There’s no better way to sap your first-thing-in-the-morning energy than wasting time searching for whatever you were working on the day before. Yet my morning routine typically involves a few minutes staring blankly at my computer while I try to remember what I was working on last, and which folder I left that work in.
Working in Evernote is often the solution — because I do so much of my work in Evernote, scanning through my most recent Evernote notes is often how I find my latest work. But when I’m actually working on a document, Evernote can’t help, so I’m back to looking through folders.
Today I finally thought of an easy way to get back to whatever I’m working on. I’ve created a shortcut on my Mac that takes me to a search for my most recently modified Word files. Here’s how to create that kind of shortcut yourself.
- Open a new Finder window and click any folder on your computer (just to ensure that you’re not set to All My Files — for some reason, searching within All My Files creates problems.)
- Enter a period in the search bar (that’s assuming you always include a file extension or period in your file names — otherwise, any character that is in every file name will work, even if that’s a blank space).
- Click the plus sign to add some additional modification options to your search.
- From the dropdown menu, choose “Kind” then select “Other”, and type in “Word” (if you’re looking for your latest Word docs — or you can enter Powerpoint, Excel or any other file type that represents the kind of document you’re usually working in.)
- Click plus again to get an additional filter.
- Set “Last modified date ” to “with last” and choose the number of days you want to search on. It could be 1, if you just want to find the previous day’s work. I find 3 to 5 is a good cut-off.
- Now click Save to save your search; give it an intuitive name like “Latest Word work”. That search will now appear in the sidebar of your Finder windows.
- When you get down to work each day, just click “Latest Word work” in your sidebar to find the documents you’ve been working on most recently.
This isn’t rocket science, obviously, but it’s the kind of little tweak that removes some of the everyday friction that keeps us from being as productive as possible. The more you customize your tech setup to remove the micro-obstacles that slow you down, the more time you’ll spend doing the work that really matters.