Productivity can be defined as the degree to which an endeavor succeeds. It can be used in a variety of fields, each of which has its own “best practices” for increasing efficiency. However, in practice, these strategies are primarily day-to-day survival guides that don’t actually enhance your productivity. Productivity apps and services that help you streamline and automate your processes are far more helpful.
Many useful programs can be used on desktop PCs, laptops, and mobile devices. However, for the sake of this piece, we will focus exclusively on computers, and more specifically, the Mac. Here are some of the most important Mac productivity apps that you should install on your Mac if you use macOS and want to streamline your Mac’s workflow.
Essential Applications for Mac Productivity
Most secure free password manager is Bitwarden.
Bitwarden is a secure password manager that is both free and open-source. It’s a great option if you’re looking for an alternative to LastPass and need a cross-platform app. Bitwarden’s strongest feature is that it lets you store your passwords in a secure location of your choosing, on servers that you control. That way, no one else has access to your credentials and they aren’t stored on any servers. Bitwarden uses robust encryption (AES-256 bit) to safeguard your passwords and also undergoes regular, independent security assessments.
For those who are unfamiliar, password managers are programs that compile your various login information (passwords in particular) into a single, easily accessible database. That way, you won’t need to keep track of them yourself. You’ll find a password manager to be an invaluable tool in your day-to-day operations. You can use it to create strong passwords for new accounts, or to autofill login information for your favorite sites. In addition, it is available as a web app and as an extension for several browsers, including Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and others.
KeePass, LastPass, 1Password, Dashlane, and ZohoVault are all viable alternatives to Bitwarden.
To take notes, nothing beats Notion.
All of your note-taking, reminder-setting, wiki-building, and database-building needs can be met in one convenient place with Notion. In addition, Notion makes it easy to build up individual blogs and websites. The app’s extensive note-taking tools make it easy to jot down ideas in a variety of formats and file them away in a number of customizable folders. If we may say so, it’s even better than Evernote. You can use Notion as a central repository for all your documents, or you can import them from other platforms like Word, Excel, etc.
You need a competent note-taking app if your job requires you to take notes on a variety of subjects throughout the day. One has built-in collaboration tools to enable you and your coworkers work together on projects, as well as the capability to generate and manage richly formatted text. And Notion shows to be the best note-taking solution for Mac by incorporating all the necessary functionality and features you need onboard, that too while being free. Notion’s templates are one of the nicest features because they allow you to begin using the program right away. On the Notion website, you may obtain premade templates for a variety of purposes. You can also use the web app for Notion if you’d rather not use the native software.
Think About It
Evernote, Nimbus Note, Slite, Slab, Coda, Bear, and Microsoft One Note are some alternatives to Notion.
Todoist is the top Mac task manager.
Since you can see exactly what needs to be done and by when, implementing a task management tool into your workflow can help you considerably improve your operations. Todoist is highly recommended if you need an app to help you organize your to-do list. Having everything in one location can help you stay on top of things and meet your commitments on time. The best feature is that, because it works on several platforms, you may add tasks to the list from any device, at any time. Todoist includes a built-in calendar that displays all of your tasks in a calendar view. So that you may see what’s already on your schedule and add new things to do that will be reminded to you in the days to come. This replaces the need for a standalone calendar program on the Mac.
Todoist is more than just a to-do list manager; it also serves as a habit tracker, which is very useful when you’re trying to form new routines. As a team, you may more easily divide up the work and assign responsibilities with the help of Todoist. That way, everyone in your team can work together effectively and complete their assignments on time. Todoist’s integration features allow you to manage your tasks and the other apps and services you use to streamline your workflow without ever leaving the app. There is also a fully functional web app available.
To-do list alternatives include Microsoft To-Do, Fantastical, TickTick, Any.do, and Things.
The best Mac productivity tool for finding things is called “Alfred.”
Spotlight search is a system-wide search tool that allows you to rapidly search for different items (files/folders, apps, settings, etc.) on your Mac, and as a long-time Mac user, you are probably already familiar with it. While this default feature makes it simple to locate files locally and online, it falls short of the expectations of those looking for a more versatile search experience due to its lack of customization options and narrow applicability. Here’s where Alfred comes in handy with its plethora of features, all of which can be accessed from the Mac’s search box.
