A lot of automation, and a lot of writing about automation, is focused on making your job easier. While that's our primary goal here at Zapier, there's always room for using automation to make the rest of your life better while you're at it.
At Zapier, we use our product all the time, both for work and our personal lives. We have Zaps—our word for automated workflows—that help us "spark joy," make the most of our free time, or help us build toward long-term improvements to our lives. Below are some of our favorite Zapier ideas, and easy ways for you to create these workflows yourself.
Improve your mood
Look, everything's rough these days. We know you're doing what you can to make things bearable, and automation can help lighten the load—or remind you about what really matters in your day-to-day.
That's why my colleague Laurie built AwesomeBot, a Zap that uses Slack and Giphy to send occasional reminders that, "Hey, you're awesome." She also wrote a step-by-step guide for you to make your own.
Whether you need a daily reminder that you're awesome (because it's true, you are awesome) or a nudge to get up and drink some water, there is almost always a way to take care of that with automation.
If you need help including self-care in your routine, Krystina's outlined four ways to let Zapier help you help yourself.
And if you, like me, need a reminder that there's something else out there, Zapier's resident space enthusiast and engineering manager Andrew made a Zap that will email you photos from the Mars Perseverance rover every day.
Find a new job
Good automation runs in the background, working for you when you might not realize it. While that often means taking care of hundreds of small, repetitive tasks, why not put it to work on improving your life in a real, long-term way? What if you let automation help you find your next gig?
Job-searching can be a full-time job on its own, but it doesn't have to be.
Curate your entertainment
Decision fatigue can kick in at any time, and if you're anything like me, it usually hits right as I load up my list of movies and TV to watch next. Instead of spending more time deciding what to watch than actually watching something, let automation do the choosing for you.
Use a Zap to add videos matching a search term to a spreadsheet. When you need something new to watch, instead of spending hours scrolling through your Subscriptions list, you can head to the sheet and grab the latest row.
Prefer streaming services to YouTube? Sites like What's On Netflix host RSS feeds featuring all the latest and greatest shows on your streaming service of choice. With a Zap, you can make sure that your next favorite show is always a click away.
This can apply to music, too. Stop wondering what playlist to switch to while you work, and automate the perfect playlist instead. You can also use Zapier to create an email newsletter from almost any website, so you'll never miss a post from your favorite site.
Whether you need an external hard drive for your brain, to vent frustrations, or just a running log of what you did on a given day, tracking yourself with automation can be extremely useful. And it's one of the things that Zaps are best at.
At Zapier, we use Zaps to help keep track of basically everything, including things that annoy us. Deb (at Zapier) wrote about how she uses Zaps with Google Sheets to keep track of those things automatically, and how you can too.
If you need competition to thrive, you can use automation to give yourself the best opponent there is: Yourself.
And if you're wondering where all the hours in the day have gone (honestly, same), Krystina's piece on time tracking helps solve the mystery of the missing minutes.
Build new habits
Summer's coming, and every year there's a part of me that wants to start running. "Maybe I could be a runner," I think, but it sounds horrible. After the first run, my sneakers seem to magically find their way to the back of the closet again, not to be uncovered until next year.
Tara Parker-Pope, founder of NYTimes Well, wrote that to successfully form a new habit, you need to set yourself up for success, start small, and do it every day. In other words, maybe start with a nice walk, instead of a marathon. With a Zap, you can get just the nudge you need to form that new daily, weekly, or monthly habit that you've been meaning to start.
You can use automation to fight work burnout, too, and set yourself up for healthy habits there.
Create custom notifications
My phone seems to be inundated with notifications these days, but very few of them are actually ones I want. With Zapier, I can create a world where, for the first time, I'm excited to get a notification, because it means that something cool is about to happen. With these Zaps, you can too.
Learn how to fine-tune your notifications even further, with Zapier sending alerts to the apps where you spend the most time so you can focus and be sure you'll never miss something important.
Zapier takes care of the repetitive menial tasks in your day, so that you can get back to doing what really matters—and that right there helps make you happier.
If you're new to automation, or curious about what it can do for you specifically, check out our Explore page to see how people like you are using it to improve their lives every day. Happy automating!