By: Hillel Fuld (@Hilzfuld)
Are you familiar with the phenomenon in which you are good at something or you possess some knowledge about a certain topic, and you take it for granted assuming everyone else is good at that too, only to discover that that is not the case? When something comes naturally to you, it is easy to dismiss it as trivial or insignificant, but often times, that assumption prevents you from sharing your wisdom and insights with others. That was a mighty long introduction, but let me explain why it is relevant.
I have literally been using this shortcut on my iPhone for years, many years, and I 100% assumed everyone was using it too. Only recently did I discover that not only do many of my contacts not even know about this feature, those who do, never used it. I recently showed it to some of my friends, some were intrigued, others reacted as if they had just seen a ghost, which I am assuming was a response to the thought about how much time they wasted because they never thought of leveraging this iPhone feature.
Wow, I am really dragging this out, aren’t I?
Ok, this is the feature I am referring to. It is called Text Replacement and you can find it on your iPhone (most Android smartphones have it as well.) under Settings>General>Keyboard>Text Replacement.
Here is how it works and why it is so brilliant. You enter in a phrase, preferably a phrase you write often, then you enter in a shortcut, that when written, will generate the entire phrase. So for example, let’s say you write the phrase “Was great to meet you today, would love to stay in touch in the future” every time you leave a meeting. Cool, very professional of you to follow up, not enough people do that.
Ok, so you know you write that sentence many times a week, why not save the time you spend writing it by replacing it with a shortcut like, let’s say “GreatMeeting”. That way, you simply write “GreatMeeting”, a phrase you would never write in a sentence (because that could get awkward if you include this phrase where it doesn’t belong.), and you just sent a follow up email in 4 seconds instead of 30. Multiply that time saved by all the times you write that phrase throughout a year, then multiply it by all the phrases you write regularly, and you can save yourself endless time, that you can now spend on actual productivity.
Here are some shortcuts I set up that I use hundreds of times throughout my week:
- I write “Addresss” with three S’s and the iPhone writes out my complete address, zip code and all.
- I write “Num_” and the iPhone writes out my full international phone number.
- I write “Drii”, and it completes to “Driving, talk to you later”, when I absolutely must respond then and there to a message.
- I write “Hilz” and it inserts my full email address. I use this easily 50 times a day.
- “Sup” –> What’s up?
- “Omw” —> On my way
Ok, those are great, but then there are the truly useful ones. Phrases, long phrases that I write countless times throughout the day, that have now been replaced by a single word. Some examples:
- When someone messages/emails me asking for my help getting them a job, I simply respond with “CVV” and the iPhone writes “Happy to try and help. Please send me your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure it is formatted well. I will pass it onto relevant opportunities as they present themselves. Just to be clear, I’m not a headhunter so no guarantees but I will try my best!” Saves me so much time!!
- When someone messages me asking to meet, I respond by writing “Emaill” and the iPhone writes “Cool. Shoot me an email and we’ll find time to connect. Looking forward. Hilzfuld@gmail.com”
- When I set a meeting with someone, which happens 100 times every week, I found myself asking them to send an invite every time so I set up a shortcut for that too. I write “Locklock” and it inserts “If you don’t mind, please send me a calendar invite so I have it locked in. Hilzfuld@gmail.com Looking forward! .”
- Finally, my latest one. I’ve found that my schedule has gotten too insane and I can’t find time to get my own stuff done so I started saying no, something I’m very bad at but am starting to get a hang of. I write “sorryy” and the iPhone writes “Hey, nice to meet you. Unfortunately, my schedule has gotten too nuts and I need to cut back on this kinda thing so I can focus on my own startups. Feel free to ping me next month and hopefully time will free up by then. Apologies. “
I think you get the point, now all that is left to do is think what phrases you spend a lot of time writing throughout your week and eliminating them. Takes seconds to set up, literally, and can save you endless time that can otherwise be spent on getting stuff done. Enjoy. Oh, and if I was wrong and you already knew this “hack”/feature, I apologize for wasting your times, but at least the memes and GIFs were somewhat enjoyable…