Revealed: The Morning Routines of Highly Successful CEOs, Entrepreneurs and Celebrities!

Get it Now

Day 5 of Personal Automation Challenge

By | 210 comments

Today is the final day of the automation challenge! If you made it this far, I want to applaud your commitment to productivity. I hope you realize that automation is not scary at all. It’s not just for coders or people with tech skills – it’s for everyone. It can be quite easy and fun, right?!

We’re only scratching the surface and at this point, you should be able to automate a lot of tasks on your own. In our upcoming course Automation Academy we’ll show you how to free up 5-8 hours a week with automation. It comes with 15+ pre-made workflows and automation for common, repetitive tasks that you can install with a few clicks (no tech skills needed). This course launches on September 11 and if you’re interested in that, be sure to check the presentation we’ll be giving next week. We’ll give you more examples, ideas, and workflows for you to automate your life.

Click here to register for the upcoming Automation Webinar.

Let’s continue with the final challenge. If you haven’t completed the previous challenges yet, be sure to do that before you continue:

Automation Challenge – Day 1
Automation Challenge – Day 2
Automation Challenge – Day 3
Automation Challenge – Day 4

Challenge

Today’s challenge will be easy. Whichever automation you have set up so far, continue to use them! That’s where you get the most leverage and that is when you use your automation workflows.

Based on what you have implemented, comment below how much time you think it will save you going forward.

(Bonus: what’s an automation you want to set up going forward?)

It’s important to do this to be eligible to win one of the prizes (Oura Ring, AirPods and Atomic Habits). We can’t wait to see what you have set up and how much time you’ll be saving going forward!

Discover the 1 Lifehack of Highly Successful People

This one lifehack led to the biggest breakthrough of my career. People like Steve Jobs and Oprah have used it to catapult their success, and now you can too.

210 Comments

Posted by Alexander Peter Gray  | September 16, 2019 at 11:55PM | Reply

Ive utilized a few of these automations for awhile, but the one that was new to me is the camera continuity shortcut…I scan items and move them to my Mac a lot…this has saved me about an 1 hour a week…mind blown!

Posted by Frank Mason  | September 8, 2019 at 10:34PM | Reply

I’m not sure that I will save that much time with what I have created thus far, but, this has motivated me to continue to do things like this and share them with my office.

Posted by Kamil Skrok  | September 8, 2019 at 7:24AM | Reply

I think – in a short term its not a lot of time, but in scale of the year – it will save me probably more than I can imagine! Thank you for this knowledge! :)

Posted by Julia S.  | September 6, 2019 at 5:51PM | Reply

This has been great. I LOVE the continuity camera feature – of being able to take a photo with my iPhone while in Finder or an email. This will save me significant time – perhaps an hour a week easily?
Otherwise the big takeaway for me is to USE SHORTCUTS, and add my own custom ones as I see which tasks / actions I do frequently. Thanks again.

Posted by Sander  | September 6, 2019 at 10:38AM | Reply

Mainly the quicker access allows for more consistent working, and saves up several steps in switching and searching within applications. The challenge is the incorporation of the automation. Working further on exploring Keyboard Maestro palettes (making these application specific).

Posted by Terry Liu  | September 5, 2019 at 6:41PM | Reply

I have not only started this but working on other keyboard shortcuts as well. Already with what I’ve implemented, I think I would save about 1-2 minutes per day and the task scheduler that was set weekly would save me about 3-4 minutes per week. So potential savings would be 10.8 hours per year. Plus if I were to continue to learn more keyboard short cuts that time could be much greater. I might be able to not just save time but create more time in the year. :)
Thanks for the challenge and for the podcasts!!

Posted by John Sepples  | September 5, 2019 at 5:34PM | Reply

Thank you for making this challenge easy to implement in just minutes a day. I work in a 12 person company, and 2/3 of the way through the year we already have 45 projects. Most projects have multiple phases. I will save a lot of time navigating our file server by creating sidebar favorites for the current phase of each project that I am assigned to. Going beyond automation the challenge, I would like to set up e-mail templates for common messages.

Posted by Serrian  | September 5, 2019 at 11:08AM | Reply

Already Done!

Posted by Jeremie  | September 4, 2019 at 4:00PM | Reply

it will definitely help and save time, we will see how much

Posted by Daniel  | September 4, 2019 at 1:46PM | Reply

I think that the benefit of these four automations will not be too much time, but 1) relief of some mind noise and 2) the mental wiring to automate as my first option.

Posted by Katie  | September 4, 2019 at 5:06AM | Reply

Forgot to add, that I think these things alone will save me at least 10-15 minutes a day of skipping back and forward between file folders. Using the instructions for shortcuts on iOS offered in this video, I’ve also been able to set up a number of shortcuts that just make things less painful. In particular, places I frequently visit that are long distance (for example, my parents), I have now saved and can say to Siri “Take me to Mum & Dad’s” and it will automatically open the fastest route directions! Of course, I also have a “Take me home” automation now too! I can’t wait to play around with more of the things I use in the car – like music play lists, etc.

Posted by Katie  | September 4, 2019 at 5:01AM | Reply

I’ve dabbled in automation, but often felt like it was “too hard”. This 5-day challenge has shown me how truly simple adjustments can really have an impact on your day – things that I haven’t ever considered and only now see how much time they took up!

One thing I’d really like to learn is how to create a shortcut to convert PDFs to OCR to make sure I can easily search them. The would be EXTREMELY helpful in my work and study!!

Posted by Sp  | September 3, 2019 at 2:43PM | Reply

I recorded 45 minutes overall over 3 days to set up and refine Drafts, Hazel, Keyboard Maestro and an Apple script to export PDFs from email attachments and file them away with a specific syntax using Hazel. With this, I am hoping to save at least 35 minutes per week (probably more) just on the MacBook Pro. More time may be saved on the iPhone, but is harder to measure objectively.

Posted by Sid  | September 3, 2019 at 2:15PM | Reply

What I would love to learn is how to use the keyboard shortcuts to replace text in my Macbook. Have Googled it and haven’t been able to figure it out. Love using it in my iPhone

Posted by Jesica  | September 3, 2019 at 10:33AM | Reply

Done and done!

Posted by Linhan  | September 3, 2019 at 8:32AM | Reply

Already Done!

Posted by Keith  | September 3, 2019 at 8:29AM | Reply

Done.

Posted by Carolyn  | September 3, 2019 at 8:27AM | Reply

Thanks for making this challenge bite sized! It made it so much easier to accomplish. I did all 5 days in one sitting. I think just my snipping tool shortcut will save me 10 minutes a day. If you think about the annual return, that’s 42 hours!

Next I want to find out about File Juggler!

Thank you!

Posted by Greg  | September 3, 2019 at 8:26AM | Reply

Pinned folders will be my biggest time save, so much easier than digging deep through my file structure to get to where I need.

Posted by Nicky  | September 2, 2019 at 9:37PM | Reply

The iOS Shorcut of “Set DND” is a game changer in terms of dropping something off the “having to think about list”. Formerly I’d either turn my device off or set to silent; however, I’d neglect to turn it back on & miss important calls / messages / reminders.
Being able to set a DND has & will continue to provide me with immeasurable efficiency improvements multiple times daily – awesome tip!

Automating Outlook emails check-in for 2 times a day via Task scheduler is where I’m wanting to invest time to set up next.

Posted by Mary  | September 2, 2019 at 6:31PM | Reply

The automation I’ve set up saves about 15-20 minutes a day on average. I have also implemented some across my work group. I would like to be able to save to google drive with a shortcut.

Posted by Katherine  | September 2, 2019 at 12:02PM | Reply

So far what I’ve done will probably save me 15 minutes a day but I have a lot more to do. More importantly it will get me to do things that I forget to do like journaling.

Posted by James Thomas  | September 2, 2019 at 7:43AM | Reply

> App shortcuts and sidebar favourites will save a couple of seconds each time I use them which will be daily – more importantly, it will keep me in the flow when I want to focus on the action, not the process
> Task scheduler is great – this will help encourage me to build regular habits until such time as they become embedded
> I’m on Windows 7 which doesn’t appear to have smart folders although I have now explored the general search capability and saved searches which will help save time and frustration

Posted by Markus  | September 2, 2019 at 5:25AM | Reply

I guess I will save 15min minimum daily…but I just started the automation journey ;-)

Posted by Justus  | September 2, 2019 at 12:01AM | Reply

While I am working I will pay attention to shortcuts I can automate. Then I have Hazel, Launcbar, Keyboard maestro, TextExpander and other useful automation tools that I should use on the other level then I do right now. All of these tools will save me at least an hour a day, I suspect.

Posted by josh  | September 1, 2019 at 4:37PM | Reply

probably will easily save me 1-2 hours a week. I’m a woodworker so most of my work is physical products.

Posted by Aaron  | September 1, 2019 at 4:29PM | Reply

I showed one of my friends how to set up text snippets in iOS, it’s been really helpful. I have apple-shortcut links in Todoist, which link to DayOne workflows so that I can get consistent answers to consistent questions. They all get added to the correct DayOne folder, with the right tags.

Posted by Jack Bokitch  | September 1, 2019 at 1:41PM | Reply

I absolutely loved the keyboard shortcuts! Have already started using a few which are saving me a few minutes a day. I made a nice little shortcut to instantly open up my chrome browser. Thanks you guys for the help!

