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The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 5 – TextExpander

The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 5 – TextExpander
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    Another day, another Lifehack Giveaway!

    Hopefully, over the past few days you have seen that we here at Lifehack aren’t screwing around this holiday season; we are hooking you up with some of the best productivity and lifestyle apps and tools to help you better yourself in the coming year. And, boy oh, boy is today’s giveaway no different with some productivity wares from Smile Software.

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    Before we get to the new stuff, let’s first congratulate yesterday’s winner of the NerdFitness Rebel Fitness Guides, Mark Eldridge, with this inspirational health goal for 2012:

    My goal is to run the Marine Marathon in October with my 21 year old daughter.  I had been running for several years.  A couple of years ago my 20 year old daughter picked up the running bug saying I was her inspiration.  Since then she’s lost 30 pounds and just completed her first marathon.  A year and a half ago, I herniated a disk in my back so I’ve had to stay on the sidelines for a while. Now I need to lose 30 pounds. I’m just starting back and look forward to running with my girl.

    Mark, you just picked yourself up the three-pack of NerdFitness Rebel Fitness Guides. Now, get to work on those fitness goals for 2012. Congratulations!

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    Today’s Giveaway

    Smile Software creates some of the best productivity apps around for the Mac including one of the apps that I could never live without; TextExpander. If you don’t know what TextExpander is let me break it down for you; if you type a lot of stuff over and over again, and you want to save time doing it, TextExpander helps you accomplish that goal.

    TextExpander brings you a way to create custom “snippets” that create large portions of text, run scripts, insert images and rich text, etc. You can enter these snippets system-wide on your Mac making TextExpander one of the most time-saving apps I have ever used. Here are just some of the things you can do:

    • Create commonly used text pieces like email signatures, responses to commonly sent emails, blocks of code, “boiler-plate” text, etc.
    • Automatically fix commonly misspelled words
    • Create snippets that allow you to reposition your cursor after expanding some text. This is great for inserting a ‘<a href=””></a>’ element and then positioning the cursor between the quotes or the chevrons.
    • Run custom scripts for all you hackers out there
    • Sync snippets library with Dropbox to use with TextExpander Touch on your iDevice
    • Many more things that you will come up with day in and day out

    I can’t live without TextExpander and two Lifehack readers can find out what I mean by winning one of the two free licenses to TextExpander from Smile Software. Remember, TextExpander is for Mac only.

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    By the way, why don’t you check out Smile on Facebook or follow them on Twitter?

    How to Enter

    In order to enter to win a license of TextExpander, you need to leave a comment below or on our Facebook fan page that answers the following:

    “What text expansion or automation from TextExpander will save you the most time and why?”

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    Leaving a comment on both our Facebook fan page and here at Lifehack.org will get you 2 entries, but you need to give us two TextExpander time-savers – no copying and pasting!

    The Fine Print

    Employees of Smile and of Stepcase (including current independent contractors of both) are not eligible for this contest. The two winning entries will be judged by the Stepcase Lifehack editing team and winners will be notified on the platform in which their winning entry was placed (either on the Lifehack.org Facebook wall or by email through our commenting system here the website). For those entering the contest with a comment on Lifehack.org, in order to be considered eligible, you MUST leave a contact email when leaving a comment (it’s the only way we’ll know how to contact you). Entries must be submitted by 10 am Eastern the following weekday and winners will be chosen by 12 pm Eastern time on the same day. The winner will be announced the same day on Lifehack.org, and will be notified beforehand.

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    Good luck!

    More by this author

    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

    How to Beat Procrastination: 29 Simple Tweaks to Make 5 Project Management Tools to Get Your Team on Track To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System Design Is Important: How To Fail At Blogging 7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively 6 Unexpected Ways Journaling Every Day Will Make Your Life Better

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    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    More on Building Habits

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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