DETROIT – According to Buffer’s study ‘State of Remote Work’, where they interviewed nearly 2,500 remote workers, nearly 99% said that they would like to continue work remotely. 

Cut to 2020, and everyone that could work from home was working from home. 

Working from home is here to stay and will likely continue for the foreseeable future. 

As a result, we’ve wound up spending almost all our time in front of a screen.

So, for those of you that use a Mac and are new to remote working, here are 7 tips that will help you be more productive: 

  1. Get a second screen

If you are used to working on a Mac, working from a laptop might feel like a downgrade. But did you know you can increase your screen space by turning your iPad into a second screen?

If you have macOS Catalina and iPadOS 13, here’s how you can make this happen:

  • Turn on your iPad
  • Go to System Preferences on your Mac -> Displays 
  • Select iPad from the AirPlay Display

That’s it; you’re done. 

Your iPad will now work as a second screen, but you can also connect it to your Mac to ensure you don’t run out of battery. 

For older MacBooks, you can also add a second screen by connecting it to a TV or an old iMac.

  1. Take scheduled breaks

Working from home does not mean that you cannot take breaks. You can and should take breaks instead of slogging away all day because this is unfamiliar territory, and you’re afraid to appear unprofessional. 

 

Taking breaks is not only important for your mental health, but it is also a neat hack that helps with productivity. 

 

Turn off notifications on your Mac when you take breaks. You can do this on the specific app and your Mac to truly enjoy a short break. 

 

  1. Avoid distractions

With everything going on, it is pretty easy to get sucked into a rabbit hole that the Internet is and then realize you’ve been unproductive for hours. 

There are apps that you can download from the macOS App Store that will block certain websites for a specific amount of time. Other apps blur out everything on the screen except for the app you are currently using or auto-quit apps that are not active.

You can also get rid of the Dock to avoid seeing the notifications pile up and fight the urge to check them as soon as you hear a chime. 

 

  1. Optimize your Mac’s performance

 

There is possibly nothing worse than a Mac that has noticeable lags. This is an indication of the poor performance and needs to be addressed at the earliest to avoid future issues.

 

One of the best ways you can optimize your Mac’s performance is to free up some space. Now you don’t need to go on a deleting spree or spend money to upgrade your RAM. 

 

In fact, there are a lot of tricks you can use to quickly free up space on your Mac – find and delete large files, remove unused apps, delete duplicate files and empty the Trash.  

  1. Use an ergonomic MacBook stand

Working from home also means terrible postures that can have long-lasting effects on your body. If your job includes typing a lot, you could also be doing some damage to your nerves. 

The answer to this is to get an ergonomic MacBook stand that places your Mac at eye level. This doesn’t cause you to strain your neck and can help improve your posture. 

If you are really invested in improving your workstation, you can also get an ergonomic chair that will allow you to sit comfortably without compromising your posture.

  1. Use Reminders to create to-do lists

A simple to-do list can work wonders. When you start your workday, use the Reminders app to list down all your tasks. This simple app is extremely useful at reminding you to complete your work. 

You can also use Notes and add checkboxes to create simple to-do lists. For more complex projects, you can try apps like Notion that help you create checklists from templates. 

Even scheduling tasks on Google Calendar can do the trick. 

  1. Monitor how long you work

If you manage your screen time when it comes to social media, you should also set screen time limits for work. Remote working is difficult because it is very hard to disengage from work once the day is over. 

You can manually track how long you work by jotting it down in Notes, or you can use an app that tracks time. Once you have this information for a few days or a week, you can decide how you can reclaim your time to enjoy a work-life balance. 

  1. Use Siri to your advantage

Siri can automate some of your tasks like setting up reminders, adding a note, and you can also turn to Siri to find out what you have lined up for the day. 

What if you come across a website that looks interesting, but you don’t have the time to go through it? Just ask Siri to remind you at a specific date and time. 

As a final observation

Make sure you prioritize mental health above all else. If you find your work taking over every aspect of your life, you need to take a beat and re-assess if you are working too much and too long or if the expectations have changed because everyone is working from home. 

Despite the challenging job market, there are plenty of businesses you can start at home and enjoy a better work-life balance. 

This is a guest column.