9 things you never thought about automating—but totally should

9 things you never thought about automating—but totally should

When individuals consider Zapier, usually they give thought to creating automated workflows for small enterprise duties, like accounting work or filling out spreadsheets. In fact, that is what Zapier does greatest—serving to people automate monotonous work duties—but it surely’s not all that may be carried out. With hundreds of integrations, the sky is the restrict.


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I’ve written beforehand about a number of the methods I’ve used automation in my private life to do issues like remembering to test in for my flights or enhancing my relationship with my sister. However an information scientist by no means sleeps (okay, that is not fairly true), and I hold discovering contemporary, new methods to attach apps I exploit day-after-day, saving me time and getting much more out of my life. So listed below are 9 extra of my favourite Zaps that I hope will encourage you to hunt out automation alternatives in your individual life.

This weblog submit was tailored from a session given at ZapConnect, Zapier’s consumer convention. Go to this web page to observe Kristie’s session, “You possibly can automate that?”.

1. Make a trip to-do record


This goody won’t robotically test you in to your flight, pack your baggage, and line up a trip to the airport, however it’ll prevent time and heartache by creating a customized record of duties everytime you schedule journey. There are particular duties I do each time I am going on trip or work journeys—and so they can fall by the cracks once I’m in a rush. To ensure they do not, I created a Zap to automate the method.

The Zap fires once I add the phrase “flight” to a Google Calendar occasion, however you may arrange your individual key phrase, and even use a set off from one other app like Gmail. The hot button is to select a conference and keep it up.

Every motion step on this Zap creates new duties in Todoist, like scheduling automobile parking on the airport, establishing dog-sitting, reserving the lodging for my journey, requesting out-of-office time and updating my calendar. Within the remaining motion, nevertheless, I exploit Formatter by Zapier to subtract 4 days from the flight date and delay the final job—packing for the journey—till that new date.

Professional tip: embody dates and hyperlinks within the job names to save lots of much more time. All of it provides up!

You possibly can copy my Zap—which incorporates the steps to get that final job delayed till 4 days earlier than the flight—or begin with one thing like this:


2. Sustain with new content material from favourite individuals


I am a film buff, however like most individuals, my tastes are idiosyncratic—there are particular actors, administrators, and studios I desire. To separate the wheat from the chaff, I exploit a Zap to create a weekly e mail of upcoming films personalised to my tastes. The automation begins at any time when a brand new merchandise is added to the RSS feed from comingsoon.web. However then I exploit Zapier’s Filter to incorporate solely content material descriptions containing my favourite actors and administrators, the phrases “Marvel” or “superhero” and—in fact—something from Pixar.

Typically, this feed comprises a piece of “associated content material” for every entry, so I exploit a Formatter step to separate the textual content on the phrase “associated” and solely hold the unique content material. As soon as I’ve obtained precisely what I need, I append the entry to a weekly digest that sends an e mail to me each Friday afternoon.

This Zap has been so helpful that I’ve created three separate variations: the unique new film feed, a “streaming content material” feed, and a Netflix-specific feed. The good factor is all three are collected in that one Friday digest so I am able to binge-watch over the weekend.

To start out, it’s good to arrange the Zap to create the customized digest—make one for every web site whose content material you are following—then use a second Zap to launch your mixed digest.

3. Create a spreadsheet of flicks to observe


Whereas the earlier fleet of Zaps is nice for film information, it does not assist me observe the dates of movie openings or when films begin their streaming lives. That is the job of a spreadsheet, proper? So, I’ve an automation that triggers at any time when a brand new film trailer is added to the firstshowing.web RSS feed. And as soon as once more, I exploit Filter to incorporate solely the content material I am all in favour of.

The tough half is extracting particulars just like the date or trailer URL from the content material. For those who’ve ever carried out coding, you’re most likely accustomed to common expressions. I make use of common expressions in Python—utilizing the Code by Zapier step—to parse these particulars and go them alongside to my upcoming film record in Google Sheets. (For those who’ve by no means coded earlier than, you may also study to use common expressions in a Formatter step as a substitute)

Fascinating tidbit: In response to Google, a film begins streaming a median of about 70 days from its opening. I exploit Formatter by Zapier so as to add 70 days to the opening, creating an approximate streaming date so I can filter my spreadsheet for seemingly at-home viewing candidates.

