Use automation to stay organized and stress less at work

Hannah Herman
Hannah Herman / Published April 13, 2020

Let's face it: staying organized at work is hard. But it's one of the best ways to keep your stress levels down. After all, if you know where everything is, you're less likely to forget about tasks until the last minute or lose an important file.

Automation can go a long way to helping you get (and more importantly, stay) organized at work. Here are a few ideas for using automated workflows (which we call Zaps) to store attachments, track starred emails, and more.

Use automation to keep track of attachments

One of the easiest places to get disorganized is your inbox, especially if you receive a high volume of emails. It can be hard to hit inbox zero every day, much less keep track of emails that have important attachments.

Instead of trying to manually download and organize your attachments, you can use automation to save them to your favorite cloud-based storage system. Here are a few Zap templates—what we call our pre-made workflows—to get you started automatically saving email attachments to apps like Google Drive.

Tracking action items from email or your chat app

Sometimes you don't just need to respond to an email, you need to do something based on it. Instead of manually creating tasks in your to-do list for emails that require action, create an automated workflow that does the work for you. You can set up a Zap that automatically creates a task when you star, flag, or label the email. Here are a couple of examples of how this can work:

If you have emails that shouldn't be to-do list tasks but that you still want to hold on to, Zapier can save the emails to a spreadsheet for future reference. You can even customize the workflow to only save emails that meet certain criteria, like coming from a particular sender. These Zaps can get you started with this automation today:

You can also set up these workflows to use your favorite chat app instead of email. For example, Zapier can add starred messages in your chat app to your to-do list—or even add items when you respond to a chat message with a specific emoji.

One of our editors wrote a long list of all the ways you can do this, but these handy Zaps are a great jumping-off point:

Automate meeting follow-up

Staying organized after a meeting can be a particular challenge, especially if you're expected to collaborate on group tasks afterward. You can set up workflows to automatically move items from a group kanban board or your project management app to your personal to-do list.

You can also modify this workflow so that items are added to your list only when group tasks have a specific tag—such as your name or team—and use a second Zap to move or re-label the group task appropriately once you mark it as completed in your to-do-list.

Here are a couple pre-built Zaps that do just that:

If you want to be less stressed, you need to work smarter

For many of us, being less stressed at work won't happen because we suddenly have a lot less on our plates. If you're unorganized, even the lightest workload can feel incredibly stressful. That's why it's so important to use the tools you have—including automation—to keep track of what's most important.

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