I strive for my Mac to be as unobtrusive as possible so I can focus on doing what I want to do. This is the primary reason I use MacOS: there's intuitive and consistent design that makes it easy to get things done quickly without sacrificing powerful functionality. Here are a few small things that I've done (with the help of some incredible third-party apps) to make my Mac work for me. I hope you might find one or two helpful things in here as well.
First things first, I actually disable drawing files and folders on the desktop using this command:
defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool false; killall Finder
I found I really like the cleanliness of it, since I never really opened things on my desktop anyway. This also lets you still use your Desktop folder as a place to store files.
I used to love having all the little widgets in my menu bar. Now, I don't, so I use this app Vanilla by Matthew Palmer. It works mostly great, and the aesthetic is hard to beat.
Finally, I hide the Dock at the bottom of the screen. This wasn't a huge deal whan I used to have the Hackintosh with a larger screen, but with a laptop I think the reclaimed screen real estate is pretty valuable.
One way I like to organize my dock is by placing little spaces between the categories of apps that I use. For example, my utilities in the first space, then my web apps, then my communication apps, etc.
This is made possible through a phenomenal app called TinkerTool. I also opted to get rid of the Downloads stack at the right side of the Dock, and I turned off the recent applications thing because it was annoying and redundant. Showing recents in the dock is the last option in the Dock preferences pane of System Preferences:
I love keyboard shortcuts. Not only are they usually faster than a mouse, but they make you look like a bona fide computer guru. I use Spark along with Karabiner Elements to handle my custom keyboard shortcuts.
Generally, in MacOS, the control key isn't used very much as far as system keyboard shortcuts go. Therefore, I map my three most frequently used apps, Finder, iTerm2, and Firefox, to the numbers 1, 2, and 3 respectively using control-down. It's soo much faster than moving your cursor down to the dock. Since I frequently use a windows mechanical keyboard with my Mac, I really wanted to use the delete key to trash files instead of command+backspace every time. Maybe you have this issue, too. I executed this command in terminal:
defaults write com.apple.finder NSUserKeyEquivalents -dict-add 'Move to Trash' '\177'
I guess this isn't technically a keyboard shortcut, but you might find it useful to add some custom actions to the touch bar if you're on a macbook pro with one.
I added actions to toggle Wifi and Bluetooth so I don't have to click in the menu bar. You can do this by writing a shell script inside an Automator Quick Action. Here's the shell script I wrote for Wifi:
POWER=$(networksetup -getairportpower en0 | sed "s/Wi-Fi\ Power (en0):\ //") if [[ $POWER == 'On' ]] then networksetup -setairportpower en0 off else networksetup -setairportpower en0 on fi
And Bluetooth (uses blueutil):
POWER=$(/usr/local/bin/blueutil -p) if [[ POWER -eq 1 ]] then /usr/local/bin/blueutil -p 0 else /usr/local/bin/blueutil -p 1 fi
What I think really helps the finder is to get rid of the things you don't need in the sidebar, and then add in what you do need. I banished tags, iCloud, and most of the locations because I just don't use them.
Another small thing that makes me happy is this app called FinderGo. This app is a menubar extension and it lets you launch a terminal at the directory you have open in Finder, kinda like you can in Ubuntu or other flavors of Linux.