We do so many manual things in our business that as we grow the time to fit in the important business stuff seems to just disappear. But more importantly we don't actually do some things that would really help our business because they just seem too hard. In the 1st automate tip I introduced Zapier which is one of my all time favourite tools. Now I want to introduce you to If This Then That.

It works exactly as the title would suggest.

If this happens then make that happen.

So there is always a trigger and an action. You can create connections between 59 different services so far. So it's similar to Zapier but has quite a few different services as well.

The difference? Well I use Zapier to connect more of my back end business services. Such as send an automatic note to yammer as soon as someone's invoice becomes overdue in Xero. I use IFTTT more for organisation. I'm a big reader and encourage all of our clients to read blog posts and different articles for ideas, the latest news and to study what's happening in the rest of the business world. There are some articles I read that I would like to follow up on. Some I like to share with others (via Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest) and others that give me an idea for a blog post to share. I read on my iPad and use an app called Feeddler RSS. I've therefore created the following IFTTT recipes:

  • If I press the star button in Feedler automatically send that to my Buffer account (this then posts to Twitter and or Facebook depending on what I want)
  • If I press #action this automatically sends to my Evernote account and puts it in my Action folder
  • If I press #bi this automatically sends to my Evernote account and puts in it in my Blog Ideas folder

This then just organises everything for me so I can come back to it when I'm ready. We also have a few reminder services setup to post things at certain times of the month and or day. Things like voting for employee of the month (post is automatically delivered to Yammer). You can also look at automatically filing attachments from Gmail just by clicking the forward button.

There are also some fun things you can create such as Weather messages, saving your Instagram/Facebook photos etc. But the main thing is to save you time with the little tasks. The ones that happen regularly.

Whilst the things that Zapier and IFTTT do seem small and like they would only save a tiny amount of time think about how often you do these tasks. Think about the fact that some of them you just don't do because you don't have the time. Did you know a 6 min saving per day equates to an extra half an hour a week, or an extra 1,560 hours per year. Yes that's right. More than an entire day.

But the big advantage is actually just looking at things like Zapier and IFTTT. Looking at different options and what's possible helps to stimulate the brain and think of other things you would automate that you now have to do manually.

Sometimes it's the little automations that make the big differences.

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