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How Connecting Web Apps to Automate Your Tasks Is Easier Than You Think

How Connecting Web Apps to Automate Your Tasks Is Easier Than You Think

As the global population continues to rise, so too does the number of individuals who are regularly active online. According to the most recent data, this trend is even becoming increasingly prevalent in developing economies, with the rate of online users having risen by a staggering 3,606.7% in Africa between 2000 and 2012.

In addition to this, it is also important to note that the number of accessible web applications and features has soared proportionately during this time. This means that a growing social demographic is increasingly reliant on the Internet as a way of communicating and completing routine, everyday tasks, which relate to both professional and personal usage.

The obvious solution would seem to be to provide a real-time connection between the individual web applications that you use; however, this would typically require the assistance of skilled developers with the ability to create customized software packages. This represents a costly and time-consuming process, unless you have a personal knowledge of SaaS (Software as a Service) technology or easy access to third-party development teams.

Fortunately, this is no longer the case, as companies such Zapier have established a service which makes it easy for individuals to connect their favorite web applications and automate mundane, everyday tasks. But how exactly does the development team at Zapier achieve these goals, and what key benefits do they deliver to users? Consider the following.

1. Create a zap that meets your needs.

As a starting point, you will need to identify your most widely used web apps and create a unique zap (a “zap” being a blueprint for a task you need to do repeatedly) that connects them in real-time. You may wish to create a zap that sends you an SMS message when you receive a new email through Gmail, for example, while professional clients may look to convert a recently received entry form from Wufoo into a new lead on the Salesforce dashboard. Zapier has the capacity to convert both of these into a functional Zap, with software that utilizes the receipt of data to create a trigger that then translates into direct action.

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If we take the former as an example, you will need to create the trigger action (which in this instance is the receipt of an email to your chosen Gmail account and then establish the action of sending a text message to a selected number).

Zap

    2. Enter the details or your trigger and action to create your zap.

    In this instance, the next step is to link your chosen Gmail account (trigger) and mobile phone number (action). To begin, simply log in to your account in a separate window before typing the address into the text box as below.

    Zapier will then automatically verify your email address and grant permissions, before requesting that you follow a similar process with your mobile number. Here you will enter your mobile number of choice and confirm whether or not you would like it to be verified by text or a direct voice call.

    You will then be sent a unique PIN as identification, which can be entered to activate your Zap. Regardless of the precise trigger or action that you use, you will follow a similar verification process to guarantee ownership of the account and authorize permissions.

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    Zapier 2

      Zapier 3

        3. Filter your zap according to your exact requirements.

        The next stage of the process requires you to develop your Zap and create any filters to help guarantee a viable source of information.

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        You can start by establishing the criteria for your trigger, which in this case would instruct Zapier to only send notifications when you receive emails to a specific folder or from a selected individual address.

        As a general rule, you may want to receive an SMS notification when a new message arrives in your inbox, which ensures that you are kept up to date without having to manually filter spam and junk emails. Zapier also enables you to customize filters, depending on the nature of your trigger and your precise needs.

        Once this has been completed, the next step is to test your newly created Zap by sending a personalized message to your account and waiting for the subsequent SMS notification!

        Zapier 4

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            The Last Word

            Whether you use Zapier to connect personal or professional online accounts and networks, the main benefit of the software is that it helps you to develop focus while also saving valuable time and money.

            From a commercial perspective, there is a unique opportunity to allow Zapier to manage the repetitive, everyday tasks that relate to business operation, while you can turn your focus towards more strategic activities such as marketing and cultivating long-term growth.

            This is without spending money on hiring costly developers or freelancers, however, as Zapier negates the need for complex service or web application integration.

            Above else, you can monitor and manage your Zaps through a real-time dashboard, and make changes to your triggers and actions whenever the need arises.

            For personal users, Zapier provides a service that can instantly connect multiple email accounts, social media networks and mobile SMS centers. This has the potential to free up more time in the average day, and ultimately allow you to enjoy more recreational activities with friends, family and loved ones.

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            Last Updated on February 15, 2019

            7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

            7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

            Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

            Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

            Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

            So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

            Joe’s Goals

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              Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

              Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

              Daytum

                Daytum

                is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                Excel or Numbers

                  If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                  What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                  Evernote

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                    I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                    Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                    Access or Bento

                      If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                      Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                      You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                      Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                      All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                      Conclusion

                      I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                      What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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