Posted by Dan  | September 1, 2019 at 10:27AM | Reply

I’m fairly obsessed with optimizing my workflow, and this week’s exercise has been fun.

Honestly, it’s hard to estimate a time estimate for what I’m saving by automating annoying keystrokes, mouse clicks, filesystem navigation, etc.

The real win is in my *sanity*, knowing that the time and effort I’m spending on my Mac are going towards productive, creative work, not rote mouseclicks and keypresses.

When the robots finally rise, the only place left for humans will be in the creative sphere. So perhaps automation is about more than productivity gains here and there. Maybe it’s about survival itself :)

Posted by Lizzy  | September 1, 2019 at 2:05AM | Reply

Seems I have to schedule a meeeting with my boss about the limitations IT set up :(. But at least I learned a lot and I also did apply already the things I knew and where possible. Thanks for this challenge and your site and your podcast. I love to listen to it!

Posted by Gayle  | August 31, 2019 at 6:00PM | Reply

What I’ve automated so far will probably save me 5-10 mins per day, but what this has really helped me with is changing my mindset. Seeing how simple it was to set up a few scheduled tasks and shortcut keys has got me thinking about all the other items in my daily/weekly/monthly task lists that might be automated. Thank you so much for this amazing challenge!

Posted by Paul  | August 31, 2019 at 4:45PM | Reply

(Windows 10) Okay, so I refreshed my Quick access sidebar with my most-often used locations. I also took the time to find out how to put the Desktop there, as I couldn’t drag it. You have to browse to the Desktop, then right-click on Quick access, then select *Pin current folder to Quick access* – this will save me I reckon about 15 minutes a week.

I then set up keyboard shortcuts for Task Scheduler (new to me) & Snipping Tool (which I mouse to all the time). But I then removed the custom keyboard shortcuts I created, because I learned that anything on your Taskbar already has its own shortcut: Windows key + the numerical order going left to right. So for example if I press Windows + 2, Outlook opens (as it is in 2nd place on the Taskbar). Personally I prefer this, as since I don’t have tons of programs pinned there, I always have an easy visual cue to what the shortcut is, instead of remembering what shortcut I allocated to it (and that means I have 10 “new” shortcuts now and didn’t have to set them up). I think that will be another 5-10 minutes a week

I took a deeper look at Task Scheduler: I was initially excited to see the action “Send an e-mail” but instantly disappointed to see that followed by “(deprecated)” :( – that would have been great for sending monthly reminder mails to colleagues who need that “external trigger” as a nudge to send me their monthly figures. Maybe I can find a solution to that within Outlook itself. More Googling to follow…

Thanks for this challenge – it provided exactly the right impetus for a refresh!

Posted by Joe  | August 31, 2019 at 2:12PM | Reply

I need to experiment more with Smart Folders and Task Scheduler. The other features (Quick Access and Shortcuts) discussed will likely save me up to an hour or more per week. Expect this to increase as I get more experienced with other features. Thank you.

Posted by Melch Chun  | August 31, 2019 at 2:08PM | Reply

I can see this saving me 5 min a day, or maybe 15-30 min a week. I also learned new things about OS X, which is always fun :)

Posted by Juliet  | August 31, 2019 at 1:05PM | Reply

Hi! I did this challenge and I’m not sure how much time it’ll save me. Some of the steps seem to be a wash time-wise (like cool to learn different ways to do things but I’m honestly not sure that I would continue to do them going forward.) But we’ll see! Thank you for some interesting and educational content.

Posted by ismael adekunle  | August 31, 2019 at 12:18PM | Reply

using keyboard shortcut for emails

Posted by Chris  | August 31, 2019 at 11:40AM | Reply

My absolute favorite is the keyboard shortcuts–still adding to them for several apps, mostly involving capture of .pdfs.

And I’ve been re-energized to fix old Hazel rules, write new ones, and sync them across computers.

Best guess: I’ll save 5-10 minutes a day…BUT the process of routinely putting files in the right place will save me IMMEASUREABLE amounts of time and frustration when I’m looking for a particular piece of information.

This has been one of my all-time favorite AE engagements–thanks!

Posted by Diane Thompson  | August 31, 2019 at 11:33AM | Reply

I set up some PDF automation (which really help) and some smart folders in the sidebar (also turned out to be very helpful)

Thanks so much!!

Posted by Jodi  | August 31, 2019 at 8:46AM | Reply

This is great. It’s hard to say how much time I will save per day – some days it may be a few minutes while other days it may be closer to an hour, depending on what I’m doing. No doubt, though, between these challenges and this week’s podcast I learned a number of tips that will save me time and decrease my annoyance level with repetitive tasks! :)

Posted by Ana  | August 31, 2019 at 8:40AM | Reply

The sidebar folders are by far my favorites.

They do so much more than just saving time, but I think they might save me at least half an hour a day.

Posted by James  | August 31, 2019 at 8:28AM | Reply

I’m not sure how much time the automation I’ve set up so far will save me, but I can say that it’s made common, repetitive tasks much more convenient, and has whet my appetite to explore what else I may be able to automate and REALLY save some time!

Posted by John  | August 31, 2019 at 8:18AM | Reply

I can see saving an hour per week.

Posted by Kimberly Charron  | August 31, 2019 at 7:15AM | Reply

The app shortcuts and folders in the sidebar will save me a few hours a week easily! I am going to set up more shortcuts to my frequently used apps. Plus I can get rid of the folder clutter on my desktop!

Posted by Scott  | August 31, 2019 at 6:06AM | Reply

Based on what I set up, I’ll probably save six hrs a week!

Posted by Dr.Amrita Basu  | August 31, 2019 at 6:04AM | Reply

Being able to launch Google search without using the mouse gets me started quickly
Keyboard scheduler to launch word abd evernote is great.I also used the task scheduler to launch the personal diary which is helping me make my to do list without distraction.
Total.time saved atleast 40 minutes over the day.
I want to use the task.schedulermore for chexking mail only once a day.

Posted by Oliver Saunders  | August 31, 2019 at 5:31AM | Reply

OK, I have created a keyboard shortcut in powerpoint which lets me insert a rectangle straight into a slide. Doesn’t sound like much but as a teacher I am creating powerpoint almost daily and use rectangles on nearly every page so this will actually save me tons of time. I am starting to look at other things like this that I do regularly to see if I can create more. Thank you.

Posted by Rob de Vries  | August 31, 2019 at 4:13AM | Reply

I have already have in place what saves me time and
Below my list of items that needs attention after the challenge. Can’t quantify the time I will save yet.

I have to look into using smart folders in a different way, or both projects and reference material and not only as for quick storage. This wil save me time instead of clicking to the folder I need.

I need to look in adding and using keyboard shortcuts more often. (Actionable task)

This was a good challenge for me to to become aware of what I can do differently.

Thank you!

Posted by Vicki G  | August 31, 2019 at 3:31AM | Reply

Thank you for the tools that I can continue setting up, to save me more and more time each day! I just need to look at what I’m doing, and find the shortcut that will help!

Posted by Andy Cochrane  | August 31, 2019 at 3:14AM | Reply

I’m going to set aside an hour at work this weekend to implement a few of these tips.

Posted by JL  | August 31, 2019 at 2:45AM | Reply

I think the app shortcut will save me TONS of time, as I use it often. I have now to identify other shortcuts I need, and this will be a game changer !
I also have to go further learning to use Keyboard Maestro, now!
Thanks for all those tips!!!!!

Posted by Isaak  | August 31, 2019 at 2:36AM | Reply

I have set up a smart folder to put all the PDFs received at work so that it can be sorted out and filed eventually.

On a personal note, hope to be able to automate the transfer of iPhone photos to the computer and sorting them out by date and location.

Posted by Anthony J  | August 31, 2019 at 2:23AM | Reply

Thanks for the great easy to follow instructions over the last few days.

I’ve set up a few smart folders which seem to be the most useful automation for me from the five day’s challenges. I estimate I’ll save perhaps 3-5 minutes each time I have to use one, So maybe 15min every workday.

There seems to be a lot of additional possibilities to explore in Automator but there doesn’t seem to be a way to have multiple search terms in the ‘contains’ field.

Have signed up for Automation Webinar. Keen to explore more ways of shaving off time.

Posted by Julie L Mehlow  | August 31, 2019 at 1:49AM | Reply

I don’t use my laptop everyday and I was not able to incorporate my Android yet.
The folders will save me the most time.
Thank you!

Posted by Lisa Young  | August 31, 2019 at 1:24AM | Reply

I set up some PDF automations which right now won’t really save me much time. I’m working on trying to figure out how I can do that to make transferring a completed pdf to one note easier.

Posted by Christian Stenner  | August 31, 2019 at 12:55AM | Reply

I’ve set up an automation sequence that is helpful, and I am planning to extend to other areas of application as well:

Since I haven’t found a decent finance software/app/platform that works for me yet, I now handle my paper invoices like this:

Scan invoice with ScanSnap –> File juggler renames it, moves it to my “receipt” folder and copies it over to Evernote –> IFTTT creates a task in Trello inside my finances board that says “pay invoice” –> Butler for Trello then checks for “invoice” on the Trello card, adds a due date, labels etc. and moves it to the backlog for the week.

