How to write more in less time

If you spend as much time at your keyboard as I do, you want that time to be productive. Even saving small amounts of time on repetitive typing (or typos) adds up over the course of the hours and weeks at the keyboard.

My suggestion? The humble text expander.

There are lots of them out there. I use Keyboard Maestro. On a PC, you might want to try Phrase Expander.

What does a text expander do?

Text expanders do what they say on the tin: you type a small piece of text (either a phrase or a keyboard shortcut) and they turn it into a longer piece of text.

I've configured mine, to do this:

  1. Turn "bbr" into "Best regards, Steven" and "cch" into "Cheers, Steven"
  2. Typing "bksp" turns into "http://taleist.com". Another combination of letters takes me to the admin section of my site.
  3. Catch typos like "teh" for "the" and correct them automatically

But that doesn't sound like very much

I've seen people look at me like I'm mad when telling them I've bothered to configure software to do such seemingly small tasks. But I type my website address a couple of dozen times a day.

I write email after email in the day. I know some people put their sign off in their email signature--my wife sends me "Kind regards" all the time--but I prefer to tailor the sign off to the person, so I have a shortcut for "best regards" and another for "cheers".

Time is saved in tiny increments

We're always looking for a way to save an hour a day. That doesn't work out well for me; how's it working out for you?

You probably don't have a big, juicy hour of wasted time in the day waiting to be cut. Personally, I make my savings in small ways, and it adds up.

Give a text expander a week and tell me you don't love it. (But you have to take the time to configure it. No cheating.)

Text expander reviews

I use Keyboard Maestro and I have Alfred do some things for me, too. If you're on a PC or you want to try something else, these posts are a great place to start: