Automate the stuff you do all the time

Example of snippet used to invite for a meeting

Do you sign your emails the same way 80% (or even 100% of the time)? Do you find yourself retyping bits of text, like “let’s meet up – send me your information” and “here’s our latest press list”. If you’re like me, you’d really benefit from using a small piece of software to help you be more productive (a little bit at a time) all the time.

I’ve been using Smile Software’s TextExpander for several months now, and I’m amazed at the amount of time I save from emails I send a lot of the time.

Instead of writing, “what’s a good time to meet? Send me a few dates and times and we can find a suitable time?” I just time “t-meet” and the following text is auto-filled whereever my cursor is pointing:

Please suggest a time for us to talk at – this is a service I use to schedule meetings with fewer back-and-forth emails – I hope you find it useful.

I look forward to speaking with you soon.

This is useful for a few reasons:

I don’t spend as much time typing stuff over and over and make fewer mistakes.
I send similar standard emails based on tasks, which saves a lot of time in my day when I already know what I’m going to write.  I can focus on the message I’m adding to the email and less upon the actual nuts-and-bolts of the process. This makes a four- or five-sentence email into a much shorter process.

I have a standard reply when I’m solicited by people I don’t know.
This one’s my favorite – how many times have you received semi-junk email (“bacn”) and thought, “I’d like to reply, but I don’t have the time.” I now have boilerplate that I’m able to customize quickly and respond to the other email quickly without breaking my flow.

I can share my best “snippets” with my teammates.
Now that several people on my team at work are also using TextExpander, I can literally make them more productive immediately by writing a TextExpander snippet and saving it in our group Dropbox folder. This is an excellent way to standardize a marketing message, prepare three or four standard replies to an inbound query, or just to make everyone happier that they can type less.

My best productivity hack is that I get to think more about what I want to say.
Thanks TextExpander! You’ve helped me to spend more time crafting an effective message and less time typing it.


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