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Get Better On PC & Mac: Follow These 10 Simple, Useful Tricks for Higher Productivity

Get Better On PC & Mac: Follow These 10 Simple, Useful Tricks for Higher Productivity

Are you working hard every day to get better? Reaching goals?

Recently I’ve had a conversation with an older guy who owns a pawn shop. He started to complain about business not doing well, how he lacks ideas and the drive, how he’s demoralized and overwhelmed by the technology advancement. “We can’t adapt so quickly to the new stuff like you youngsters. We’re slowly being discarded,” he told me while trying to persuade me to buy a used Mac, which he couldn’t use and understand well.

How are you doing in the tech compartment?

The technology today really progresses quickly. And many might feel left behind, or frightened to compete in this fast-paced world. Take the modern work atmosphere for example. New and improved technologies are a must nowadays ‒ if you can’t cope with the latest tech or apps, you’re outdated. Being outdated might put you in a bad position or bring you trouble. That’s why I’m sharing some tips that will help you use both Mac & Windows machine better and easier.

If you’re not as good in the tech section and you’re trying to fit in the new work environment, this is the post for you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a bit older. It doesn’t have to be that tough. You can do it. Start using these 10 tips and you’ll get better on PC & Mac in no time!

1. Quickly hide or close a lot of running apps.

There are many reasons to open a lot of folders at the same time. It could be either to transfer files from one to another or to rearrange your folders simply through the partitions. If not managed well, your screen can get stacked with a bunch of folders which might just confuse you instead of making you more productive. To navigate more easily through folders that you need, it is advisable that you close or hide the ones that are redundant at the moment.

The question is: how to do it?

Get Better On PC & Mac - quickly close an app

    For Mac OS: press and hold the command button ⌘ and keep pressing the Tab key. By doing this, you will list the apps and for the those you wish to close, you just have to press Q key, while for those that you want to hide, press the H key.

    2. Type quickly with your voice with a “hidden” Dictation app.

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    Get Better On PC & Mac - type with your voice

      If you need something written down and you’re not skilled with typing, the Dictation app could prove to be very useful. You can find the Dictation app in System Preferences within the Apple menu. To start writing with your voice, press the (fn) button (located in the upper left corner of a standard Mac keyboard), start talking and after you have finished, press the (fn) button again and your speech will be converted to text.

      The best feature of this app is that you can use it while offline, which makes it convenient while traveling. That is if you don’t mind the strange looks you’ll be getting while talking to yourself. This program offers its users the option to edit occasional mistakes that are known to happen when dictating to a computer. It remembers the changes and guarantees an improved experience each time you use it. While this feature is still new to the Windows OS, it works surprisingly well on Mac.

      If the dictation app is disabled on your PC (this happens often), it is easy to enable it by going to Settings > Dictation and Speech. If the box next to the “Enhanced Dictation” is unchecked, make sure to check the box, close the settings and you are ready to go!

      No more being embarrassed for not being able to type like a machine.

      3. Switching fast on a dual-monitor.

      Get Better On PC & Mac - switching between two monitors

        Dual-monitor setup is common in offices nowadays; it brings more screen real estate into your workspace and enables you to have/do more. Programmers and designers enjoy these benefits the most.

        For example, if you have opened Adobe Photoshop on the left screen and Adobe Illustrator on the right, you will probably reach a point when you want to transfer something from one program to another, i.e. from one monitor to the other.

        All you have to do is to press the Windows button together with the (Shift) and left arrow (ß) and this will instantly switch you to the left monitor. The procedure is fairly similar when going to the right, except this time you’ll be using the right arrow key (à) and that’s it. Also, if your monitors are connected correctly, you can hold your file with the left mouse click and drag it to the other monitor. Simple as that.

        This problem has an even easier solution on a Mac. Pressing ⌘ and F1 at the same does the trick with newer generations of Mac computers. For older versions, your best bet would be to click manually on the dormant monitor before sliding back and forth.

