I want to make things as easy for myself as I possibly can, all the time. Simplifying is definitely something that drives me. It is truly wonderful to for example see the computer do something I have previously spent time and energy doing.
The structural tools I have been most thrilled about using in the last few weeks are text expansion tools. These are little programs that write out text instead of me doing it.
They are useful for instance when I compose certain kinds of e‑mails prior to and after my assignments. I can also use them when I write an e‑mail to someone asking her to do something which she does from time to time, but which has some unique element to it every time. Or, they come in handy when for instance the name of a company or client is particularly difficult to remember but which I need to type often and tend to misspell.
Written in no time
When I am writing something I write often and which I would rather not have to retype every time, I now only have to write an abbreviation of three or four characters and the program replaces these with the entire text.
Just great! It is like seeing work being done without having to exert any effort whatsoever.
If you have not yet experienced the benefit of using a text expansion tool, I highly recommend you try it.
You could do this in several ways.
- Either download a text expansion tool, for example TextExpander or Phrase Express, and evaluate them for yourself.
Downloading it will make the text expansion tool available in all other programs you use, regardless if you are composing an e‑mail or writing a document.
- Or, if you have an IT-department which is not thrilled about you finding things on the internet and then installing them by yourself on your computer, you can at least fill out the autocorrection-feature in Word or Pages with the phrases you no longer want to re-type and create shortcuts or abbreviations for these.
Sure, you will not have access to the function in all your programs, but it will at least be a step closer to having a smoother workday.
Less repetition gives you more space to be creative
If you use a text expansion tool or ‑program even the smallest things you write on a regular basis will be written faster and easier. The small things we need to get done on any given day will get done easier, and you will hence have more energy for the tasks which are truly unique and require your full attention and concentration.
More work gets done but you are also left with more time for what truly matters. It’s a win-win.
What is your trick?
Have you used a text expansion tool or ‑program? Tell me!
By the way, if you want more tips on how to create good structure at work — here are many ways to get just that.