When compared to the Mac’s default spotlight search, Alfred provides a far more expedited experience. You may even view thumbnails of files before you open them in a new tab or window. This Mac software is similar in that you can do both local and web searches using several search engines. If you’d rather not manually perform activities on your computer, Alfred allows you to take use of workflows to do just that. Finally, the software includes a handy function called clipboard history. Using the system-wide clipboard manager known as “clipboard history,” you can copy several objects and then paste them into other programs. This eliminates the need to switch between programs just to copy and paste some text.
LaunchBar and Quicksilver are two alternatives to Alfred.
TextExpander is the top Mac text expander.
TextExpander is a Mac productivity app that makes it simple to insert frequently used text chunks. You can think of it like a word processor’s auto-complete feature, which finishes a sentence or a word for you. You can utilize it by simply saving the shorter versions of the longer blocks of text that you use regularly. When you’re ready, just use this shorthand in the relevant input box. You can save time that would otherwise be spent writing or copying text by having the software insert its equivalent (stored) word/sentence replacement instead.
Considering the typical flow of a workday, many people have to reply to emails or messages using the same formula every time. Not only that, but users also frequently have to type the same block of text (email address, signature, invite, code, and more) on a single app or in a variety of apps. If you only need to do this once or twice, the manual way is great. However, if you need to do it more often, you will need a tool like TextExpander to save you time and effort. In addition to text expansion, this Mac app can also be used to create markdown (.md) files from clipboard content, share snippets with your team, integrate it into other apps and services, and use code templates for various programming languages to facilitate efficient coding.
You can also use TypeIt4Me, AutoHotkey, Keyboard Maestro, or Alfred as alternatives to TextExpander.
Best Mac automation app, Keyboard Maestro
One of the best Mac automation apps is Keyboard Maestro. It allows you to streamline a wide variety of system tasks by programming your own shortcuts and palettes. The app’s built-in features allow you to perform things like launch programs, manage programs, run scripts, modify files, make palettes and macros, and insert generic text into various programs and services. Even while all of above makes the app sound hard, setting it up is actually quite simple.
If there are steps in your workflow that you execute often on your Mac, automating or streamlining those steps can free up your time and mental energy to devote to other important endeavors. And thereby do more in the same amount of time. Keyboard Maestro has several real-world uses, such as autofilling text fields, formatting web pages, reading text from photos, browsing the clipboard history, and automating repetitive chores using custom actions. In a nutshell, the applications are limitless. This macOS application can be used all day long to facilitate various processes in your workflow and boost your efficiency.
Obtain the Keyboard Maestro
Alternatives to Keyboard Maestro include Alfred and Keysmith.
Bartender: The Macintosh’s Finest Menu Bar Organizer
If you use a Mac, you should install Bartender. The name is clever, but the functionality it describes is truly brilliant. You see, the menu bar is where you’ll find most of your Mac’s useful apps. It doesn’t take long for this area to become crowded with a large number of app icons, which can be annoying on any screen size but especially on a mobile device.
With the Bartender software, you can rearrange the icons in your menu bar, hide them entirely, and even expand the functionality of the icons themselves to fix this issue. The software also comes with triggers, which allow you to display or conceal icons based on user-defined conditions. In addition, Bartender streamlines the process by allowing for fast searches. It’s much simpler to locate apps for the menu bar and launch them immediately with a quick search. Bartender’s outstanding feature is that it remembers your items’ layout from one restart to the next on macOS.
Dozer, an alternative to the bartender.
The greatest replacement for Night Shift is Flux.
The app Flux is a must-have and can be found on the app store. The most fundamental purpose it provides is to reduce blue light. As you may well know, exposure to blue light is harmful. And prolonged exposure to the same has the potential to disrupt the circadian cycle, leading to restlessness and fatigue when nighttime rolls around. Apple has included a feature on macOS called night shift that adjusts the display’s color temperature based on your preferences, so you don’t have to. Flux follows the same basic principles but gives you greater customization options.
Despite Apple’s claims that its native features help lessen the effects of blue light, they can’t compete with Flux. The night shift is subpar in general since there are less customization options, such as for color temperature and other preferences. In contrast, Flux lets you customize the color temperature of your lights throughout the day by selecting from a variety of presets and effects. The position of the sun during the day is taken into account by this macOS program, naturally altering the appearance of your Mac screen at predetermined intervals. That frightening blue light won’t be shining in your eyes for very long while you’re at work. In addition, you may customize the temperature and the start and stop periods of the presets to have Flux activate automatically at the times and temperatures of your choosing.
Replacements for Flux include the Iris and Desktop Dimmer.
Best app for organizing your life is MindNode.
