blog Productivity

5 Ways to Automate Technology and Save Time

When talking about automation, the first thing that comes to my thoughts is… The Jetsons. It was an animated collection that I grew up with as a toddler of the 80s. Vacuum cleaning? Press a button. Give the dog scratchies? Press a button. Though we haven’t reached that YET, there are already plenty of things we will automate.

Automation and Time

Why automate? Comfort? Undoubtedly. But there is something so beneficial that we earn once we automate. Time.

Time is one thing that we’ve talked extensively about inside our TEA Framework Collection. TEA stands for Time, Power, and Attention. Once we don’t have enough time, we will be unable to finish tasks which might be necessary to us or worse we are all the time in a state of panic. Find out more concerning the TEA Framework here.

Automation will aid you save time and show you how to finish essential tasks in your life that may finally assist you reach your objectives. It isn’t nearly turning the lights on or off with an app or arriving residence to a well-lit home. We will automate a number of areas in our life and final week Brooks shared 5 methods you can do so.

This time we’re going to concentrate on automation using our pc and cell phones. We also talked about this during one in every of our podcast episodes. I recommend you pay attention to it and learn how Brooks and Thanh personally apply it to their computers and cellular units.

Listed here are 5 methods you possibly can automate your pc and telephone

1. Keyboard shortcuts

The preferred keyboard shortcuts, that everyone knows about, are copy and paste. You possibly can all the time use your mouse to copy and paste but why use it when it’s so much quicker to simply use Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V. But these aren’t the one keyboard shortcuts obtainable to you.

Most purposes include its own keyboard shortcuts and you’ll be able to verify this by checking their Assist information. Identical to how we received used to the shortcuts for copy and paste, the more you employ a shortcut, the more ingrained it turns into that you simply don’t even have to give it some thought anymore. Don’t feel overwhelmed by the number of shortcuts obtainable. As an alternative, concentrate on one or a couple of that you simply use recurrently and begin off from there till your fingers memorize it all. Consider it as muscle memory.

A high-value category of keyboard shortcut is shifting around in text. Study the keyboard shortcut for going to the subsequent/earlier word (option-left/right on Mac and ctrl+left/proper arrow on Home windows) and the start/end of a line (Command left/proper on Mac, residence/end on Windows) in your pc. Once you realize those, you possibly can fly around a doc, e mail, or anything you’re writing.

CheatSheet is a superb Mac App that detects what software you’re utilizing and then tells you what shortcuts are available for that software.

There are additionally plenty of web-based purposes which have keyboard shortcuts and certainly one of them is Gmail. Whenever you press the ? key, a pop up with the shortcuts will seem.

Gmail Shortcut

By the best way this can be a pro-tip — many packages and web-apps have a keyboard-shortcut for keyboard shortcuts. When you study that, you possibly can shortly reference the record from wherever you’re and it is going to make it straightforward to study.

2. Command launcher

This can be a nifty sort of software you can install in your pc that permits you to execute instructions, open information, open purposes, manipulate information, seek for information–all through the use of a command launcher app.

Whenever you don’t use a command launcher, you’ll be able to open a computer software by doing one of many following:

  • F4 to present all the apps and then seek for the app (Mac)
  • Open Finder, go to Purposes, then search for the app by scrolling (Mac)
  • Click on on the Start Button, Click on on All Apps, undergo the totally different app folders, till you see the app you’re on the lookout for (Home windows 10)
  • Click on on the Home windows key and search for the App (Home windows 10)

What about opening the calculator? Similar. You need to open the calculator app first.

However when you have got a Command Launcher installed, the method turns into shorter and more efficient. For example, I would like to know what’s 123 * 456. All I have to do is press Choose + Spacebar and sort in 123*456 and I get the answer instantly (this is using Alfred).

Alfred Calculator

You can even use command launchers for Google search, Google Drive search, Google Maps search, Contacts look-up, and an entire lot extra.

Listed here are some Command Launcher apps that we advocate:

Virtually everybody on the workforce uses Alfred, including me. You should use Alfred to launch apps, launch web sites, search for information on your pc. It additionally has a clipboard history that may are available really useful in case you do loads of copy and pasting.

Alfred AE Site

You can too download and use Alfred free of charge and for those who determine that you really want to use workflows and themes, you’ll be able to improve and buy the Alfred Powerpack for $26 USD.

This is one other AE favourite that Thanh personally uses. The primary options are the identical with Alfred.

LaunchBar is $33 USD.

Apart from the similarities with Alfred and LaunchBar, Keyboard Maestro can use triggers, ship messages, and and so forth. A license costs $36 USD.

This is built-in the Mac and the shortcut for this (until you modified it) is Command + Area Bar. One cool thing about Spotlight is foreign money conversion. Sort in 100USD and it provides you the trade price for other currencies.

Spotlight Currency

In case you’re a Windows consumer, you should use the built-in search on the decrease right-hand nook of your display.

A Home windows app which you could download that works like Highlight.

three. Text Automation

There isn’t a day that I don’t use textual content automation on my pc. Textual content automation apps let you use small snippets of textual content that expands to an extended block of text. For instance, I sort in Asian Efficiency several occasions every week. However through the use of text automation, all I have to do is sort ;aen and it then interprets to Asian Effectivity.

TextExpander AE

You should use it for bigger blocks of textual content like e-mail templates:

How are you? My identify is Marmel and I deal with HR for Asian Effectivity ( I would really like to set up a 30min interview with you. You need to use this hyperlink: and choose the date and time that works greatest for you.

