As our lives continue to get busier and busier, we rely more heavily on technology to help us get through the day. 20 years ago we couldn’t imagine that we would have an entire calendar, library, music player, phonebook, camera and notepad sitting in our pockets all day every day. Now that we are adding artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things into our homes and offices, standing up to turn off a light is just too much work!
Imagine this, you are driving home and as your car crosses over a street near your house your garage door opens, your lights turn on, your heater kicks on and starts warming up the house, and the TV turns on the news. Some may think setting up these types of automations is being lazy, but it could also be seen as doing things much more efficiently. This not only works for home automation but your job and your office can also benefit from automated tasks.
In an office setting, automation can also be referred to as workflow. When you do certain tasks in a certain order every time. Workflows can be as complicated as a huge flowchart with several options and paths based on various events, or can be as simple as moving a piece of paper from one box to another.
There are two really popular automation services that allow you to set up a plethora of tasks. The first is IFTTT, which stands for If This… Then That. The wording stems from programming language when you set up IF statements. An IF statement is the part of programming that means IF this certain thing happens, like if I click on this link, then this other thing should happen like the link opens up.
IFTTT works similarly in that you connect various services, and then start making them talk to each other. Going back to our earlier example, you can set up an applet that will turn on your lights when your phone reaches a certain geographic location. This requires you to connect your smart lights and your phone’s GPS. Browsing through the services you can connect will also give you some of the most popular applets that are associated with that service.
Another popular service is called Zapier. While IFTTT offers a one to one connection, Zapier can provide multiple steps within a single “zap”. For this reason, most professionals would prefer Zapier to help automate many different work tasks. Some examples include creating tasks automatically, moving files based on specific rules, and helping organize research within Evernote or Pocket.
There really are endless possibilities for these automation tasks. Here are a few of our favorites for business professionals.
- Get a digest of new sales invoices sent to your Gmail on a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule
- Create a RescueTime highlight when a Trello card is moved
- Add new Trello cards or Basecamp tasks to your personal to-do list
- Create Google Calendar events from new Trello cards
- Add new OneNote notes to Google Drive as a text file
- Create Trello cards from new Gmail emails
The list could really go on and on. Setting up automated tasks for things you do on a regular basis can save you time and money! Automation is no longer a thing of the future. It is here today, and it can help you get more done. So check out the services available to connect on both services, and figure out what workflows you can automate today!