You can create mind maps with MindNode. It allows you to connect your day’s worth of disparate ideas and thoughts into a cohesive whole. You can use it to manage a project, organize a meeting, plot a vacation, or study something new. The app’s ease of use is certainly one of its strongest points. You may rest assured that the layout will look great without any intervention from you. And you may put all your energy into conceptualizing and outlining your ideas.
MindNode is the most efficient method for developing a strategy whether you have a number of responsibilities to fulfill, a trip to organize, or a project to visualize. Simply open a new document in the app and begin adding your nodes (projects/actions/tasks). The program will then generate a customized strategy for you in the form of a mind map. To help you take your projects and tasks to the next level, MindNode lets you export them directly to other apps like Reminder, Things, and OmniFocus. You can also easily collaborate with other users by exporting and importing mind maps. You may convert time-sensitive nodes in your mind map into actual tasks. You’ll be reminded of them at the appropriate times and able to monitor your progress easily.
Try out MindNode
The WFH staff’s favorite productivity app is Krisp.
Krisp is a call-isolating app that reduces ambient noise while you’re on the line. The program uses AI to generate a Deep Neutral Network (KrispNet DNN) that can identify human speech and isolate it from background noise. The noise is then filtered out, resulting in crystal-clear high-definition (HD) sound. Krisp works with any Mac calling or meeting app and your existing set of headphones or speakers.
Since the majority of individuals now work from home, the idea of holding calls or meetings without being interrupted is unrealistic. By routing your audio through Krisp, though, you may minimize distracting background noises and give off a more polished impression. Pet, traffic, keyboard clicks, and echo are just some of the everyday noises that Krisp purports to eliminate. The app’s ability to filter out background noise on both ends of a call or conference is very useful. So not only does it lessen the noise in the background on your end, but you also have the option of doing so on the other person’s end of the call.
Condensed Menu: Top Mac URL Shortener
Short Menu is a tool for shortening long web addresses (links) on macOS and iOS. You can use it to swiftly transform a lengthy link copied to the clipboard into a more manageable one. That way, every time you need to shorten a URL, you won’t have to go to the link shortener websites and execute the same action by hand.
When you copy a long URL to your clipboard, you can use Short Menu to shorten it into a more manageable format. The best thing is that you can set it so that the shortened link is instantly copied to your clipboard, ready to be pasted. You may also create a global shortcut to paste a shortened URL into your browser’s address bar. Short Menu lets you pick a default shortening service and consolidate your accounts across multiple shortening sites, such as bit.ly, Google, Hive, or Rebeandly. In addition, Short Menu supports the GET and POST methods for integrating with custom services, so you may shorten your own URLs with it.
Abridge the Menu
Rectangle is the top-rated, free Mac window manager.
Using a number of applications at once on a Mac is not a fun experience. In general, this issue stems from the absence of a more effective window management program. If you’re used to Linux or even Windows, you may be surprised to learn that macOS’s default window management solution, split view, is extremely basic. In other words, you probably won’t be able to tile more than two apps at once. Here’s when utility apps from the app store come in handy. Rectangle is a good example of this.
Rectangle is a free, open-source Mac window manager that allows you to customize how windows appear on your desktop. This Mac program lets you switch between multiple window setups, and it even has keyboard shortcuts to help you do it quickly. You may even personalize the keyboard shortcuts for each layout to suit your needs. If you’re just getting started and aren’t yet familiar with the shortcuts, you can also use the shortcut for the Rectangle app in the menu bar to toggle between the various layout options.
Acquire a Square
Magnet, Mosaic, BetterSnapTool, and Moom are some alternates to the rectangle
Multitasking has never been easier than with Helium.
When it comes to essential Mac programs that will help you get more done in less time, Helium is once again at the top of the list. The app’s fundamental concept is based on the provision of a floating browser window. One that always appears on top of other app windows, regardless of their transparency settings. And it may be used in a variety of ways depending on your needs.
Just one instance where Helium would come in handy is when you’re deep in code and want to check out the official documentation for the programming language, module, or framework you’re working with. If this happens to you, simply launch Helium and the documentation will appear on top of any other active windows. In a similar vein, you can use the app for meetings or videos while simultaneously using another app. That way, you can have a window that floats over whatever else you’re doing on your screen. You can also customize the opacity of the floating window to your liking using the options provided by the program.
