Regardless of whether you received a new Mac for the holidays or you’re beginning to work on your New Year’s resolution to be more productive, applications are on your mind for loading up your Mac for 2013. Productivity apps are great things to add to your Mac whether your resolutions involve productivity or not, as we can all benefit from having a better work flow in our personal lives or occupations. With all of the various applications available in the Mac App Store today that involve productivity, it can be easier than ever to fill your Mac. However, choosing which applications to download may be daunting so this list should help you narrow down your choices.
A slow Mac is one of the biggest things that can impede on your productive work flow. However, working on increasing your Mac’s processing speed doesn’t stop at emptying your Mac’s trash bin or deleting files in one place: there are many files on your Mac that aren’t easy to access but are quite useless. These files can include language packs on applications.
If you know you’ll never have to view an application in Hindi, then it’s a safe bet that you can start deleting some extra files, but how do you do so? Magican helps with deleting these pesky hidden files throughout your Mac by recommending files that you may not need and cleaning out your computer with a click of a button. For a free application, Magican is a great tool to increase productivity. (Free)
Distractions are a much larger impediment of productivity than a slow Mac. While television shows or noisy rooms seem like the most obvious causes of distractions, there is another issue that can severely impact productivity: a lack of structure. When we don’t have a set schedule for getting things done, we are more likely to get distracted and push tasks aside for later. A quick solution to this type of procrastination is Pomodoro.
The system of productive working occurs when you assign each activity a certain duration, allowing time for breaks. Pomodoro works in increments to allow you to hold your attention for a longer period of time. I am currently using this app while writing this article… at 2:00 am. I set the task’s duration to about an hour to an hour and a half to complete. With the help of Pomodoro, I have been able to take breaks to rest my mind while still keeping my brain stimulated (not staring at a computer blankly for an hour or more). If you are willing to try a new productivity technique, this application may be the one for you. ($4.99)
Looking at things from a blank slate and understanding the larger picture allow you to stretch your creativity and extend your workload into something more productive. For example, as a blogger, I must come up with provoking article ideas that will grab readers’ attention and are appealing to their wants and needs. MindNode is a great way for me to get a larger picture of a topic or subject and break it down step-by-step into an idea tree. Instead of wasting time pondering, MindNode allows you to get going and act on your ideas. (Free; $19.99 paid version)
iA Writer ($4.99) – As mentioned above, distraction is a common impediment of productivity. iA Writer takes the distraction out of writing by allowing you to focus more on the text at hand. This can be done by having a blank, non-distracting background. Through focus mode, you can even blur all but the specific sentence you are writing.
Mou (Free) – Mou takes the distraction out of CSS and HTML coding. If you are a developer, lines of code can be distracting and can even cause you to feel overwhelmed. Mou can help. This is a must!
SelfControl (Free) – Facebook distracting you from work? Block it for a couple of minutes or hours with SelfControl. Preventing you from visiting specified websites, SelfControl is very effective. It is quite difficult to disable so make sure to set the parameters wisely. This is for the ultra procrastinators!
Quiet ($1.99) – Maintain productivity by having your desktop focus only on what you’re actively using, blurring all inactive windows or alerts. Similar to SelfControl, this prevents you from being tempted to play a game or work on another task.
BreakTime ($4.99) – In some aspects, this application uses the Pomodoro technique of encouraging breaks by disabling the things you are working on for short designated intervals. Despite being a bit expensive, BreakTime is a great proponent of a healthier lifestyle for bloggers, programmers, and even average Internet users alike.
Producteev (Free) – Use this application to stay on top of what needs to get done by separating your work life from your personal needs through “Workspaces.” Never again will you get distracted from work when you see the load of exclusively work-related tasks you have to get done!
iStudiez Pro ($9.99) – This is the household name for productivity apps geared toward students. Considering the price, this app is a true investment piece but will keep on giving throughout secondary school and university.
Pages, Keynote, and Numbers - iWork Office ($19.99/each) – These apps are cost-efficient, more user-friendly alternatives to Microsoft Office. Exporting options allow you to have your documents or slideshows viewable on any computer.
Anxiety (Free) – Anxiety allows you to have a quick to-do list in the background, but always at hand to check off the tasks of the day. It takes out all of the fluff and gives you a bare-bones to-do task list. It’s a tad bit better than a sticky note!
Kickoff (Free) – Get things done in a collaborative, chat-centered way with Kickoff. As the saying goes, “There’s no ‘I’ in team.” Knock out tasks through group action.
BusyCal 2 ($19.99) – Increase the productivity of the native Calendar application, while still retaining an identical UI with BusyCal 2.
Balsamiq Mockups (30-day free trial; $79) – Balsamiq Mockups is all about UI mockups made easy, all in a drag-and-drop fashion. This is the UI application that I make use of when sketching websites and iPhone apps. Plus, there are PNG and JPEG exportation options as well to make it extra sharable.
Collections (Free) – Google Docs comes to Mac—finally? This is the best you’ll get, wrapped in a web app.
Klok ($19.99) – Klok is a work timer that ensures that you are getting the correct work duration from your client on timed freelance projects.
Things ($49.99 after Free Trial) – This is the only task manager you’ll need if you’re willing to cough up the initial cost! There’s even an iOS application available as well.
Clear ($6.99) – iOS born, now Mac bred, Clear is a task manager that takes the mess out of keeping tasks organized. The application makes use of gestures, similar to the iOS app, to create and check off tasks by not having too many options yelling at you all at once.
CrossPost ($1.99) – Reduce the amount of time you spend on social networks, and increase the amount of time you have to get things done. CrossPost allows you to simultaneously post to Facebook and Twitter with a simple click.