Why I use Alfred

4 February 2024

Alfred for Mac is an app that works in a way similar to MacOS's Spotlight, but is heavily customizable and, most importantly, has a feature called Workflows. You can script a lot of things with Workflows. So I script.

I use Alfred on a daily basis, probably hundreds of times per day to save myself time. Hard to say how much I saved, but it feels so much better to avoid going through the same interfaces and doing the same actions over and over again to open bookmarks, translate stuff, google, answer emails or search for my notes. Alfred is the Adapter interface of my choice and an ongoing experiment on how much I can automate.

I transform strings with my String Multitool, I also have a workflow that opens any GitHub repository from my org with a few keystrokes, I organize my links with my own Bookmarks workflow, I paste emojis and text snippets with Alfred, and do many other things. So it is really saving me a ton of time.

But the most interesting question is whether it actually makes me more efficient at what I do? I see a lot of great fellow engineers that do not use such tools. Sometimes it is really painful to watch how they do things manually. But that does not make them less productive.

I tend to think that productivity (if under this word we mean actual results) and work speed are two different swim lanes – you will not necessarily be productive if you will be fast and vice versa. But I also tend to think that overall result is a compound of many traits, thus improving any of them improves the whole as well. If you hone your craft you should optimize and sharpen your tools as much as you can. Reducing time spent doing repetitive tasks is one of these sharpening techniques.