Let a robot handle your email

Three Simple IFTTT Recipes to Save You Hours of Email Time

These productivity hacks will get you to Inbox Zero faster.

IFTTT is an amazing service that lets you program all your other services to work together. You can save yourself hours of time by turning IFTTT into your internet robot assistant.

Here’s how it works conceptually.

The above “if this than that’s” are called recipes. So an email recipe might be:

“If [I receive an email from bob@coach.me] then [urgent email from Bob]”

There are hundred of useful recipes, and the ones below are perfect for anyone who wants to spend less time managing their inbox.

(I picked out GMail recipes below, but if you use Office then you can find or replicate all of the recipes below here.)


#1. Don’t check your email unless you have to

One of the fundamental email productivity tricks is to check email on your own terms. This eliminates multi-tasking (no email interruptions) and gives you time and space to do deep work.

But what about emails from my boss or important client?

If you think you absolutely have to respond immediately to a certain person, then set up one of these recipes:

There are even versions of this recipe based on email subject line. Train your team to include Urgent in the subject line if they really need your attention.


#2. Automatically save attachments

Most heavy emailers operate as filing machines. This shouldn’t be the job of a human — especially if you are that human.

So have files that get sent to you automatically saved to your storage of choice.

I experience a big benefit to having all my attachments in one place. For me that’s Google Drive. From there, it’s easy to make edits and share with other people.


#3. Speed up processing your inbox by moving emails to your todo list

Continuing on the theme of “inbox zero as filing operation” the recipes below will let you simply star an email and then have that email added to your todo list.

Now your Inbox Zero process can be a simple decision tree: archive, spam or star. Don’t even open email while you’re in your inbox.

You need a different recipe depending on what todo list you use. The following save emails:


Bonus: You can automate your replies

For example, here is a recipe for Android users that notices if you missed a call and then emails that person that you’ll call them back.


Did I miss any? Let me know and I’ll add them.