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RazorCut

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I thought this thread would be useful for sharing tips and tricks that help with your productivity.

The reason being is I just stumbled on the fact that if I copy something on my iPhone (including screenshots and images) it is automatically placed in the clipboard on my iPad or MacBook so I can paste it from there. No big deal if you knew that already but useful if you didn’t.

Why didn’t I know this already? Because I have been using iPhones since the iPhone 3 first came out and I don’t have time to keep up with all the lists of new features. Besides I thought that was what AirDrop was all about.

So what do you use frequently that others may not be aware of?
 

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Auto Text Expander - Condense candid replies and other information in a text shortcut e.g. instead of writing "Hello just confirming our appointment tomorrow" just type "hjc" etc.

Flux - Sleep better by automatically having your computer block blue light as it gets closer to bed time.

Instant Street View - See what an address looks like without having to navigate Google Maps to find the street view option.
 
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alexkuzmov

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Here are some of mine:

1. Whenever I get a large document to read I use text to speech. Its much faster and you get the gist of the document. Same can be applied to a blog posts or book pages etc.
I've done this a lot with the GOLD threads here.

2. Turn on Do Not Disturb on any message app, turn off notifications for emails, texts and whatever.
Check them whenever you have free time.
This limits distraction a great deal.
If something is truly urgent they can call you.
 

Andy Black

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I’m embarrassed to report that I only just started playing with the speech input option on my phone to create written content.

I’ve been writing the bare bones of scripts for YouTube videos. Pretty cool.
 

Defection

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Chrome - Momentum. Creates a new tab where you can put your plans for the day, and it also has a to-do list.

Facebook News Feed Eradicator - Stops your news feed from loading unless you request it. Amazing for not getting distracted if you have other matters to attend to on FB.

Remove social media from your phone home screen - Sounds simple, but the inconvenience of several swipes/clicks to get to certain apps is a deterrent for me, and I barely ever use social media now because of it.

A separate 'work' account in your PC - I have an account that is purely business and one that is purely personal. I switch between them and it allows for 100% focus with no distractions.

RBTray for windows - I have a nasty habit of collecting too many tabs that I never read. RBTray allows you to minimize things to your taskbar, so they're still in the background, but I often find that if I still haven't read them after a week, then I probably don't need to, and I'm often a lot stricter with closing them then.
 

CoolNerd

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For productivity:

Notepad++: amazing text editor for working with "technical" texts (Linux alternative: Notepad qq)
ClipX: clipboard history manager - if you copy & paste a lot (Linux alternative: ClipIt)
Kdiff3: great tool for comparing texts, files, and even directories

Fighting distractions:

Facebook news feed eradicator: as already mentioned here, use this if you need to be on Facebook
Block Site: prevents you from visiting undesired websites (such as YouTube).
Block Site For Android: same thing for your Android device (can block websites and apps)

Health:

f.lux: as mentioned here before, blocks blue light to help you sleep better
Twilight: the same thing for your Android device
Big Stretch Reminder: reminds you to take regular break from the PC
 

Andy Black

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For productivity:

Notepad++: amazing text editor for working with "technical" texts (Linux alternative: Notepad qq)
ClipX: clipboard history manager - if you copy & paste a lot (Linux alternative: ClipIt)
Kdiff3: great tool for comparing texts, files, and even directories

Fighting distractions:

Facebook news feed eradicator: as already mentioned here, use this if you need to be on Facebook
Block Site: prevents you from visiting undesired websites (such as YouTube).
Block Site For Android: same thing for your Android device (can block websites and apps)

Health:

f.lux: as mentioned here before, blocks blue light to help you sleep better
Twilight: the same thing for your Android device
Big Stretch Reminder: reminds you to take regular break from the PC
You just reminded me of Cygwin which I use to write quick UNIX shell scripts on my Windows PC. Anyone up for bit of vi, sed, grep, or awk?
 

drahz

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You just reminded me of Cygwin which I use to write quick UNIX shell scripts on my Windows PC. Anyone up for bit of vi, sed, grep, or awk?
Cygwin was really good when it was the only option... now with WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) it is not really needed. WSL feels almost like Linux.
 

drahz

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  • Notion and Trello for organizing notes and planning
  • KeePass and Keepass2Android for password management, this is a really great thing for password management, if you are still using the same password for every site you go to, check this out.
 