        4. Install Windows on your Mac PC.

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        Get Better On PC & Mac - Install Windows On Mac

          Some programs don’t work as good on Windows as on Mac. Some programs are Windows-only. If you don’t want to waste your time by emulating an entirely different OS, the solution is dual boot – install Windows on your Mac. This is perfectly legal, don’t worry. Installing Windows on a Mac PC could be a difficult task for some people; if you’re willing to go for it, check out the detailed guide that will take you through the process effortlessly.

          Before you start with the installation, you will need to have an Intel-based Mac,Microsoft Windows version 8 or higher OS media or (ISO) disk image and at least 55 GB of free disk space on your Mac. Do not forget to check the system requirements for the Windows OS that you are trying to install on your Mac as the requirements will have a massive impact on both the installation process and the functionality of Windows OS.

          5. Hide and display the Start menu whenever you need it.

          Get Better On PC & Mac - hide taskbar

            You might have seen this on a colleague’s computer, and got confused. No Start menu at all? What’s wrong?

            This is just an auto-hide option that Windows offers to its users. To enable it, you just right-click on the taskbar and go to Properties. Check the “Auto-Hide Taskbar” option and hit “Apply” button. By doing this, your taskbar will “disappear” but should you need it, press the Windows key, and it will appear together with the search option. Same goes with the mouse hover.

            This option is very popular among the programming community since using this option allows programs to be fully opened without displaying the taskbar on the bottom. Of course, whenever you feel like having your taskbar at the bottom again, follow the same steps but uncheck the “Auto-Hide Taskbar” and check the “Lock the Taskbar” option.

            When it comes to Mac OS, the taskbar is, of course, known as a dock and you can hide it if you wish to. The Dock icon within the System Preferences opens up a window where you can check a box to hide the dock automatically.

            6. Preview any file.

            Get Better On PC & Mac - Previewing folders

              If you are one of the Mac owners, did you know that you can preview any type of file, even the Photoshop files and videos? Select the desired file that you wish to preview, and press and hold the spacebar. You stop previewing the file by releasing the spacebar. Feel free to preview any adjacent files by simply using your keyboard arrows while holding space.

              This feature is perfect for all of you who are into photography since finding the right one could be a bit tiresome without the preview option. This feature enables you to go quickly through the pictures and selected the ones you like and separate them from the folder that you are previewing. The same thing is available with videos, as long as the video format fulfills the requirements of this excellent feature.

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              If you’re on Windows, you’re limited to the preview pane which can be turned on in the folders settings. If you want to enable it, click on “Organize”, head to “Layout” and select the preview pane to show. Same goes for Windows versions from 7 and above.

              Get Better On PC & Mac -previewing files on Windows

                7. Force quit an app.

                Get Better On PC & Mac - force quit an app

                  At some point, all of us have faced with the “Application has stopped working” and a frozen screen, which made us try the various options just to make it go away. Struggling with this kind of a problem is common for novices, but there is a quick, professional solution.

                  One of the easiest ways to make the application force quit on Mac is to press the Command key together with the Option and Escape. By doing this, the “Force quit application window” will appear and all you have to do is to select the desired app that you wish to close and force quit it. It can be compared to the more famous Windows option which utilizes the Ctrl+Alt+Delete buttons. When you use this command on a Windows machine, Windows Task Manager will open, where you can see the apps that run at the moment and quickly find the one which misbehaves.

                  Sometimes an app can get pretty stubborn in its disobedience to close. In those cases, you can apply different, advanced ways to force quit an app on Mac. When you look into them further, you won’t have problems with stubborn apps. Overall, make sure you’re running latest drivers and official apps, which usually don’t misbehave.

                  8. Disable notification pop-ups.

                  tips for Windows & Mac - Turn off the notificaitons

                    If you are presenting something to your class or you need your PowerPoint for an important business meeting, the last thing you want is to get distracted by the meaningless notifications that always find their way to pop up in the right corner at the most unwilling time. There is an easy way to disable these annoying pop-ups. Press and hold the (⌥) button and then press the “Notification Center” icon in the menu bar.

                    Once you have done this, you will see that the icon color is changing from gray to black, which means that all notifications won’t arrive until you turn that option back on. If this didn’t work for you, and you still see some of the notifications appearing on your screen, make sure to check out a detailed guide to see if you did everything that is needed.

