Technology Pro Tip: Save Time By Automating Your Emails

Rather than reinventing the wheel every time you send a message to a member, consider using a text-expansion tool that can save you time with the help of a template.

Find that you’re repeating yourself in your inbox a lot? Or perhaps you always start your letters the same way?

If so, why are you writing out the same basic message, or copying and pasting what you previously wrote, over and over? It can be frustrating—and a waste of time that’s taking away from more pressing matters and putting you at risk for lizard brain.

With that in mind, using a text-expansion tool that can cull common phrases might just be a lifesaver.

What’s the Strategy?

A number of tech tools exist that can help to solve this problem, both in the form of desktop applications and web browser extensions.

These tools—including the Mac-based Rocket Typist, the browser-based Briskine, and the cross-platform TextExpander—help to cut down on the amount of typing. They pull up a predefined template after you type in a short command that the tool recognizes—say “note” followed by the tab key.

The template can contain exact formatting and images. These templates can be modified or tweaked to add individual names and time frames, so you can maximize the personal touch even as you minimize the time it takes you to get there.

After downloading these tools (which vary in price from free to $10 per month), you can set up a template, then use the application to autofill a message, whether in an email, a Word document, or something else. You could even use it to build your social media posts.

Why Is It Effective?

You may be aware of the concept of automation, which is believed to have benefits at the organizational level. As an example, take marketing automation, which holds much potential for member engagement.

But automation can offer benefits at a personal level as well, and using a type-filling tool can speed up what’s usually a repetitive manual process, allowing you to complete a common task in less time. Consider it a life hack.

What’s the Potential?

According to one study by the technology company Adobe, the average person spends 209 minutes per workday checking email. Text expander tools, which simplify the process of building individual emails, can help cut down on that time by taking repetitive tasks and minimizing their complexity.

And with email often a source of stress even after the workday is over, any tactic to rein it in can benefit stressed professionals.

There are also use cases for such tools outside of the inbox—for example, when updating website content. It’s a weapon against empty-calorie busywork.

(lemono/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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