Automations are one of the most powerful features in ClickUp. We have used them to pioneer new ground in our service lines by moving a patient to the next role when certain actions are completed. We can even use them to trigger external applications (send emails, for example, or code them to work with custom software). It is, in short, incredible.
Automations can be applied to lists, and viewable by clicking on the “automations” button on the top right. If there is a number present (in the example below you can see the number 2), it indicates the number of active automations created for that list.
If we continue with the example above we see the following a drop-down menu that allows gives you the option to see the active automations, or make a new automation. As we are not assigning “watchers” at this point in time, you can ignore that.
Let’s click on “Active Automations”. It will bring up this screen You can see there are two automations. However, the second on is not “on”. This is evidenced by the green switch. That is ok in this instance. This automation could probably be deleted, however it is worth noting for this example that it would not work anyway due to the green switch being off.
Let’s edit the top automation. In order to do this, you need to roll-over the top automation to view the green pencil “edit” button. Let’s click on this.
Here you can see the automation. ClickUp divides automations into “When” and “Then” columns. The “When” column is the specific trigger ClickUp will look for to run the automation. The “Then” column is what you can do when the automation is triggered. It is worth noting that one “When” action can trigger multiple “Then” actions, such as in this example. You can see here that when a status on this list is changed from “open” to “intaken” then a lot of things happen. Look at the graphic, and let’s discuss the “then” column.
“Add to list”. This action in the “then” column adds the task (patient) to another list. This is crucial for reporting, and is usually the very first action that we perform in a client’s intake list. “Add to list” means that even though the task (patient) may appear on multiple lists – whatever happens to the task on one list will happen to it in another.
The reason we use this immediately upon creation of a task (patient) is because we want a separate list we can share with clients that has only their patients on it, and all of their patients on it (regardless of what list they are at in our internal processes). It makes it cleaner and simpler for clients and the sales team, and is another way we have innovated a simple solution.
“Set custom field” is the action used on the next 3 actions. This allows you to set any of our custom fields in a certain way. For example, we can set the PAP service type as “SU/ADHERE” if we know that this particular client is sending us all patients for setup and adherence. It’s one less step the RT has to do. You can set a wide variety of parameters. In the third example, you can see that we set the “Intake Date” to be the same as the “On Trigger Date”. In other words, when the RT changes the status from “open” to “intaken” the field for “Intake Date” will automatically be set to that current date. This allows us the ability to filter reports later by a timestamp. And, of course, it is one less field we are requiring our RTs to fill out.
There are many other actions that can be performed, including sending emails, texts, calling webhooks (for API integrations).
So What’s the Catch?
There are a couple of caveats with automations. The first one is simply that they can technically be edited by anyone. We have to actively train NEVER to click on the “automation” button on any list. While we would have a complete log of any edits, it could still make a very long week.
The second caveat is that we have noticed that sometimes – particularly around ClickUp updates – certain automations will not function. We have successfully “caught” these, and fixed the data, but it is worthy of noting. When it simply doesn’t move a task to the next list when a status is changed it is easy to catch, however there are some times where custom data is not being filled in. Again – worth mentioning.