TextExpander: Little Things Add Up

Most of my working day, I am sending emails to two people: Greg and Philip, SmileOnMyMac’s co-founders and software developers. After reading Send: The Essential Guide to Email, I decided to more consistently open the emails with “Hi Greg,” “Hi Philip,” and sometimes, “Hi Greg and Philip,” to be a bit less cold. A lot of us have a mental block against setting up TextExpander snippets for really short things like these phrases, which are 10, 12 and 21 keystrokes each (when you include hitting “Enter” twice, as I invariably do.) You have to use a minimum of 2 keystrokes to trigger the snippet expansion, so how much time do you really save?

This week, I decided to add “Hg” and “Hp” to TextExpander, as well as “HG” for “Hi Greg and Philip,”. And I got curious about how much time would this save me. Over the past two years, I’ve sent 1145 emails to Greg, 532 emails to Philip and 839 emails addressed to both of them. Subtracting the 2 keystrokes for the abbreviation, I came up with 30,421 keystrokes I could have saved. When TextExpander calculates how much time you save, it assumes you type 400 characters/minute. But I knew I couldn’t type the “Hi” phrases at that rate, so I tested myself. (Among other things, the iPhone has a great stopwatch…) At the rate, I actually type those phrases (200 characters/minute), I could have saved 2 hours and 32 minutes. The happiness of finding something else I won’t have to type out over and over again: priceless.