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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 New and improved technologies are a must nowadays ‒ if you can’t cope with the latest tech or apps, you’re outdated. Being outdated might put you in a bad position or bring you trouble.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

                        Blogger, Writer

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                        Last Updated on November 12, 2020

                        Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (and What to Do About It)

                        Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (and What to Do About It)

                        If you find that you’re feeling tired all the time, it’s important to understand that it’s a common problem for many. With all of the demands of daily life, being tired seems to be the new baseline. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

                        If you’re tired of feeling exhausted, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

                        In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re so tired and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

                        What Happens When You’re Too Tired

                        If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

                        Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

                        • Trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired.
                        • Experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not.
                        • Dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
                        • Finding it more difficult to exercise.
                        • Immune system may weaken, causing you to pick up infections more easily.
                        • Overeating because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids, even when you’re not hungry.
                        • Metabolism slows down, so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

                        Why Are You Feeling Tired All the Time?

                        Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

                        Here’s a quick overview of each common cause of fatigue and feeling tired all of the time:

                        1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep, restorative sleep.
                        2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness, which could be triggered by numerous health problems, such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea, or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
                        3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

                        The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance, or emotional trauma. It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

                        Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

                        You can learn more about some causes of fatigue in this video:

                        Feeling Tired Vs Being Fatigued

                        If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

                        Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

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                        Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep. However, fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety, or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive[5].

                        Symptoms of fatigue include:

                        • Difficulty concentrating
                        • Low stamina
                        • Difficulty sleeping
                        • Anxiety
                        • Low motivation

                        These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness, but they usually last longer and are more intense.

                        Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. However, there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

                        How Much Sleep Is Enough?

                        The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation, which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

                        Research suggests that most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night[6]. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

                        Get the right amount of sleep to stop feeling tired.

                          The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

                          Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

                          Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[7]

                          If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is the most likely reason you feel tired all the time. That is actually good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

                          It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities, such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

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                          4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

                          Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

                          1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
                          2. Exercising regularly
                          3. Using stressbusters
                          4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

                          After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

                          I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

                          Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

                          • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy, including getting enough sleep.
                          • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of physical activity a day, ideally for six days a week.
                          • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
                          • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

                          The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight, and to achieve overall wellness.[8]

                          Living Healthy

                          Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested, and better overall.

                          In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger. In fact, long-term sleep deprivation has been linked to an increase in Alzheimer’s later in life[9].

                          As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

                          Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

                          1. Unplug

                          Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. However, tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime. This won’t help you stop feeling tired all the time.

                          Try to turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

                          2. Unwind

                          Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating, or taking an Epsom salt bath.

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                          3. Get Comfortable

                          Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

                          Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep. Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

                          Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed. If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[10]

                          This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

                          Exercise

                          Many people know that exercise is good for them, but they just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

                          That’s what happened in my case, but when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my sedentary lifestyle.

                          I decided to start swimming because it was something I had always loved to do. Find an exercise you love and stick to it to stop feeling tired all the time. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training, and flexibility training during your daily 20-minute workout.

                          If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try as it will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

                          Attitude

                          Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

                          When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted, but there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued: Breathing.

                          But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” (or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

                          Here’s how you do Long-Exhale Breathing:

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                          1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy.
                          2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air).
                          3. Hold your breath while you mentally count to 7 and enjoy the stillness.
                          4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it).
                          5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep breath.
                          6. Repeat 3 times, ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system.

                          This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

                          When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[11]

                          Nutrition

                          Diet is vital for beating fatigue if you’re feeling tired all the time – after all, food is your main source of energy.

                          If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels, which may lead to daytime sleepiness.

                          Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming though. For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

                          Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

                          1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
                          2. Add a healthy fat or protein to any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed.
                          3. Fill up with fiber, especially green leafy vegetables.
                          4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice, and corn.
                          5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars, and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
                          6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives.
                          7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive, and nut oils.
                          8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts.
                          9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice.

                          Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron, and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

                          That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

                          Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multivitamin or specific supplement.

                          The Bottom Line

                          If you are tired of feeling tired all the time, then there is tremendous hope.

                          If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices. If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes discussed above.

                          Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

                          More Tips to Stop Feeling Tired All the Time

                          Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

                          Reference

                          [1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
                          [2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
                          [3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
                          [4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
                          [5] Very Well Health: Differences Between Sleepiness and Fatigue
                          [6] Advanced Sleep Medicine Services: NEW Guidelines: How much sleep do you need?
                          [7] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
                          [8] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
                          [9] National Institute on Aging: Sleep loss encourages spread of toxic Alzheimer’s protein
                          [10] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
                          [11] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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