                    If you have a Windows OS, notifications are disabled inside All Settings > System > Notifications and Actions (Windows 10). For Windows 7, go to Control Panel > All Control Panel Items > Notification Area Icons and customize which apps you want on your notification tray.

                    9. Change brightness and volume quickly.

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                    tips for Windows & Mac - Brightness and volume

                      Another cool shortcut that is good to know is how to modify the level of brightness on your Mac quickly as well as to turn down the volume fast, as it may come handy in some situations. If you are watching some content that is way too bright press the shift key (⇧) + Option key (⌥), and a small window will pop up where you can set up the brightness. Don’t forget to look after your eyes, especially if you are pulling long hours sitting in front of a computer.

                      When it comes to the adjustment of sound on your computer, it can be quite irritating if your main speaker is out of your reach. To turn down the volume, without the need to stretch yourself across the desk, you have to press and hold the shift key (⇧) and use the scroll on your mouse. By doing this, a small sound window will appear allowing you to see and adjust the current volume level of your speakers.

                      Windows users, you have to click on a small notification tray and change the sound there. If you’re on a laptop, there are keys for both brightness and sound adjustment on the keyboard.

                      10. Create your own keyboard shortcut.

                      Creating Own Keyboarrd shortcut

                        In the world of computers, automation and shortcuts form a killer combo. Every professional computer user has them; these bad boys make us several times more productive and make our computers work exactly like we want them to. Windows users have the privilege with this possibility, as Mac users can’t enjoy it in full swing (Yosemite adds app shortcuts to the keyboard, which gets Mac users pretty close to this function).

                        In order to make your own keyboard shortcut in Windows, you’ll need a desktop shortcut first. To do this, you need to right-click and select the “Create Shortcut” option. Then, choose the app or folder you’d like to have a shortcut for, and press “Apply.” Once you’ve made sure you have the shortcut on your desktop right click on it and go to Properties. After the new window has appeared, select the “Shortcut Key” line and in that blank space put whichever key you want, for example, K button. By doing this you are ready to go, your shortcut will be created, and you can access it by pressing the [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [K] buttons.

                        This one might help a lot for you to look more tech-savvy.

                        You can stay current.

                        Computers can help us a lot if we understand them and use them properly. The key to being current and productive, is persistence, routine, and positive attitude. Nothing is that tough that you can’t beat it. Especially some operating systems. You can do it.

                        Start using these tips today and edge the competition!

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                        Dejan Kvrgic

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                        Last Updated on August 20, 2019

                        How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                        How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                        Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                        Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

                        I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                        You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                        Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                        When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                        I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                        Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                        Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                        Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                        1. The Inner Critic

                        This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

                        • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                        • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                        • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                        • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                        The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                        Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                        2. The Worrier

                        This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                        The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

                        3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                        This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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                        This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                        The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                        4. The Sleep Depriver

                        This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                        The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

                        • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                        • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                        • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                        • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                        How can you control these squatters?

                        How to Master Your Mind

                        You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                        Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                        There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                        • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                        • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                        This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                        The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                        Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                        For the Inner Critic

                        When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                        You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                        For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

                        You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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                        “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                        If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                        • They rile up the Worrier.
                        • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                        • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                        • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                        • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

                        Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                        Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                        For the Worrier

                        Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                        Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                        You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                        • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                        • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                        • Muscles tense

                        Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                        If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                        Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                        “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                        Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                        If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                        Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

                        Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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                        For example:

                        If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                        “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                        Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                        “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                        Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                        For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                        Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                        The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                        • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                        • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                        • Muscles tension

                        I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                        Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                        Breathe in through your nose:

                        • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                        • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                        • Focus on your belly rising.

                        Breathe out through your nose:

                        • Feel your lungs emptying.
                        • Focus on your belly falling.
                        • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                        Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                        Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

                        One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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                        Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                        For the Sleep Depriver

                        (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                        I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                        Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                        1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                        2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                        When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                        From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                        For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                        If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                        You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                        • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                        • Shut down your thinking.
                        • Calm your feelings.
                        • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                        The Bottom Line

                        Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                        You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                        Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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                        Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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