My end goal is to automate all file processing for scanning in that way.
And I guess this alone will save me at least 30-60 minutes a week.

But as others already said, it’s not only about the time. I realized it’s also about focus and energy: I switch into “small task” mode less often and I can stay in “creativity / CEO mode”.

Posted by Joel Thomas  | August 31, 2019 at 12:44AM | Reply

Done! Er, doing. As I said in prior comments, I’ve already had the workflows set up for the day 2 and day 3 automation challenges, but I went out of my way to complete both the Mac challenge in addition to the challenge set to Windows users in day 4, so I’m still tweaking and tinkering with my new Chrome shortcuts setup and seeing how I can improve upon it. It’s difficult, to say the least, to come up with custom shortcuts to actual functions and actions within an app on Windows rather than just a shortcut to call the app itself. But I’m already seeing opportunities to add further keyboard functionality where currently none exists, like duplicating tabs for instance, as well as bookmarking select tabs rather than the all or nothing choice Chrome currently gives via it’s built in CTRL + SHIFT + D shortcut, etc.

As for what automations I’d like to set up in the future… I want to delve into speeding up my operations on iOS via Siri Shortcuts (I only very recently updated to iOS 12, meaning I was using – er, under utilizing – the WorkFlow app up until last week. Now that Shortcuts has hooks systemwide I feel like it’s a whole new ballgame!), and maybe even further down the line see if there is any way I can seamlessly shift from my Android phone to my iPad to my Windows laptop and back down the lineup again. As of right now transferring data is a somewhat cumbersome and broken process. I’ve figured out a working system for the time being, but it definitely involves a lot of manual operations and wasted effort has room for improvement as far as automation possibilities are concerned… I just need to take the time to think and plan out how to improve my efficiency even more while switching between all these various different ecosystems .

Thanks for encouraging us to think about our approach to this sort of stuff, AE Team!

Posted by Jose  | August 31, 2019 at 12:44AM | Reply

I think the quick actions and the sidebar shortcuts will save me about 10 minutes per day. What I really need to do is find a way to include both files tagged with a project keyboard as well as email tagged (using mail tags) all in one search

That will allow me to have all the information regarding a project accessible from a single location that is always up to date

Posted by Gordon  | August 31, 2019 at 12:44AM | Reply

I think with my current automation this week is around 20 mins a day. With more automation (smart folders implementation) I could save even more.

Posted by Amrei Dizon  | August 31, 2019 at 12:21AM | Reply

With everything I’ve automated from this challenge — I am positive I’ll be able to save 30mins to one hour of time daily. Being in the advertising industry — I deal with a lot of reference materials and documents. I am on my computer majority of my day. Thank you for these valuable tips! Looking forward to learning more :)

Posted by Christina  | August 31, 2019 at 12:20AM | Reply

I can easily expect to save a couple hours a week after automating reminders and task start times. It is more like gaming for me, with a quiet assistant keeping me on track! Great ideas AE. This is a winner. Thank you

Posted by Rose  | August 31, 2019 at 12:07AM | Reply

I think I commented already, but thinking through it since then I realized something new. I already said I can plan but don’t finish. I realized that my thinking is to complete the plan is considered finished to me. I don’t push through to actually achieve the end goal. That’s crazy, but it’s like I determine how much I can have which isn’t much.

Posted by Chris  | August 30, 2019 at 11:43PM | Reply

Saving about 15 to 30 minutes a day. Testing task scheduler launching Outlook 30 minutes after I start my work day so I can focus on other routines. Outlook opening tells me a pomodoro is done.
A feature not covered but very useful is windows time line. Makes going back to resume a document I used yesterday easy without worrying where it’s located.

Posted by Morgan  | August 30, 2019 at 11:21PM | Reply

Hard to say since I was already doing some, but at least a minute or two per day 👍🏻

Posted by Adelle  | August 30, 2019 at 11:13PM | Reply

I’m so excited about how easy these tips are to implement! I figure that just the folders/smart folders will save me 2-5 min per day, which will add up quickly. And it’ll save me countless hours of frustration from searching fruitlessly through all my scattered folders!

Posted by Andrew Fallows  | August 30, 2019 at 11:10PM | Reply

These optimizations might not save me a lot of time each time I use them, but that savings will definitely add up.

More than the time, I actually think a huge value in these automations is the enjoyment of using them and the stress relief they offer by making repeated tasks easier. The difference between clicking an icon and hitting a hotkey isn’t huge in time, but when I’m in the zone typing, being able to stick to keystrokes actually makes a huge difference.

Posted by Andrew  | August 30, 2019 at 10:58PM | Reply

Like others a few mins saved per day – but more automated importantly not forgetting a couple of scheduled items is a nice safety measure.

I’d like to automate collecting bills and statements from online and archiving them to organized folders on the Mac for a set of bills and bank/credit card accounts

Posted by Erica  | August 30, 2019 at 10:40PM | Reply

I’ve only done test trials of these, but look forward to noticing where I can add them as I go! I’m sure they will b time savers, but not sure yet how much time…I imagine 1 hr pls a week, maybe more! Thank you!

Posted by Brian  | August 30, 2019 at 10:18PM | Reply

The tips with the smart folders especially will save me around 15 minutes each day and also the task scheduler I think may save me around 20 minutes if I explore it some more and try to learn it better.

I really want to learn how to master hazel and file juggler etc to make things even faster

Posted by Judy  | August 30, 2019 at 10:14PM | Reply

A few minutes a day are saved by setting up quick access folders. The huge bonus is that it made it so much easier yo clear my email inbox because I could quickly file attachments.

Posted by Judy  | August 30, 2019 at 10:10PM | Reply

Setting up quick access folders saves me several minutes a day. Plus it allowed me to clear my email inbox because I was able to quickly file all the attachments that were sitting in my inbox. I was procrastinating taking time to file them because previously it was so cumbersome. Not anymore!.Thanks AE.

Posted by Jennifer  | August 30, 2019 at 10:09PM | Reply

It’s not as much time saved as distractions avoided for me. I set up a shortcut to launch Word and open my journal without having to use my mouse. Giving me less options to click on bright shiny things saves me lots of time. Might even set up a shortcut to run an app that will shut down my Internet for stretches of time. Best writing is done when there is no Internet.

Posted by Teresa  | August 30, 2019 at 9:18PM | Reply

I think that what I have implemented so far has probably saved me, at most, a minute a day — though having my email open automatically may on some days save me an hour going to school to find out my class is canceled. However, I can tell that over time these techniques will save me tons and tons of time as I find new ways to utilize them.

Posted by STEPHEN COX  | August 30, 2019 at 9:15PM | Reply

It’s hard to quantify time-savings as most of the coverage so far I have been doing for years; but I would estimate the time that I probably save at least thirty minutes a day with the automation I currently have set up, on both macOS and iOS.
On the Mac, I use numerous keyboard and sidebar shortcuts. I also have Hazel automatically move downloads and screenshots for me into relevant folders. One of these is In_Tray (with a sidebar shortcut) which act as a triage area before things are actioned then either deleted or filed away in Devonthink.
I also have numerous Alfred workflows setup with corresponding keyboard shortcuts.
Other time savers I have implemented on the Mac are login items and power schedules. My login items are set to launch all of my essential applications – Airmail, Fantastical, OmniFocus, Devonthink, Safari, Carrot Weather, TextExpander and Drafts. I have the power schedule set to sleep at 9PM (with a Keyboard Maestro script firing a reminder at 8.50) and to wake up at 5AM. The combination of login items and power schedule means that everything is waiting for me when I wake up.
Over on iOS, I have Shortcuts setup to automate my journaling in DayOne using Markdown templates. My morning journal also pulls in a daily quote for inspiration. I would love to improve this further by scraping my day’s Eat that Frog task from Omnifocus. I am yet to find a solution to this beyond copying and pasting into a text file during my daily review. I am hoping this will be possible with the upcoming OmniAutomation.
I also have a Shortcut to give me a daily briefing. This collates the day’s weather, my current location (I used to travel a lot), the first item on my calendar and the day’s news headlines. This is read out to me by Siri.
On both macOS and iOS I make heavy use of TextExpander and Grammarly. TextExpander is an absolute godsend when filling out web forms.
Happy automating everybody 😁.

Posted by Moses Kaulaity  | August 30, 2019 at 9:05PM | Reply

The automation challenge will save me exponentially more hours over time.

My reasoning is that if I were to rationalize that I saved approximately 8 hours per quarter immediately from this challenge by having a Smart Folder that organizes my Workmans’ Comp. Insurance by automatically gathering data from PDFs during the search:

then

I would increase my time available to develop estimates:

then

I would have time increase the speed of estimate deployment with shortcuts developed within Preview:

then

I would have more time to develop more shortcuts to flow into an even faster estimate development paradigm. Leading to and easier flow of organization by nature. Including workman’s’ comp. and every other facet of my life and business.

The real value of this challenge, for me, was that I learned that 1 small change in productivity can lead to exponential growth and opportunity. And, of course, that learning and practicing the basics is always important even if you dive into a community of professionals with Black Belts in productivity.

Osu.

