We’re all looking for ways to save time. This article focuses on automating simple, routine tasks using a tool that’s been around since 2010. It’s been free, but that’s about to change. In this article you’ll see why you want it, and why you need to act before October 7.

“If This Then That” (IFTTT for short) is a service that allows other services to work together. The user composes simple “applets” that tell the program if a certain thing happens in one service, then a certain other thing is to happen in another service.

Let’s start with some If This Then That examples:

  1. IF the weather forecast calls for rain, THEN send me a text so I’ll know to take an umbrella.
  2. IF I post an image with a particular tag to Instagram, THEN post that image to Twitter and/or Facebook.
  3. IF I post to my blog, THEN post the title, URL, and an image to Facebook and/or Twitter.
  4. IF the time is 6:00AM on a weekday, THEN call my phone to wake me up.
  5. IF Alabama scores, THEN let me know in a text message.
  6. IF I get an email with an attachment, THEN make a copy of that attachment in Dropbox.
  7. IF I make or receive a call on my mobile phone, THEN log the call in a spreadsheet.
  8. IF it’s Tuesday evening at 7:00PM, THEN text me a reminder to roll the trash to the road.
  9. IF it’s 6:00PM, THEN email me tomorrow’s weather forecast.
  10. IF I pass a certain location, THEN text my parents I am on my way home. (Great idea to alert parents that their son/daughter is on the way home from college and has just passed through a particular town about an hour away.)
  11. IF it’s 7:00PM on my birthday, THEN create a post on Facebook thanking people for remembering me.
  12. IF I post a new video on Instagram, THEN post that same video to Facebook.
  13. IF I leave the house, THEN turn off the WiFi on my phone.
  14. IF I arrive at church (or some other designated location), THEN mute my phone.

If you have outfitted your home with “smart devices,” the possibilities continue to expand:

  1. IF I drive into the neighborhood, THEN raise the garage door.
  2. IF I turn into the neighborhood, THEN set the temperature to 70 degrees.
  3. IF I say, “OK Google, it’s bedtime, THEN set the thermostat to 68 degrees and turn off the lights.

I even wrote about how to create a digital time log using IFTTT and Evernote.

The possibilities are endless. IFTTT works beautifully with smart speakers such as Google Home and Alexa. Once you know the service exists, you can go to IFTTT.com and experiment. Create an account. From there, use the “Explore” menu to see and use “applets” others have created, such as the examples you just read.

To me, it’s easier to click “Create” and make your own. Several years ago, I created a YouTube tutorial for beginners. You can view it here to get started.

Why talk about IFTTT now?

If This Then That is about to move to a paid model. While they will continue a free plan, that plan will be severely limited. The price tag for the “Pro” plan will be $10 per month.

That price tag is a hard pill to swallow, especially when it’s been free for the last 10 years. At the same time, it’s hard to sustain a service when you’re giving everything away. Charging for it ensures that it will still be around. But, while IFTTT is valuable, I have to question if it’s worth $120 a year.

Here’s the reason this article is important now: If you upgrade to the If This Then That “Pro” plan by October 7, you can “name your own price” starting at $1.99 a month. (Update: IFTTT has extended this deadline through October 31. Starting November 1, new subscriptions to Pro will cost $3.99 per month.)

I immediately said “yes,” upgraded, and locked in the $1.99.  I recommend you do so as well.  Let technology handle the repetitive tasks so that you can focus on the bigger game. If This Then That is a great start.

In the next post, I will reveal my dozen most powerful applets. You’ll see a list of them and be able to watch the video on how to make them.