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RazorCut

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Some great resources here guys. Thanks for the input.

Auto Text Expander - Condense candid replies and other information in a text shortcut e.g. instead of writing "Hello just confirming our appointment tomorrow" just type "hjc" etc.
Yes. I use the auto correct feature on my phone in a similar way. I have 3 or 4 lists of hashtags allocated to 3 character combos. It makes it much quicker and easier to publish my instagram posts.

@alexkuzmov love the text to speech idea. Will give that a try.


RBTray for windows - I have a nasty habit of collecting too many tabs that I never read.
Oh I am so guilty of Tab Mania. Will give this a try for sure.
 

MrTrash757

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Right now, I have been trying to learn Keyboard shortcuts on macOS and Windows (I use both).

Mousless on macOS has been invaluable for this, wish they had a Windows Version.
 

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Andy Black

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Cygwin was really good when it was the only option... now with WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) it is not really needed. WSL feels almost like Linux.
Oh nice. I’d never heard of that. Thanks for the heads up.
 

Andy Black

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I had some software that allowed me to move Windows around on the screen at the touch of buttons. It was great but is depreciated now. Winsplit I think. I’d love to find something similar.
 

Andy Black

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Not a tech hack, but still good for productivity:

I can use my mouse left-handed while writing right-handed.
 

Odysseus M Jones

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Discovered these by accident:

Press & hold the back button on my Android phone brings a popup of page history.
Saves multiple presses of back button to get back to the page you want.

Swiping Chrome menu bar left & right scrolls through currently open tabs.
Saves pressing the little tab button & scrolling through open tabs.
 

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I created a bunch keyboard macros that populate certain words when I hit Ctrl-1 (1, 2, 3, etc). Most of them are standard PWs that my clients use to encrypt items but it saves me so much time compounded during the week to just press 2 buttons instead of re-typing passwords all day long.

Some of my clients are in Asia so the customer care reps that I deal with have a basic understanding of English but that's it so I keep all my communication very straightforward without jargon so I use these macros for my standard email responses to them.
 

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Madame Peccato

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Not a tech hack, but still good for productivity:

I can use my mouse left-handed while writing right-handed.
Nice, I am so bad at using a mouse with my left hand, despite being so good at using it right handed. It's basically an extension of my arm at this point. I need to use it left handed more.
 

Andy Black

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Nice, I am so bad at using a mouse with my left hand, despite being so good at using it right handed. It's basically an extension of my arm at this point. I need to use it left handed more.
I don't recommend it, but breaking your right collar-bone in a motorbike accident does have some advantages.
 
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RazorCut

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Not a tech hack, but still good for productivity:

I can use my mouse left-handed while writing right-handed.
Funny you should say that.

I’m in the market for a new keyboard as the one I’ve had since 2009 gave up on me recently.

That got me thinking about buying a TKL one (TenKeyLess) and a separate keypad so I could learn to input numbers with my left hand and use the mouse with my right (great for spreadsheet work, and something I seen my old accountant do.

Still undecided and I’m not a fan of TKL keyboards on their own as I’ve always got a spreadsheet open.
 

Beerbread

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I created a bunch keyboard macros that populate certain words when I hit Ctrl-1 (1, 2, 3, etc). Most of them are standard PWs that my clients use to encrypt items but it saves me so much time compounded during the week to just press 2 buttons instead of re-typing passwords all day long.

Some of my clients are in Asia so the customer care reps that I deal with have a basic understanding of English but that's it so I keep all my communication very straightforward without jargon so I use these macros for my standard email responses to them.
Piggybacking off of this, I use a gaming mouse to keep my macros. I do a lot of work with Lightroom and Photoshop, and the buttons on the side of my mouse are a lifesaver!

33859

I use the UtechSmart Venus Gaming Mouse but there's other variations of that. It depends on your needs and how many buttons you want.
 

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:jawdrop: Wow that’s one serious mouse. I had a Razer for years with adjustable weight cartridge during my CS obsession days.
 

