Two blindingly obvious Mac productivity tips

See whether you have new notifications at a glance. I have five applications running on my desktop at all times for which I want to be quickly notified of new notifications. I have these applications configured to show notifications banners, but those disappear. Blink and you miss them. I need some permanent notification that is always in the corner of my eye.

I’ve tried several desktop configurations to solve this problem but none were satisfactory.

Then I realized this morning: The Dock.

The Dock is designed for that. I’ve hidden the Dock for years, but now I’ve got it set to stay open, and when I get a new message on Skype for Business, iMessage, Teams, TweetBot or Franz, I’m aware right away – even if I was away from my desk when it happened – and I can deal with it. Also, very handy for switching between apps when you have a LOT of apps and windows open, as I often do.

OmniFocus: Show projects but hide tasks. In OmniFocus, I have all the tasks I want to be aware of during the day tagged as “Today,” and I have a “Today” perspective which, among other things, groups tasks by Project.

The Today perspective is the one I live out of every day.

For several of those Projects, I just want to see the project name. I don’t want to have to see the half-dozen or dozen tasks in that project. I know I can set the perspective to show only first available, but I don’t want to see the first task. I want to see the project as a whole.

I have spent hours fiddling with perspectives trying to achieve this goal but then this morning by accident I clicked on the disclosure triangle next to the Project name. And the tasks disappeared, leaving just the Project name. Just how I like it!

I don’t know how long the disclosure triangle has been around – here’s a blog post from 2012 which discusses it and I suspect it has been around a long time before then.


You can also press ^⌘0 to Collapse all projects in a perspective, and ^⌘9 to Expand all projects in a perspective.


You can also set the the banner style in Notification Center settings to “persistent.” You can do this selectively for the 5 apps you mentioned. This way notifications will not go away until you beg them to.

I use active dock as I like my apps in alphabetical order (and windows previews etc.)- but you can also make it semi-transparent, so notifciations are still visible but not massively intrusive.