LD Staff Writer
Taking out the trash, folding laundry, scouring your inbox for those elusive, important emails…
These are all mundane tasks that need to be done regularly, but no one really wants to do them.
Why not automate these types of tasks to make your life a bit easier? Zapier holds the key to all manner of automation to streamline your business and personal life. No, they can’t automate your laundry folding, but they can help with that pesky inbox problem!
Zapier Handling Tasks on its Own
Zapier works by helping you either find or create simple “if-then” statements – called triggers and actions – and executes the task you foist upon it. For example, you can quickly find a Zap (what they call their automation tasks) that will check your Gmail inbox every 15 minutes and immediately upload any attachments it finds to a Dropbox or Google Drive.
That’s pretty fancy, right? Even fancier: if you know you’re going to be getting a lot of attachments from a particular client, but don’t want any of them added, you can quickly add a filter that sets all of them aside and doesn’t run the Zap. I was pretty thrilled with the results of an email list that containing only emails that didn’t include the word “Unsubscribe” in the body.
Sending Zapier Stuff to Do
While email monitoring is a pretty straightforward Zap, you can get a bit more hands-on with how Zapier works with your particular workflow.
People have side hustles… People also sleep. Have you ever been completely away from a full-sized device, and had an amazing idea for a blog post? Zapier can use new notes in Evernote to immediately create drafts in WordPress.
Even if you can’t remember that sleepy blog idea fueled by your midnight snack, the post will be waiting in WP the next time you log in. Even more useful, you can whip out your handy Evernote-connected device of choice while you’re on your main gig, and hold an idea nicely (where you’ll ultimately go to flesh it out) for when you are ready to start harvesting your creative juices.
Zaps Helping Outside of Work
The ideas above are great ways to enhance your work life with a bit of automation, but how might Zapier help out in your personal time? The service can easily sync with Meetup.com to take any new member and add them to a Google Sheet (or even a MailChimp list) based on some simple criteria. As an example, you could easily build a mailing list based on interests, and easily include only the members of your Meetup group that have already expressed interest in your next event.
When diving deep into Zapier to get a feel for the ways it could save time, I found that creativity is really the only limiter. I either found a premade Zap or was able to craft one for even my wildest automation tasks.
Zapier is not, however, for dealing with a pre-existing database… Or parsing through them. I focused mostly on Input-Output Zaps, but it’s easy to have multiple actions based on one trigger. They even mention some looping of triggers based on other Zap actions. That’s a potentially dangerous road to walk down, but like any tool, it has its place in the kit.
Perhaps the best way to see the power of Zapier is to simply explore yourself! Existing Zaps will give you some great ideas, and then you’re off to the races creating your own.