Automating Tasks To Get Things Done

Author Lexi Rodrigo posted an article today on about the “10 Ways to Work Quickly and Accomplish More.“ I currently use many of the productivity tips she suggests, but it’s her tip #6, “Use Tools to Systematize and Automate Common Tasks,” that I use the most in my day-to-day work activities.

As my blog Mac Automation Tips shows, automating tasks is one of the best ways to use computers—machines that are supposed to help us work more efficiently and save us time.

As a Mac user, I have found QuicKeys 4.0 to be the best automation tool for automating my Mac. The following is a very shot list of automations the program performs for me on a daily basis:

  1. QuicKeys automatically opens specified URLs based on the days and time I set up. So every morning, for example, I have a set of web pages opened on my computer ready for me to scan or read.quickeysaction.png
  2. I use QuicKeys as a powerful application launcher. For example, when I launch the application MarsEdit, the macro I set up first automatically merges open web pages in Safari, hides all other open applications on my desktop, and creates a new document post in MarsEdit so that I can get started writing.
  3. I have macros that automatically quit applications such as iCal, 1Password, and Address Book, 5 minutes after they are no longer the front application. These automations keep my computer from being burden down with too many open program.
  4. I use QuicKeys to add more functionality to the applications I use on a regular basis. For example, I have macro actions that first selects the frontmost URL , then copies and pastes that URL into the article I’m writing in a word processing program. This is all done with a single hot key. I use other actions to help me quickly format subtitles or delete a series of items in articles as well.
  5. Another QuicKeys macro sends me a message every three hours, reminding to take a break.
  6. I use QuicKeys to assign shortcut keys to open folders and frequently used files.
  7. I have a handful of macro actions that automatically sign me into website accounts I use on a regular basis.
  8. When I want to post a title and a link to Twitter using my Tweetie client, I have a single hot key to do the entire process for me. It copies the selected title of an article, then copies its URL, pastes that information in a new Tweeite post, clicks the return key to post the tweet. This is a great little time saver.

I have lots of other automations that are more complicated to describe in this post. Automations often take time to create in QuicKeys, but once the automation is created and working accordingly, it becomes a huge time saver.

As a freelance writer, most of us are getting paid by the hour, so automating tasks is the way we can get a lot more done and work more efficiently. This is why it’s definitely worth it to invest programs like QuicKeys, TextExpander or Typinator, Hazel, Keyboard Maestro, or Alarm Clock Pro.

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