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20+ Great @IFTTT Recipes To Enhance Your Productivity!

2013 December 16
tags: Android, IFTTT, iPhone, Maestro, Productivity, Smartphone Productivity, Task Automation, Time Management, Wildfire
by Andrew   

IFTTT

Regardless of their limitations, smartphones go an incredibly long way toward improving productivity when the right apps and services are used and when distractions are limited or managed. And the right apps and services definitely vary by individual. I’ve long been a fan of Virtuosity’s Wildfire and Maestro, a voice-addressable virtual assistant and integrated messaging platform, respectively. Unfortunately, both services get expensive quickly when used properly, and neither has been really updated to compete with the solutions enabled by smartphones and event-based actions. In this post, I address solutions for using IFTTT’s great service in combination with apps you likely already use to enable dramatic increases in productivity. 

The challenge

In my endless quest for productivity-improving, stress-reducing technology, I have tried – and discarded – quite a few technologies over the years. I definitely am an early adopter of new technologies, limited in my integration of technology with my lifestyle largely only because I can’t have Jane whispering in my ear (bonus points for those of you who get the reference).  Anyone who knows me personally knows my smartphone functions more as a permanent feature of my hand that provides me constant access to data streams, research and computational engines, and productivity apps as opposed to a phone and games platform. Better voice recognition and integration with more services would have me considering a Bluetooth earpiece. As it is, they’re just irritating for anything other than phone calls in quiet environments. 

The IFTTT Solutions

IFTTT (pronounced like “gift” without a “g”) stands for If This, Then That. It uses recipes (simple combinations of triggers and events) to cause an action based on another action, a time, or a status change in one of the triggers. Abstractly, it may sound complicated, but it isn’t difficult when it comes to using it. In fact, it’s easy:

       

  • Go to ifttt.com and sign up for a free account
       

  • Turn on a few of the channels you already use
       

  • Select from recommended recipes or browse the larger categories

I’m going to recommend you just go ahead and activate the Pushover channel now and download the Pushover app, because it will enable quite a few useful notifications that can be managed in one app. In fact, Pushover is a great productivity enhancer when set up correctly in combination with prudent notification recipes from IFTTT. 

I’ll also recommend you activate the Gmail channel (if you use Gmail), and the phone, SMS, Twitter, Evernote, and Pocket and/or Readability channels. 

Recommended Recipes

If you turn on too many notifications, your productivity will suffer, but some notifications are particularly useful for helping reduce interruptions. 

       

  • Turn off your mail notifications.  Set up Gmail recipes to notify Pushover on important emails (by sender address, name match, subject, or keyword). Yes, you can set this up to send you SMS messages, but I recommend Pushover because the notification sound is distinct and you can view all notifications in a running stream if you choose.  If you download the smartphone app, you can also quickly add a recipe when you are waiting on a message from someone. 
       

  • Set up the phone channel with a recipe to enable you to leave IFTTT a voicemail which will be converted to a calendar appointment. This is useful for quickly blocking a space on your calendar when you’re in a hurry and lack the time to open a calendar app, add the appointment, and edit it. Just remember to check the calendar later to ensure your appointment looks like you want it to. 

     

  • Dictate a note or memo to the phone çhannel and receive an emailed transcription and audio attachment with this recipe

       

  • Use Siri to add notes to Evernote with this recipe and its notes

       

  • Enable a recipe to add Gmail messages to reminders when starred.

       

  • Take advantage of a recipe to add a Gmail to iOS reminders when labeled to-do. 

       

  • Save Gmail attachments with a SkyDrive recipe or a Google Drive recipe

       

  • Save Gmail messages and attachments to Evernote with this recipe

       

  • Use a recipe to invite new iOS contacts to connect via LinkedIn. 

       

  • Save iOS photos to Dropbox or SkyDrive or Google Drive

       

  • Ensure items saved for later in Feedly also get saved to Pocket with this recipe, from Pocket to Evernote with this one, and from Readability to Evernote with this one

       

  • Get an RSS feed’s posts in Readability here

       

  • Activate a recipe to place a call to your phone at a preset time if you need a reminder, or an excuse, to leave a meeting. 

       

  • Turn on a recipe to tweet a particular message when you text a specific trigger to IFTTT. For example, tweet a thanks to a new follower without having to open a Twitter app. 

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