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10 Awesome Alfred Actions to Speed Up Your Day

10 Awesome Alfred Actions to Speed Up Your Day


    Alfred

    is more than an application launcher for your Mac, though I bet that’s what most Alfred users do most often—I’m certainly no exception. A quick command-space, type what I’m looking for, tap enter, done. But there is so, so much more that you can do. In fact I learn more things to do the more I use it. But to get you started here are my top 10 tips and Alfred actions…

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    1. Powerpack Alfred App – Powerpack. Yes, the free version of Alfred is great, more than half of my favorite things to do with it are core to the free version. The thing is that some of the most useful shortcuts come with the Powerpack.
    2. System commands. Need to quickly lock your machine to step away? How about empty the trash without your hands moving to the mouse? Oh yes, all of these and more are right at your fingertips with Alfred. You can even change the default commands so if “emptytrash” is too pedestrian you could use “eradicate”. If “shutdown” doesn’t work, maybe “abort”. They are your commands…do as you wish.
    3. File searches. Sure Spotlight is great and doing a search in a Finder window when you’re in a Finder window is convenient, but what if you aren’t? Start with “find” and Alfred will search through all your files or use “in” and Alfred will search within your files instead. Found what you’re looking for? Email it, open it, go to it, even delete it. Pretty much just control it.
    4. Searching the web. Sure it’s simple, but just start your Google (or other engine) search with a couple taps and your fingers barely have to leave the keyboard. Oh, and it’s not just Google, it’s Bing, Yahoo!, Amazon, eBay, IMDb, even your Gmail and Google Docs, and even more.
    5. Calculator. Quick what’s (3+4)/2*8+10? Yeah, with Alfred you start with the “=” (enable the advanced calculator in the preferences) type it in and the result is there to copy (38 is the answer).
    6. Spelling. Look up definitions or find the right spellings in a few seconds.
    7. Clipboard (PP only). This is my fav of all the Powerpack add-ons, built in clipboard history. And with Alfred 1.2 you can now append to the current clipboard item and then paste that. You can even save snippets of things (like in TextExpander) that you wind up using often.
    8. Address Book (PP). Look up people in your by just typing their name. Then copy info to the clipboard or email them. Right there.
    9. Email (PP). Speaking of email, you can start emails right from Alfred too. Oh and with the myriad different file actions you can do, emailing a document to someone is never more than a few taps away.
    10. 1Password (PP). This is another new feature in Alfred 1.2 for Powerpack users. If you use 1Password start with 1p then start typing the service you’ve saved a password for…select, enter, and your browser opens and logs you in.

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      You can download Alfred either through the Mac App Store or directly through the website (which is the course I’d recommend actually) and while the features included for free are, well, awesome, the real fun comes with spending a little coin, £15 (about $25 US/CAD) gets you the Powerpack, which ramps up Alfred to a whole new level of awesome.

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      Frankly, even pulling together this top 10 list I found another half dozen Alfred actions I want to try. Like opening the last files a particular app opened or navigating through the file system or launching URLs or controlling iTunes. Alfred is one of those apps that is awesome for the moment you start using it—and then it just keeps getting better from there.

      (Photo credit: Man in Bowler Hat by Wonderlane via Flickr)

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      More by this author

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      Last Updated on February 15, 2019

      7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

      7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

      Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

      Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

      Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

      So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

      Joe’s Goals

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        Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

        Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

        Daytum

          Daytum

          is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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          Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

          Excel or Numbers

            If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

            What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

            Evernote

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              I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

              Evernote is free with a premium version available.

              Access or Bento

                If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                Conclusion

                I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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