I am totally aware that there could be hundreds of things that improve your productivity. There is only so much time during the day and we all have soooooo much to do! Our to-do lists keep getting longer and longer, and when ideas or tasks are slipping through the cracks many get these lingering feelings of not being good enough, of not being organized enough, of not being disciplined enough – blablabla.
Whilst there are systemic approaches how to get the things done, not all these productivity tips and techniques are a fit for everyone.
There are people who swear that getting up at 5am is THE thing to do on to road to success. For me, it is not. I need my sleep and being forced to get up at that time feels like a torture.
But hey, luckily there are other methods you can learn and habits you can acquire.
I have been doing something for 3+ years now, and I recently became aware much this specific habit helped me to significantly speed up the processes on the computer. So I thought, I am going to share my number one productivity tip … maybe others are struggling with “file overkill” and/or someone else can align with this method of self-organization, and benefit from it.
It began shortly after I purchased my first Mac.
I found myself storing (downloaded) files on the desktop and after a few days … things got a bit confusing: files here and there and everywhere … and suddenly I needed more time in finding a file than it was justifiable.
Productivity Tip #1: Using a Performance Booster Wallpaper
I began designing a wallpaper.
I took some of best shots that can be downloaded at Unsplash and layered over two semi-transparent boxes to the right of the images. I designed the upper box to store today’s due tasks, and the lower box to store the week’s due tasks.
I then assigned the new wallpaper designs as background images to test if that idea would be practical in any way.
The result was: I never turned away from it again.
It’s 3+ years now that I am using this particular design of wallpapers – with different motives though. And here are the 5 reasons why it proved to be useful for how I work:
It encouraged me to move the files into the right box – right away.
It reminded me of cleaning my desktop as often as I can – at least at the end of each day.
Support your subconscious mind with the right colors for the tasks ahead.
There is a psychological effects in each color, and you can benefit from these effects by choosing colors or color combinations that support your work.
➠ Need to be creative? Want some help getting those brain synapses firing? – Go for purple!
➠ Are your times stressful? – The color blue is known to have a calming effect!
Get out of your box and think in new ways!
The beautiful shots and sometimes extraordinary designs can trigger your inspiration, allowing you to direct thoughts into a direction you hadn’t considered before.
➠ Love geometrical designs? There is something awe-inspiring about geometrical designs. The mixture of linearity and non-linearity along with the perspective taken on it, can really give you a kick in the right moment. – See if one of the Abstract wallpapers inspires you.
The Multiple Desktop Feature in Macs
I was very pleased, when I discovered the multiple desktop feature the Mac offers.
With the Mac’s multiple desktop feature one can allocate the programs and apps in use to different screens/spaces, and switch between them with a swipe. When you work in such space, you only see the windows that are in that space.
You can use the same wallpaper on all of these spaces (up to 16 are possible). But you can also make your spaces unique by assigning a different desktop picture to each one.
You can even opt for having the image changed in a certain timeframe (every 5 seconds, 15 minutes, hourly, daily – whatever you like)
Productivity Tips #2, #3 and #4
So, is this only some gimmick, you might be asking?
I never thought that this routine of mine would be such an extraordinary thing and that I should spread the word about it.
Recently, when I replaced some of my older wallpapers, I thought why not sharing this with others? It helps me a lot with my daily tasks. And maybe, others could easily benefit from this method, too.
However, apart from these special desktop background designs, I discovered a few other utilities that fitted really well into the wallpaper experiment. And I am going to share these with you also.
Productivity Tip #2: the Finder
Let me show you how I use the Finder in conjunction with the wallpapers.
When I open the Finder, I don’t open it full screen. I have it covered about two thirds of the window’s size and align it to the two boxes on the right.
There are 3 benefits to using it this way.
1 – The Finder window is still big enough for me to catch everything I need.
2 – I can also easily drag & drop files from the sections into the Finder, or out onto the desktop.
3 – And (this one is huge!), when I close the Finder and open it again (later), it re-opens in exact the same position with the same size.
Productivity Tip #3: Magnet
Magnet is a handy little tool that keeps your workspaces organized.
You know how it is when you have a number of applications open and want to have them aligned neatly side by side … you begin to manually adjust the screens into halves, quarters and thirds. And it feels as if it takes you forever.
It’s just not right … until it is. But by then, you could have accomplished 3 other things.
With Magnet, you can snap windows into organized tiles. No need of manually resizing windows. No need of app switching.
Even, if you have the Mac’s multiple desktop feature activated and don’t need an app any longer in one the screens, you can quickly move it into another screen. – Oh, I love that feature so much!
Magnet has an affordable price tag ($1.99) and can be downloaded in the App Store.
Productivity Tip #4: Yoink
The second tool that makes a huge difference in how I am working is Yoink!
Yoink allows you to drag & drop files between windows, apps, spaces and fullscreen apps, by providing a temporary shelf for files.
I love it for the fact that I can drag a file into Yoink’s container, switch between windows and insert it into any application I like. It’s so much quicker than having to use the Finder!
It’s already pretty popular in the App Store (4.8 out of 5 stars from 833 ratings). And Yoink is called one of the essential apps for Mac.
Better Self-Organization & other Performance Improvements for your Mac
These wallpapers have helped me in being more productive.
It took only small efforts to adjust the wallpaper images, but gave me my processes some necessary structure and sped things up. Significantly.
It’s a nice trick, but if you want to see if this method works for you just as well, why not trying it out yourself?
I am have created different sets of wallpaper from the most beautiful images I came across. And I made them affordable! There are themed wallpaper sets and wallpaper sets grouped by colors.
However, even the prettiest wallpaper won’t help you much if your computer’s performance isn’t very impressive.
When you computer isn’t healthy and the cursor more and more often is turning into the spinning wheel, the best productivity tips & techniques won’t help you much.
There are a variety of reasons why your Mac is running slow. Here are a few tips what you could check:
1. Clean up your Mac’s hard drive
The most common reason for a slow Mac is a full hard drive. When the operating system doesn’t have enough storage space left, every single operation takes longer.
Go through your directory and remove some of the old files, like photos or videos
2. You haven’t updated to the latest operating system version
This is one possible reason, but the longer you have neglected this task, the more likely it is that an update would improve your Mac’s performance.
3. Startup programs are slowing you down
When a Mac gets started, there are a lot of programs that also start in the background. And some continue to run long after.
To take a look which programs are automatically set to start when your computer does, open your System Preferences and click on “User & Groups”. From the list, select the applications you don’t need open upon start and click the “-“ button to stop them from starting automatically.
— What’s your secret sauce for working better? Do you have a strategy you want to share? — Please leave a comment below!