You’re likely working from home and could do with a few productivity tips. If you work on a Mac, I have five tips to share that will make you a bit more efficient in your day-to-day tasks.
Ever feel like you need to get writing done (or whatever work you need to do) without the distractions of social media or other apps you have running? Try using Split View. I find it useful when I am working on a story and need to refer to my interviews on one window, and my word processor on the other.
Mac has a built-in Split View feature that automatically displays two windows, side-by-side, snapped to a grid so you don’t have to resize each window. Simply click and hold the green full screen button on the window and choose ‘Tile Window to Left of Screen’ or ‘Tile Window to Right of Screen’; and then choose the second app you want running next to it. You won’t be temped to switch to other apps for a distraction unless you exit this mode.
Sign Documents in Preview
Nobody actually prints out documents to sign anymore, right? I’ve been doing this forever and can’t live without it. As a freelance writer, there’s a constant need to fill these on an-going basis be it for new or existing clients. Did you know that you don’t have to use Adobe Acrobat Reader to do this? It works on PDFs so I just convert Word documents first and sign it this way.
Simply open the document in Preview, and click the “Show Markup Toolbar” button and you will get a set of tools. You can add text, boxes, lines, etc; but my favourite thing is that is saves your signature after the first time you add it. BONUS: This also works on iPhone with the Markup button; I also sign documents on-the-go.
I’ve previously covered this standalone on my top 5 keyboard shortcuts but this particular one is related to being more efficient. As a journalist, I often get asked for my delivery address so instead of typing the whole thing out every time, I created a shortcut. I assigned my home address to “@xxxx” – xxxx being the name of my estate. All I have to do is type five characters and hit enter for it to be typed out. I have so many shortcuts, including my main email addresses so I don’t have to sit and type them out. If I can save 30 seconds, you bet that I will, LOL. I think I’m obsessed with being efficient.
Activity Monitor/Reset SMC
If you’re multitasking with loads of tabs and applications running, your Mac will make loud noises and heat up (if you have an air-conditioned room in your house, consider working from there). The quickest way to check what is the resource hog is by going into Activity Monitor and into the CPU tab. You can also look at Memory, Energy, etc. You will likely find that it is more efficient to use Safari than Chrome, for example. If you’re not using a photo or video editing app, close it.
If you want to kill the sounds or have specific issues with hardware, you can reset the System Management Controller (SMC). I used to do this with my older Air for the loud noises to disappear. The SMC manages hardware like thermals, fans, battery, status indicator lights, etc. so giving it a reset works immediately. It requires you to hold a few buttons down when you switch your Macbook on. Here are the official instructions from Apple. Related: you can also reset the PRAM, here are the instructions.
Adjust volume in quarter increments
If you’re working from home and have loads of videos calls or just listening to music, I’m here to tell you can adjust your volume in quarter increments, as apposed to the way you’ve always been doing it. It’s a bit of a technical one because you’re wondering if you can tell the difference, but there are four levels so this might be useful in your current work-home environment. Simply hold Shift + Command button with the volume adjustment.
I hope you found these tips useful. Based on macOS Catalina 10.15.4.
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 15 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. ✉️ firstname.lastname@example.org