Amphetamine: The Ultimate Clamshell App for Macs
If you use a Mac with several displays, Amphetamine is an indispensable tool. To boost your productivity while using several displays hooked up to your Mac, you may take use of this handy program that lets you utilize your MacBook in clamshell mode when it is not plugged in.
when power is being supplied to the device through an external source. While this isn’t an issue while your MacBook is charging, leaving it plugged in after it’s fully charged might subject the battery to needless stress and heat, reducing its lifespan. That’s where Amphetamine comes in; it enables clamshell mode sessions on your MacBooks so you don’t need to have the charger connected in. The software goes above and beyond by letting you define triggers that will initiate a session in clamshell mode on their own.
Buy Some Adderall
If you’re a Mac user, you need to download Pocket.
A lot of people use Pocket to save articles to read later. As you may be aware, a read-it-later or bookmarking tool allows you to save (save) stuff (articles, movies, pages, etc.) you want to read but do not have time for at the present, to read when you do have the time. And that’s exactly what Pocket allows you to accomplish.
If you enjoy reading and have a Mac, Pocket is a great app to have. You can now store and return to the many articles you come across daily. And as a result, you can concentrate on your work and still get everything done that needs doing. Plus, you can use the app even if you don’t have an internet connection. This means you can take all of your hand-picked articles with you wherever you go. One of Pocket’s biggest advantages is that it syncs across several devices so that you can easily retrieve the stuff you’ve saved from any of them. That way, you can read whatever you want, whenever you want, across all of your connected devices.
In your pocket
Instapaper, Reeder 4, and Raindrop.io are some viable alternatives to Pocket.
Hazel is the top Mac automation app.
Mac users may take use of automation using Hazel. If you’re like automating tasks on your Mac, you’ve probably used Automator. It’s built right into macOS. Hazel is comparable to Automator in many respects, with the exception of those where Automator excels. Media automation, file operations automation, folder management automation, file sharing automation, and remote control are just some of the many uses for this Mac program.
To do the actions you want in Hazel, you must first set rules for the app. The programmed procedures are then carried out immediately. You may occasionally free up space on your Mac by setting up rules to perform tasks like organizing your system’s files and folders or emptying the Trash and removing unused temporary files. Hazel does more than just file management; it also allows you to connect to other programs. Therefore, you can use this feature to automate various tasks on your Mac.
Focus is the top macOS program for filtering out distractions.
You can prevent any Mac app from interrupting your work with Focus. As you might have guessed from the name, this Mac program lets you restrict access to distracting websites and applications so that you can get more done during the day. If you want to get things done without getting sidetracked, you should avoid visiting distracting websites like Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, etc. Both the full domain and the homepage can be blocked.
Focus is an option in the menu bar that you may activate with a single click. There are standard time settings that you can use, or you can customize it to suit your needs. In addition, the app provides you with data about the time you spend working on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis, which you can use to monitor your productivity and maintain your streak.
FocusMe, Escape, and Freedom are all viable options.
Best screen capture software is Snagit.
Snagit is Mac-specific software that can record and capture screen activity. Although macOS provides a built-in option for screen recording, it does not provide a great deal of customization for the various aspects of the recording process. This is when the use of external screen capture tools comes in handy. For Macs, Snagit is without a doubt the top choice for this task. Taking a screenshot or recording a video of your screen with Snagit is simple, and the results can be stored in the app’s library or shared in more than 15 formats.
The entire screen, a selected area, or the active program window can be captured. Screenshots can be taken in either a horizontal or vertical scrolling format, which is useful for recording lengthy talks. Snagit is similar in that it also records your screen and sounds. In order to show someone how to fix an issue on their Mac or assist them in doing so yourself. After you’ve recorded or captured something, you can annotate it, add text, and even grab text from it.
Droplr, Markup Hero, and Captivate are some alternatives to Snagit.
You may capture and deselect text on the screen with TextSniper, a Mac text recognition app. It can be used to pull text from various visual sources, including photos, videos, PDFs, screencasts, screenshots, web pages, and more. It can be activated with the push of a single button. When you do that, the tool is activated and gives you back a crosshair. To copy text from a document, position the crosshair where you want to start copying. The copied text can be pasted into any application that accepts text input.
TextSniper offers a number of different capture modes in addition to the default one, such as keeping line breaks (which adds line breaks to the captured text), additive clipboard (which allows you to copy and paste text from multiple sources at once), and text-to-speech (which converts text from any visual document into speech). The TextSniper software costs money. It costs $6.49 and includes a free week of use.
You may automate tasks, extend your Mac’s capabilities, and simplify your workflow with the help of the aforementioned top Mac productivity (utility and automation) applications. As a result, you’ll be able to streamline your processes and raise output.