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Power Up Your Mac With These Simple Hacks

Power Up Your Mac With These Simple Hacks

These simple Mac hacks will help you be more productive in OSX. By learning keyboard shortcuts, built in applications, and the Terminal, you will change the way you work, for the better. I’ve rounded up some of the simple hacks that I’ve found most useful over the years, and a few of the more obscure ones that are not as scary as they look.

Keyboard shortcuts

There a lots of keyboard shortcuts that make navigating your Mac easier, quicker and more productive. Here are the most useful:

The basics

  • ⌃CTRL + C for copying to the clipboard
  • ⌃CTRL + X for cutting to the clipboard
  • ⌃CTRL + V for pasting form the clipboard
  • ⌘CMD + ARROW LEFT for jumping to the beginning of a line
  • ⌘CMD + ARROW RIGHT for jumping to the end of a line
  • ⌘CMD + ⇧SHIFT + ARROW LEFT for highlighting everything to the left of the cursor
  • ⌘CMD + ⇧SHIFT + ARROW RIGHT for highlighting everything to the right of the cursor
  • ⌘CMD + A to select everything
  • ⌘CMD + Z to undo the last operation
  • ⌘CMD + ⇧SHIFT + Z to redo the last undo
  • CMD + SHIFT + 3 to save the screen as a PNG image file
  • CMD + SHIFT + 4 to save a portion of the screen as a PNG image file

Pasting without style

When you copy and past text, usually the style is retained as well. Sometimes, you only want to copy the text, and match the style of the sentence that you are pasting into. Instead of pasting into a text editor first and then copying again from there, use this shortcut. Hold down ⌘CMD + ⌥OPTION + ⇧SHIFT + V

Fine tune volume

To adjust the volume in smaller (than normal) increments hold down ⇧SHIFT and ⌥OPTION + F11 (or F12).

Silently adjust the volume

To adjust the volume without making that annoying clicking sound hold down ⇧SHIFT + F11 (or F12)

Quickly delete a file

This is probably my most used shortcut (after copy and paste). Hold down ⌘CMD + DELETE to quickly put files in the Trash.

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Use the delete button (like a PC)

If you’ve come to the Mac from a PC you might find it more than a little odd that you can only delete “backwards.” If you want to delete the characters to the right of the cursor hold down Fn + DELETE

Silently booting your Mac

Avoid the start-up sound when booting up your Mac by hold down the mute button (F10).

More audio options from the Volume icon

I make music on my Mac and this little hack is invaluable to me. Hold down ⌥OPTION and click the Volume icon to get all of the input and output options available.

Instant access to a dictionary and thesaurus

This is a newer mac hack that everybody should know about. Hold down ⌃CTRL + ⌘CMD + D while your cursor is over some text and a lovely little popup appears with a definition, a Wikipedia entry and alternative words via a thesaurus.

Terminal

The terminal in your Mac is one of the those scary places that feels like only the advanced users should tread. A few simple terminal hacks can save you a lot of time in the long run, so we’ll be careful and keep it simple.

You can find the Terminal app in your Utilities folder in Applications. Generally, with Terminal based hacks you will need to log out and then back in again.

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Free up your memory

If you feel that your Mac is running a little slow it could be that you need to free up some memory. Type “purge” into the Terminal and press return. If you want to see what is what is going on you can have open Activity Monitor at the same time. You might find it easier to use a small application like Memory Clean which makes this process even simpler and more visual.

Change default screen shot image format

Being able to grab the screen as an image is great and for most people saving in the PNG image format is fine. However some people have a preference for JPG or even PDF. With this quick hack you can change which format you want to default to.

Type:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture type file-extension

Where “file-extension” is, either jpg or png or pdf.

Where are my screen shots saved?

I find it really useful to have a folder called “screenshots” in my “Pictures” folder. Whenever I take a screen shot images get nicely organised into this folder instead of mixed in with my Desktop.

First make sure that you create a folder called “screenshots” in your Pictures folder and then type:

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defaults write com.apple.screencapture location /Users/myname/Pictures/screenshots

Application hacks

Display the date in the menu bar

How many times have you clicked the day and time to get today’s date? It’s such a simple hack. Open up Preferences, click the Date & Time icon and then click the Clock tab. Check the “Show date” box. It will instantly update the menu bar.

Date in the menu bar

    Date in the menu bar

    Instant access to foreign characters

    If you hold down a key (such as “a”) you will get a pop up with alternative versions of that character for different languages. Simply choose the one that you require by pressing the right number.

     

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    Instant access to special characters

      Instant access to special characters

      Tweet selected text instantly

      On Macs running Mountain Lion and later, you can tweet almost any text on your Mac easily. Select the text, right click it, and select Tweet (sometimes you may find it in the “services” sub menu). That’s it. Try it now on one of these hacks!

      Tweeting by right clicking

        Tweeting by right clicking

        Repair disk permissions

        When your Mac shuts down unexpectedly or a third party installer has been run, your Mac’s folder and file permissions can get a little screwed up. Generally, you won’t notice but it can affect the performance of your system. Launch the “Disk Utility” application, found in the Utilities folder inside your Applications folder.

        Repair disk permissions

          Repair disk permissions

          Summary

          I really hope that you find these useful. I know I certainly do. Of course there’s hundreds more hacks, if you have any more that you think I’ve missed, are more importnant, or that we should know about please share them in the comments.

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          Last Updated on October 16, 2019

          11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

          11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

          Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

          Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

          Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

          In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

          1. ScheduleOnce

            ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

            ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

            ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

            Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

            Available on Web

            2. Calendly

              Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

              You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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              Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

              3. Assistant.to

                For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

                From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

                While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

                Available on Web

                4. Acuityscheduling

                  Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

                  It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

                  Available on Web | iOS | Android

                  5. Pick

                    Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

                    At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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                    Available on Web

                    6. X.ai

                      For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                      This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                      Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                      Available on Web

                      7. YouCanBook.me

                        is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                        They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                        Available on Web

                        8. Doodle

                          Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                          It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                          You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                          While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                          Available on Web | iOS | Android

                          9. WhenAvailable

                            WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                            Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                            Available on Web

                            10. Rally

                              Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                              Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                              Available on Web

                              11. NeedtoMeet

                                Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                                NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                                While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                                Available on Web

                                Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                                In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                                To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                                Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                                A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                                Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                                If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                                Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                                With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                                The Bottom Line

                                Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                                Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                                Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                                Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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