Posted by Cathy  | August 30, 2019 at 9:02PM | Reply

The Quick Action folders have already saved me at least 10 minutes this week. If I had been using the keyboard shortcut I set up with Challenge 4 this week, I would have saved about 3-5 minutes. But, I have to say the ease of mind these short cuts/time savers create is worth more than just the time saved. For sure.
The photos option didn’t really save me time since I couldn’t get it to work. My photos sync seamlessly and I just drag a photo to the desktop if I need to.

Posted by Daniel R  | August 30, 2019 at 8:21PM | Reply

From the simple sidebar set up, to creating my own shortcuts, I’m estimating a 20-30 hour per year savings just on what I have set up so far. I should do some timing of the non-automated process and get a more accurate figure of this, but that’s my rough guess for now. The power isn’t in this small number, it’s in the knowledge gained that will ultimately lead to more productive time, and even more automations being set up. Asian Efficiency for the win!

Posted by Noah R  | August 30, 2019 at 8:15PM | Reply

Depending on the time of year, will depend on how much time I save. We run on the quarter system at school, so I’m guessing a few hours every 10 weeks or so. Some terms will be more than that, and others less. However, once I get a few more automations set up, I can easily see myself saving at least one hour per week. I bought the Hazel app at the start of last school year, and the few things I have implemented have saved me 30-45 minutes per week already, so I’m looking into how I can benefit more from that app too. I’m looking forward to the webinar and learning more.

Posted by Ashala Faircrest  | August 30, 2019 at 8:08PM | Reply

Estimated savings: it comes in two forms. One is the measurable saved time – so far several minutes a day that I’m not using my mouse and digging through directories (yay Quick Access and keyboard shortcuts) to find things I use a lot.

But the other is saved wear-and-tear on my nerves. I now have an automated task to remind me to update my financial tracking software every week, so I don’t forget and end up surprised. That may not be “measurable” savings – but it’s real. I have this task aligned with the event in my calendar. That’s useful and helps manage the ADD a bit more. I have some other things like this that I’m looking to add to my personal automation library.

Thanks for having this challenge, and for structuring it in small enough increments that it was do-able. Really well done.

Posted by Roy  | August 30, 2019 at 7:48PM | Reply

Saving, I think, about 10 minutes a day. But, better news. I just thought of automation I should do that had not occurred to me. should be good!

Posted by Ian  | August 30, 2019 at 7:01PM | Reply

Thank you guys for setting up this course! I think even with just the sidebar favorites and smart folders I will save at least 10 minutes per day looking for files. Perhaps more importantly, I made a smart folder that has totally reduced my resistance to search for files I can somehow never find and I feel ready to try more types of automation. I would really like to learn how to use Hazel to automatically name and move/organize files on my computer moving forward. Thanks again!

Posted by Jodie  | August 30, 2019 at 6:57PM | Reply

I’m not sure the ones I’ve made so far will save me much time but my eyes are open to the possibilities and I can see many hours of savings with some more thought out automations! Thanks so much for the tips!

Posted by Bob Skattum  | August 30, 2019 at 6:52PM | Reply

It has been a useful week — I like the way that the whole video was available the entire week — and that you reinforced the different parts each session. I did learn a few things that I was not aware of — and reinforced some things I knew, but didn’t use.

I would like to learn going forward how to use different apps like Zapier and IFTTT to combine what we learned this week.

All the best,

Posted by Martin Richards  | August 30, 2019 at 6:38PM | Reply

It’s been really useful, thank you!
I reckon the quick access menu links and shortcuts will actually save me 9+ full (8hr) working DAYS per year!!
15+ minutes saved per day, 6 days a week, over 50 weeks is 75 hours a year!! :o

It’s amazing how much these things can add up! I’ve had to print a summary of my keyboard shortcuts, while I get to grips with them all though!!

Posted by Linda  | August 30, 2019 at 6:37PM | Reply

Thanks AE team for these automation tips. I’m only saving a few minutes a day because I was already using most of them and I don’t have the new automations in Mojave. But I’m sure I’ll save a lot more when I update.

I’ve just started to use Notion to organize my life and going forward I’d like to automate some of the routine tasks.

Posted by Paul Thompson  | August 30, 2019 at 6:22PM | Reply

I’ve been reading about automation for a few months and have been learning how to use the power of apps like Keyboard Maestro (which I heard about through AE), Alfred and TextSoap but what I have come to realise is that the most important thing is to think creatively about how to make things swifter, leaner and more efficient.
My take home from this week is a number of neat ideas about how to use tools in my everyday environment in nifty ways, and now I need to give my imagination time and quiet to come up with adaptations of these moves. Thanks, AE, for the stimulus!

Posted by Tiffany  | August 30, 2019 at 6:07PM | Reply

I really enjoyed the automation 5-day challenge! From what I have set up so far, I believe I will save about 10 minutes a day or 50 minutes a week. This might not seem like a lot but for a full-time working (and nursing!) mom that handles all daycare pickup/drop off and dinners due to full-time commuting husband EVERY MINUTE COUNTS.
However, all that being said I feel like as I use these automation tools, more additions will be added over the next few weeks and this number will naturally increase over time!

Something I would love to see involves Microsoft Office. After I save my word/excel document our power point, I want to be to type (rather than click) a function to be able to automatically take the document I am working on and plug it into an e-mail right away. Often times, I am creating a document to send via e-mail and it would be nice while I am in a program like excel to be able to be able to quickly plug it into an e-mail. Hopefully that makes sense. Thanks to the AE for a productive week. I am already sharing what I’ve learned with people. You guys rock!

Posted by Ovi  | August 30, 2019 at 5:42PM | Reply

First of all, thanks AE team for these amazing automation tips. I’ve already saved a couple of minutes so far this week by using them and surely will be using them from now on, which will add up and I’ll end up saving a large chunk of time. Life changing insights.

Posted by Newton Mota  | August 30, 2019 at 5:37PM | Reply

Joining the automation challenge, I will get around 15 or 20 minutes per PDF while doing my readings for College. Which means that I will save at least 2 hours and a half each week.

I was always a fan of automation stuff, but I confess that the challenge format got me into doing it for real. Thanks for that.

Posted by Ellane  | August 30, 2019 at 5:33PM | Reply

I want to learn how to use Automator to create workflows for the things I do most often. Happy to have discovered it’s possible to create my own keyboard shortcuts in apps that don’t offer customisation!

Posted by Jasper Jamir  | August 30, 2019 at 5:21PM | Reply

The hassle of switching between apps has been handled the shortcuts app! Which saves me around 5-10 mins per day in switching tasks. Thank you!! Looking forward to more automation using shortcuts:)

Posted by Dennis  | August 30, 2019 at 5:19PM | Reply

Done. I plan to implement more keyboard shortcuts and Quick access folders. I expect to save at least 5 minutes a day starting out more later.

Posted by Jasper Jamir  | August 30, 2019 at 5:19PM | Reply

Thank you for these challenges! I have been using the shortcuts I have just learned in your video for my rituals :D Endorsed this app to my friends and family also :)

Posted by KC  | August 30, 2019 at 5:19PM | Reply

So far, just a few minutes per day. But I’m really excited to tackle more Workflows, I think that could save significant time.

Posted by Trevor  | August 30, 2019 at 5:15PM | Reply

Personalizing the sidebar of Finder. So much faster for those regular folders.

Posted by Jason  | August 30, 2019 at 4:48PM | Reply

Really appreciated the tips. I knew many of them, but watching the video prompted me to think about other uses that I hadn’t considered previously. It also made me aware of the repetition I take for granted daily. I think the awareness to monitor my daily work for repetition is critical for continuing to optimize my productivity.

Posted by Michael  | August 30, 2019 at 4:44PM | Reply

Accessing documents through a smart folder (new for me) will save me a lot of time. Secondly, moving a folder to the sidebar will be helpful. Not sure about adding new keyboard shortcuts to an app. I don’t use the Omnifocus shortcut all that much but it was one suggested in the lesson. I couldn’t think of a better one.

Posted by Patricia  | August 30, 2019 at 4:30PM | Reply

Thanks for this challenge! I knew most of it, but didn’t really use it or use it effectively enough yet.
I rearranged my side bar in Finder and in Path Finder. I know I can definitely improve the Smart Folders, I haven’t used those enough and I know they’ll be super helpful. Working on those.
Somehow I was reminded that I own Default Folder X, but it got deinstalled along the way and I installed it again. Should help with recent and often used folders.
I bought Keyboard Maestro a few months ago, and I’m definitely more curious to see what all I can do with that!
I think I can easily save 15 minutes a day already after this challenge. Hopefully even more once I put a bit more time in it!
Thanks for the challenged, Thanh and team!

Posted by Aneesh Ghosh  | August 30, 2019 at 4:29PM | Reply

I set up keyboard shortcuts from Apple for my most common text inputs like name, email etc. This is proving to be a huge time saver. Besides I already had set up Quick Access Folders to speed up navigation.

Posted by Andy  | August 30, 2019 at 3:57PM | Reply

Access folders and keyboard shortcuts used right can save some minutes per day. For saved searches and the scheduler I need to find proper use cases first.
Next I would like to test an automation tool like Keypirinha.

