Sam Holstein

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9 MacOS Productivity Apps You Will Absolutely Love

If you want to become more productive, you could spend hours pouring over self-help books… you could try all-new task management systems… or you could try something easy, like downloading some time-saving extensions.

Most of what you do on a computer is a repetitive task — typing in URLs, copy-pasting text, and that sort of thing. You can save a lot of time simply by finding quicker ways to do these things.

These 9 MacOS apps are my favorite productivity apps because they provide quicker ways of doing things you already do. These applications automate time-consuming manual processes on your computer, saving you hours every week. Best of all, most of them are under $5.

Copy ‘Em

Apprywhere

One of the most annoying aspects of being an entrepreneur nobody talks about is having to copy-paste things all the damn time. Entrepreneurs, you know what I mean: copy-pasting addresses, invitations, PR emails, emails to suppliers, legal information, canned responses, sample work, on and on and on.

Back when I didn’t know what I was doing, I used spreadsheets to manage these massive copy-paste tasks, a laborious task. Now I use Copy ’Em. Copy ’Em keeps a searchable history of everything I copy to my clipboard and allows me to paste from that history with easy hotkeys.

Even better, Copy ’Em has an iOS version. I can copy information on my Macbook and paste it directly to my iPhone. This has been convenient when sharing addresses and other information with friends.

If you do a lot of work on your computer, the five minutes it takes to download and install a copy-paste manager like Copy ’Em will be well worth it.

In Your Face

inyourface.app

You would not believe how often I end up late to meetings because I think to myself “I have a meeting in 7 minutes” and then get distracted by the internet. The creators of In Your Face must have the same issue, because they created a great little application that solves this problem.

In Your Face is a notification app that does one thing and one thing only: In the minutes before an online meeting, it gives you a full-screen alert about your meeting and a big button so you can immediately join. With In Your Face, you will always join meetings right on time and look on top of things, even if that’s not necessarily true.

Skitch by Evernote

Skitch by Evernote

We all have to show people stuff on our computers these days. We need to attach screenshots for customer service reps, we need to explain reports and information to our bosses via email, we need to add visuals to PowerPoint presentations, and so much more.

Many of your workflows to do so probably look like this:

  1. Take a screenshot.
  2. Crop it.
  3. Use an image editor to add something, if you even do it, because it’s a pain in the ass.
  4. Save the image somewhere on your computer, if you even know where to find it once you’ve saved it.
  5. Finally use the image where you need it.

But your workflows could look like this:

  1. Take a screenshot.
  2. Add the arrows and text you need in mere seconds.
  3. Drag to use.

Skitch has been on my Mac for a few years now and I love it. Skitch makes it easy to take a crosshair snapshot of anywhere on my screen and annotate it however I please.

this annotation took seconds in Skitch

If you ever find yourself attaching screenshots to emails to demonstrate something, take a few minutes to download Skitch and familiarize yourself with it. You’ll save yourself countless hours of messing with screenshots.

Yoink

Yoink, credit 9to5mac

Dragging files from location to location is useful when moving apps from the web or vice versa. But it breaks quite frequently. I hit ⌘+Tab only to find some window has changed on my browser. At this point, I need to do some window-arranging Olympics to get the job done.

At least, that’s what I did in the past. Now I use Yoink.

Yoink is a fabulous extension of drag-and-drop. Every time you drag a file, a little tray pops up on the side of your screen. You can drop your file into that tray, tab and click wherever you need to, then drag your file out of that tray into its final destination.

I love using Yoink when I’m working with CMSes like WordPress and Joomla, which have notoriously finicky user interfaces. I also love Yoink when writing blog articles like this one, that have many images. Yoink is also great when you have lots of windows open on a laptop or other small monitor.

MonitorControl Lite

Image Credit via Caschy’s Blog

If you asked my partner, he would tell you I’m neurotic about display brightness. Nearly every time he turns on one of his displays, I exclaim “It’s too bright!” and turn it down quite a bit (and every time I leave the room, he turns it back up).

If you’re like me, get yourself MonitorControl Lite. This MacOS app provides beautiful and easy-to-use sliders for the brightness of your Mac & every attached monitor. Without MonitorControl, you need to fumble around with physical buttons and clunky software every time you want to alter brightness levels. With MonitorControl, it’s as easy as dragging a slider.

Flow Pomo App

FlowApp

There are quite a few Pomo apps in the world, but none are as smooth or as pleasant to use as Flow.

With Flow, a beautiful dialog pops up that asks you the details of the Pomo you want. You configure and go. Once you turn it on, a lovely and unobtrusive timer pops up in your Status Bar. I love this timer. I often wonder “how much longer” and can easily look up to see before mindfully returning to my task.

What sets Flow apart is the way it ends your session. When you’re done, you don’t get an annoying modal or a loud alert tone. There is no popup or sound at all. The app gently displays a full-screen display that has nothing but your break timer and a play button (and a skip button in the corner, if you want to skip your break). Then you take your break, and when you’re ready to return, you click Go. You can maintain hours of pleasant, peaceful productivity without hearing even one annoying alarm.

Storage Management

Storage Management

There are quite a few third-party storage management apps out there, but you don’t need any of them. MacOS has a built-in storage management solution called Storage Management, and it’s powerful enough to meet all your storage management needs.

Constantly getting notified by your computer that you’re running out of space? Open Storage Management and see what your largest applications and files are. Delete the ones you don’t need. Empty your trash, see your backups, browse your files by size, and more, all with Apple’s Storage Management app.

Magnet

Image credit AppSliced

I’m not a big fan of the way Apple’s full-screen button works. You program gets big and borderless, which is nice, but then popups don’t work properly. It’s nice when you want to do deep work in one application, but annoying at other times. For those other times, you can use Magnet.

Magnet is a simple window-snapping application. Drag your window to the sides or corners of your screen and it will automatically snap to the indicated size. Very convenient when you want to put 2 or 4 windows up at once without having to use Apple’s laborious tiling functionality.

Caffeinated

Image credit App Store

For the sake of my computer battery and the environment, my computer is configured to go to sleep within minutes of me leaving it alone. But occasionally, I don’t want it to do this, such as when I’m downloading a large video game or keeping an eye on a file transfer.

In the past, I solved this problem by reconfiguring my computer to never sleep, ever. But sometimes I forgot to configure it back, too, which means I’ve harmed the environment and shortened my Macbook’s lifespan significantly. What I should have done was use Caffeinated.

Caffeinated is a MacOS app that keeps your computer from going to sleep. You select a timer from anywhere from 5 minutes to 12 hours and your computer will not go to sleep during that time. After the timer is up (or you quit the application), your computer goes back to normal.

Here's a link to a similar app for windows: Caffeinated for Win