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Give Your Mac A Productivity Power-Up With LaunchBar

Give Your Mac A Productivity Power-Up With LaunchBar

Launch

    Ever wish you could open up any file on your computer with just one key press? Well, if you have, you can store every file you have on your desktop. Instant access!

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    That was a joke, or course. If you’re an OS X user wanting a more elegant solution for getting to your stuff, LaunchBar proves to be the productivity-booster you’re looking for. LaunchBar is a ridiculously useful program program launcher for OS X that’s operated entirely with the keyboard. I’ve been using it on my Macbook Pro for several months now, and I honestly miss it whenever I switch to my Windows machine.

    Now, you might think that LaunchBar is useless because you’ve already got Spotlight. In truth, Spotlight works pretty well as a program launcher, and it’s free. However, LaunchBar is so much more robust and useful than Spotlight. Plus, the program gives you a 30-day period to evaluate it before buying – and you can still use it free after that period if you’re willing to deal with a purchase reminder.

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    LaunchBar takes keyboard shortcuts to the next level. With Spotlight, you search for the program you want and then hit enter. LaunchBar actually lets you launch a program by holding down the last letter you type. As a result, you can launch certain programs in one keystroke after opening the program (which you can do however you like; I’ve got mine bound to command+L). For example, you can launch Safari just by opening LaunchBar and holding “s” for a second, or launch Firefox by holding “f”. When I’m working on a lot of projects and am constantly switching to new spaces with other keyboard shortcuts, it’s really nice to be able to just launch the programs I need in this lightening-fast manner.

    Launching Safari
      Launching Safari

      Launching a different application from the list simply requires typing a few more characters to drill down to it, or using the arrow key to scroll down to it.

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      “Hi, Billy Mays Here for LaunchBar…”

      Finding and launching applications is really just the tip of the iceberg, however. LaunchBar’s real usefulness comes from its many other built-in functions. The amount of things the program can do is pretty staggering, actually. Here are just a few:

      • Find songs and play them in iTunes
      • Create events in iCal
      • Perform mathematical calculations
      • View contacts from your Address Book
      • Search through your internet browsing history, and open specific web pages
      • Browse through your file structure just like Finder
      • Search Google
      • Perform file operations such as moving or renaming

      An additional (awesome) feature is the ability to show a preview of your selection when you hit the space bar. I really like using this for pictures. In fact, if you have a folder with many pictures, using this feature turns LaunchBar into a pretty nice photo viewer. Just use the arrow keys to scroll through pictures.

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      Launching a song in iTunes from LaunchBar
        Launching a song in iTunes from LaunchBar

        Though I’m pretty objective when I review programs, the only real fault I could find with LaunchBar is the fact that it costs money. People who just want a quick way to launch applications and browse for files will be absolutely fine using Spotlight. However, for the power users out there, LaunchBar is a productivity-boosting powerhouse of an app.

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        Force Yourself to be Productive with Conditional Events Give Your Mac A Productivity Power-Up With LaunchBar

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        Last Updated on October 16, 2019

        11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

        11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

        Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

        Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

        Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

        In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

        1. ScheduleOnce

          ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

          ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

          ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

          Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

          Available on Web

          2. Calendly

            Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

            You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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            Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

            3. Assistant.to

              For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

              From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

              While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

              Available on Web

              4. Acuityscheduling

                Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

                It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

                Available on Web | iOS | Android

                5. Pick

                  Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

                  At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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                  Available on Web

                  6. X.ai

                    For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                    This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                    Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                    Available on Web

                    7. YouCanBook.me

                      is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                      They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                      Available on Web

                      8. Doodle

                        Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                        It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                        You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                        While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                        Available on Web | iOS | Android

                        9. WhenAvailable

                          WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                          Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                          Available on Web

                          10. Rally

                            Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                            Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                            Available on Web

                            11. NeedtoMeet

                              Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                              NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                              While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                              Available on Web

                              Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                              In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                              To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                              Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                              A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                              Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                              If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                              Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                              With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                              The Bottom Line

                              Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                              Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                              Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                              Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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