Personal Automation With Slack and IFTTT
Issue 28: Chatting with myself for a better workflow
I’ve been on the pursuit to create content and spending less time consuming it. You need the balance though. In order to create high-quality content, you need to consume some to get inspired. The challenge with content consumption is getting trapped in the infinite scroll of various apps and browser tabs. In this issue, I'll share my automation workflow to combat distraction while keep me inspired and creative using Slack + IFTTT.
Slack is a team communication platform that allows teams to organize chat rooms (channels) by topic, private groups, and direct messages. IFTTT, which stands for If This Then That, is software that allows you to program to respond to events. IFTTT allows you to connect with other apps and tell them what to do. IFTTT effectively connects the heaps of web services I use (RSS feeds, Pocket, GitHub, etc.) and streamlines it to my Slack account. Though I’m writing about IFTTT though you can do this with Zapier or other similar automation software—anything that integrates with Slack.
I wanted to choose software I was already constantly using at work in order to not miss anything. The Slack account created has only one human team member...me. The rest are bots created to be an extension of my workflow. A few goals I hoped to achieve with this setup:
Pull content to me in order to reduce the amount of time looking at other devices
Space to quickly add links and notes without having to open another app
Automate reminders and notifications in action
The key to all my workflow is pulling content to me. My calendar is perpetually full of meetings from Monday to Friday, which doesn’t allow me to get caught up until the end of the day. I check Slack between meetings or as I wait for people to join, and by pulling content to me, I can quickly get updated since I’m already in the tool. There’s little effort without requiring going to another digital workspace.
You might wonder what I create for IFTTT that reminds me. Here are a few favorites.
Automate a Slack message asking “How are you feeling?” to keep track of my mental health and respond with an emoji reaction and written reply
When someone follows me on Twitter. I don’t have Twitter notifications and this helps me see who follows me to interact with them
In addition to infrequently contributing to other projects, I use GitHub as a way to version control my writing
One caveat if you try this is that I’m on the free plan for both Slack and IFTTT so there is a limit of messages and applets. I haven’t personally found a problem with this as I’m using it for a temporary feed and not an archive of things. Let me know if you give this a try! If you give this a try. I’d love to hear how it works for you and tips on how you approached it.