1. Remove Visual Clutter for Productivity
Our brains like order. They aren’t wired to handle chaos. So if your desktop is cluttered, you’re draining your cognitive resources.
Aside from the negative impact that visual clutter can have, unnecessary files that are languishing in your system slow down your system.
Use your desktop to only store files temporarily. Since the most common type of file that lands on the desktop are screenshots, decide whether you need to store the screenshot for future use or move it to the bin.
If you’re unsure about some of these files, you can always use free software to backup your files, sort through them later, and then remove them from your system.
2. Hide the Dock and Menu Bar
Once you’ve KonMaried your temporary files, try these two quick tips to minimize clutter:
- Remove the menu bar
- Hide the Dock
When you’re focused on a single task, having the menu bar and Dock can be distracting. The Dock, especially, takes up a lot of precious real estate on the screen and distracts you if you have unread notifications.
A. Set the Dock to appear when you move your mouse to it.
To do this, use Command-Space -> Dock -> Automatically hide and show Dock.
B. Show the Dock on the Touch Bar
If you’ve got a MacBook Pro with a touch bar, you can move the Dock to the Touch Bar using Pock – a free, open-source app. This keeps the Dock in view without taking up space on your screen.
3. Stack your Desktop Icons
Does the desktop still end up becoming a dumping ground for all your files? Your best bet is to use Stacks.
Find a blank part of the desktop.
Right Click -> Choose Use Stacks.
All your files and folders will automatically be grouped in neat categories.
To change how they’re grouped:
Right Click -> Group Stacks By
4. Use Dictation
If a significant chunk of your work involves a lot of writing, you’re probably already pretty fast at typing. Improve your typing speed by 10% to save you time cumulatively.
But if you can’t type fast, dictate.
Dictation on Mac is an underrated and underused feature. It’s a pretty nifty feature if you’re multitasking and need to operate your Mac hands-free or suffer from carpal tunnel and need to give your hands a break.
To enable Dictation:
Menu Bar -> Apple menu -> System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Dictation
The default shortcut to turn on Dictation is to press the fn (function) key twice, but you can change this as needed.
5. Free up Disk Space to Speed up Your MacBook
We already touched upon getting rid of screenshots that make their home on your desktop but have you thought about the files you don’t see on your desktop?
You need to free up at least 10% of your disk space so it runs faster.
Need a quick win? Try three quick things you can do to clean up your Mac manually:
- Uninstall Apps
Say goodbye to apps that you no longer use. If you have not used it in the last six months, a good rule of thumb is to delete it.
- Review your Downloads
Get rid of old PDFs, installation files, and images you don’t need.
- Empty the Trash Bin
Once you’re done sorting through your files, make sure you also delete them from the Trash Bin to free up the disk space.
If you still find that your MacBook is slow, you might need to clean your ‘Other’ storage. The ‘Other’ storage is greyed out, which means you should not attempt to clean it without expert advice. This article walks you through everything you need to know about cleaning your ‘Other’ storage – how to clean up documents, remove files, delete cache files and app plugins, among other valuable tips.
6. Use Spotlight
Are you looking for buried apps, emails, and documents? Spotlight to the rescue!
Spotlight has had some neat updates that allow you to perform local searches and web searches.
Mac users probably already know how to access Spotlight from the menu bar by clicking on the Search icon, but did you know there’s a shortcut for this?
Just press ⌘+space bar [Command-Space bar] to enable Spotlight.
You can use Spotlight to do a whole bunch of things:
- Start apps
- Find emails
- Look up activities and reminders
- Find all kinds of documents
- Find definitions
- Look up contacts
- Perform calculations
- Get a weather update
- Currency and measurement conversions
To know everything you can use Spotlight for and disable some of those options, go to System Preferences -> Spotlight.
8. Try the in-built macOS features
- Power off Notifications
When trying to focus, remove all notifications (except the urgent ones) from the respective app and Mac. Remove the banner and sounds first. If needed, get rid of the badges.
- Mission Control
Press F3 or swipe up three fingers to view all the open windows on your Mac to switch quickly between tasks.
- Virtual Desktop
You can create a virtual desktop to keep tasks separate. For instance, if you create designs and write a blog, create windows to keep tabs separate.
To create a new virtual desktop, swipe up with three fingers and hit the + icon in the far left corner on the top.
All in all
Some of these productivity hacks will only save you 3 seconds, and it doesn’t sound like a lot, but it all adds up. If you perform the same task 20x/day, you can save 6 hours per year!