Internet Self Improvement

13 Wacky Ways to Beat Procrastination With IFTTT

Dan Price 13-09-2016

Do you want to be more productive? It’s a simple question, and one to which the majority of people would answer with a resounding “Yes”.


It’s important to strike a sensible balance between productivity and leisure time. But if you can squeeze more out of your working time — or do the same number of tasks in less time — you’ll be well on your way to hacking your work/life balance How To Find A Balance Between Work And Life Life is all about finding a proper balance. You want to work hard so you can be successful, but what's the point of being successful if you don't take the time to enjoy your success? Read More .

Technology can be both a curse and a cure. It trips you with ample distractions but can also help you solve your productivity puzzle.

Why not deploy some well-placed IFTTT recipes and let tech help keep you on track? Here are 13 of the best.

1. Save YouTube Videos to Pocket

Ah, YouTube. Together with Reddit, it’s probably the king of time drains. You start off watching a video about how to do equations in Excel Microsoft Word's Math AutoCorrect Makes Equations Easier to Type You know Word has AutoCorrect, but did you know you can also enable its shortcuts for math? Read More as part of a vital presentation for your boss, and three hours later you’re watching somersaulting Russian dogs (and still don’t know anything about Excel equations).

Watching acrobatic dogs is a great way to unwind — but there’s a time and a place. Deploy this recipe, and any videos you mark as Watch Later will be automatically added to Pocket.


2. Curb Smartphone Usage

Don’t kid yourself that you’re being productive just because the only program you have open is Microsoft Word. There is a world of distraction hiding in your pocket.

IFTTT Recipe Smartphone Usage Gmail Reminder

If you’re one of those people who always gets your smartphone out when your mind starts to wander, try this recipe. It links the QualityTime app with Gmail and will send you a stern reminder when you exceed a set number of minutes of smartphone usage.

3. Kickstarter Design Projects

If you work in a creative job, there are times when you’ll inevitably hit a mental road block. Perhaps you can’t think of the right sentence for your copywriting project, maybe you’ve hit a dead-end in a brainstorming session — or maybe you’re struggling to find the right design for your company’s next big product release.


See if Kickstarter can inspire you. This recipe will automatically alert you to any new designs on the crowdfunding website.

4. Auto Pomodoro Schedule

If you don’t know, the Pomodoro technique is a time-management system that’s designed to break your working day into manageable chunks of productivity and rest. It’s something we’ve covered extensively on MakeUseOf How a Simple Pomodoro Timer Made My Life Better The Pomodoro Technique is one of the simpler time management life hacks. Break through distractions with the help of 25-minute chunks and a timer. It could be a life-changing routine change if it suits you. Read More .

This recipe pairs the RescueTime channel with the Date & Time channel and will send you Pomodoro-esque alerts at set intervals.

5. Wake Up on Time

Why should you get out of bed in the morning The 5 Best Social Alarm Apps to Help You Get Out of Bed Have a hard time waking up in the morning? These social alarm clock apps can wake you up with a phone call, video, and more. Read More ? All you’ve got to look forward to is rain, traffic, and listening to Barbara brag about her latest holiday by the watercooler.


If only it were that simple. Sadly, you have to make a living for yourself. Doesn’t make it any easier to get up though, does it?

Try using the Beeminder app to help you open your weary eyes. If you oversleep, IFTTT will automatically create a “do less oversleeping” entry in your account. And just to remind you — if you go off track, Beeminder can sting.

6. Mute Phone When Being Productive

You know how it goes. You’ve sharpened your pencil, cleared your email inbox 6 Ways To Reclaim Your Email Inbox Is there anything else that’s as useful, prevalent, and frustrating as an email inbox? It’s been around forever and we keep using it, and as long as we keep using it, people like me will... Read More , and you’ve got yourself mentally prepared. Then, after 15 minutes of hyper-productive output, your best friend calls to invite you out for a drink. Next thing you know your alarm is going off the next morning and you’ve got a sore head.

