As  entrepreneurs, the name of the game is finding ways to maximize your time, discovering shortcuts or hacks that can find more efficient ways of doing things, so you can focus your resources on the important things that need your attention. There is no reason whatsoever that you should be writing out your phone number, email, address, or phrases you repeat often, 100 times a day. 

There are apps that enable you to set up text shortcuts that are then replaced by complete phrases, but what most people do not realize, is that this feature is built directly into the iPhone and most Android devices. 

If you use this feature right, you can literally save yourself close to an hour or even more every day, depending how many shortcuts you set up.

Use text replacement for obvious words or phrases.

Before we get all sophisticated with text replacement, and yes, we are going to go crazy with this feature, let's start with the basics. How many times a day are you asked for your email address? Why does it make any sense whatsoever, in your insanely busy schedule, that you should have to write out your entire email address that many times every day? Yes, it only takes four seconds, every time, but multiply that by how many times a week or a month you waste those four seconds, and you could have easily written another press release.

Same goes for your phone number, maybe a shipping address to which you often send packages, maybe even your credit card, which, despite the many ways to auto complete today, you still find yourself writing out from time to time.

Why not automate all those words that you know you will be writing out often?

Go into Settings> General> Keyboard> Text Replacement> and tap + to add a shortcut. Start with your email and remember to use a shortcut that you wouldn't be writing regularly. In other words, don't use the word "Email" as your shortcut because then every time you write that word anywhere, the iPhone will insert your actual email address. Use a shortcut you would only write if you want the phone to complete the phrase.

Now, let's use this feature to save some real time.

Now let's take this feature one step farther. Beyond your email address or phone number, think about sentences, or even paragraphs you write repeatedly throughout the day. For example. the whole process of setting up a meeting. The person emails you asking if you can meet Tuesday at 4 pm. You write back that you cannot then, but how about 5 pm? They write back that that time works, then you, or at least I, respond asking them to please send a calendar invite with all the details so it is locked in.

That last message, the one asking for an invite? I send that same message easily 20 times a day. Now again, those 2-3 sentences take 10-20 seconds to write, but if you use a short text replacement, they could take 3-4 seconds, or even less. Do the math.

One more example and this one really illustrates the potential of this feature. People often reach out and ask for a meeting. Now, most of us today wear many hats. As entrepreneurs, a person can be reaching out for a whole bunch of reasons. They might want advice, they might want an introduction to someone, they might want to partner with you, or maybe they want to acquire you. The possibilities are endless.

So when someone emails me asking to meet and does not include context, I set up a shortcut called "Context??" (Notice the two question marks, something I wouldn't regularly use in a sentence), and my phone automatically writes "Thanks for the email. Just need a bit more context here. Meaning, some people reach out to me as a blogger, others because of the vlog, others reach out in a marketing capacity, and others because they're fund raising. Just need a bit of clarification here of the context/goal of the meeting. Thanks and hope it's ok to be so direct. In my experience, context is extremely important when it comes to these things so there is no misalignment of expectations. That could get awkward. Looking forward to your response."

Now we are no longer talking about a few seconds. Using that shortcut saved me five minutes and multiply that by all the emails you get asking for a meeting and you have potentially saved hours.

This concept of text replacements is not a new one and has been around for years. And yet, somehow, whenever I show people how I use this feature, their reaction is always the same. Amazement. 

Published on: May 16, 2018