How to use Zapier to get more done

How many times do you find yourself manually transferring information from a spreadsheet to your CRM? Or sharing a new blog post to Twitter? Or copying notes from Evernote into an email?

These repetitive tasks may only take five minutes to complete. But five minutes here, and 10 minutes there can quickly add up.

All of the time you spend doing busywork is time that you can’t spend on more strategic or important work.

I’ve been using Zapier for years to automate these tasks and free up my time.

Zapier is the duct tape of the internet, as it puts the internet to work for you by connecting two or more SaaS or software tools.

From automating administrative processes and repetitive social media tasks to hiring workflows and building reports, the use cases are nearly endless. In this post, we’ll show how you can start using Zapier and share a few examples of what Zapier can help you do.

How to use Zapier

how to use Zapier

Automated workflows between two apps are called “zaps.” A trigger is what starts the workflow, and the action is what completes the zap.

For example, one workflow could be sharing new WordPress posts on Twitter. The trigger would be publishing the post. The action would be the new tweet.

You can also set up custom rules and automated workflows based on all kinds of actions, including setting up filters, formatting data, and creating different user paths.

Zapier steps

Zapier even has thousands of templates for the most common zaps that people use.
If there isn’t an existing template, you can create your own workflow.  

What Zapier is used for

What Zapier is used for

There are more than 800 software apps that integrate with Zapier, including Mailchimp, Google Drive, Stripe, Slack, Trello, Google Calendar, HubSpot, and JotForm.

The use cases are nearly endless. Here are a few examples of what you can do with Zapier.

Automate existing administrative processes

I’m obsessed with finding ways to systemize my workflow to be more efficient and get stuff done. I wasn’t always this way. I used to have trouble getting everything done. So I decided to track what I was actually doing for a couple of weeks. I used Rescuetime, but writing down each task in a notebook would work too.

What I discovered is how much time I was spending on administrative and repetitive tasks. It turns out you can use Zapier to automate many of these tasks.

Zapier is great for automating the little tasks that eat up 10 minutes here and 15 minutes there.

Here are a few basic examples of how you can use this tool:

  • Automatically send a Slack notification anytime someone subscribes to your newsletter.
  • Create a support ticket in Help Scout when someone fills out the contact form on your website.
  • Archive JotForm form submissions in Airtable.
  • Send a text message each day that details how much time (tracked through Rescuetime) you spent working on productive projects and tasks.

Automate repetitive social media tasks

While there are some tasks that you really should do at the moment, like replying to tweets or blog comments, there are many more tasks you can automate using Zapier. Here are a few examples:

  • Automatically save your Facebook and Instagram photos and videos in a Dropbox folder.
  • Alert your PR team in Slack to new brand mentions from Google Alerts.
  • Save LinkedIn posts to a Google sheet.
  • Share new WordPress posts on Twitter.

Build a hiring system with Trello and Zapier

In a previous post, we shared how you can build a workflow in Trello to streamline the hiring process. You can use Zapier to further automate this process:

  • Send phone screening notes from many applicant-tracking software programs directly to a particular candidate’s Trello card.
  • Sync Trello cards with Calendly to automate the interview scheduling process.
  • Send the attached, signed offer letter to Trello.

Automate reporting

Another use case is to automate and sync your reporting processes so there is a “single source of truth.” Whether you use a dashboard, a simple spreadsheet, or even a specific Slack channel, you can use Zapier to automate the reporting process.

Here are a few examples:

  • Send new Stripe sales to Slack.
  • Send new PayPal sales to a Google sheet.
  • Send new Stripe sales to Salesforce.

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In sum, Zapier allows you to free up time spent doing busywork and repetitive processes.  These are just a few examples of how you can streamline your workflow.

Annabel is a Marketing Communications Manager at JotForm. She’s passionate about writing and has worked in communications roles domestically and internationally. When she’s not blogging about SaaS or online forms, she enjoys international travel, loud concerts, and artisan coffee. You can reach Annabel through her contact form.

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