Speed up your workflow with Alfred, the ultimate productivity app
As a busy designer and developer I’m always in and out of my favourite Mac apps and utilities, undertaking multiple tasks at once. Working efficiently enables me to offer better value to clients, so as a matter of course I regularly look for ways to increase the speed of my workflow and improve my productivity.
Alfred is a productivity app that has changed the way I use my Mac. Not only does it help me find and manipulate files quickly, it also boosts the speed at which I action repetitive tasks. At its core, Alfred’s an app launcher and file finder (with many other features), but where it really excels is in its incredibly powerful ‘Workflows’ feature.
Alfred offers its robust core features for free. I would highly recommend testing it out. You’ll instantly gain the benefits of fast app launching (simply launch Alfred, type the name of your required app and hit enter to open it) and file finding (launch Alfred, hit space then type the name of your required file or folder and hit enter). View Your First 5 Minutes for a mini tutorial to help you get up and running as soon as possible.
Workflows are a feature of Alfred’s Power Pack, which comes at a price (currently £17), however it’s a price you’ll save many times over due to the time you’ll save from its use. Alfred Workflows connect keywords and hotkeys to dynamic scripts that perform actions, automating repetitive tasks and giving you easy access to code references, native Mac utilities and remote services. Here are some of my favourite, time-saving Alfred Workflows:
Recently Changed Files (download)
Instantly access recently changed files from any folder on your Mac.
Quickly determine the hex, rgb, hsl etc value of any given colour, very handy for rapid conversion of hex value colours to rgb in order to use at different opacities for the web.
WordPress Reference (download)
Search for a WordPress code reference and go straight to the relevant codex page for more information.
Quickly use the superb TinyPNG service. Having highlighted the required file, I use a hotkey to pass through to the workflow, shrinking the file whilst keeping the original backed up. Note, an API key is required to use this service for free (up to 500 images per month).
These are just a few of the Alfred Workflows that I use regularly and would recommend to other designer/developers. With a little imagination, Alfred Workflows can be created and customised to improve your personal workflow. Whether you work in design or any other industry (and are a Mac user) I believe your productivity will improve hugely with the regular use of Alfred, offering better value to your clients as a result.