How to Hack It: 5 Tech Tips to Improve Your Productivity

I have always been interested in the way things work.

I have always been interested in the way things work. As an Agile Project Manager at Metal Toad, I get to take my curiosity one step further and explore not just how things work, but the ways to make them work faster and more efficient as well. For increased efficiency with your daily tasks, I would recommend these five time-saving tech hacks:

5. Type faster using text substitution

I probably spend a third of my time typing, from capturing meetings notes to communicating with my team. Rather than typing the same phrases repeatedly, I use custom text substitutions for the phrases that appear over and over throughout a project, like email addresses or the name of a company. Just as your computer can automatically replace (c) with ©, you can create text substitutions to expand shorter abbreviations with longer phrases. For example, whenever I type “MT” my computer will automatically replace that with “Metal Toad.” The possibilities are endless. You can learn more here.

4. Quickly capture and share images and GIFs with Monosnap

An image is worth a thousand words, but it doesn't need to take just as many steps to capture and share one. Monosnap is one of my favorite apps to capture images and GIFs quickly. This lightweight application allows me to capture screenshots and videos, add highlights or notes, and share them in a snap with a short URL. My favorite trick is to capture short screencasts and export them as GIFs, which is how I generated the images for this post.

3. Use keyboard shortcuts to navigate your Mac

I am a huge fan of shortcuts. Here are a few of my favorite shortcuts for my most frequently used applications:


  • Command-Tab: Switch between open apps

  • Command-Tilde (~): Switch between windows of the same app

  • Command-Option-D: Hide or show the Dock


  • Command-T: Open a new browser tab

  • Command-F: Find a word on any page

  • Command-Shift-]: Move forward between open tabs

  • Command-Shift-[: Move backwards between open tabs


  • Command-Option-5: Capture area

  • Command-Option-6: Capture full screen

2. Manage your screens more efficiently with Hot Corners

Whenever I set up a new Mac, the first setting that I tweak is Hot Corners. Hot Corners allow you to use the four corners of your screen as touch points for triggering a variety of helpful actions. For example, I can start my screen saver by just moving my mouse cursor to the top left corner of my screen. My favorite action is to set the bottom left and right corners of my screen as triggers to show my desktop, which allows me to easily reveal my desktop and temporarily hide all of my open screens. You can learn more cool ways to use Hot Corners here.


1. Digitize your sticky notes with Post-It Plus

My team and I use sticky notes all the time to capture and organize ideas. In order to keep track of this information, I always snap a photo of the board with the Post-It Plus app. Then, Post-It Plus converts the sticky notes into a digital format, allowing my team and I to continue to edit and organize our ideas in the same way we would with physical sticky notes.

Hopefully you will find these tips useful and you’ll use them to up your productivity game. Have any other awesome tech hacks? Share them in the comments!

Note: Some of these tips are biased towards Mac users, but with slight modifications, these hacks can easily be used on Windows as well.

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