Please add my Skype account:

If in case you have any questions, please let me know.


That block of textual content above? Took me 1 second to write. I simply typed in ;int and viola.

TextExpander Email

You possibly can set snippets for dates, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, hyperlinks, membership IDs, and you possibly can even set it to fill out a type for you. I obtained so used to it that once I went to LTO (comparable to DMV) to renew my driver’s license, I used my e mail snippet once I was filling out the form. However alas. It didn’t work because except for not having a Textual content Automation software put in, it was a paper type that I was filling out.

Listed here are some Textual content Automation Apps that we use and advocate:

My absolute favourite and the app I used to showcase in the above gifs. You possibly can create a snippet that might fill out a type for you because there is a snippet which you can add in order that it tabs from one textual content field to the subsequent. Awesome, proper?!

In case you are a part of the Dojo, our on-line productiveness group, you get 30% off the TextExpander Lifehacker Plan.

This comes with built-in snippets that you should use as well as import knowledge from different Text Automation apps like TextExpander and even a .csv file. They’ve a 21-day trial however you should purchase it for $four.99 USD.

  • Built-in enlargement on the Mac

You’ll be able to test it out by going to System Preferences -> Keyboard Preferences

Mac System Preferences Keyboard

Think of it as the TextExpander for Home windows but made by a special firm.

four.File Automation

File automation makes use of rules on totally different folders on your pc. For example, each time there’s a file added to your desktop with ‘screenshot’ on the file identify, it gets transferred instantly to a folder inside Downloads referred to as Screenshots. Another example is cleansing out information older than every week out of your downloads folder.

The most effective factor about file automation is that it keeps your exhausting drive organized by:

  • sorting pictures by location or another metadata
  • sending information to other apps comparable to Evernote
  • clear out your folders
  • type your information by sort to subfolders
  • renaming information and utilizing or specifying a naming convention
  • establishing view settings per folder
  • shifting information routinely

We’ve talked about file automation in our weblog before and you’ll be able to verify those out right here and right here.

Listed here are a few of our beneficial apps:

Hazel can watch folder for you and routinely manage it as nicely. For instance, you’ll be able to tell Hazel to delete duplicate information out of your Downloads folder or delete incomplete downloads after every week.

Hazel is a strong device as a result of you possibly can create and use workflows that may aid you together with your file organization.

Pathfinder is almost 20 years previous and which began a simple folder management software has now advanced into a a lot highly effective one.

This app also integrates with Dropbox so apart from organizing your onerous drive information, you may as well arrange your Dropbox information.

DropIt is the Windows version for file automation. You’ll be able to ‘drop’ totally different information and folders and DropIt can type it for you in accordance to the principles you’ve set.

Apart from being free, DropIt can also be an open supply software.

5. Net / Cellular Automation

There are different ways you’ll be able to automate know-how with out essentially downloading an app.

Listed here are some providers that we advocate and how you should use them:

Asian Efficiency uses Zapier to join apps that we use. For instance, we use it to link Jira to our Slack channels for updates like when a activity is marked as achieved, one in every of our Slack channels will get the update and the staff is notified.

You should use Zapier with a whole lot of apps and net apps like Gmail, Dropbox, Google sheets, Trello, Asana, FB pages, and an entire lot extra! Like greater than 1,000 apps more. You’ll be able to setup a workflow that each time you receive an e-mail (via Gmail) with an attachment, the attachment is copied to your Dropbox folder, and you get a notification in Slack. That’s just one factor that you are able to do.

There’s an entire world of prospects with Zapier. Go forward and check it out.

If this, then that. That’s what IFTTTT stands for. It’s a free (yes free) web-based software and cellular app that you should use to connect your providers collectively. Once we say providers, we’re speaking about your audio system, to your blinds (sure, window blinds), to your Samsung Washer, to your Pocket app, to MailChimp, to your Google Calendar, and an entire lot more.

Listed here are some things that you are able to do with IFTTT (referred to as applets):

  • Each time you add a contact to your iOS system it additionally adds that contact to your Google Contacts
  • Tell Alexa to send your grocery listing to your e-mail
  • Connect Stripe with Google sheet and routinely log all Stripe transactions to the Google sheet
  • Get notified when the CDC (Middle for Illness Management and Prevention) releases a new food safety replace

That’s not even 1/8th of what’s obtainable for you plus you possibly can create your personal applets.

A free Google service that may ship you e mail notifications if there’s new net content on the subjects that you are all in favour of.

Ask Siri “What can you do?” and it should listing down a few of the things it could possibly do for you like:

  • make a telephone name or Facetime Call
  • launch apps
  • ship messages
  • Apple pay
  • set up a meeting utilizing the calendar app
  • Translate
  • offer you instructions
  • play music
  • send an e mail
  • find a telephone quantity or tackle from your contact listing
  • take notes
  • and other app-specific commands similar to PayPal, OmniFocus, Jira, Facebook, Uber, Zoom, and and so on!

You may as well automate your posts in social media and MeetEdgar is one app that may schedule, automate, and recycle content for you. It may even write for you! Whenever you share articles or blogs, it should write the status for you based mostly on the article or weblog that you are sharing.

Action Gadgets

We just shared loads of apps and it may be overwhelming and not know the place to begin. In case you are not going to install any of the apps mentioned, that’s completely effective. However there’s one thing that you must do and take motion on.

Keyboard shortcuts.

It’s there already. It’s free. You’re, kind of, already using it. Just add more shortcuts to your life.

When you’ve mastered keyboard shortcuts, then decide one software to implement and set it up, use it, and begin saving time.