Posted by Gloria-Jean Brown  | August 30, 2019 at 3:46PM | Reply

20 minutes a day…BUT, you have unleashed so many new possibilities. I especially like the Shortcuts for iPhone and I am upgrading this weekend to an XR. One of the shortcuts from the gallery is Laundry Timer. I set that to go off at 40 minutes into the drying cycle – so I can pull clothing out before it can become wrinkled. This is invaluable in the midst of a busy day. Thank You so much for the detail video. I always get off track with setting the perimeters — so, now not only do I have the gallery but can work my way through setting up my on and have Brooke’s as my GUIDE!!!

Posted by Lisa notes  | August 30, 2019 at 3:44PM | Reply

Just set up another automation to “save as PDF”. And it works! It will spare me a few extra seconds per save, but more importantly it will save lots of scrolling with the mouse.

Posted by Jenson  | August 30, 2019 at 3:42PM | Reply

I really appreciated the reminder about menu shortcuts. I created one a while back, but what a powerful way to get rid of mouse clicks! Thank you.

Posted by Peter  | August 30, 2019 at 3:02PM | Reply

Í m using more quick Access Folders now. I think there are some minutes a day to save.
Now Í m searching for more opportunities to automate.
Thank you for the challenge!

Posted by Tor  | August 30, 2019 at 2:58PM | Reply

I will save a few minutes and once I extend the automation it will make an even bigger impact.

Posted by Mascha  | August 30, 2019 at 2:47PM | Reply

I think re-ordering my navigation bar in Finder and adding a shortcut to open Gmail in a new tab in my Chrome browser will speed up my work process only by a few seconds, but it especially solves a lot of frustration not being able to find or open things as fast as I’d like. So I think I can double or triple that number of seconds counting those as the ‘recovery time’ for that frustration. That makes it all together about 30 seconds earned each time. And using both shortcuts on average 3 times a day, adds up to about 1,5 minutes per day :-)
Right now I’m working on my read/watch/listen workflow. Using IFTTT for automation between InoReader, Twitter, Web, Pocket, Instapaper, Evernote, Diigo and WordPress.

Posted by Jim Peacock  | August 30, 2019 at 2:26PM | Reply

I found this challenge very helpful! I completed all the challenges as assigned. At this point, I believe I’m saving about 5-10 minutes a day. Thanks to the task scheduler I won’t forget to write in my journal any more. I have set up quite a few short cut keys and have found this very helpful. I will be setting up a few more short cuts and automated tasks. Thanks again, I really enjoyed learning!

Cheers!

Posted by Nicol  | August 30, 2019 at 2:24PM | Reply

Truth is (and maybe good for me), I was already using a few of these automation suggestions already.

Posted by Liz Taylor  | August 30, 2019 at 2:07PM | Reply

So far, I’ve used more time than I’ve saved, exploring these cool automations. For now I expect to save a couple minutes a day, but more ideas may emerge. My office computer will open 2 apps when I log in. My laptop, being old and slow (sort of like me), will open a browser 3 minutes after I log in.
Bonus: I wonder if I could automate which Windows desktop a program will automatically open in. I should use the built-in clock or an alarmed sticky (https://www.zhornsoftware.co.uk/stickies/) to remind me about some things I need to take with me when I go home.

Posted by Nina  | August 30, 2019 at 1:48PM | Reply

So far so good! I am already saving a few minutes per day. I think the next one I will set up is for my task manager to automatically open on my work computer. Thanks!

Posted by Helen  | August 30, 2019 at 1:45PM | Reply

It won’t be a huge time saving, perhaps a few minutes each day. But I guess over a year, this will add up.

Posted by Jacob Wall  | August 30, 2019 at 1:44PM | Reply

I set and completed an extra little challenge for myself – use task scheduler to update the monthly rental receipt we send to our tenant, save it as a PDF, and email it to her.

This will save me about 30 min a month; the time isn’t much, but in addition to that, it’s something I kept forgetting, sometimes sending them up to a month late. I also forgot to change all the dates sometimes, meaning I had to redo it. It will also save paper since I’m no longer printing & scanning.

For future automation, I’ll start using textexpander at work; I know I use a lot of the same phases over and over. I believe this could save me up to 15 min day, maybe more.

I’m also exploring automating the proofreading of our software release notes. Again, it tends to be the same errors and style issues I have to correct. This would likely save me a few hours every month.

Posted by Kimberly Black  | August 30, 2019 at 1:42PM | Reply

Automation is great, but it makes me complacent. I automate, but then I forget to review and rework to make sure things are still working or I haven’t found a better way to accomplish the same task. I’ve let my toolset get stale. Time for an automation review.

Posted by Bryan Thompson  | August 30, 2019 at 1:40PM | Reply

Loved this Automation taster. Thanks, Thanh and team.

Re how much time, it’s really hard to say, but I believe some of the things I have already set up and what I plan to set up as I study with you on Tuesday 10th Sept and after that, I could even save several hours a week. Yes, that much! I have some big regular tasks I need to automate.

Re what automation I would like to see sorted … I have Hazel, and have employed ‘her’ in many ways, but I feel I am only scratching the surface for that programme. I would *love* to understand the app more and get some big tasks automated on my Mac.

Lastly, I would love to find some automation tricks “under the hood” for apps and programmes already on my Mac (in the OS on there now).

Again, BIG thanks for your investment and for giving this course-let to us. Thank you.

Posted by Travis  | August 30, 2019 at 1:32PM | Reply

Thanks for putting this together. I refined my Alfred workflows (Mac) and it’s saving me about 30 minutes a day. You rock.

Posted by Bill Pasierb  | August 30, 2019 at 1:29PM | Reply

Great challenge!
The quick access and saved searches that I have done so far will probably save me about an hour per week, It will probably be closer to two hours once I’ve done more. The task scheduler and keyboard shortcuts will be at least another hour per week.
I am excited to add more to these and to learn more automation.
Thank you.

Posted by Glenn Simmons Jr  | August 30, 2019 at 1:29PM | Reply

The automation I have setup saves me at least 30min a day from searching and clicking to find all my data for various projects. I pull them into a smart folder and then I can make sure the files are all current and move into my normal analysis.

Going forward I want to have an automation that renames my raw data so that when my team mislabels a file it does not get lost.

Posted by Chris  | August 30, 2019 at 1:18PM | Reply

So far, the automation to open notepad++ has saved me probably 10 minutes today!

I’m most looking forward to setting up search folders in my quick links.

Posted by Mark  | August 30, 2019 at 1:15PM | Reply

I’ve used Textexpander for years, but this week watched for repetitive typing and added 12 new snippets…in two days saw 18 minutes saved time. Prior my weekly stats were only 12-15 minutes saved.

Posted by Mark  | August 30, 2019 at 1:01PM | Reply

Thanks for this challenge week. I think the things I’ve implemented this week will probably save me 15 minutes a day – not too bad.

I want to implement a way for Outlook to prompt me or even draft an email when I get an email with a certain subject.

On the Mac I want to work on a system for scanning paper receipts and getting them organized. I use Scannable and go to Evernote now, but I don’t think it is the best use of Evernote. A file folder would be better since I can share that with my accountant.

Posted by Zaf Syrras  | August 30, 2019 at 12:54PM | Reply

The smart folders will save me 1 hour a week!

Posted by Daran  | August 30, 2019 at 12:47PM | Reply

Creating quick access to current project folders has already helped. Not sure why I didn’t do that already!

I would love to automate my workspace according to the mode I’m in, managing, writing, creating, etc. maybe even have some of those modes switch automatically at set times. Imagine knowing you only have so much time left before your laptop automatically closes some apps. That urgency could be helpful. I know this already possible on the mac with some apps, but need some direction to set it up.

Posted by Cordell BaanHofman  | August 30, 2019 at 12:42PM | Reply

Doin’ it!

Posted by Susannah Jaggers  | August 30, 2019 at 12:40PM | Reply

I love the open app shortcuts. Not sure it saves a significant amount of time but it sure takes out some of the struggle and makes working more enjoyable. Technically I could probably clear my desktop off now too since I open with hotkeys now. (after I make sure the hot keys are in the start menu shortcuts.) Can’t wait to see what else there is.

I have also been using some of the windows hotkeys. When I leave I used to do ctrl alt del and then pick lock screen. For some reason that was slower than it should be and would stick. Now I hit Flag + L and it locks in a second. Love that! And I probably use Flag + E a hundred times per day to open windows explorer.

Posted by Eric Sinclair  | August 30, 2019 at 12:37PM | Reply

I think the smart folders will have the most immediate use – once I normalize them across platforms I expect it will save a few minutes of digging each day, which adds up monthly!

Posted by Lori  | August 30, 2019 at 12:28PM | Reply

My Recent PDFs smart folder has been a real timesaver – I use it a couple of times a day. I suspect it will save me an hour of searching over a month. The Quick Actions might not save me any time, but they will save me money since I currently use third-party tools to do those things.

Posted by Katie  | August 30, 2019 at 12:26PM | Reply

I think the one that I really need to implement more is the keyboard shortcut to open apps. I think that will be the most useful since I was already using most of them before this.

Great course overall!

Posted by guy Schofield  | August 30, 2019 at 12:22PM | Reply

I have used the folders I dragged into Quick Access about 10 times since you showed that to me.

