Technology can make us crazy. It makes our lives so much easier in so many ways, but it can also complicate them. So when a service's slogan is "Put the internet to work for you," I get excited. I first signed up for IFTTT (which stands for "if this, then that") about a year ago so I could schedule MyPermissions.org reminders, and I've been hooked ever since.
Think of IFTTT as a short cut creator for different online services. Whenever a certain action (called a trigger) occurs, IFTTT automatically sets another action in motion. "If this, then that." There are 60 services, called channels, that integrate with IFTTT, including Facebook, Twitter, email, RSS, SMS, and more. For each channel, there are several triggers and actions. You use these triggers and actions to create recipes, or the actual "if this, then that" sentence. Sometimes recipes have other ingredients or pieces of data, like an email subject line or text of an SMS message.
I've been spending some time lately mining for the best IFTTT recipes and trying to create some gems of my own. They range from the best lifehacks I've ever seen to truly random and bizarre, yet awesome. We also have a guest post over on the Formstack blog with 5 IFTTT recipes for social media.
But every time I write one list of great IFTTT recipes, I find more. So here are 10 recipes I think you'll find helpful.
Feel free to disagree, but I feel like not being prepared for gloomy weather can ruin your day. Let's say you forgot to check the weather one morning. You dress for warm and sunny, only to find it cold and rainy on your commute. You're freezing, soaking wet, and grumpy by the time you get to work. Don't you think you'd work a little better if you were warm, dry, and happy?
I'm sure we're all familiar with the feeling that accompanies losing an important document. Personally, I'm constantly telling myself I'll get better at backing up the most important stuff, but usually forget. There are a lot of IFTTT recipes to help with that. This one backs up files from Dropbox to Google Drive.
Don't even try to pretend like you've never misplaced your phone in a room or building. You know it's there, but not sure which couch cushions it's between or what pocket you left it in. With this recipe, you just send an email to IFTTT with the word 'find' in it, and IFTTT will call your phone for you.
The best part of online shopping is waiting for the package to arrive…or is it the worst? It can be tempting to check the tracking number every 15 minutes. With this IFTTT recipe, you may still want to check online, but you won't need to. Enter your package's shipping number and receive a text message whenever the status changes.
Isn't it nice when sites let you save a search or notify you when there's a new result for a certain search? This IFTTT recipe uses the URL of the search and emails you whenever a new result comes in. This is really helpful if you're looking for something. You'll be one of the firsts to know that someone's selling a big screen TV for next to nothing.
So at first glance, this one seems like it might just clog up your calendar. But you never know when this could come in handy. I once heard of someone proving to a credit card company that his card was stolen by comparing his check-ins to the time and location of purchases on the card. Plus, you can make a separate calendar that can be easily hidden.
Sure, there are really fancy fitness apps and devices that can track what activity you do, how long you do it, how many calories were burned, etc. But sometimes you just want to keep track of how often you exercise. With this recipe, texting 'workout' to IFTTT will add a line in a workout log spreadsheet on Google Drive with the date and time of your workout.
This is a simple IFTTT recipe that can be customized for any date and time, or any reminder you need. Just choose the day and time, and what the text message should say. You'll never forget the rent, cable bill, etc.
Is it just me, or are the most boring places/activities also the ones where we don't have WiFi or 3G to browse the web on our phones? This recipe ensures you have plenty of offline reading material on your phone. It takes content from RSS feeds and imports it into Pocket for offline viewing.
Marking emails for review is only helpful when you actually remember to back and view them. For a lot of us, that sometimes doesn't happen. But every time you 'star' an email, this will create an event in Google Calendar for you to go back and review the emails.
How do you create digital shortcuts for yourself? Share your favorite IFTTT recipes in the comments!