Today I’m gonna share seven quick general workflow tips that I use to boost my productivity on a daily basis, and the commonality between all of this workflow tips is that they are focused on shaving time off of repeated processes. These are things that I do every single day, often multiple times a day.
Now, none of these tips are specific to any one job or profession. None of them are even specific to any one computer application, though most of them do target things that happen within your computer. – In the computer?- So if the work that you do happens on the computer, then this video is primarily for you. Though, with one of these tips, we are going to venture out into the real world. Alright, let’s get into it.
Tip number one.
use text expansion to bind long strings of text that you have to type often too small keywords.
For example, I’m using a program called Auto Hotkey on my PC to bind my home address to the keyword HADR. Now at least on Windows, Auto Hotkey is probably the best way to do this. Number one, it is absolutely free and number two, it is incredibly powerful. It has a lot more it can do besides just text expansion. On the Mac side, I use a program called aText, which is about five bucks, it’s not free,but it does have a lot of customization options and it’s really easy to use, and if you want to do this on Android or iOS, there are text expansion options for both of those platforms as well, and I’ll have some links in the description below if you’re interested in that.
Tip number two.
start using your computer’s quick access areas more often. Whether you’re on Mac or PC, the file explorer program that comes stock with your computer has a little sidebar where you can put shortcuts to the folders that you use most often. For my workflow, I keep persistent links to Google Drive, to a lot of my businesses folders and to the folder where
Tip number three.
Spend some time learning the keyboard shortcuts for the programs that you use most often. Back when I was in college
Tip number four.
And for this tip, we are going to briefly venture out of the computer and into the real world, because I’m going to suggest that you put any of your commonly used physical tools within arms reach of your workspace. Now, to do this for myself, I’m using a swivel drawer that screws into the bottom of my desk, and I did just discover there is now a clamp on version, so that’s even more accessible. But within mine, I’ve got scissors,I’ve got SD cards, in case I need more camera memory space,I’ve got a little pin for resetting different devices,I’ve got a box cutter, pens, pencils, highlighters, sticky notes, all kinds of stuff that I find my self frequently reaching for.
Tip number five.
use a launcher tool. A launcher tool is a little utility on your computer that essentially lets you hit a very quick key combination that brings up a little window where you can type, and then let you easily launch websites, programs, files, all kinds of other stuff. Now, the best launcher tool that exists in the entire world is called Alfred, and it is, unfortunately, Mac only. But by hitting CMD and Space on my Mac,I can bring up this nice little typing window that lets me launch any website, any folder I want,and do lots of other things,ranging from really simple stuff,like doing calculations,to lots of complex and really deep user-generated workflows,like this one, which deeply links into my password manager, Dashlane,and let’s me find a password or username without having to actually go over to the application and search using it’s window. Now, unfortunately, nothing quite as good as Alfred exists on Windows, but there is an opensource program called Wox, which is free and does a lot of what Alfred does, except for some of that really complex workflow stuff.
Tip number six.
I guess I need a second hand this time. Use a clipboard manager. Now whether you’re using a Mac or a PC, your computer has a clipboard where you can copy text or copy images and then paste them elsewhere. The problem is that computers, by default, only remember the very last thing that you copied. So if you copied something a while ago and then you copied something, later on, that thing you copied first, it’s just gone. And I don’t know about you, but I want my clipboard to remember more than just one thing, and it can with a clipboard manager. Now on Windows, the absolute best one that I found is called Clipboard Help+Spell, and you can do a lot more than just saving your clipboard history. You can have favorites, it can do all kinds of different stuff. And on the Mac side, there are tons of dedicated clipboard managers as well, but wouldn’t you know it? Alfred also has a built-in clipboard manager. I just love Alfred. So use that, unless you really, really want something dedicated for some reason.
Tip number seven.
Try using virtual desktops. So, here’s the thing: I love using dual monitors, but not everyone can afford a second monitor and not everyone has the space for a second monitor, even if they do have the money to buy one. But if you find yourself in either of those situations, you don’t have to have tons of things crowding up your desktop all the time, because all major OS platforms, Windows, Mac, and Linux, have virtual desktops, which basically means you can switch from one desktop to another, really, really easily. You can put different programs on different desktops. So for me, when I’m working at a coffee shop from a Mac, I don’t have a big monitor like this behind me, I like to put my email, my Spotify, my password manager on my second desktop, that way my first desktop can be completely dedicated to my browser. Additionally, on the Mac, when you full-screen an app, it gives its own virtual desktop, and I often use that when I’m writing in Evernote or in Typora
So to do a quick recap here, number one, use text expansion to bind long strings of text that you often have to type to very short keywords.
Two, start using your computer’s quick access area to create shortcuts to common folders.
Three, learn the keyboard shortcuts for the apps that you use most often. Four, find a way to put commonly used tools within arms reach of your workspace. Maybe use a swivel drawer.
Five, use a launcher tool like Alfred or Wox. Six, start using a clipboard manager.
And finally, number seven, clean up your desktop by using multiple virtual desktops.
Now, starting to use any one of these seven tips can definitely make a marginal improvement to your workflow on a day-to-day basis.