Thanks!!!

Posted by Cassandra  | August 30, 2019 at 12:16PM | Reply

I think once I get the hang of things, these few tips could easily save me 15-30 minutes a day! I will have to think of other things that I could potentially automate. I’ve appreciated the challenge this week!

Posted by Lee Z.  | August 30, 2019 at 12:11PM | Reply

Thanks for helping us out on this journey toward better more effective automation! I’ll definitely be using more keyboard shortcuts, and am now looking at File Juggler (for Windows) to aid in automation of proper file storage of critical documents. I have yet to quantify how much time this will save me per day, but whatever it is, it is certainly progress in the right direction!

Posted by Colin  | August 30, 2019 at 12:07PM | Reply

Oh, I went down a rabbit hole, and Now I am committed to finding a solution. I want all of my downloads and desktop screenshots to automatically be moved to a folder after 30 days so I can review once a week and either and delete or save. I would never have thought of this idea without this little challenge. Thanks, AE.

Posted by Richard  | August 30, 2019 at 12:06PM | Reply

FANTASTIC first course guys!

I can’t even begin to quantify how much time it will save and Stress it will relieve. A lot. Especially the IOS portion which I never knew about and have shared with many grateful friends. In my opinion the best part.

I cant wait to integrate them with other tools I am using, Hazel, KM etc.

Would love for you guys to do a class on Alfred. I have never gotten into it but have a feeling you guys would make me.

Thanks a Million again – Awesome.

Hit me with the iPods Baby!! :)

Posted by Sharon  | August 30, 2019 at 11:58AM | Reply

May I admit that I’m not sure that I will save a lot of time. What I do think I will save is missing a message or notification. I’ve diverted a lot a emails to folders but then forget to check those folders. So I will continue to folder email as needed but then also create a notification to check said folder.
This has been fun, thanks.

Posted by D Biswas  | August 30, 2019 at 11:58AM | Reply

Well,
I actually did not time myself at first. Once I went back and actually counted I found that it has already saved me about 20 mins per day. If you count it on a weekly basis that comes to 2 hours each week.
Just imagine 2 extra hours each week exclusive. Wow! That is awesome. Thanks to you all at Asian Efficiency.

Posted by Gordon  | August 30, 2019 at 11:53AM | Reply

The automations from days 1-4 will probably only save me maybe one minute a day. What I’m really looking for is a way to automate extraction and logging of data from scanned files.

Posted by Jaymie Horak  | August 30, 2019 at 11:50AM | Reply

I love the smart folders! I imagine it’ll save me a ton of time depending the task I’m doing… is estimate 15 minutes each time I use it, which right now would be every now and then… but as I get used to it, I imagine I’ll do more…

Posted by Ralph Hershkowitz  | August 30, 2019 at 11:44AM | Reply

Quick Access folders saves a lot time as I use these so frequently and it takes too much time to find them every time I need a file from them. In the future I would like to see ways to use Outlook in a more efficient manner. Tks.

Posted by Adam Hill  | August 30, 2019 at 11:42AM | Reply

15 minutes a week. Want to automate more steps of monthly classes client scorecards.

Posted by Matt  | August 30, 2019 at 11:41AM | Reply

This is going to save me at least 2 hours per week. The smart folders alone have made it easy for me to organize by client. I also love the pdf split feature (before i would print out the pdf and then resave it).

Posted by Kimi  | August 30, 2019 at 11:40AM | Reply

It is hard to guess how much time I would save. I am now retired and spend much less time on the computer than I used to. My time savings would have been tremendous back then. Now, I count more than time saved. What will be my big bonus is to be able to keep focused on my current task rather than have my attention redirected every time I do a complicated search for files, search for a (sometimes “hidden”) menu option, or whatever other automation I come up with. I feel empowered!

Posted by Hazel  | August 30, 2019 at 11:38AM | Reply

Shortcut keys to open apps and recent apps smart folder keeps my eyes from distraction of all other shiny apps on my Mac. Getting right to work is likely to save me at least 10 minutes a day. Urged by this challenge, I cleared my messy desktop and added a blocker app called Freedom to block all websites while processing email. Instead of chasing links, I slide emails into Read, Research, and Reply folders which tasks are scheduled for a separate time. Inbox dwindles quickly. I hadn’t realized jow much time I wasted chasing random links tucked in emails.

Posted by Brian  | August 30, 2019 at 11:30AM | Reply

Hard to say at this point? A couple hours a week? More importantly, fewer headaches.

Posted by Ruben Maldonado  | August 30, 2019 at 11:29AM | Reply

In terms of time is hard to say, because I just implemented during these week.

What I can say its that its buying me more mental/processing time.

I mean I cannot believe how much I hate to find quickly the right mind map file. Sometimes I have an idea or a solution that I need to document, having the smart folder looking dynamically only for my most recent mind maps was a great improvement.

Thanks guys! keep the good work.

Posted by Corey Verdusco  | August 30, 2019 at 11:27AM | Reply

Based on the automation I am already saving 20-30 minutes a day. If you spread that over the week and year that’s going to be a ton of time. I’m looking forward to other things I can automate with Hazel and Mac.

Posted by Travis Firth  | August 30, 2019 at 11:25AM | Reply

Quick access has been the key for me. We use a lot of SharePoint which takes a number clicks to get to the site and navigate through the folder structure. By setting the key folder up as quick access, it will save 30secs a pop, 1 hr a week. A great saving but also a mundane activity removed.

Posted by Misti  | August 30, 2019 at 11:16AM | Reply

The quick access folders will save me time. I am in and out of folders many times a day. By the end of the day it probably saves 5 to 10 minutes which would be 30 minutes to an hour a week. Thank you! Such an easy thing, but the exponential benefit can turn in to lots of extra time for other things.

Posted by Erzsebet  | August 30, 2019 at 11:11AM | Reply

Keyboard shortcuts for opening different apps will save 10+ minutes fo far. I continue to create more shortcuts, of course, and keep on applying what you taught me in this challenge. Thank you.

Posted by Mats  | August 30, 2019 at 11:09AM | Reply

With the automation I have setup this week I will probably only save 5 minutes per day, but t has given me ideas on how to setup other automation. Of course, 5 minutes is pretty much 25 hours a year. I just want to play it slow so that I learn to use them. E.g. with some existing shortcuts in MS outlook I made a list of the ones I wanted to use and started using one and focused on that one until it was a habit and then I started using next.
I will setup shortcuts for opening a few more programs I commonly use. I will also setup some more automatic schedulers, but I want to be careful so that I don’t have an automatic task splashing up when sharing something with customers.
I am trying to figure out how to automatically rename files based on content. E.g. when I scan documents I can some random file name. I want to rename them based on e.g. being my mortgage statement.

Posted by Johannes  | August 30, 2019 at 11:06AM | Reply

I had been using most of the windows features that were part of this challenge before. Pinning folders to the sidebar and starting programs using my keyboard’s macro keys have already saved me about 2 minutes each day – and I’ve been using both features for about 4 years. In other words, they have already saved me close to 50 hours. A fact I have only now become truly aware of. I’d like to look into text snippet / text expander automation in the future, especially for my daily journaling.

Posted by Federico Guerra  | August 30, 2019 at 11:04AM | Reply

This challenge helped me save at least 15 minutes each day! No more shuffling through endless directories (Windows user), now my projects are all neatly listed in the quick search!

Posted by Adam Semien  | August 30, 2019 at 11:01AM | Reply

The automation I set up will likely save me about an hour a week, which is amazing!

What I’d like is a list of all the different automation possibilities that can be created (or at least the most popular ones) using the skills we learned during the challenge. That was I can get creative about how I can apply Automator and other tools to my task flow to save time.

Really enjoy the brand! This challenge was a great way for me to get started in a digestable way.

Posted by Shaun Barlow  | August 30, 2019 at 11:00AM | Reply

automation set up so far are probably going to save 5-10 mins of time a day, but I am hoping that the Task Scheduler items in particular will help me to use less decision making and willpower, so that the time I have can be more effective.

Posted by Vaughn  | August 30, 2019 at 10:54AM | Reply

5-6 minutes per day using pinned folder and shortcut key to open outlook

Posted by Melissa Dease  | August 30, 2019 at 10:51AM | Reply

So far the only thing that I’ve really found useful is pinning folders to the Quick Access sidebar. There was also some kind of network glitch yesterday when I couldn’t open Sharepoint, but I could open the Sharepoint team I was trying to access by using the shortcut I created. Helpful, but not necessarily because of automation.

I’m still trying to figure out the best way to use some of these tools.

Posted by Sandie  | August 30, 2019 at 10:44AM | Reply

I love the sidebar folders. I’m planning a major scanning project and I know this will save me lots of time. The idea of putting folders in the sidebar temporarily is awesome. When I’m working on a project, having quick access to the folders I’m using is a great time saver. 15 minutes a week, maybe?

Posted by Bob  | August 30, 2019 at 10:43AM | Reply

So for just the shortcut actions on my work outlook. I process about 100 emails a day. Let’s say I save 5 seconds between mousing and a shortcut. I can’t do this with all of my emails (yet!). So let’s say half. 250 seconds a day, 200 work days or so, that is about 14 hours less time spent in the email time-sink. I’ll take that! And it inspires me to automate a few more of my actions in email alone might help get me more time.