Beerbread

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:jawdrop: Wow that’s one serious mouse. I had a Razer for years with adjustable weight cartridge during my CS obsession days.
Wow, CS takes me back :rofl: I originally bought it to play Ragnarok Online, but I haven't used it for gaming at all! It's the best $30 I ever spent and it comes with 5 modes, so there are different macros for each program I'm using.
 

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Notepad++: amazing text editor for working with "technical" texts (Linux alternative: Notepad qq)
This is F*cking useful to edit ARFF files for Weka and other data mining tools.

I've saved oodles of time with Notepad++ for initial data pre-processing, while my other college mates wasted time with Excel labour.

Some recent hacks I've found?

Excel KuTools add-in to automate many functions and prevent from wasting time on trying macros.

CoSchedule and Sharethrough Headlines Analysers, if you want to check if your headlines have enough emotion and prose. Scores from 0-100.

Mind though that for shorter headlines, especially for last-call emails, the tools might think that these headlines are lacking. Ultimately, you'd have to make the final call as to whether your headline is worth launching out into the open or not.

This next tool is specific for data scientists who use R for analytics, and use RMarkdown to write data reports:

here()package.


Sometimes when you want to read a csv file to start your project, it's troublesome to do the old fashioned read.csv way, set lengthy absolute pathways or set working directories (especially when you want to analyse multiple spreadsheets), because some stupid 'cannot find file' error pops up.

here() enables you to reach csv files from ANYWHERE in your computer.
All you need to do is to type in the name of the csv file, and bam- you can do work at once!

I would have saved a lot more hours that could have been spent on actual data work, instead of screaming over RMarkdown's stubbornness to recognise file pathways.

I found here() from a StackExchange post, but I had to dig to find it. A . Lot.
 
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RazorCut

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If I remember correctly (I’m 150 miles away from my pc at the moment) you can use the mouse scroll wheel as well instead of swiping? I could have dreamt that though. :rofl:
 

Odysseus M Jones

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If I remember correctly (I’m 150 miles away from my pc at the moment) you can use the mouse scroll wheel as well instead of swiping? I could have dreamt that though. :rofl:
You could if you have a mouse attached to your phone.
Although scrolling is vertical & swiping is horizontal.
That's some powerful Bluetooth if it works from 150 miles away.
 

jmin

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If you want to improve the speed at which you navigate your computer, here are a couple of great apps (Mac only, but alternatives likely to be available).

(These apps are all free. I've included links, but if they're not allowed I'll take them down straight away).

1. Spectacle
Quickly move windows to certain areas of your screen. You can instantly organise your windows for side by side view etc. Using these shortcuts:
Cmd + right - right half of screen​
Cmd + left - left half of screen​
Cmd + F - fullscreen​
(Shortcuts customisable)

2. Alfred
Easily search through your computer files, applications & even google, without using your mouse to navigate.
Using the shortcut Option + Space
It works the same as the native Spotlight tool, except with greater functionality. You can also set it up to work with other programs so you can quickly add tasks/whatever you do with certain programs.

3. Macs Fan Control
This is less of a productivity hack but still useful. Some people don't realise that plugging an HDMI into a Macbook can cause the Mac to heat up, which causes the system to slow down and lag. Using fan control to set the fan to run at a higher rate prevents the system from heating up to a point where it begins to lag. Great tool.

Other than that - getting browser extensions for apps (eg. Notion/Evernote) has saved me a lot of time. Then there's a whole rabbit hole of IFTTT, Zapier and other automation programs, which I haven't explored enough yet myself.
 

MπR

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2. Alfred
Easily search through your computer files, applications & even google, without using your mouse to navigate.
Using the shortcut Option + Space
It works the same as the native Spotlight tool, except with greater functionality. You can also set it up to work with other programs so you can quickly add tasks/whatever you do with certain programs.
Alfred is such a great tool. And if you grab the Powerpack it is even more powerful. Well worth the investment.
From custom searches, textexpansion to whole workflows you can pretty much automate a lot of stuff on your mac. Saves a ton of time. A must have on Mac

Workflows for Alfred
 

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