From task automation to helpful reminders, there are different ways your mac can help you boost productivity while you work from home. We’ll show you different tips and tricks on your macOS device that you can take advantage of as a WFH employee or freelancer.
Table of Contents
- 1. Customize Your Keyboard Shortcuts
- 2. Take Advantage of Siri’s Versatility
- 3. Use a Time Tracking App to Monitor Your Productivity
- 4. Launch Shortcuts
- 5. Organize Your Desktop
- 6. Get Rid of Background Noise
- 7. Block Distractions
1. Customize Your Keyboard Shortcuts
Mac gives you the power to modify keyboard shortcuts for different PC functions. It helps make life easier as you’ll be able to get things done quickly without having to move your trackpad around all the time.
Follow these steps:
- Go to System Preferences in the dock or select Apple Menu -> System Preferences.
- Select Keyboard Shortcuts.
- Go to the Shortcuts option and click on App Shortcuts.
- Next, click on the plus (+) icon.
- You’ll now see a box where you can add your customized keyboard shortcut.
- Note that you can’t use a shortcut that’s already assigned to another command on your Mac.
You can play with different types of shortcuts and most of them can work across your Apple devices.
For example, you can set shortcuts to do the following:
- Create a new note, using today’s date as the title
- Send an email to the participants of an event, telling them you’re running late.
- Notify attendees of an event that you might be late via message.
- Create an event
2. Take Advantage of Siri’s Versatility
One of the most valuable tricks in Mac devices is Siri. The virtual assistant can do almost anything for you, and it’s miles ahead of Microsoft’s Cortana. Siri can make your WFH productivity and life super comfortable as you can do lots of things from setting reminders to scheduling appointments.
Let’s show you some of those helpful Siri functions.
A. Create Advanced Reminders
Siri can help you create quick reminders about basic things. Do you want to speak to a client at 1 AM? Just talk to Siri. But you can do more than that. Siri can be your research assistant. Let’s say you’re working with a resource online but have to quickly attend to something else. You can tell Siri to remind you about that webpage later in the day.
Your system will then create a reminder using the link to that webpage. You can check it out when it’s more convenient. You can do the same with texts, mail, spreadsheets, and other content you’re working on.
B. Organize a Meeting
You can easily ask Siri to schedule a meeting with your contacts or call, text, mail, or message them.
Just ask the assistant to, “Schedule a meeting with (contact name).”
Siri will immediately set up a meeting at the time you specified and send the contact(s) the invitation.
You can also get the assistant to reschedule the meeting by saying, “Move my 5 PM to 8 PM.” It will change the meeting time and alert the participants.
C. Check Your Schedule
You don’t have to always pull up your calendar whenever you want to check your schedule. Siri can save you the manual work.
You can ask the assistant to confirm appointments you may have next week, tomorrow, or later in the day.
Siri can also help you confirm appointments or meetings for future dates. For example, you can ask, “Do I have an appointment on October 20?” This way, you can optimize your scheduling, without creating calendar conflicts.
D. Fast Calculations
If you’re working on a serious project that requires calculations, you can simply call Siri up to perform that calculation without leaving where you are. For example, you can ask, “What is the square root of 16.”
3. Use a Time Tracking App to Monitor Your Productivity
Time management is another helpful hack that allows you to significantly boost your WFH productivity. While creating schedules for your to-do list is great, you have to create those schedules right. That means allocating the right amount of time to each task and prioritizing appropriately.
But how do you know how much time is right for an assignment or appointment? The answer is using a time tracker for Mac.
Time tracking solutions help you monitor how much time you spend on tasks, programs, and websites. They give you an idea of how long it takes to complete specific jobs.
You can also use a time tracker to identify time wasters and distractions to optimize your scheduling.
But that’s not all. Knowing that you’re using a time tracker to monitor your productivity keeps you accountable and focused, especially if the tracker also calculates your billable hours.
Most time trackers can also help you to automatically create timesheets and invoices, so you don’t have to spend valuable time creating them manually.
4. Launch Shortcuts
You can easily use Siri to activate the default shortcuts on your macOS or the customized ones you just set up. This feature makes automation even more fun.
Just call up Siri on your macOS, iPad OS or iOS device and say the name of the shortcut.
5. Organize Your Desktop
According to a NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals) survey, workers admitted that they’re more productive when their workspace is organized.
If you’re in the habit of downloading and using files on your desktop, the clutter will likely affect your productivity later. Finding your programs and files will become a challenge, reducing your productivity.
You can improve your efficiency by grouping your desktop icons together.
To do that, click on the blank area on the desktop and select View. Once the menu opens, choose the “Use stacks” option. The system will now stack your icons together automatically.
While your Mac tries to do a good job, it may get things wrong at first.
But you can clean things up by specifying how you want to group the icons. To do that, click on the View menu and select, “Group Stacks By.” Then you can choose an option that makes things easier for you.
6. Get Rid of Background Noise
Working from home comes with the disadvantage of having to deal with domestic activities, and that includes noise.
If you can’t avoid some kind of noise in your home office, you can use an app to filter out noise when you’re in a conference or meeting.
The app is called Krispy, a free program that keeps your sound neat during video conference calls.
7. Block Distractions
Just like noise, distractions are another work-from-home downside. You can figure out how to get rid of those distractions by using a dedicated home office, setting a strict work schedule, and scheduling your domestic chores appropriately.
After that, you still have to deal with digital distractions. Opening your Mac or MacBook, you may see notifications that demand your attention, even if they’re not important.
You can go to the System Preferences menu in your Mac and use the “Do Not Disturb” mode to get rid of such distractions.
A. Use Focus
You can also use Focus to help you block some distracting notifications. Focus was released in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, and it’s an upgrade to the Do Not Disturb feature. You can set it to allow only notifications from workmates or family.
Here’s how to set up the feature to meet your needs:
- First, go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Notifications & Focus.
- Go to the Focus tab and do the following:
- Click the Add (+) button to expand the suggested Focus option.
- After clicking the Add (+) button, select Custom to create a custom focus. Select an icon, color, and enter a name for the focus.
- To customize notifications, select a Focus and go to “Allow notifications from” on the right side of the window. Then, choose your preferences by adding or removing people and apps, allowing calls from selected people, allowing repeated calls, and allowing specific notifications.
- Use the “Turn on Automatically” list to add Time Based, Location Based, and App Based Automations.
- Select a Focus and click on the Remove (-) icon to get rid of it. If it’s a customized Focus, the system will permanently delete it, but a default Focus will be removed from the list.
To add Focus to your Dock, follow these steps:
- Go to the Apple menu and select System Preferences.
- Click on Dock & Menu Bar.
- Go to the Sidebar and select Focus.
- Now, check the box beside the Show in Menu Bar option.
- You can choose to see the icon only when you’re using Focus or all the time.
Another great thing about Focus is that you can use your customized Focus across your Apple devices.
B. Install Other Apps to Help You kill Distractions
Apart from the built-in Focus feature, there are other apps that can give you extra functionality for blocking distractions.
They include Freedom, Serene, ColdTurkey, And SelfControl, among others.
Freedom helps you to block apps and notifications across all your Apple devices, Serene helps you block websites and apps for deep focus sessions, and ColdTurkey is a browser extension that acts as a system-wide distraction blocker.
That’s how to boost your productivity while working from home with your mac. Remember that you also need other remote work hacks, such as time management, task prioritization, and scheduling techniques to boost work performance and manage work-life balance.