Optimise your productivity with these simple Apple hacks

Work smarter, not harder


By Amanda Fung

Optimise your productivity with these simple Apple hacks

As we settle into the grind of 2024 and the work year, you might be looking to upgrade your productivity and optimise your tech life for a more seamless experience with your gadgets. Enter Apple. Known for its consistent and smooth connectivity within its ecosystem and consistent updates to its apps and device capabilities, Apple can be your best friend when it comes to getting your work done and living a smart life. 

Its top-of-the-line products each offer a unique and simple user experience—depending on what you need it for—that makes working, browsing, and living with Apple products an unparalleled tech affair. To get you started on the right foot, here are some tips and tricks you can try on your iOS and macOS products to increase your productivity this year. You know what they say: once you go Mac, you never go back. 


1. Not your average Reminders app

Forgo the usual single-file to-do list and say hello to categories and systems. There are a few hacks when it comes to the reminders app—which syncs across all devices logged into your Apple ID—that you can fiddle around with to find a system that works for you. First, customise viewing options. On macOS Sonoma, you can view your reminders as lists or columns, so you can visualise your tasks in a manner that works best for you.

Second, create custom Smart Lists. The Smart Lists function is useful for automatically categorising your reminders into selected tags, dates, times, locations, priority levels, and more. You can make a Smart List that only includes work-related tasks with a #work tag or simply have all your high-priority tasks due in the next week in one automated list. All you have to do is tap “Add List”, choose your preferred icon, and specify the criteria for your Smart List.

Lastly, use templates. You can keep templates of lists that would be recurring throughout the year or life in general like packing lists and grocery lists. To save a list as a template, simply click the three dots on your iPhone and iPad or go to the File menu on your Mac and click “save as template”. To create a templated list on iOS and macOS click “Add List” and go to the templates menu to select the appropriate template. The app also automatically organises grocery lists into categories for you to make your shopping trips as efficient as possible.  


2. Make use of widgets

Widgets have been around for a few iOS and macOS version updates now and using them can significantly up your efficiency when using your devices. On iOS devices, you can place widgets on your lock screens or home screens to get information like the weather, battery levels, alarms, and more at a glance. You can also pause or resume music and podcasts on the Music widget, turn off living room lights on the Home widget, or edit an item on the Reminders widget—all without having to open the respective apps. On MacOS, you can do the same via your Control Center, Stage Manager, or desktop. 


3. Run wild with Freeform

Freeform was released in late 2022 as Apple’s way of encouraging creativity and collaboration. Available on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, Freeform is a visual canvas that you can use to make mind maps, brainstorm new projects, sketch out ideas, and more. The opportunities are truly endless with this app, as is your canvas. Freeform allows you to create, type, and sketch on its infinite canvas, imposing no limits on how far your imagination can stretch. 

Freeform canvases can also be shared across users and used in FaceTime calls as references or virtual whiteboards. On top of that, they are also stored in your iCloud so you can access your own boards on any device. For the visually inclined, Freeform offers a range of sketching tools like brushes for you to use and also supports uploads of multiple file types so you can create the mood boards of your dreams. 



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