Posted by Jeremy Brown  | August 30, 2019 at 10:29AM | Reply

What I set up will certainly be helpful. The keyboard shortcut I set up I probably used a dozen times yesterday, saving me about 5-10 minutes if I had to guess. But the real time will be saved when I find more opportunities to use these tricks. Thank you!

Posted by Doug  | August 30, 2019 at 10:28AM | Reply

I’ve been using sidebar folders and smart searches, as well as revisit my TextExpander snippets. I save about 30 seconds each time I skip the usual repetitive navigation for frequent actions. So 10 times a day would be 5 minutes, and 365 days makes it 30 hours a year. And I’m just getting started. It should be easy multiplying this 10-fold for 300 hours (or 15 days per year).

Posted by Jesica  | August 30, 2019 at 10:28AM | Reply

Done… I’m frequently using the pin to quick access feature and the saved search has already saved me time! Hopefully the scheduled tasks will prove to be as useful.

Posted by Bob  | August 30, 2019 at 10:28AM | Reply

Keyboard shortcuts so far are my favorite, while it doesn’t seem like much I open chrome and evernote many times a day and this should add up to hours saved over course of a year.
Great Challenge!

Posted by Kim  | August 30, 2019 at 10:22AM | Reply

Im using my sidebar shortcuts, and scanning app shortcut the most.
I need to utilize my hazel, text expander and alfred more.
You have made me realize i need more annomation in order to have more free time and less time processing orders.
Thank you!

Posted by Roger Bussell  | August 30, 2019 at 10:19AM | Reply

The automation I set up will save me a few minutes a day. This alone will help me save more and more time as time goes on.

Posted by Leo Gift  | August 30, 2019 at 10:12AM | Reply

To me the two main things would be the keyboard short cut that I was able to set up for my key apps and task schedules to auto open email at select times I the day. The first one I expect will save me 3 or 4 seconds but overall should save time. The second one is more of a discipline thing not to look at emails every other minute. More than the actual time saved this challenge has helped me to start reviewing what other things I can automate

Posted by Katherine Brown  | August 30, 2019 at 10:12AM | Reply

I can tell already the keyboard shortcuts are saving at least 5 minutes a day. Having things automatically load on startup that I use without fail is also a great time saver – at the very least it saves energy and thats one of the pillars we always talk about!

Something I would like to automate in the future is probably my coffee maker – I would love to figure out how to start it up when I wake up in the morning, but that requires me finding the manual online lol. I will continue to add more shortcuts as they come up – its a bit hard to think of ones you know you’ll use until they come up naturally haha. Great challenge – good work everybody!

Posted by Sushma  | August 30, 2019 at 10:07AM | Reply

I’d love to explore iOS shortcuts. I think there is a lot I could do there. Also, I need to learn all the shortcuts for Word. I use it the most for work, we are always writing documents. I loved the challenge, I think it’s a preview to what you could do.

Posted by Virginia  | August 30, 2019 at 10:00AM | Reply

For me, the quick folder on The sidebar was huge! I eliminated easily 2 minutes of navigating when filing receipt scans. Times 10-15 scans and that’s 20-30 minutes. For me, that’s the difference between getting to plan the next day or not.
Also, the keyboard shortcuts. I’m a big fan, but didn’t realize I could make my own. I may never use a mouse again if I can manage it.

Posted by Marc  | August 30, 2019 at 10:00AM | Reply

I think using sidebar folders mindfully will be great going forward — I spent some time this week observing which folders I repeatedly navigated to and then set sidebars for them. Over time, probably a great savings — only 15-20 seconds each time but done repeatedly the time adds up. The trick now is trying to remember to use the sidebars instead of navigating!

Posted by Bill Johnson  | August 30, 2019 at 9:46AM | Reply

I think the two biggest things for me from the challenge are the quick views / sidebar additions. I have added my top 10 accessed folder to this view now. I am estimating that saves me 30 seconds each time I access one which happens about 15 times a day. That would be 7.5 minutes a day x (@) 235 working days would be 1763 minutes a year or 29.4 hours!

I need to play around more with task scheduler as I think I can generate some great workflow by having apps open auto-magically at the time of day when I generally need them. In addition I think this feature can help build better habits (example daily journaling at a specific time is hard to ignore when the app opens!).

Great job on getting this discussion started with some concrete examples.

Posted by BA  | August 30, 2019 at 9:43AM | Reply

I do a lot of presentations and they’re in different folders all over my Mac. Setting up the smart search for presentations and adding it to the sidebar of my finder will save me lots of time and frustration. I’m interested in learning many more wonderful things my Mac does that I don’t know about.

Posted by Paul  | August 30, 2019 at 9:41AM | Reply

In truth, I set up some pretty easy shortcuts. Some will save me time but I believe that I will save the most time by continuing to review what is possible so that it is upper most in my mind when I mindlessly (normal mode) do some rote tasks that could be automated. I want to change my mindless mode to an awareness mode and then begin to implement more automation that is specific to my needs. Because I work in a dual Windows and Mac environment, I find myself in the “jack of all trades and master of none” mode too frequently. I’m thinking about how my “deep work” time can be spent mostly or entirely in one tech environment (probably Mac mode) in order to maximize the use of shortcuts, etc. If I do this, I will not only save real hours per week, but my life will feel more put together by losing the stress that comes from “what am I missing” or “who is waiting on me” modes and get into a much more proactive mode. Too much is reacting at what is coming at me at the moment. Must continue to change. Thank you for the inspiration and specific know-how.

Posted by Tommy Williams  | August 30, 2019 at 9:41AM | Reply

I have been automating things like this on my computers for years. While I didn’t learn any new techniques this week, it served as a good prod to look at my current automation and clean up some cruft and identify other areas of friction.

The biggest thing I want to automate next is eliminating some of the boilerplate around data access in our apps and sites at work. I have a lot of ideas and just need to work out the best approach.

Posted by Jo Smetryns  | August 30, 2019 at 9:40AM | Reply

Keyboard shortcuts!

Posted by Rob Blankenship  | August 30, 2019 at 9:40AM | Reply

I am using TextExpander and based on my current use it is estimating 10 min / day or about 5 hours / month.

Posted by Rick Salisbury  | August 30, 2019 at 9:39AM | Reply

Automation for me on a locked down computer has been maintaining the discipline of clearing and filing email as it arrives. For email in Outlook that requires action I make it a meeting and schedule the task. Less important email that require some thought gets a flag.

I keep a word document open to maintain my weekly report as things are done.

Segregation of web apps is done by using Crome for Remedy, our ticketing system, and IE for other corporate sites.

I use a remote computer, hosted virtual device, to segregate other work .

The biggest gain from this exercise was the Quick folders.

Thanks

Posted by Christian Garcia  | August 30, 2019 at 9:39AM | Reply

Automating smart folders definitely saves me time pulling up specific pdf files. Even though point and click actions took seconds, making them faster with keyboard shortcuts saves me a lot of time in the long run!

Posted by Linda Rallo  | August 30, 2019 at 9:39AM | Reply

Sidebar shortcuts and PDF shortcuts so far will be the most useful. If I can spend the time to memorize things it will save me easily 30 minutes plus a week. Thanks for this challenge – love learning new tricks!

Posted by Eric B  | August 30, 2019 at 9:39AM | Reply

Done!
I will definitely expand my use of keyboard shortcuts, and I’ve discovered new ones already that were already built into Windows (WIN+E = Explorer, WIN+# = The app in that order on my toolbar, etc). Great tip! I also love the ‘E’ for Archive an email in Gmail mentioned on the podcast – I didn’t use that one before, but will now. Thanks!!

Posted by Giacomo Pasini  | August 30, 2019 at 9:34AM | Reply

I’m quite a nerd 🤓 speaking about personal automation but even though, participating to this challenge has revealed me some gold nuggets I didn’t know even if I was using WinPC for decades.
I’ve also understood how much more productive I could be using a MacOS computer compared to Windows ones.

For the sake of the challenge, as I live in Italy and I need to convert timezones to follow your podcast recordings and webinars, I noticed I was always going to google to convert the timezones.
So in less than 5 minutes I have set up a iOS shortcut that ask me for the time to convert, (for example 3pm central), works on the text composing the correct URL to open it directly in Safari and have the result immediately! 😊
If someone is interest I am including the link to the shortcut below so you could see how easy is to build them (and it will be incredibly far more easier with iOS 13 that will be available in some weeks from now) and you can adopt it for yourselves.

https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/45e195774d3a44668675c88d89ff6a39

I’m also planning to set up a nice iOS shortcut in the weekend in which I could input:

1) how much time I plan to save on a specific task I would like to automate

2) how many time per day or week I think I will use that automation

3) make the math and give a notification on how many time I will save every year with that automation (so I could evaluate if the effort needed to set it up before spending it is worth the time saved)

I’ve already booked my place for the incoming webinar! I’m always on hype for the Automation! 🤣

Posted by Alice  | August 30, 2019 at 9:33AM | Reply

I’m planning on creating new keyboard shortcuts in my desktop; I was traveling this week, so all my activities were on my laptop. Also, in playing around with automating moving files.

