October 28

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Saving time by automating routine tasks with Zapier

By Pen Kwok

October 28, 2020


I believe we all need to complete many routine or repetitive tasks in our daily work. Many of these might not be very complicated nor time-consuming. But if there is a way to make these tasks to be done automatically that would save us much time.

For example, I regularly receive emails from colleagues about our training class details, like date, time, venue, topic, Zoom link, etc. I used to copy-and-paste this information to my Trello where I keep all the projects and tasks on hand. It did not eat up a lot time, perhaps only a few minutes work. However, with many similar tasks it would just add up and become significant.

So, I decided to get some automation software to help me. I tried IFTTT and Zapier. Both are great software. I go with Zapier just because I find it a bit more business oriented.

The working principle is straight forward. You select a “trigger”, usually an “event” in one app, then execute an “action” in another app. Take the training details email example, I have set up a “Zap” (the automated workflow) where it checks the new emails with a certain “key string”. When the new email matches the “key string”, it creates a new card in my Trello automatically. Once it is up and running, it just works seamlessly. And I never have to spend another second on this copy-and-paste thing. Bravo!

There are more than 2,000 apps that can be automated with Zapier. Many of the popular apps are in this list, like Gmail, Trello, WordPress, Dropbox, OneDrive, Mailchimp, Active Campaign, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. The set-up process is intuitive. You don’t need any coding skills. In fact, there are thousands of commonly used workflows that you could readily customize for your own work.  

Start using these automation software apps and enjoy more beer for your evening happy hours!

About the Author

Pen loves sharing good food and wine with friends. When he is not working on his Macbook Pro, he learns Japanese and Chinese calligraphy for fun.

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