10 Ways to Increase Efficiency on a Mac (OSX)

  • Spaces– By using spaces, you can increase the total screen real estate that is available for multiple projects.  Be aware that it is possible to slow down your computer by having applications running that are hidden in faraway spaces.
  • Dock– The dock takes up space on the screen.  Therefore, I always recommend that Mac users enable ‘Automatically hide and show dock’.  This frees up a significant amount of screen real estate for the windows containing your active projects.  Another tip is to disable dock animations in order to save processor cycles and RAM.
  • Get External– I love my Macbook.  I love my Macbook even more when I plug in my full-size keyboard, mouse and 25 inch monitor.  This allows me to have 2 monitors at a time (one on my laptop and the other is the monitor itself).  When I need to go on-site, I just unplug the laptop and I’m off.  Because the monitor is larger than the screen of the laptop, I make the monitor the main screen in my system preferences pane.  See the orientation below:

  • Use Tabbing to Switch Applications– It’s critical to be able to quickly switch through all open applications.  By using ?+tab.
  • Use the Dock Shortcuts– Files that are used often can be added to the right side of the dock as well as folders.  This allows for quick access to them and removes the need for searching in Finder or Spotlight.
  • Go Lefty– Studies have shown that using the left hand to control the mouse (even though you may be righty).  This allows the right hand to type on the number pad while the left hand navigates to the appropriate place.  It’s strange at first, but you get used to it.  Check out this article with more information about ‘going lefty’.
  • Active Corners– While this may drive anybody else crazy when they sit down at your Mac, Hot Corners can majorly improve efficiency by allowing fast access to productivity utilities on the Mac such as Spaces, Dashboard, All Windows or view Desktop.  Below is the arrangement that I prefer with Hot Corners:

  • Touch Type– If you are still using 2 fingers to type, then you are missing out on a massive amount of efficiency.  http://www.sense-lang.org/typing/ is a good place to go for some lessons as well as the games and tests that we expect from good touch typing programs.
  • Get on the Cloud– Using your own computer for application tasks is like having a gas powered generator in your basement.  Sometimes this is necessary (we all know how fantastic Pages/ Keynote and Numbers is), but most of the time, we can let the power plant do the thinking for us.  This allows our computers to take a little break and the browser is the only thing having to think.  In addition to the processor advantages, using cloud applications removes platform conflicts.  That means your Linux buddies can collaborate with you on that document without too many snide remarks about the Linux superiority.  Some great options include Google Apps, Working Point and Basecamp.  This topic is the size of Africa, so if you’d like to know more, check out some of our other blog posts.
  • Keyboard shortcuts– Lots of people love keyboard shortcuts.  There are dozens of combinations of keystrokes that can be customized on your Mac.  You’ll find these settings in ‘Keyboard Shortcuts’ in the keyboardpreference pane of system preferences.

Have fun using that Mac in the most efficient manner possible!

Shaun Oshman

Director of Possibilities

iSupportU

Posted in