How to Work Faster & More Efficiently on a Mac

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Boost your efficiency!

Recently I was using a friends brand new Mac and I couldn’t believe how difficult it was to navigate well. I offered to change a few settings on his computer and after we finished, workflow became lighting fast. Knowing I make tutorials on YouTube, he said “You gotta make this into a tutorial”. So here it is. In this video I will show you how I have my own computers set up to work faster and more efficiently. If you have tips on increasing speed and efficiency, share them in a comment!
– Aaron Nace


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General Preferences & Settings

There are many things you can do with the general settings on your Mac, here are the settings I recommend.

Mouse/Trackpad Tracking Speed – Go Lighting Fast!

It may be a little tough in the beginning, but I highly recommend setting your Tracking Speed on your mouse or trackpad as high as you possibly can. Then in a couple of weeks, try making it even faster.

Here is why – the faster the Tracking Speed, the less you have to move your hand to navigate your computer, this means you can get from one side of the screen to the other FASTER!

Hide the Dock

I suggest making the dock as small as possible and checking the box – Automatically hide and show the Dock.

When you need to access the Dock, simply bring your cursor to the bottom of the screen.

Congrats, you have just freed up 10% of your screen!

Mission Control & Hot Corners

Mission Control is one of the best productivity tools a Mac User can use. Mission Control allows you to use multiple desktops and quickly see and organize what is on each desktop.

For instance, you can have your internet browser open in full screen on one desktop, and Photoshop opened in full screen on another desktop – all while using the same monitor.

I have found that the easiest way to access Mission Control is through setting up a Hot Corner.

To set up Hot Corners, open the Mac Preferences and go to Mission Control. Click the ‘Hot Corners…’ button on the bottom left of the dialog box.

Here you can turn the corners of your screen into a shortcut. You have many options here, my preference is to set up the top right corner as “Mission Control.” This way, any time you bring your cursor to the top right of the screen, Mission Control opens and you can see all of your apps and desktops in one view.

Once you are using Mission Control, add more desktops by clicking the + Plus icon on the top right of your screen. Drag apps to the new desktops and use Mission Control to switch to the desktops.

You can also use keyboard Shortcut CONTROL + LEFT ARROW / RIGHT ARROW to cycle through desktops.

Apps for Efficiency

There are many apps that will increase efficiency on your Mac, in this tutorial we cover two of my favorite apps – “Better Snap Tool” and “Daisy Disk”

Better Snap Tool

The Better Snap Tool (Available in the App Store) allows you to snap windows to different part of the screen quickly and easily.

How often have you wanted two webpages open side-by-side on your screen? Better Snap Tool makes this very easy, just click and drag one window to the left side of the screen and the other to the right.

Need to make a window full-screen? Just drag the window to the top of the screen.

Daisy Disk

Daisy Disk (Available in the App Store) displays all of the files and folders on your computer in a visual layout. The layout looks like a pie chart, making it easy to see what files and folders are taking up more space on your computer.

There is also a built-in tool for removing any files or folders you don’t want, simply drag them to the bottom of the window.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are great time-savers. Instead of browsing through menus, simply press a few buttons and get the job done!

  • Switch Apps – CMD+TAB
  • Cycle through Desktops – CONTROL+LEFT ARROW / RIGHT ARROW
  • Spotlight – Search any app or file on your computer – CMD+SPACEBAR
  • Close Window – CMD+W
  • Close App – CMD+Q
  • New Window – CMD+N
  • New Tab – CMD+T

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Reviews

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    This is great, but I’m using a Wacom tablet and the Mission control hot corners aren’t working. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    Hi Aaron, Very sensible and useful hints. I hadn’t heard of Daisy Disk before – it looks to be a very handy tool! If I may, could I suggest something that may shave off a couple of extra seconds and save using two hands when switching desktops. I change my shortcut keys from ‘ctrl’ to ‘alt’ plus Arrow keys by going to System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts tab, select the Mission Control section then can double-click the ‘Move right a space’ & ‘Move left a space’ settings. Doing this will allow you to switch desktops with just your right hand. Unless, of course, you’ve a hand span like a dinner plate 🙂 🙂 Mark.