Here is a duplicate of my Zap, if you would like to attempt it for your self.

4. Get bundle supply notifications by textual content


A few of my most helpful Zaps are extremely easy. I signed up for bundle supply alerts from USPS, which sends me an computerized e mail with the topic line “Topic: USPS® Merchandise Delivered.” Since I do not test e mail often, I exploit the brand new e mail as a set off for a Zap that immediately sends me a textual content message. Here is one other tip: You need to use Gmail’s personal inside filters to mark the emails as learn so they do not muddle up your inbox.

For those who suppose this sounds helpful, you may attempt my Zap.

5. Handle digital household hangouts


My far-flung household began doing a month-to-month video chat to meet up with one another, but it surely was all the time painful making an attempt to schedule the following hangout (recurring occasions do not work with my busy relations). So I created a Zap that triggers at any time when a calendar entry named “Household Hangout” ends. The primary motion is a reminder in my Todoist app to make a Doodle ballot of instances for the following household hangout. Then I add a Delay step to provide everybody every week to reply. The ultimate motion step creates one other Todoist job to schedule a Google Calendar for the very best day.

When you have a sibling who by no means responds to the primary Doodle e mail, you may schedule an computerized follow-up reminder. However why not go one higher and use a multi-step Zap that:

  1.  Searches for a latest e mail that confirms your sibling “participated within the Doodle ballot;”
  2. Continues provided that no e mail was discovered; and
  3. Sends an automatic e mail to that sibling that claims, “Do not forget to vote within the ballot!”

6. Know what actions are taking place round city


There is a part of our native information web site that frequently posts about enjoyable actions to do round city, however the frequent e mail notifications the location despatched had been usually overwhelming. So, I created a customized RSS feed (utilizing Fetchrss.com) and arrange a Zap to set off at any time when a brand new submit is added to the web site. Every entry is appended to a day by day digest that I obtain every afternoon. Give the Zap a attempt.

7. Always remember to schedule an appointment


There’s a complete class of occasions that should be scheduled regularly, like canine grooming and dentist appointments. I prefer to donate blood frequently, so I created a Zap that triggers each time a calendar occasion with the key phrases “donate blood” ends. I exploit Delay to carry the reminder for eight weeks after which add a Todoist job to remind me to guide my subsequent donation. You possibly can do this Zap your self, by copying my Zap.

In fact, I do use Zaps in my skilled life as effectively. Listed here are two extra automations which have actually improved my workday.

8. Ship notifications from e mail to Slack


I work in Slack, and I like all my messages in as soon as place. I’ve created a Zap that processes my e mail and filters out those who do not require motion on my half (like declined Google Calendar occasions or PR merge notifications from GitHub). Then I exploit Paths by Zapier (out there on the Skilled Plan tier) to customise the brand new Slack message for the e-mail messages I must act on. For example, if an e mail textual content comprises “Google Calendar,” I exploit Formatter to alter the icon of the message despatched, extract the calendar invite hyperlink and show essentially the most related content material to preview. If the unique e mail comprises “[JIRA]” within the topic line, the Formatter step customizes the Slack message to incorporate the Jira icon, a textual content snippet and ticket hyperlink. With Paths conditional logic and filtering, the sky is the restrict for this Zap.


9. Zoom hyperlink reminder


Our work conferences are held on Zoom, so it is best to incorporate Zoom conferences hyperlink straight inside calendar invitations. In fact, I generally overlook to do that once I schedule conferences, so I needed to create an computerized reminder for these events. The Zap triggers at any time when I create a brand new occasion in my work calendar, however I filter it on three required standards. The Zap will solely proceed if:

  1. The invite’s location doesn’t embody “Zoom”
  2. The invite’s description doesn’t embody “Zoom”
  3. The invite’s abstract doesn’t embody “Out of Workplace” (since these would by no means want Zoom hyperlinks)

If all three situations maintain, the Zap sends me a Slack message reminding me so as to add the Zoom hyperlink. Here is a Zap you may copy to do that your self.

Automation is not only for work—it is for you

I hope you discover a few of these concepts helpful, or as a spark to your personal inventive automations. On the very least, attempt to discover the belongings you do on a recurring foundation and see if yow will discover a technique to automate the method. Whether or not it is a private job, and foolish thought, or a piece course of, Zapier might help release your time to concentrate on the issues in life that matter most to you.