Would you like to spend less time on your computer during the pandemic and beyond? Here are five productivity tools I use every day, as well as some tips on how to get the most out of them.
Do you write the same sentences over and over again? For example, close an email with “I look forward to speaking to you soon.” Or start an email with something like, “It’s great to hear from you.” Or are you writing anything that super-fast keyboard shortcuts would help you be more productive?
If so, check out Text Expander. It literally saves you hours every year. I’ve made hundreds of snippets for myself, such as B. “; add” for my address, “; em” for my e-mail or “; ttt” for “Thank you”. I also added “; sig” to add my personal signature to the end of an email instead of my preprogrammed business signature. Text Expander is a paid program, but it’s worth the $ 3.33 per month they charge.
You can do almost the same thing for free on an iPhone by tapping General> Keyboard> Text Replacement and adding an appropriate abbreviation and phrase. Line breaks are difficult, but for single sentences this is a huge productivity booster. Especially when you’re texting in different apps, e.g. B. “I’ll be home in 10 minutes.” In my case, my personal email address is quite long to enter with my thumb, so I set it up as “Eem” on my phone. Why not “; em” like on my computer? Because on my iPhone keyboard, you have to press the Shift key to tap a semicolon. I’m not interested in it, so I’ll type “E” because the iPhone will automatically capitalize the first letter of any word you type, then “em” for email. There are no words in the English language that begin with “Eem,” so this is a safe, super-quick abbreviation.
For Android users there is the freemium app Texpand, which works extremely well. (Pro tip: Double-letter starts are great for snippets. “Ccell” for your cell phone number or “wweb” for your URL.)
Alfred is an app launcher for macOS. Here you can set a keyboard macro that opens a single input dialog box. You enter the first letter of the app you want to start and Alfred shows you the apps that you started in a list. More than 90% of the time, just hit enter to launch your app. About 10% of the time, you’ll arrow down an app or two. This saves a lot of time. You never have to take your hands off the keyboard to launch an app. No mouse, no icon, just a few keystrokes.
For Windows users, you can download Microsoft Power Toys from GitHub. It’s not as powerful as Alfred, but it has a similar launcher function.
Alfred Powerpack is a paid addition to Alfred. It has all of the features of Text Expander and, among other incredible productivity improvements, offers a virtually unlimited clipboard history. Out of all the power user tips in the world and all the little things you can do to improve your computing skills, clipboard history apps top the list. Alfred Powerpack has been my secret weapon for years. You can use it to search for phrases that you copied from an article three weeks ago. You can use it to remember the syntax of the line of Python code that you used over the past month. You can use it to remember the website coupon code that you used yesterday. The history of the clipboard is simply a must-have for anyone looking to become faster and more productive.