Automating Repetitive Tasks
I'm a keyboard shortcuts guy. If there's a way I can reduce keystrokes or avoid using a mouse, I try to find it because I feel more efficient in not taking my fingers away from the keyboard. For apps I use every day, like Word, Outlook, Adobe Audition and Photoshop, most of the shortcuts are second nature at this point, although occasionally I surprise myself and find a new one. I use the password manager AccountLogon to launch and login to the secure sites I visit daily, which saves a few keystrokes. Even with my efforts at efficiency, I find myself repeating many of the same tasks to the tune of several hundred words daily. Until recently I allowed my own ingrained usage of key commands to be my own worst enemy.
For about the last five years, Buzz Bruggeman has told me about ActiveWords. Buzz told me ActiveWords would save me time. He showed me a few ways ActiveWords saves him time every day. Buzz asked me for examples of things I do daily and demonstrated how to automate them with ActiveWords. At the end of the day, I didn't listen because I couldn't see past the idea that ActiveWords was just another method for doing shortcuts I already though I mastered.
I stand here today admitting I'm wrong. ActiveWords isn't just another way to do shortcuts. About 30 days ago I downloaded the trial of ActiveWords and configured a few basic replacements for frequently launched sites. I have 5 different email signatures I use depending on whether I'm responding to a question, lining up guests for a radio show or participating in one of many online forums. I made ActiveWords for each of my signatures. Then I started adding commands for other repetitive tasks. By the time the trial expired, I purchased a copy because ActiveWords is saving me time.
I haven't changed any of my existing shortcut habits. I still copy with Ctrl+C and paste with Ctrl+V. I open the resize function in Photoshop with Alt+Ctrl+I and Save for Web with Alt+Ctrl+Shift+S. ActiveWords has me typing less. From launching Filezilla several times daily with the command 'ftp' to eliminating over 250 typed words daily, I'm more efficient and spending more time focused on the things I like about computing.
ActiveWords is not just another way to do shortcuts. ActiveWords is an app that helps you reclaim time previously lost to repetitive, redundant computing tasks that unnecessarily waste time. At it's core, ActiveWords uses macros to automate tasks, providing shortcuts, text replacements, file and application launching and scripting using shortcuts that can be used anywhere you have a computer with ActiveWords installed. The software recommends tasks to automate based on your computing habits. The included scripting language can trigger multiple actions with using the same key combinations. The proof is in the Productivity chart provided - you get real statistics about how many characters and hours you save in using ActiveWords. I made back the purchase cost in time saved in less than 30 days.
If you launch the same five or ten Web pages every single day, ActiveWords simplifies the launch process. If you frequently switch between two or more signature files in your email messages, ActiveWords almost eliminates the need to type or mouse to get the job done. If you find yourself frequently typing the same bits of data in files on a daily basis, ActiveWords will save you hundreds of keystrokes. It is certainly saving me time.
I ignored all these advantages for a very long time because I felt like using existing shortcuts were good enough. Without a doubt, learning any kind of key command saves time compared to reaching for the mouse when you need to copy or paste, or launch an application, or retype repetitive text. I didn't grasp the full advantages of ActiveWords because I thought my other solutions were good enough. If you aren't concerned with saving 20-30 minutes a day (or more) you definitely should not download ActiveWords. I'm just kicking myself that I'll never get back those extra minutes I wasted every day for the past five years. You can thank me later.