Make sure your phone is on silent, and you can nip the situation in the bud. This RescueTime recipe will automatically silence your device (including vibrations) whenever you’re working hard.


7. High-Priority Email Notification

Every company in the world uses email, but it’s not necessarily very efficient. It’s easy for important messages to slip through in a sea of memes and spam, and high-priority messages might not be read until it’s too late.

If you’ve got an Office 365 mail account and an iPhone, you can make sure you get a separate notification whenever a high-priority email hits your inbox.

8. Completed Tasks in Google Spreadsheet

Sometimes you forget how much you’ve achieved. It’s a shame, because looking at past accomplishments can be a great motivator for future challenges. Even for habitual procrastinators.

IFTTT Recipe Completed Tasks Google Spreadsheet

Use this creation to pair your Todoist account with your Google Account. Every time you mark a task as complete, they will be added one-by-one to a spreadsheet.

Bonus Tip: It’s also really handy when performance review time comes around!

9. Add Urgent Emails to Todoist

As mentioned earlier, it can be both annoying and time-consuming to wade through hundreds of emails each week just to filter out the stuff you really need to read.

How about this for a simple solution? Scan through your Gmail inbox and mark anything that piques your interest as Urgent. It will be automatically turned into a Todoist task, and from there you can easily manage the process through to its conclusion.

10. Motivational Quotes

Do you check Twitter as soon as you wake up in the morning? I know, it’s vitally important that you know which TMZ “journalist” dissed Lady Gaga’s outfit while you were asleep — but why not also make your ritual Twitter check-in a motivational experience?

The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.

— Confucius

This recipe will automatically add anyone tweeting motivational quotes to your own private Twitter list. Have a quick flick through these quotes each morning, and one day you could be like Lady Gaga too!

11. Call Yourself

Unnecessary meetings are one of the biggest time drains in an office worker’s life. Nothing ever gets decided and you all agree to reconvene in a week. The cycle is endless.

Okay, I admit it — sometimes they are a welcome distraction from an otherwise mundane day, but there are lots of times when your time is genuinely better spent elsewhere.

IFTTT Recipe Do Logo

The solution? Use this IFTTT Do command to call yourself and manufacture a get-out clause. (Warning: You need to be good at faking a telephone conversation!)

12. A Weekly Email of Thoughts

When do you have your most stunning, inspired, groundbreaking ideas? Almost always, it’s at an inopportune moment and the thought slips away before you have a chance to record it.

Try this Do command to solve the problem. Just log your thoughts as they come into your head, and you’ll be sent them all in a digest email every week.

13. Send Tweets to OneNote

Twitter isn’t all echo chamber politics and celebrity spats — if you’re following the right people 20 Essential Twitter Accounts You Need To Follow Twitter is only as good as the people you follow. Literally. Thankfully, there are at least 20 essential Twitter accounts everybody should follow. Read on to find out what they are. Read More it can be a hive of ideas, inspirations, and motivations.

Use this recipe to easy sort out the visionary from the vapid. Every time you “Like” a tweet, it will be automatically sent to a OneNote notebook. From there, you can craft, nurture, and formulate the stimuli until it becomes a mirror of yourself. Think of Twitter as the seed and OneNote as the plant pot.

Give Us Your Best IFTTT Concoctions

I’ve listed 13 of the IFTTT’s best offerings but there are countless more. It doesn’t matter which services you use or which devices you own, you’ll always be able to find something to help you improve and maintain your productivity.

I’d love to hear your proposals.

Have you found a great recipe from an underused service, or have you fashioned the perfect recipe that could be useful for all our readers? Get in touch with your suggestions and creations in the comments below.

Related topics: IFTTT, Procrastination, Productivity.

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  1. Kenneth Spicer
    May 25, 2017 at 2:09 am

    I use IFTTT and HUE to dim my bathroom lights at 7:30 to act as a nitelight, AND OFF at 6am so I don't worry about it.
    I also use IFTTT to take commands from Google Assit. pass them to my tablet for things it cannot do. Like read a bookor mute the tablet when I am trying to sleep.