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Padlock on green door

Mac convert tip #4: Locking your Mac

I went to university with a mischievous group of friends. You were asking for trouble if you left your computer unattended and unlocked. Someone was guaranteed to have reconfigured your system to cause the chaos possible. Some classics included: setting the volume controls to maximum (often accompanied by adding embarrassingly inappropriate sounds to system events); setting the mouse double-click speed to maximum making it impossible to open applications; or setting the mouse acceleration to warp speed on one axis and a snail’s pace on the other — try accurately positioning your pointer with that setup. I quickly learnt to always...

Blank page

2 questions you must answer before you write anything

I need two questions answered before I can start writing, but this doesn’t seem necessary for everyone. When someone asks me to review or edit their work I ask them the same two questions. The response is usually a perplexed and sometimes pained expression accompanied by a stumbling, vague answer. Whether you’re writing an email, a blog post, a sales proposal, a university assignment, a letter to your significant other or a book, the ability to clearly express your ideas in writing is an immensely valuable skill. If you can clearly and succinctly answer these two questions, you’ll be able...

Complex formula

The secret formula for successful change

In order to flourish, people and organisations must change and adapt. Beckhard and Gleicher’s change formula not only helps you plan for successful change, but provides a way to diagnose the source of resistance during a change process. The change formula is: D × V × F > R Where: D is the level of dissatisfaction with the current state V is vision for the future F is the understanding of achievable first steps toward the vision R is resistance to the change Change requires us to get out of our comfort zone which means there is inevitably some level...

MacBook keyboard

Mac convert tip #3: Dealing with missing keys

Something isn’t quite right about the Mac keyboard. My PC keyboard has a useful block of keys above the cursor keys which aren’t present on my MacBook Air. I frequently used these keys for editing and navigation. Fortunately, these commands are still accessible on the Mac with some additional finger gymnastics. Navigation Function Windows Mac Move one word left Ctrl+← option+← Move one word right Ctrl+→ option+→ Move to beginning of current line Home command+← Move to end of current line End command+→ Page up Page Up fn+↑ Page down Page Down fn+↓ Move to beginning of document Ctrl+Home command+↑...

Frustrated with a Mac

How to switch from Windows to Mac without the frustration

Try this quick experiment. Grab a pen and paper and sign your name with your non-dominant hand. How did it feel? Awkward? Slow? Messy? It probably required conscious effort that isn’t needed when using your preferred hand. That’s how I felt for the first six weeks when I switched to a Mac after using Windows for more than twenty years. On more than one occasion I’d wondered if I’d made a big mistake. The frustration of adapting to a new operating system can be reduced by configuring your Mac to work more like Windows. The biggest challenge for me was...

BetterSnapTool window position and keyboard shortcuts

Mac convert tip #2: install a window manager

Hitting the Windows key together with one of the arrow keys provided a fast way to resize a window to fit the left or right half of the screen in the Microsoft world. For mouse users, dragging the window to the edge of the screen achieves the same result. This is really useful if you’re writing in one application while referring to research in another. I was pretty disappointed to find that OSX didn’t provide an equivalent capability. After a day or two of manhandling windows into position, I went looking for a better solution. Fortunately, there are numerous third...

Sort the Trash by Date Added to easily locate recently deleted files

Mac convert tip #1: sort the trash by date

If I want to recover a file from the trash, I usually know pretty soon after it’s been deleted. Windows made it easy to sort the Recycle Bin by delete date. You can do this on the Mac too, but it’s not quite as obvious on OSX. Here’s how to sort the Trash with the most recently deleted files at the top. Open the Trash. Select View, Show View Options or press ⌘+J. Select Date Added to display the Date Added column. Click the Date Added column heading in the Trash window to sort in reverse date order. The most...

Double rainbow over the beach

3 unexpected benefits of GTD

My own experience has validated that the benefits of GTD are real. Since incorporating these principles into my work habits 4 years ago, the challenges I outlined which led me to explore GTD have either been eliminated or significantly reduced. Improved response to changing priorities and a greater sense of control are welcome, but I also discovered three benefits which were completely unexpected. Permission to stop trying to remember everything. Somewhere along the way I started believing that I should be able to remember just about anything that was potentially relevant. Maybe it was a by-product of the emphasis on...

Fire-fighter hoses down inferno

The day my system exploded (and how I discovered GTD)

The reality wasn’t quite as spectacular, but that’s how it felt. It happened so gradually that the deterioration was imperceptible until one day I looked back and realised my whole way of working was no longer working. The workflow system I’d used for more than a decade had crashed and burned. Let’s rewind 15 years or so. I remember remonstrating with a former supervisor about the state of her inbox. “How can you work with that much stuff in there? You should clean it up!” My inbox now looked exactly the same — thousands of messages, hundreds of them still...

Level controls on a mixing desk

How to apply the project success criteria

Last time I talked about the seven project success criteria. Now let’s look at how to put it to work. Ask 10 different stakeholders what success means to them and you’ll probably find 15 different answers. This tool provides a simple method for stakeholders to express what can otherwise be difficult to convey. It’s then possible to have a discussion about the views of different groups and move toward a common understanding of success among stakeholders. The process You can use this process with any project stakeholders. Even if you do it with no one else, use it with the...