Posted by Jon  | August 30, 2019 at 9:30AM | Reply

The Smart Folder, Textexpander and Hazel I believe and 1 hour a day. Better is the realization if there is a task I do each day such as start-up it can be automated

Posted by Mat  | August 30, 2019 at 9:28AM | Reply

Combining Hazel scripts, TextExpander snippets and keyboard shortcuts, I would think it saves me around 7-10 hours /week. That’s at least 22 days of productive time. Impressive…. never thought of it that way.

Going forward, I am going to take a deep dive into Keyboard Maestro.

Cheers!

Posted by Gerard Geiger  | August 30, 2019 at 9:28AM | Reply

The automation tools that have saved me the most time these past few weeks is Textexpander and AutoHotKey. I’m most interested, moving forward, in all tips in automating/processing email which seems to be growing every year.

Posted by Theo Bell  | August 30, 2019 at 9:27AM | Reply

Definitely at least a few minutes per day!

I’d really like to automate a set of tasks based on my flight confirmation emails.

Posted by Jim  | August 30, 2019 at 9:25AM | Reply

I don’t think it’s about time savings. That’s too narrow a view of the value of personal automation. It’s about reducing cognitive load. The fewer trivial things I need to think about the more time I have to deal with things that are important.

Curiously enough, I wrote a blog post about this notion just recently – https://mcgeesmusings.net/2019/08/09/knowledge-work-effectiveness-not-efficiency/

Posted by Joshua  | August 30, 2019 at 9:24AM | Reply

Funny enough, it has been the sidebar additions/adjustments that have had the biggest payoff for me so far. In the last couple of days I estimate I’ve saved approximately 30 seconds of folder-clicking close to a dozen times per day. That’s 6 minutes per day – over the course of 261 business days per year it will save me more than 26 hours! Wow!

For those interested, here’s the math:

30 seconds saved * 12 instances = 6 minutes per day
6 minutes per day * 261 business days = 1566 total minutes saved
1566 total minutes saved / 60 minutes per hour = 26.1 hours

Posted by Robyn  | August 30, 2019 at 9:20AM | Reply

I’ve enjoyed using these Windows automations.(No Apples here.) Of most use so far are the Quick Access and keyboard shortcuts. I’ve started a list of things that I could add as I create my new business. The new webinar should be very helpful!

Posted by Philipp  | August 30, 2019 at 9:11AM | Reply

Most interesting are the ios shortcuts, I hope to find some cool hacks there.
Thanks for the inspiration in this challenge

Posted by CG  | August 30, 2019 at 9:10AM | Reply

Not much for just one automation (5 min a day? Just a guess) but it all adds up. I’m creating a wishlist of everything I think I can set up based on the last few days’ tips and I’m sure all together they will save me a ton of time.

Posted by Peter  | August 30, 2019 at 9:09AM | Reply

This automation will probably save me a couple of minutes a day. The most time gains I get from “Alfred”, Keyboard Maestro, Siri Shortcuts and Hazel.
I will continue to use the automation of the challenge and deepen my knowledge of the other automation apps I have.

Posted by Dale  | August 30, 2019 at 9:08AM | Reply

2-3 minutes a day.

I would love to automate the printer settings – single or double-sided and fast print or good, but I don’t think this is possible…

Posted by Christian Handler  | August 30, 2019 at 9:02AM | Reply

Ten minutes a day will add up to one hour a week; with 52 hours a year and a 50-hour-workweek thats more than one week per year. Kind regards from Volterra, Tuscany, where I will spend that extra week from now on!

Posted by Gerry Ann  | August 30, 2019 at 9:00AM | Reply

On a guess I’d say 5 to 10 minutes a day? But, that adds up!
What would I like to see automated? One of the things I spend the most time during the month doing is going to different websites to gather copies of bills that need paid. I heard there was a way to do that but the security would be a concern to me.
Thank you for this course too!

Posted by Joe Foltz  | August 30, 2019 at 8:59AM | Reply

With just the little changes I’ve made this week, I should save an hour every week at least, and I think it can be a lot more as I use automation more!

Posted by Rafal  | August 30, 2019 at 8:48AM | Reply

Shortcut to a selected menu item will save me a few minutes daily I think. The upgrade would be not only to execute a menu item on a shortcut but automatically perform an action inside a dialog box that pops up (select an item from the list inside and accept). I think this will be possible with automator too

Posted by Cindi Gay  | August 30, 2019 at 8:45AM | Reply

I should save 10 – 20 minutes a day. Doesn’t sound like much but even at 10 minutes a day, six days a week, that is 52 hours in a year! Over 2 days!

I want to figure out how to open a tab and launch a website using a shortcut on a mac.

Posted by Don Pavlik  | August 30, 2019 at 8:38AM | Reply

I have been using some automation before this challenge, mainly with the app launchers that I have and a few type expanders. The automation I applied this week, and I will continue to increase, I believe, will help me save at least an hour a week.

The automation I would like to continue with next is more automation and shortcuts on my mobile device and tablet. Mainly in translating some of the automation, I have on my PC and Mac to them.

Posted by Jeremy  | August 30, 2019 at 8:26AM | Reply

So the two that will definitely save me some time are the sidebar favorites and shortcuts for commonly used apps. At this point I haven’t implemented a ton of either, but my guess is that each one will save roughly 2-10 seconds each time I use them. Each will save me from navigating to a folder or double clicking an app.

So that’s roughly 3-1/3 to 16-2/3 minutes saved if I use them 100x during the day. Seems tiny now but added up, that’s a lot of savings.

Posted by Gerd  | August 30, 2019 at 8:26AM | Reply

The biggest help was the saved searches. That should save me a couple of hours a week trying to get the right documents for the different projects I’m working on.

Posted by Saravanan  | August 30, 2019 at 8:25AM | Reply

Automation and shortcuts setup so far will save me 10 to 15 minutes every day but more than just time-saving, it will reduce frustration.

Posted by Emmie  | August 30, 2019 at 8:16AM | Reply

50% is the tasks automation, 50% is reprogramming myself to remember to use them!

Tonight, I have plans to make a picture or a cheat sheet with all the shortcuts that I can use as a wallpaper till these become habitual for me –because I can save a lot of time when I turn my computer on in the morning, and when I switch projects and that’s when I need to remember to use the automation I’ve created for myself.

For instance, I save pdf “sessions” (all the pdfs I was looking at are opened together again) and remembering that I can go straight to choosing a session saves me a ton of time instead of opening them all one by one. That keyboard shortcut is great (when I remember it because I created it two days ago lol).

Posted by Katie Santos  | August 30, 2019 at 8:15AM | Reply

I think about 10 minutes a Day is going to come my way from this. More please!

Posted by Shelly  | August 30, 2019 at 8:07AM | Reply

Based on what I have set up so far, I can easily save half an hour a day.

I will continue to set up more Saved Searches because I spend SO much time opening the same documents every day or week.

Thank you so much for this challenge and the new knowledge!

Posted by Teejay  | August 30, 2019 at 8:06AM | Reply

Done! I’ve already used my hot-key combo twice since setting it up. The OneNote task scheduler actually ended up being more annoying and not needed because it launches in the background.

Now that I’m at least aware of the possibilities, I think I’ll save myself loads of time once I identify other areas for automation.

Posted by Sharon  | August 30, 2019 at 7:56AM | Reply

Sadly, I can’t set up hot keys at work because I don’t have admin access on my work computer. That would save me a bunch of time as I’m always needing to open more stuff while working on other things. I do plan on setting up tasks at work since I have some things that need weekly/monthly running. I don’t know that it will save me time but it will insure I don’t forget something.

At home, it won’t save me much time. I think tasks will allow me to nudge myself to do things like bookkeeping etc as often as I should.

Thank you for the great ideas. I’m motivated to continue to look at my options in all of my software. I have really been wanting to maximize my Android phone and learn to use Google Assistant.

Posted by Douwe Attema  | August 30, 2019 at 7:55AM | Reply

Implemented and used all automation suggestions and I use it.
What else is POSSIBLE ?

:)

Regards,

Douwe

Posted by Douwe Attema  | August 30, 2019 at 7:54AM | Reply

Implemented and used all automation suggestions and I use it.
What else is POSSIBLE ?

:-)

Regards,

Douwe

Posted by Michael Sweeney  | August 30, 2019 at 7:52AM | Reply

The lessons are cumulative; like success.

Success is not a destination but a method of operation to achieve an end.

Thank you.

-mjs

Posted by amos odiwuor abuto  | August 30, 2019 at 7:50AM | Reply

nice i like the challange

Posted by Mike Peterson  | August 30, 2019 at 7:49AM | Reply

Looking to setup an automation to capture links of tasks for a meeting I run and automatically capture it to use as the outline for the agenda.

Posted by Josh  | August 30, 2019 at 7:47AM | Reply

I will save a few minutes per day and more importantly not have to remember to do a few things!

I would like to automate uploading of pictures from iPhone to my company’s SharePoint site based on time taken and geolocation of photo.

Posted by Sherry  | August 30, 2019 at 7:46AM | Reply

The automation I set up at work (so far), individually, won’t save much time. But stacking them will help save minimally a half hour a day. The automations for my genealogy research that I’ll be setting up over the long weekend will be the real superstars for saving time.

Leave a Reply