Tagged: tip

Lego magician levitating the word "text:

How to perform text manipulation magic with Keyboard Maestro

Have you ever found yourself making the same kinds of edits to text again and again? Many applications offer ways to streamline this process within the confines of the specific application. It gets more challenging when you want to transform text as it moves from one application into another. Keyboard Maestro — the Swiss army knife of Mac automation tools — to the rescue. Today I’ll walk through a couple of ways you can use it to manipulate text in the clipboard before pasting the text into another application. These macros use regular expressions. Regular expressions are a powerful pattern...

How to track "Waiting For" responses in Gmail

How to track “Waiting For” responses in Gmail

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every email request you sent was efficiently carried out before the due date? In a perfect world you wouldn’t need to track these hand-offs. Sometimes life happens and tasks get overlooked. Unless you track these hand-offs, you can guarantee some of them will fall into an abyss. If you care about the outcome, tracking these “waiting fors” is a must. Even if you don’t use Gmail, these concepts translate to most email applications. The Getting Things Done method advocates using a Waiting For list to track any responses or items you are waiting on others...

Missing spanner

Don’t make this mistake when you loan things to others

Have you ever loaned an item to someone and felt certain you’d remember it? I’ve done it many times. Then my attention turns elsewhere and that’s the last I think of it until one of two things happens: The person returns the item and I think “oh, that’s right, I’d forgotten I’d loaned you that”; or I need to use the item again. As I turn the house upside-down looking for it, I have a vague recollection of having loaned it to… somebody. The solution Eventually I learned that unless I wrote down who I’d loaned things to, there was...

Parkes radio telescope at dawn

All you need to know about saved searches in Evernote

My previous post described how you can use Evernote shortcuts to quickly access saved searches. I neglected to explain how to create a saved search though. Today I’ll run through all you need to know about saved searches. And since I’ve kept you hanging, I’ll throw in a couple of bonus search tips too. Evernote’s powerful search tools find text in notes and attachments, and can even recognise text in photos. You can also save your searches for faster access the next time you need them. This is handy for searches you repeatedly use, and for recalling complex search expressions....

How to open your most useful Evernote content with one click

How to open your most useful Evernote content with one click

Though my Evernote account stores thousands of notes, there are a handful that I refer to repeatedly. Shortcuts are the fastest way I’ve found to zoom between these frequently accessed notes, notebooks, tags and searches. You can recall items from your Shortcut list with one click or keystroke — even complex search commands. Shortcuts also synchronize to your mobile devices so you can use them where ever you are. Here’s a few examples from my Evernote database: @Inbox links to my default notebook. I jump to this view often, so it’s at the top of my Shortcuts list. Weekly review...

Monopoly board

5 ways to pay yourself first (that aren’t about money)

Pay yourself first is a fundamental principle for building financial assets. You save some money — however small the amount — as soon as you receive income. These consistent, small contributions eventually grow into a sizeable financial asset with the aid of compound interest. If you don’t pay yourself first, expenses have a nasty habit of growing to match (or exceed) your income. If you plan to save what’s left at the end of the pay period, your balance rarely grows. This idea also works in other aspects of life. What would happen if you also paid yourself first when...

Nic McPhee via flickr cc

One simple approach to instantly improve your writing

Everybody writes. Whether it’s an email to a friend, your resume, a sales proposal, website copy or the next best-selling book, readers expect clear and error free writing. The problem is that it’s really hard to proofread your own work. Your brain sees what you meant to write, not what’s actually on the page. I wish I’d known about this easily overlooked tool years ago. It’s been a huge help in finding errors in my blog posts, books and other important documents that were invisible to me before. Text to speech is a simple way to find and fix typos,...

Wandering in the fog

Why you need to write down the outcomes behind your projects

Let’s face it, writing down the desired outcome or why a pursuit is worthwhile can seem unnecessary — especially when it’s your project. At the start the reasons for pursuing a project are clear. You understand why the work is important and have a picture of the steps needed to get there. There is a temptation to just dive in and get on with it. But as the months roll on, new team members get involved, stakeholders want to change the scope and unforeseen obstacles hinder your progress. It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. A written statement...

Padlock on green door

Mac convert tip #4: Locking your Mac

I went to university with a mischievous group of friends. You were asking for trouble if you left your computer unattended and unlocked. Someone was guaranteed to have reconfigured your system to cause the chaos possible. Some classics included: setting the volume controls to maximum (often accompanied by adding embarrassingly inappropriate sounds to system events); setting the mouse double-click speed to maximum making it impossible to open applications; or setting the mouse acceleration to warp speed on one axis and a snail’s pace on the other — try accurately positioning your pointer with that setup. I quickly learnt to always...

Blank page

2 questions you must answer before you write anything

I need two questions answered before I can start writing, but this doesn’t seem necessary for everyone. When someone asks me to review or edit their work I ask them the same two questions. The response is usually a perplexed and sometimes pained expression accompanied by a stumbling, vague answer. Whether you’re writing an email, a blog post, a sales proposal, a university assignment, a letter to your significant other or a book, the ability to clearly express your ideas in writing is an immensely valuable skill. If you can clearly and succinctly answer these two questions, you’ll be able...