Phone Contacts to a Google Drive Spreadsheet - If you have staff attending industry conferences or networking frequently then this recipe can be a real lifesaver. Not only does it give you a backup in case you manage to lose all your contacts. It lets you sort them and lets other members of the team use them. In my case, if one of our product reviewers gets talking to a member of the Samsung PR team at a launch event then I want to know about it!

Here’s the recipe for iOS devices (there’s currently no Android Contacts channel):

THIS Channel: iOS Contact and ‘Any new contact’

THAT Channel: Google Drive and ‘Add row to spreadsheet’

Here’s the formatting to use too: {{DateAdded}} ||| {{Name}} ||| {{Email}} ||| {{PhoneNumber}} ||| {{Address}} ||| {{Organization}} ||| {{JobTitle}} ||| {{Notes}}

This adds any new contact into a Drive Spreadsheet which you can use for follow ups, product pitches and future networking. Or just as a simple backup in case your phone or iCloud account suffers a catastrophic failure.

My Secret Tip – Turn on the Portable Heater - My final tip isn’t really about productivity but more about staying warm on a cold winter’s day. We’re lucky enough to have a pretty cosy office but during the latter part of the year it can get pretty cold. With IFTTT and a WeMo switch we can turn on the heater all by itself when the temperature drops.

THIS Channel: Weather Channel and ‘Current Temperature Drops Below’

THAT Channel: WeMo Switch and ‘Turn On’

This automatically turns on our heater when the temperature drops below 5 Degrees Celsius in Leeds City Centre. It won’t save you too much time but it will boost your popularity in the office, especially if it comes on before you even arrive.

There you have it, 5 recipes and a cheeky bonus one to help with your productivity If you have any recipes to share or questions then leave a comment below for me to answer.

PREVIOUS ARTICLE

« How fashion is fuelling the new wave of wearable tech

NEXT ARTICLE

Microsoft: CEO Nadella still has his work cut out »
author_image
IDG Connect

IDG Connect tackles the tech stories that matter to you

  • Mail

Recommended for You

International Women's Day: We've come a long way, but there's still an awfully long way to go

Charlotte Trueman takes a diverse look at today’s tech landscape.

Trump's trade war and the FANG bubble: Good news for Latin America?

Lewis Page gets down to business across global tech

20 Red-Hot, Pre-IPO companies to watch in 2019 B2B tech - Part 1

Martin Veitch's inside track on today’s tech trends

Poll

Do you think your smartphone is making you a workaholic?