Favorite workflows for Alfred 2

The following are a current, alphabetical list of workflows I’ve installed for Alfred 2. Enjoy the rabbit hole! :)

Caffeinate Control by Shawn Patrick Rice: Replaces the Caffeine Mac app.

Caffeinate is a native OS X command line utility that solves the problem of your Mac constantly falling asleep on you. […] Caffeinate was introduced in Mountain Lion (10.8)[…]

Chrome Bookmarks by Marat Dreizin: I remember seeing this workflow, and I’m glad I finally installed it.

Faves by David Ferguson:

Mark a folder/app/file as a favorite and then provide you with quick access to those items by a keyword.

Results from the workflow are actionable (marked as file items), they can be opened it by pressing Enter, browsed in Alfred by pressing Cmd+Enter, or removed from the favorites list by pressing Ctrl+Enter.

Menu Bar Search by Ted Wise: Despite the workflow page on Packal saying it isn’t compatible with Yosemite (10.10), it works fine for me.

Netflix Search by Dorian Karter: “Search, autocomplete and launch Netflix.”

Non-Secure Empty Trash by Arthur Hammer: With the Empty Trash securely option checked in Finder Preferences, the default Alfred command to empty your trash (“Empty”) means the files will be deleted securely. If you don’t have anything sensitive that requires a secure file deletion, this workflow will save that time.

OS X Toolbox Workflow by Sayz Lim: The “tb” keyword gives you eight options in Yosemite:

  • Relaunch Finder
  • Toggle Desktop
  • Toggle Hidden Files
  • Memory Purge
  • Reset Launch Services
  • Toggle WiFi
  • Reset Launchpad
  • Relaunch Dock

Random Choice by Clinton Strong: Leave indecisiveness to chance. Options include:

  • Get a yes or no response to, “Should I…?”
  • Flip a coin.
  • Choose a random number using a minimum or maximum value.
  • Choose ‘…’ from a comma separated list of values.
  • Roll the dice

Rate iTunes Track by David Klem: “Assign a star rating to the currently playing track in iTunes.” I use Smart Playlists. Most of those have a rule which require songs to have ratings, and a couple of them only play songs that need a rating. For the latter, this workflow speeds up that process. (Related post from March 2006: How I use the Grouping field in iTunes.)

Rdio by David Ferguson: “Control your local Rdio application, search for tracks, artists or albums to play, and also provide you with information about the currently playing track.”

YouTube by Simon Støvring: Search YouTube videos with Alfred 2 and the “yt” keyword. Includes eleven commands, which you (fortunately) don’t need to remember. :)

Honorable mentions

Add to Things by Kim Franken: Add new tasks to your lists in Things. I don’t use this because I prefer the Quick Entry window to add context immediately.

Sometimes, when you’re replying to an email or browsing the web, you might think of something you want to jot down. Things makes it easy to do that before you forget, and without losing focus on what you’re doing. You can even automatically link to a website, email, or file, and capture snippets of text that you need to refer to later.

You can see more details on the support page from Cultured Code, “Creating To-Dos From Other Apps“.

Bluetooth Toggle by Jakob Wells for Yosemite only. For older versions of OS X, you can try another workflow here.

PingPong by Vítor Galvão: Hold the ⌘ (Command) key, look for the word “Pong”, and press the corresponding number to hit the ball. There are three difficulty levels.

Marvelous calendaring tips from Back to Work

I listened to Back to Work: 200: Blitzkriegscheiße a couple of weeks ago. Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin share excellent calendaring tips for yourself and shared events at the 52–minute mark.

The suggestion to include a list of agenda items in the notes field for the event is one of my favorite tips.

For reference, I currently use:


  1. I grabbed Calendars 5 when it was free last year for a limited time

Physical inbox zero!

Last week, I attempted a weekly review, but failed to get past clearing my inbox. I probably got into a few rabbit holes, because it seemed like I barely made a dent.

I woke up around yesterday 5:30 and couldn’t go back to sleep. I decided to work through my towering physical inbox one item at a time. It started off slightly taller than my iPhone 5S (4.87 inches), and hasn’t been empty in years.

This time, I kept the GTD workflow diagram by David Allen in front of me. The diagram kept me grounded, rather than taking action on items that would take longer than two minutes.

Two hours later: empty.1

I feel amazing, and look forward to progress in my next weekly review.


  1. I zero my email inboxes daily, too. 

Quick capture with Drafts 4

I heard Merlin Mann and Mike Vardy mention Drafts for iOS on a few podcasts, and Drafts 4 was released a few days ago. It’s an endless notepad with the ability to “move” the text into other apps with ease.

Drafts swiftly gets my thoughts out of my head. It’s in my dock, so I’m more likely to write.1 I’ve also added it to my Today menu. (e.g. Swipe down from the top.)

Start in Drafts and decide where to save (publish) later.

  • Workflows are magical. If I start writing a (rare) tweet, morphing that into a full blog post is easy. Drafts can turn a few words into a task in Things, or save a random observation to Day One.
  • Cool feature: When you open an existing note, the cursor is set at its previous location.
  • I love Markdown Preview for longer posts when I’m away from my laptop. I want to quickly confirm any linked text is correct, and I copy my draft from Simplenote.

The app is $4.99, and totally worth it! :)

Here are some workflows I use:

Do you have any Draft 4 workflows or tips to share?


  1. I type faster than I write. 

Alfred snippet idea: Waiting For

I often need to wait to hear back from someone about an issue or question, but I didn’t have a system for tracking those instances.

Lazy.

So, I created a new Alfred clipboard snippet!

Alfred waiting for clipboard snippet

Dynamic placeholders are cool.

  • {date:full} looks like Thursday, April 24, 2014.
  • {time:long} looks like 10:18:20 PM PDT.
  • {clipboard} is used for the internal thread URL.

In practice, each entry takes less than one minute:

  1. Copy the URL to my clipboard.
  2. Press Command–Alt–C to display Alfred’s clipboard viewer hotkey.
  3. Type my “Waiting For” snippet keyword: a8cwf.
  4. Fill out the “Who” and “What” lines.
  5. Review your Waiting For entries when needed.

I could remove the “Who” line, but the “What” line should be a super short sentence (or two).

Once the entry is no longer relevant, remove it.

Why not use a task manager?

I don’t feel like putting these into Things. Those are tasks I need to do.

In contrast, I review my Waiting For entries periodically and ping people when appropriate.

I confess. I’ve scheduled a task to appear every other day to review my Waiting For entries. If those grow, perhaps I should consider adding more context in those threads.

I’m feeling good about this one. :)

Sharing lists

My colleague, Andrew Spittle, asks:

What do you and Amy use to keep track of groceries?

We use Listary. When we’re low on something, we add it to the list.

It’s quick, simple, and syncs instantly with Simplenote.

Inventory tip — To easily see when you’re running low on stuff, add the quantity to the beginning of the item. For example:

  • 2 Bathroom tissue paper rolls
  • 5 Dishwasher packs
  • 1 Brita water filter
  • 2 Snack Pack cups
  • 1 Bagel
  • Half jar peanut butter