If you use Spotlight searches in the Finder and you've got one or more large, data-laden hard drives (my system has two drives with ten partitions), you're probably well aware of the ability of these searches to turn your Finder into a first-class spinning beach ball.
This most often happens just as you start typing your search term. For instance, say you're looking for a particular landscape
photo, and you begin to type the word 'carnation'.
Thanks to the live search feature, your Mac wastes time looking for matches for 'c', 'ca', and 'car' as you type.
While you can't totally avoid extraneous results, there's one way to minimize them. Instead of typing your search term in the Finder's search box, first type it in any open application.
For example, you could type it in Safari's address bar or Google search box, a TextEdit document, a Stickies note, or a widget.
Select the word with the mouse and press Command-C to copy it to the Clipboard. Switch back to the Finder, click inside the Spotlight search box (or just press Command -F), and then press Command -V to paste in your search term. You don't even have to press return - the Finder will go ahead and do a live search.
Now Spotlight will find matches for the entire word, instead of struggling with matches for all the partial words it can make from your search term.