Six Tips for Increasing your Productivity on Mac OS X

Desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones are all designed to help us increase our productivity in work and life by increasing our access to the tools we need to be successful. Developers are constantly updating the software we use to interact with these devices in an attempt to make them more user-friendly. For many, these developments can make using their favorite device more distracting. As the capabilities and features of software increase, the potential for all these flashy tools to distract us also increases.

For those who rely upon a Mac device operating OS X, it may seem difficult at times to remain focused at the task at hand. Whether you use your device to work from home or rely on it for homework, the following tips will help you cut through the distractions and help you be more productive on OS X.

Block Out Distractions

Undoubtedly you’ve downloaded some of your favorite apps, including popular social media apps. Turning off notifications and alert messages from Growl, Twitter, Facebook, and other apps will help minimize the number of distractions thrown at you during the course of your work day.

If you happen to work from home as a writer, being focused is critical. Consider downloading a free app named Think. The app allows you to shade out the background and desktop so your vision and mind can focus on the immediate task at hand.

Use Keyboard Shortcuts

By their very definition, shortcuts are designed as a quicker route to accomplish a task. Familiarizing yourself with the common shortcuts available on your Mac device will help you eliminate some use of the mouse by performing the same task with simple touch of a button. No need to scroll and click. Some common keyboard shortcuts include the following:

–           Command-W: Close window
–           Command-H: Hide window
–           Command-Up arrow: Move up one directory in Finder
–           Command-Delete: Move to trash
–           Command-Shift-Delete: Empty trash
–           Command-Option-I: Show Inspector
–           Command-K: Connect to Server

These particular shortcuts aren’t necessarily going to be the best for everyone to learn, they are just examples of some of the tasks your Mac OS X software can perform quickly with the touch of a button.

Productivity Apps

Consider downloading an app for your Mac OS X such as Sidenote. This app is particularly helpful for those who surf the Internet heavily throughout the course of the day. It can be difficult to remember all the links, pictures, articles, and other information you come across and may want to use at a later date. Sidenote allows users to file all those little tidbits away to be easily accessed later on.

Use Spotlight

Spotlight has undergone a number of upgrades since it was launched on OS X Tiger. Quicksilver remains the most popular choice among many Mac users, but Spotlight has numerous benefits that can increase productivity. Specific benefits include application-specific result, such as typing names into Spotlight and having their information pop-up via Address book and any emails exchanged through Apple Mail. Users can also search through Spotlight according to file type.

Use Lion Full-Screen Mode

Those users running Mac OS X Lion have the option of implementing full-screen views in applications. It may seem like a silly task, but using the full-screen mode will help you focus on only the task at hand by blocking out any other windows or apps in the background. Full-screen mode can easily be entered by pressing Control+Command+F, and users can switch between full-screen apps with three fingers swipes to the left or right.


The Automator app is one of the most powerful, yet little known apps out there that can help improve productivity. Among the many time-saving tasks Automator can perform is converting an entire file of images to a different format, batch rename files, create Keynote slides, and even extract notes from slideshows.

There are a number of apps, tips, and tricks that Mac OS X users can implement in order to improve their productivity and ensure that tasks are completed on time.

Author Bio:
James Hesse contributed this guest post on behalf of iWeb FTP. James is a freelance technology writer. He has a penchant for all things Apple. His articles appear on various technology blogs.