Build your productivity flywheel with automation | HackMD Blog
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Build your productivity flywheel with automation


Repetitive works are the ones that drain out your energy, which can be saved for creativity or anything that requires more focus.

Developers use API to make chemicals between apps, feeding data into one and collecting refined outcomes from the other. Those who are not familiar with coding can wait for integrations.

Or, they can exploit integration platforms, which enable their users to connect apps in clicks. For example, when a form receives a new submission, write its field into a spreadsheet or a database for further operations.

Zapier is one of these platforms that has integrated more than 4000 apps, each providing triggers and/or actions, which are API endpoints and/or webhooks underneath. Though there are other platforms, IFTTT, Integromat, Bardeen, etc, we choose to be on Zapier first because of the sheer quantity of apps available.

HackMD is now on Zapier, which means you can make it play with other apps and create more value when they work together in a workflow, called a Zap on Zapier.

Let’s see an example Zap. This Zap will create meeting minutes 15 minutes before the meeting for attendees to drop their agenda in.

:warning: Before the following steps, you need a Zapier account. Sign up here if you don’t have one.

  1. Name the Zap and choose Google Calendar.

Google Calendar has a Trigger Event, Event Start, which suits our use case.

  1. It will ask you to connect to a Google Calendar by logging in to a Google account.
  1. Now, you can set up the trigger.

Notice that you can set a Search Term to specify which calendar events should trigger this Zap.

  1. It will ask you to test the trigger, that is, to use the conditions set above to retrieve data.
  1. Choose HackMD as the action app. Pick Create Note.
  1. Zapier will ask you to connect to HackMD. Please sign in to HackMD My Account → Settings → API, create a token for Zapier, and paste the token back to Zapier.
  1. Now, you can set up the action. You may like to put the meeting minute template of your company in Note Content.
  1. Click Test and Review to test the Zap. The meeting minute should be created in your Workspace in HackMD right after clicking.
  1. Turn the Zap on, and you just saved yourself the time to create the meeting minute manually, and most of all, you just got rid of the worries of forgetting this one thing. As you automatize more laundries, this psychological reward also grows bigger.

Be creative with your productivity

Now, if you are paying for Zapier, you can add a third step to, for example, email the link of the meeting minute to the attendees, to the Slack/Discord channel your team members share, or to a Discourse forum, even update a GitHub Pull Request.

On the other hand, the HackMD team will release more useful actions in the following weeks, to cover most of our API endpoints, so that you can create Team notes and update them, among other things.

If you haven’t tried any automation tools before, we strongly recommend you create a Zap and automatize one part of your workflows, just to get a taste. Even if, no, just because you are a developer, you should code for the big thing and let the integration pros do the laundry.

For those who don’t code: choose one of the automation platforms and focus on more important things. Solo entrepreneurs and small business owners love automation because it regularly frees up manpower for more valuable work.

As you are getting creative with automation, the productivity boost will spare you more time for creative work. This is a positive feedback cycle, your productivity flywheel.

See the 10 HackMD Zap templates we’ve created for you →