Built.io Blog

7 Awesome Time Saving Apps & Services

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I always knew I would make an awesome Office Manager. I know this type of work isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it entails all the things I love doing...and let’s not even get started on my love of stationery supplies!

Enter getting hired by an awesome tech company in the Bay Area.

They were in need of an Office Manager, and I was in need of being an Office Manager...how convenient! This was going to be a pairing of epic proportions!

When you are awesome and (more importantly) competent, you start getting more and more things to work on, but sadly you don’t magically get more hours in the day to complete them. In order to up my Office Manager game, I needed to learn a bunch of time saving shortcuts, so I could spend more time focusing on the important stuff.

So without further ado, here is my list of the Top 7 Apps & Websites that help me achieve that time saving goal.

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 Alfred - This is a conversation that happened when I first started at the office:

“Use this app, it will make your life so much easier” - Gal said.

“You are crazy, and this is confusing!” - I replied.

Oh how little I knew. I installed Alfred, and then sadly didn’t use it for months. Then I saw Gal, Sr. Product Manager at built.io, do something on his computer, and I asked how he did that…”With Alfred." And then the light went on, and my life changed forever.

I then took the time to check out all the features and realized that yes, he was right. This app is amazing!! How did I survive without it previously? How do other people live without it? Who are the magical people that created this amazing app, I want to throw rose petals at them! (I actually looked them up while writing this blog post, and they are my heroes now. Vero Pepperrell is Canadian by the way...I too am Canadian, which makes us both pretty awesome!)

Since starting to use Alfred on a daily basis, I almost forget what it’s like to look up a website, since one word custom web searches makes life so much easier.

There is a feature to keep your copied items on the clipboard for up to 3 months (I do it for 7 days). I didn’t even know I needed this feature in my life...but I do! You never have to go back and copy something again, if you accidentally cmd+c (ctrl+c) when you haven’t pasted yet. You’ve done this before, don’t lie.

Also, I need to talk about snippets...snippets are my favourite thing ever!

Do you constantly type the same thing over and over again? (Office address, phone number for example) Well snippets will fill your life with magic and love (and lots of extra time.)

Alfred Shortcut for Clipboard > Snippets > Enter...Boom, done! I’m always trying to figure out what else I can use as a snippet. I have entire emails that I send out a lot, saved as a snippet!

Here’s a random one that I’ll admit to having set up, just because I can → ♪♫

Yes...I have the music note ASCII set up as a snippet.

There are a lot of other cool features that Alfred has, like being able to quickly search for a file on your computer, or defining words from the dictionary, and don’t even get me started on how awesome workflows are!

(So I could likely do a blog post *just* on all the things I love about Alfred...but instead, let’s move along shall we…)

1pw_blog.png1Password - Before starting as Office Manager, I only needed a few passwords, banking, email, Facebook mostly. Suddenly I needed to know hundreds of passwords! Hundreds!!! 1Password came along to save my life! It can save username/passwords for every single site you use, and also has options to save credit card information, bank accounts, and so much more. Not only does it save all the passwords I need, it also generates passwords for me. Who has time to come up with highly secure passwords all the time, not me.

Now where does this app save me time? It doesn’t just save and generate passwords for me, it autofills username/passwords for everything!! This is the BEST feature. Even the usernames and passwords that I have memorized, I still use the autofill feature. One quick short cut and it’s entered and logging in for me. The odd times that I do have to type out a username and password, I feel like a savage!

As long as you don’t forget your 1Password (the password used to unlock your password vault) you are golden, you’ll never need to memorize another password ever again. You’re welcome!

caffeine_blog.jpgCaffeine - Starting to work at an office, and having a computer filled with confidential information, suddenly I had to password protect my laptop. And with password protecting your laptop, comes the fact that you need to enter your password every time that it goes to sleep.

I’m in lots of meetings in which I need to take notes, but since I’m not constantly typing, I was putting my password in 10+ times per meeting to wake up my laptop to type again. Yes yes, #FirstWorldProblems, but this app allows you to keep your computer awake with a quick click of a button. No need to go through system preference to change settings all the time.

Saving time entering a password a bunch of times during a meeting might not sound like much, but I’ve saved loads of time not having to put my password in over and over again during meetings since installing this app.

sizeup_blog.pngSizeUp - Despite the fact that I have two monitors at work, sometimes I’m working between so many windows that it just becomes ridiculous clicking between them all. SizeUp makes it a breeze to resize windows to fit the screen perfectly. So instead of clicking constantly between weirdly sized windows, SizeUp makes them fit the screen so you can easily see everything in your windows. Easily set up 2 windows to fit the screen, or even up to 4. You can even change the percentage of screen space the resized windows take. It’s default is 50/50, but you can change it, to say 70/30 if one of you windows needs to be the alpha window.

Yes yes yes, you could manually resize the windows yourself, but really, no one has time for that.

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Google Shopping Express (GSE) - Most of the stores that I order from are within walking distance of the office, and when I first started and wasn’t nearly as busy, taking some time to go for a walk and go shopping to grab stuff for the office was nice, but times change, people (me) get busier, and that just isn’t an option anymore. GSE has completely changed how I shop for the office. Out of almond milk for coffee, need more garbage bags, want more vitaminwater...ordered and delivered the next day (sometime same day) during a delivery window picked by me, without having to leave my office chair. Perfect!

(I even have an Alfred shortcut to bring up GSE...I save ALL THE TIME!)

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Amazon Prime - This one saves time and money. Free 2 Day Shipping on pretty much anything I need to order for the office? Yes please!! Working with a small team, means that I work as the Procurement “Team” as well. If someone needs a keyboard, or office supplies, or cables, or toner for the copier, or more paper for the printer...I can easily order and have it in the office within two days, because 5-7 days is just way too long sometimes. It’s great. Just a note, there are a number of other awesome options that come along with an Amazon Prime account, but it’s the Free 2 Day Shipping that we use it for in the office.


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TaskRabbit - This one falls under the “I can’t do everything myself” heading. Do I want to put together the new bookshelves for the office? Yes, actually that would be awesome, I love putting stuff together! But do I have the time to take a few hours out of my day to put them together? Sure don’t. Hello TaskRabbit! This website sets you up with people in your area, who are willing to do your errands/cleaning/home repairs for a fee. I’ve used this service for such things as putting together office furniture, and hanging up artwork in the office. It’s awesome. Takes just a few minutes to set it up, takes a couple more minutes to explain what needs to be done when they show up, and I’m able to continue working while other stuff is getting done in the office.

So there you have it, my Top 7 Time Saving Things Of Magical Awesomeness (™ pending)

Do you have any other time saving apps or websites that you use? I’d love to hear about them! Leave ideas in the comments.

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