Automation is the name of the game when it comes to using technology to improve your workflow efficiency. Thanks to an ever-increasing level of connectivity between services, it’s now possible to integrate several different ones, reducing the manual effort for many tasks. However, in most cases, this necessitates that the services in question make their API accessible to others, and many times, might require the creation of a ‘service chain’ that gets confusing to manage. It’s possible to automate many mundane tasks you’ve been spending time on, but the time and effort you might need to get these set up and running might put you off.
However, wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to centralize and consolidate your online services in one place – giving you what pretty much amounts to a unified point of configuration. If that’s what you’ve been looking for, IFTTT (www.ifttt.com) might be worth trying out.
IFTTT centralizes syncing between all your online services
IFTTT – or If This Then That – uses a set of predetermined triggers to set off a chain of events, thereby helping automate tasks you’d either have to do manually, or spend time getting configured. You can use IFTTT for many online tasks, letting the automation cut down on the time you have to devote to moving information around – have news and weather updates delivered to your E-mail, automatically post your Twitter updates to Facebook, and even push your starred E-mails to Dropbox or Evernote.
Make Dropbox more useful by linking it to your E-Mail
What do you get when you take Dropbox (arguably the most popular cloud storage and sync service around), E-mail, (your main source of communication, especially at work), and IFTTT? A far more powerful inbox than you could have imagined.
IFTTT allows you to link several different services together using ‘If-Then’ triggers and actions. By setting up your online services on IFTTT, you can easily automate information sharing between services you wouldn’t have thought could work together – RSS feeds and Dropbox? Yes; Send E-Mail alerts as SMS? Yes, you can do all this, and much, much more with IFTTT
Log on to IFTTT’s website and you’ll discover several ‘recipes’ or presets for automating your workflow. Here are some ways you can hitch your E-mail to Dropbox:
Automatically send all E-mail attachments to Dropbox
Use your mail account to trigger downloads to Dropbox
Save incoming E-mail attachments to Dropbox
Create PDFs from mail and save them in Dropbox
Send automated E-mails to a specified recipient when a new files is added to Dropbox
Mail files in Dropbox to a specified recipient
These are just a few of the ‘recipes’ available; you can also create your own by following this process:
Select Trigger channel: This could be your E-mail account. (You might need to authorize IFTTT to let it access your data on another service, or ‘channel’)
Select Trigger: This is the event that you want to use as a trigger for automated information sharing
Choose Action channel – this is the second service you want to connect. If you want to connect Dropbox (or any other service), select it from the list
Select Action: Choose how you want to link your Email and Dropbox
Activate your recipe
IFTTT might not be the panacea to your automation woes, but it does simplify the process a bit. Linking your E-mail and Dropbox is one of the most useful roles for IFTTT we can think of – it opens up your Dropbox to a wider vista of opportunities and lets you incorporate it into your daily workflow with ease.
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About the author:
Niraj is the Founder of Hiver. Hiver turns Gmail into a powerful collaboration tool by letting you share your Gmail labels. When not working at Hiver on programming or customer support, Niraj likes to play guitar.
Niraj can be reached on Twitter at nirajr.