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Our resident producer Dan Atchison is all about increased productivity. And he likes to spread the love, too. So he cooked up a three-part series on his favorite productivity apps to help you accomplish more in your work day. Here’s Part 3. If you missed them, catch up on Part 1 & Part 2.

Of the apps introduced here, Hazel is the most intimidating. In fact, I had Hazel installed for almost a year before really using it.

But now, I can’t imagine working without it. Because of Hazel’s robust flexibility—I won’t go too in depth here but, in a nutshell, Hazel “watches” selected folders and runs any number of automated commands based on specified rules. A mouthful, I know.

I have a two folders on my desktop that Hazel watches. One for personal and one for work. I drop files in these folders all the time and let Hazel do the work for me. For instance:

  • I receive an email receipt from Amazon
  • Print to PDF into my personal watch folder on Desktop
  • Hazel renames the filename to include the word “Amazon” and the total cost
  • Hazel then moves the file into my 2016 Personal Finances folder in Dropbox

When I’m reconciling my bank statement, I can simply search (with Alfred) the total amount on the bank statement and up pops the receipt. And because I put the product in the filename and Hazel added “Amazon”, I have all the information I need to enter it into YNAB and I don’t even have to open the file.

A more complicated rule could look like this on a file called “Widget Broadcast TV Spot”:

  • Using the built-in OS tags, I tag the file with: “CLIENT-0001” (job number) and “estimate”
  • Drop it in the work watch folder
  • Hazel renames the file to begin with “[CLIENT-0001]”
  • Adds the word “ESTIMATE”
  • Adds the date
  • Adds the time
  • Pulls the first part of the job number and adds the tag “CLIENT”
  • Adds the tag “accounting”
  • Moves the file into the appropriate client folder on my system
  • Makes a copy in the correct folder on the company server so my coworkers have access to it

The result is “[CLIENT-0001] ESTIMATE Widget Broadcast TV Spot 10-11-2016 1300”. When I send this file out, it’s pretty clear what it is, the job it’s for, and because it has a date and a time, it’s easy to see the versioning.

And, because the filename is so clear, it takes seconds to email it using the Alfred example from Part 2.

Hazel can also:

  • Resize images
  • Add image or video resolution (or any Spotlight information for that matter) to the filename
  • Delete files after a specified time
  • Search inside files
  • Upload to FTP
  • Archive
  • Run scripts
  • So much more…

And that’s about it for Tech Talk! Hope you found these three apps useful and that your productivity skyrockets.

If you’re looking for even more apps to increase your productivity, I also use Keyboard Maestro, OmniFocus, Mail Act-On, Mail Tags, BetterSnapTool, and Bartender 2.

I realize this is probably geek overload, but it’s not difficult to get going and it can be fun finding ways to automate things. It takes a little bit of time to save time in the long run but it’s worth it.

Want to Talk?

Rebekah Weinberger

Business Development Specialist