Making the most of your ‘keyboard’ time.

I’m certainly not the fastest or most accurate when it comes to typing on a keyboard (even though I’ve been doing it every day for the last 30+ years!), so I’m always looking for ways to improve my output and my accuracy.

In this article, I’ll share with you the three ways in which I optimise how I type, whilst also reducing my rate of typos.

#1 – The ‘text replacement’ feature on my MacBook

One of the features within the ‘Accessibility‘ menu is ‘text replacements‘. Essentially, it’s designed to give a convenient way to type longer words or phrases by replacing an abbreviation with the full version.

For example, I find myself repeatedly typing the same words and phrases, over and over – in emails, articles, social posts, and even in DMs inside social platforms.

There are two annoying things about this repeating action; the repetitiveness of doing it, and (with my typing skills) the number of typos I need to go back and fix every time I type it!

Here are a few examples of text replacements I have set up on my laptop;

  • em becomes email marketing
  • emp becomes email marketing platform
  • esp becomes Email Service Provider
  • ed becomes email deliverability
  • wp becomes WordPress
  • ck becomes ConvertKit

You get the gist, right… by typing a couple of letters, the actual phrase gets auto-typed by the laptop, meaning I save a ton of time AND have zero typos!

If you have a MacBook and want to use this feature, head for the following menu option; ‘System Settings‘ > ‘Accessibility‘ > ‘Keyboard‘ > ‘Keyboard Settings‘ > ‘Text Replacements‘ – once you’re there, you’ll see a pop-up that looks something like the image below;

Click the ‘+‘ icon at the bottom-left corner to add a new text replacement. Click the ‘‘ icon to remove one you no longer want.

As you can see in the list of examples, I also use it to automatically correct my continual mistyping of certain words, like “don;t” instead of “don’t” and “oages” instead of “pages” (I have no idea why I always mistype these, but I do… 🤷🏻‍♂️).

If you’re a Windows® user then I’m afraid you’ll need to rely on external software to achieve this functionality, as I don’t believe the OS provides it at the moment.

One of the additional benefits of this feature is that it persists across my other Apple devices, so when typing emails or DMs on my iPhone, the same text replacements are accessible – something my next tool does NOT provide (yet).

#2 – The ‘text expander’ app, installed on my laptop

This app is fantastic and saves me so much time – even more so than tool #1 above! The only downside is that the app only works on my laptop and not my iPhone (apparently there is an iOS app in test mode!).

It’s extremely simple in what text expander does, but once you start using it, you’ll be lost without it (I know I would be!).

Essentially, it replaces your abbreviations with a longer piece of text. It may sound similar to #1 above (MacBook’s text replacement), and it is, but more flexible and powerful in what it can do.

Below is a screenshot of just one example of how I use it; the circled abbreviation is “l:deliv“, and any time I type that short snippet, it replaces it with a fully formatted, rich text bulleted list that you can see on the right-hand side (in the red box).

I find this really useful when referring to commonly used lists or paragraphs that I don’t want to type again and again – things like;

  • Good email marketing practices
  • Things to avoid with email marketing
  • How to improve email deliverability (the example above)
  • Stepped instructions of how to access something in ConvertKit
  • How to navigate to certain menu options
  • …etc. (you get the gist)

If you want to give it a go, grab their 30-day free trial here, and if you find it useful, it only costs about £3-£4/m (a veritable bargain, IMHO!).

#3 – The ‘Snippets’ I create inside ConvertKit

This one is native to ConvertKit and therefore available to everyone, no matter which hardware you use or apps you have installed – it’s ConvertKit’s ‘Snippets‘.

I’m sure you’ll be able to relate to a scenario I often find myself in…

I’ll be creating a new article in my niche (i.e. email marketing, ConvertKit, or content marketing) and then I’ll refer to something that I’ve previously created in another article – for example, I might type something like…

To do this, you need to create a landing page (if you want to know how to create a landing page, click here).

To write about ‘landing pages‘ again inside the article I’m currently focused on is far from ideal, for a few reasons;

  • It can be distracting, taking me away from the point I’m conveying.
  • It takes me more time and effort to recreate the same content.
  • It can also force the readers to consume what can be ‘optional content

So, I came up with a way of using ConvertKit’s ‘Snippets‘ feature to both accelerate my creation process and encourage consistency of my messaging.

What I did in ConvertKit

I looked at which articles I most often refer to when crafting other content and created a ‘Snippet’ for each one.

Each ‘snippet’ contains an image, a piece of text, and a button with a link to the original article – see example below;

In this article, I show you how to create landing pages in ConvertKit. These are digital assets you can create to collect subscriber details, in exchange for your lead magnet.

Having these available at the click of a button makes it so easy for me to share more content with my readers without having to think about it or create anything that I’ve already spent time researching, crafting, and publishing previously.

Here is a snapshot of the list of available ‘snippets’ in my instance of ConvertKit;

‘Snippets’ is such a convenient and powerful feature and has many uses, just one of which I’ve described above. You can also use them for ‘inline’ text replacement, including conditional logic using something called ‘Liquid code’ – see an example of this below;

This snippet (below) can be inserted into any email to perform a check for membership in my “Thursday Email Club“.

If the subscriber is a member, they are shown a button stating “Click here to log into the members’ area”, whereas a subscriber who is NOT a member is shown a button stating “Click here to join The Thursday Email Club“.

The beauty of this feature is that I don’t need to remember how to check for membership – I just insert the ‘snippet’ and it happens automatically.

So, there you have it – 3 ways in which I optimise my time when creating content. Each in isolation brings benefits, but when used collectively they become transformational in allowing me to produce articles like the one you’re reading now!

Have a go at using them yourself, see how you get on and if you have any questions – let me know.

Also, let me know your productivity tips for creating content in your business. 😊

If you haven’t yet joined ConvertKit, here’s the link to get your free account, including a 14-day free trial of all premium features: convertkit.com

The Freelancer’s Guide to Email Marketing gives you everything you need to know to design, launch, and run an effective email marketing system in your business.

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John Bellingham
John Bellingham

Starting out as a software engineer over 30 years ago, I began working for large corporates before realising solopreneurship was my 'thing'. I've had many businesses over the years, which have taught me many lessons.

I now spend my time helping other solopreneurs to implement the strategies and tactics that worked for me, whilst avoiding all my expensive mistakes.

If you're a solopreneur who's either starting or running a business, then connect with me and let's have a chat.

I love Formula 1® so that's always a good conversation starter if you need one! 🏁 🏎

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