Separating Work from Play Using Multiple Accounts

If you're like me, you're easily distracted. I could be in the middle of writing a proposal or reading a news article, and be completely thrown off track when a new message or tweet arrives. Sometimes these distractions are work-related, but a lot of times, they are personal in nature. It can really have a detrimental affect on your productivity when you're trying to get work done. Along the same line, when it's personal time, you should be able to leave work behind.

What makes this most difficult is that the line between work and play has been severely blurred. My Mail app has both work and personal accounts as active accounts. The same applies for Messages, social networks, etc. Sure, I could disable my personal accounts while I'm working and my work accounts when I'm at home, but that can be a massive pain (and a very manual process). Here's a tip that could minimize that hassle.

Any modern Operating System will offer the ability to have multiple user accounts. This is great for family computers, for example, when you may have multiple family members using the same computer. It keeps data separate, and allows each user to have their own user experience (individual Dock settings, unique wallpaper, etc). This same principal can be applied to help you separate work from play, and OS X can definitely help.

First, we would need to create two new user accounts... one called "Work" and one called "Personal" (you can obviously name them whatever you want). To add a new account in OS X, go to System Preferences then click on Accounts. From there, click on the [+] to add new accounts.

Next, we need to get settled in to each account. When you log in to the work account, only add accounts that relate to work (for email, social networks, etc). Once you have set up your work account, now log in to your personal account and do the same thing (only using personal accounts instead).

You may want to personalize each account so that you can easily and visually differentiate between the two. An easy way to do this would be to set the wallpaper in each account so that it represents the account you are logged in to. For example, you can use a company logo for your work account, and a photo from a recent family vacation for your personal account.

Once you have both accounts set up and customized, you're done! When it's time for work, simply log in to your work account. When it's time to go home, log out of your work account, and log in to your personal account.

This isn't the most feasible or practical approach for everyone, but I'm sure it will be for some. If you're not sure, I suggest you give it a try to see if it works for you!

Posted on July 29, 2015 and filed under How To, Mac, Opinion.