Automate your life with IFTTT (If This Then That)

Don’t you love to have a personal assistant who would automatically do most of your trivial tasks so that you can focus on bigger issues like global warming and the the effect of Neptune on our planet? 🙂

How about an omnipresent assistant who reminds you to buy milk when you are near a grocery store? What if the same omnipresent assistant automatically sets your phone to silent mode when you reach office and toggles to ring mode when you leave office?

How about an assistant whose job is only to track the stock market and automatically send a message/e-mail to your stock broker to buy Airtel shares when the price goes below Rs 500?

Is there a solution to have all such assistants who can constantly work for you? Yes, fortunatley there is. And the best part is that it is: FREE!!

Say hello to “IFTTT (If This Then That)” which is a multi-platform solution whose job is to only do “something” when “something” else occurs. As the name itself suggests, if “this” happens (if there is a trigger), “then” it performs “that” intended action.
All these might sound like hi-fi jargon for a new user but in reality, it is very straightforward and just has 3 terminologies/concepts: Trigger, Recipe, Action.

What is a “trigger”? It can be anything from something as simple as “When I receive a phone call” or “When the clock strikes 5pm”, to something as complicated as “When I enter or exit a circular zone of 1 km radius with centre at 12.34 latitude & 56.78 longitude”. Or it can even be from an application like twitter with the trigger being “When someone retweets me” and several other triggers from a host of apps.

Coming to “action”, can be anything from as simple as “Send SMS to Mr John”, to something as complicated as “Create a spreadsheet in my Google Drive and dump all my missed calls info and automatically arrange them in different sheets based on time, location & the contact”.

With these triggers & actions available at your disposal, you become a programmer and all you need to do is create a “recipe” which just connects a certain trigger with an action. i.e If this trigger, then that action.

For example, suppose there is a trigger for “Whenever I click a photo in instagram”, and there is an action called “Save in Dropbox”. You can think of a use-case where you use your dropbox as a storage for your instagram pics. All you need to do is just connect this trigger and the action to create this recipe called “Save my instagram photos to dropbox” and it becomes your personal assistant which automatically does this job for you so that you can just focus on what you are good at: Clicking instagram pics.

Fortunately, you dont have to even create these recipes because someone else would have already created & published them so that you can just start using them right away. IFTTT has thousands of such recipes where users themselves have done all permutations & combinations of triggers & actions to provide several innovative use cases to automate your tasks.

To begin, visit IFTTT website and create a free account:

You can create an account using the app as well which is available for Android & iOS.

After creating the free account, browse the already published/available recipes.

Since each recipe requires a certain trigger and an action, it might ask for your permission (initially while setting it up) to interact with the relevant apps/services. For example, if want to use the recipe “Save my instagram photos to dropbox”, then you must allow IFTTT to access your instagram as well as your dropbox account. It would just take a couple of clicks to set it up.

If you can think of a use-cas,e but cannot find it in search results, you can easily create your personalized recipe within seconds by following this simple step-by-step walk-through:

Follow Smart Habits facebook page where innovative recipes will be shared as short posts for the next few days.

For basic use-cases and demonstrations, check out the following videos.