Use Built-In Mac Functionality to Increase Productivity and Profits

I deal with a number of clients on a day-to-day basis that often take the “long way” when it comes to a specific task. This can be rather frustrating, and often times I find myself wasting even more time trying to explain why the specific task could be easier, if it was done another way.

Computers are an invaluable tool that can significantly increase productivity, therefore allowing the user to amplify profits. Of course the issue remains, that many users do not know how to use the computer to enhance productivity. This is especially problematic because the user then assumes computers are not necessarily the easy solution. Fortunately the Mac user has many features readily available, so that they can start saving time and making money right away. Here are a few of the basics.

The Built in Address Book, Calendar, and Email Applications
If you are a switcher you may be familiar with Microsoft’s Outlook, or maybe you use Entourage on the Mac. Never-the-less it might be time to take a look at Address Book, iCal and Mail. While all separate applications, these are Apple’s little productivity gems. All of the information stored in these applications are readily available through various parts of OS X.

Now I understand that switching from another program might prove to be difficult, but Apple has really done a nice job with these applications. They might not be right for everyone, but lets take a look at some of their really nice features.

mailnew20050412.jpgObviously you are able to access you entire address book in This is really nice because all that you have to do it is start typing a name and the Mac will do the rest of the work for you. Mail also remembers other email address that you might not want to keep in your address book. And another great feature is you can add a new address book contact for an email that you received right from

Additionally you are able to send email invitations to event, from iCal. This really nice because iCal will use your contacts, from Address Book, and use Mail to send the invitation. Add a birthday to a contact in your Address Book and it will show up in iCal.

Third party applications are also adding support for some of these features. Just having easy access to these essential, everyday tools increasing productivity almost instantly. There are countless possibilities using a combination of these applications. Lets take a closer look at each of Apple’s.

Address Book Features
Address Book gives you everything that you would expect to find in a address book and more. You can make Address Book as simple or as complicated as you would like. Basically you are able to organize contacts, and keep track of pertinent information. From a photo to a phone number to note, almost any type of personal information can be stored with Address Book.

You are able to easily share this information via vCard. You can import or export this way, which make staying on top of all your contacts effortless.

Nicknames are a really nice feature to have in Address Book. For example, Mothers day is just around the corner and you need to get Mom’s address for the flowers you are sending her. All you need to do is type in “Mom” and there you have it. It could be awkward for some to actually type in Mom’s name, but one you add Mom and a nickname you are good to go.

Manage Tasks and A Busy Schedule with iCal
index_top_20050412.jpgiCal is a really powerful calendar application. As a mater of fact I think that iCal is one of my favorite applications and it works in so many other ways, I don’t know what I would do without it.

You can manage tasks, set dates and appointments, but the best part is that you can have any of this information at you fingertips, almost anytime. All of this information can be synced with a compatible cell phone and even the iPod.

One really cool feature is the ability to share and subscribe to other calendars. Some additional functionality is available with the .Mac service, such as posting a web calendar that other users can easily view.

Sync with .Mac
06dotmac_box.jpgThe .Mac service from Apples gets a lot of criticism, however, it can be a really powerful tool for syncing all of you data between multiple Macs. On a day to day basis I spend a large amount of time spread out between 3 different Macs. I need to have all of my contacts and calendars available to me on all of these systems, and I need them to all be in perfect sync. The .Mac sync allows this to happen, and it is really easy to use.

You can also sync other useful data from you mac including:

  • Bookmarks
  • Calendars
  • Contacts
  • Keychains
  • Mail Accounts
  • Mail Rules, Signatures, and Smart Mailboxes

And syncing can go beyond just a few other Macs. If you have an iPod you are probably already syncing you contacts, and calendars. With the addition of iSync you can also sync a compatible cell phone or PDA. Check with Apple to see if the device that you use will work.

Use Preview to View PDFs and Other Images
Apple’s Preview application is much faster at reading PDFs and other images than many other popular programs. If you just need to quickly view a PDF or an image Preview will save you a lot of time.

Right Click or Control Click
wireless_mm.jpg This is quite possible the most effective and convenient time saving feature on the Mac. Many Mac users are not even aware that there is multi-button mouse features available. If you have a two button mouse you are ready to go, if not you can use the control click method to access the same feature set. A right click (control click) will give instant access to a contextual menu thought the OS and in most applications. The cool this is that depending on where you are clicking the menu will change to best suit that would be used the most in that location. One of the most useful examples of this is to quickly correct a spelling mistake. Simply hover the mouse over the text that is misspelled and right click. You will see a list of the suggested correct spellings.

The Built-In Dictionary
This is probably one of the most overlooked productivity features in OS X (10.4 & up). From most application, you able to easily access the built in Dictionary with a simple right click, and if you are using a application that does not work, you can just launch the Dictionary Application manually.

800px-am_expose_all.jpg You may use command-tab to quickly move between applications, but did you know that you can setup Exposé to increase this functionality? With Exposé you are able to visually cycle between open windows, application windows, the dashboard or go strait to the desktop. This can really big timesaver. OS X gives you two options for accessing these features, via quick keys or hot corners. All you have to do is set it up in System Preferences.

indexresultssmall20050412.jpg For the most part Spotlight is self explanatory. It is a powerful search tool that will help you find whatever you want on your computer. You can access Spotlight from the upper right hand corner of the OS X menu bar. Beyond just searching you are able to create smart folders that are basically save searches.

indextop20050412.jpg If you do the same thing over and over again you may want to take a closer look at Automator. It is a automation configuration application for the mac generation. Wow, cheesy, but a really powerful application. There are truly countless possibilities with Automator.

While these are just a few of the many productivity features built into OS X and the Mac, they should help you start saving time and making that extra cash. After all is money. If you want to go further, there are many other third party applications and utilities out there. It is a good idea to take the time to investigate occasionally and see if there is anything that catches your eye. Keep asking yourself, “is there a better or quicker way I could do this?”

Everyone has particular preferences on how they like to work, so not all of these tips many work for you. However, I feel that it is important to know what certain features are available. Then when a specific task is needed to be completed you will know what and how you can save time.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

1 Response to “Use Built-In Mac Functionality to Increase Productivity and Profits”

  1. 1 Use Built-In Mac Functionality to Increase Productivity and Profits « The Picune Blog Pingback on Feb 13th, 2007 at 2:58 pm
Comments are currently closed.