Recently, we were featured on Zapier’s blog post, Get More Done: 5 Ways to Master Your To-Do List as an example of how to link your web apps/tools to be productive. We wanted to elaborate a bit more to show you that it’s possible with just a few minutes of setup, and can save you a lot of time.
Obligatory Disclaimer: We’re not endorsing any particular product here – instead, we want to show you that there are a lot of really good tools out there that can be set up to save you a lot of time and effort. The tools we discuss in this post are what we use, but feel free to try your own combinations.
At 7 River Systems, we use Zapier and Basecamp a lot. No two apps allow us to centrally manage our operations as much as those two. By making Basecamp our central hub and automating as much as possible with Zapier, we can stay organized while keeping up the pace. Here are a few reasons why this makes a lot of sense:
- We want our work to stay on track, since our team is spread out around the world.
- We want to track our interactions with potential and existing customers in one system.
- We want to keep our customers’ information secure in their systems and in ours.
Here are a few automated tasks we use on a regular basis:
We have an awful lot of tasks that need to happen on a regular basis. Systems need to be checked, articles and reports need to be written, and bills need to be paid. We use Zapier’s “Schedule” app to create “Zaps,” or automated tasks, that tell Basecamp to create todos for the team.
Web Form Submissions
When a prospective customer contacts us through our website, the results are sent to Basecamp for further action, as well as to MailChimp, if the person requests to be added to the mailing list. This saves us a lot of time and frustration. We can be confident that no correspondence will get lost in e-mail, and we don’t need our staff to waste time doing data entry for us. Our workflow is correct every time, and we use our own human cycles when they are needed, such as to interact with potential or existing customers.
Tasks/Requests from Existing Customers
This is by far one of the most useful and time-saving tricks we use. Most of our customers use their own project management or task-tracking systems. In the beginning, we spent a lot of time logging into their systems, such as Atlassian JIRA, Highrise, and Traq to read and respond to requests. Of course, we also needed to discuss and keep track of work in our own system, which led to a lot of duplicate data and redundant updates. Using Zapier, we have all of these requests funnel into Basecamp. We work exclusively in Basecamp, and our responses get sent back to our clients via their project management system of choice.
Since we’re a technical company, we receive a lot of technical notifications – server status messages, security alerts, account notifications, and much more. We use a variety of Zaps to make sure these get sent to Basecamp where they can be tracked, discussed, and acted upon. Sometimes this is as easy as using Zapier’s e-mail app, but there are other options, to include Amazon AWS notifications. Now we can rest easy knowing that the important alerts are automatically distributed to the team and not just locked up in someone’s inbox.
A few months ago, I posted the article Avoid Burnout! Manage Your Workload With Two Key Questions where I strongly suggested that business owners and managers think about how they can better automate or delegate their work. I still feel strongly about this – and there are lots of apps out there that can help this happen. Using Zapier and Basecamp allows us to automate and delegate really well.