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In this series on productivity, author Jess Stratton takes you through the latest tools that will help you run your business and life more efficiently. Each installment covers a particular feature or technique in a different online tool, such as Google Apps, Skype, YouTube, Mint.com, Etsy, and more. Check back every Monday for tips on topics from recording and publishing video chats to managing your finances online.
Jess Stratton here, and welcome to Monday Productivity Pointers. IFTTT is a popular cloud service that gets its name from the programming algorithm of an if statement. If this, then that. Using IFTTT, you can add automation from one cloud service to another without you being involved. IFTTT calls this a recipe. Currently, IFTTT supports 62 different channels, that is, cloud services and social networks, that you can add automation to. Now, the first thing that you need to do is specify a trigger.
For example, if a post comes up on Craigslist that matches a search criteria that you specified. Or, if a friend tags you or uploads a photo of you on Facebook. Now remember: if this, then that. We've got your trigger, but what's the action going to be. For example, that post on Craigslist. If a brand new post comes up on Craigslist that matches your search criteria, then you can automatically be notified via email, or even a text message.
In this video, I'm going to show you how to start creating your own recipes from scratch, using IFTTT. So I opened up my browser and I went to ifttt.com, I created my account, and I'm all logged in. It brings me right to the Dashboard where I can see any recipes that I've already made and any shared recipes that I've used by other members of the IFTTT community. In this case, I don't have any. We're going to create a recipe today. What I want is a text message if it's going to rain tomorrow.
That way, I'll always know if it's going to rain the next day. To get started, I'm going to click the blue Create a Recipe button. I can see the big if this then that menu. So to get started, click the blue this button. The first thing I need to do is choose my trigger channel. Now this is where you could come and browse all your options, and once you look at this list, this could inspire you to make your own automation. So I'm going to show you how to do that. Let's scroll all the way down because I'm interested in this weather channel right here.
I'm going to click the Weather button. And once I've done that, I can find out all the possible triggers that I can activate using this Weather button. Now the first time you choose a trigger, if you'd never used it before, you're going to get an Activate button. In this case I have, so that's why you didn't see it, but it could be as simple as clicking an Activate button, or if your trigger involved a social network, like Facebook or Twitter, you'd be prompted to log in. So these are all the triggers that I can have.
I can get today's weather report, tomorrow's weather report. I can be notified whether the current temperature drops below a certain temperature or rises above a certain temperature. I can scroll down and read all the possible triggers I could choose from. In this case, I'm interested in what tomorrow's forecast calls for. So this trigger monitors changes in tomorrow's forecasted weather. I'm going to click on this, and I want to be notified when tomorrow's forecast calls for rain. When I activated this weather service, this is where it asked me where I was located.
Now, because I've already done that you're not going to see it, but it's as simple as putting in the city and state that you live in. I'm going to click the blue create trigger button. And now, if tomorrow's forecast calls for rain, now I have to choose my that statement. That is, what do I want to happen if tomorrow's forecast calls for rain? So I'm going to click the blue that button. And here's where I can choose all the possible action channels. For example, I could be sent an email, I could add an entry to my Google calendar, maybe I wanted to keep a journal of all the rain days that we had.
In this case, I'm going to scroll down and select the SMS channel which is the texting channel. Now again, I've already activated this channel. Because I've activated it, that was when I told IFTTT what my text phone number was. I don't have to do that again, because I've already done it once. So I'm going to choose Send me an SMS. I click on that blue link, here's where I can even change the message. For example, tomorrow's condition I can see is a variable, so that means it will probably say the word rain because I'm having IFTTT b to be notified when it rains.
So, I can leave it at rain tomorrow if I want, or I can change the text. I can even click this plus and add some more fields, which they call ingredients. For example, I can be notified of what the high temperature will be, and the low. So I'm going to chose tomorrow's high Click Add Ingredient and I can even had my own label to it. I can have a comma, I can click the plus sign and I can add another ingredient of Tomorrow's Low temperature. Click Create Action.
And now, if tomorrow's forecast calls for rain, then send me an SMS to this number. I can also put a description in. For example, I can call this the forecast recipe. When I'm all done, click Create recipe, and now I can turn it on. So, all these recipes are checked once every 15 minutes. For example, if I did create that Craigslist search option, it's going to scan Craigslist every 15 minutes to see if there was a new occurrence of that search.
So here's where I can turn the recipe off or on or I can delete it or I can even share it with other people. If I'm happy with it, I can create another recipe or close out of my browser window. I can also come back in and edit it anytime by clicking on the triangle button. So that's how you create a personal recipe with IFTTT. It's very easy. You create your trigger and then you create your action. So I encourage you to go through all the possible triggers and see where your options are.
You can get as creative as you want. Up next, I'm going to show you how to browse the recipe directory so that you can see some other great recipes that other people have created.
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