8 Signs That Tell You When and What to Upgrade on Your Mac

"Do I need a new computer or can we do something to this one to make it faster?"

The first conversation I have with a client almost always starts off with this question followed by a statement of frustration. This includes: "This thing is soo slow!" "I keep running out of space!" "My email is not working right" or a combination of all three and others.

Lost momentum means lost profits. A slow computer is the #1 killer of productivity, creativity, and momentum or "the zone" that those of us who create content or manage businesses crave. Whether you write songs or blog posts, manage your own finances or a fortune 500 company on your computer, we can all agree that your computer being slow or locking up is a serious buzzkill.

There are a number of things you can look at on your computer to find out what is holding you back, making you want to claw your eyes out or throw the computer out the window.

These are the things I look at to find out what what we need to do to get you happy, productive, and consequently making more money!

1. What computer do you have and how old is it? - Depending on the model, we will have different upgrades available.

Go to the  menu at the top left corner of your screen. Click About this Mac. If available, click More Info... From here you can go to everymac.com to find out everything about the model computer you have.

2. How much space are you using and what is the capacity of storage?

If you have a Macbook or Macbook Pro (non retina), there is a good chance you have a standard hard drive. If you are using more than 90% of the space on your hard drive your machine will start slowing down. At less than 10 GB available it starts crawling to the point where it won't even function without any free space left. Start deleting files to get above that 10 GB mark and you should see a difference. If you have a standard hard drive, upgrade to an SSD and the difference in speed is shocking. Click here for my SSD brand of choice.

I use an app called Grand Perspective to show me where all the big files are on my computer so I know what to delete.

 Many people prefer Daisy Disk which I have as well. I like the simplicity of rectangles better than Daisy Disk's sort of pie chart look.

3. How much memory (RAM) do you have?

I like my clients to have at least 4 GB of RAM. I often recommend jumping up to 8 or more. Click here for available upgrades and instructions for installation.

4. How much email is in your mail application?

Do you have over 3,000 emails in your email inbox? You might have an email problem. Over 30,000 and your computer is slow because of that email. You need SaneBox and probably a little more help. I highly recommend starting a trial of SaneBox, an email filtering service. I'll be writing more on that specific service as I'm a huge fan. So much so, I became a reseller of their services. In the meantime, click here for a PDF of 100 Email Hacks for productivity.

6. How much stuff do you have on your desktop?

If you have a ton of files on your desktop, they could be slowing you down. Move them to the documents folder or another appropriate spot. The desktop should be a place to temporarily put files. They need to have a permanent folder elsewhere.

7. Run Disk Utility.

The software that runs your computer is called the operating system. It's like a body, in that it replaces parts of itself over time. That happens through upgrades, or just normal day to day activities. If you've had your computer over a couple years, a reinstall of your operating system might be the only thing you need. Open Disk Utility by clicking on Spotlight (the magnifying glass in the top right hand corner of your screen) and start typing Disk Utility. Click on Macintosh HD on the left and then click the two Verify buttons.

8. Will the battery need to be replaced soon?

If you click on System Report on the bottom of the About this Mac window, you can click on Power on the left and see the condition of your battery and the amount of cycle counts. The battery of the computer I'm using is in normal condition, but it loses it's charge quicker than a new battery. That's because it has more than 300 cycles which is what this battery is rated for before it starts losing some of it's charge. To find out more about batteries, click here. *Newer Mac batteries are rated for over 1,000 cycles.

If you realize that you need RAM, an SSD, and a battery, you're looking at around $400 for those upgrades. Do those upgrades and your computer will feel just as fast as one of the brand new Mac's on the demo tables at your local Apple Store, but you won't have just spent $2,000 for a new machine!

If your computer is 5+ years old, you might just want to sell it and use the money to buy a new machine. I have clients with 6 year old machines that did these upgrades and are thrilled. I also have others with a 3 year old machine that ended up buying a new one.

My passion is to help you become the most digitally productive and creative version of yourself possible. Please sign up for my blog updates on the right and book a free 15 min consultation with me. I'd love to offer my services and point you in the right direction whatever that may be.

Question: What slows you down when trying to get work done or being creative?