If this then that. It's one of the basics of life, cause and effect. If this happens, then that will happen. It's also one of the basics of programming, and with the IFTTT (which stands for, you guessed it, If This Then That) app you can create custom combinations for how the different apps you use interact with one another to make life a little easier, or at least a little more interesting.

IFTTT connects apps — like GMail, Evernote, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, the Weather app and so on — allowing them to talk to each other, and one app reacts based on the input from the other app. For instance, you can have your Instagram and Facebook apps talk to each other, creating an IFTTT for "If I post a photo to Instagram, then Facebook will create a status update about the photo." The app has even created a feature so you can control apps based your location, such as turning on lights when you arrive home, or sending yourself a reminder to silence your phone when you arrive at work.

The combinations are called "recipes" and there are many listed on the IFTTT website that have been created by different users. There are plenty of ideas for posting anything you publish to Instagram on your Facebook feed, or Tweeting any photos you publish on Flickr. But what about going beyond just social media sharing? How can you use IFTTT for improving daily life? While it's not a life-changing service, there are many great ways to use the app to streamline your day and save you a few minutes here and there. Here are some of our favorites.

Be prepared for the day ahead:

Create a digital diary of your life:
Focus on work-life balance and health:
Manage your home:
What else can you come up with? Let us know if you try any of these, or if you come up with other clever ways of taking advantage of IFTTT service.

More related posts on MNN:

Jaymi Heimbuch ( @jaymiheimbuch ) focuses on wildlife conservation and animal news from her home base in San Francisco.

20 ways the IFTTT app can streamline your life
The IFTTT (If This Then That) service allows your apps to talk to one other, streamlining your life through simple combinations of actions and reactions.