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Last Updated on July 27, 2018

20 Best Productivity Apps for Mac You Should Have in 2018

20 Best Productivity Apps for Mac You Should Have in 2018

Whether you use your Mac for work or just for your personal projects, you’ve likely found yourself wondering how to improve your productivity. There are only so many hours in a day, and so much mental stamina you can muster before you run out.

There are dozens of tricks you can use to improve your own productivity and outlook, but if you’re looking for a more objective, comprehensive fix, the best thing to do is equip your Mac with productivity apps designed to help you do more in less time.

This Lifehack-exclusive list has some of the best productivity apps to help you feel less tired, improve your energy, and ultimately help you get more done every day:

1. Todoist.

    Available for all iOS devices, Todoist is a note-taking and organization app that can keep you on top of all your projects—both personal and professional.

    Its best features are all free to use, including browser extensions, task creation, and interactive boards you can use to organize all your notes.

    If you want to pay the optional $29 yearly fee, you can get even more advanced features like backups and automatic reminders. Even with the free version, you’ll stay far more organized.

    Download: Todoist

    2. EmailAnalytics

      Have you ever wondered how much time you’re really spending on email, and whether that time is productive? EmailAnalytics exists to help Gmail and G Suite users answer that question in the span of a few minutes.

      It generates a detailed report to tell you how long it takes you to write and read emails, your top email sources, your average response times, and other information you can use to boost your email productivity. It’s free to try for 14 days.

      Download: EmailAnalytics

      3. 1Password

        You may not realize it, but you probably spend a ton of time recalling your passwords, especially if and when you forget one to an app you use on a regular basis.

        1Password is an app for Mac that saves and remembers all your passwords for you in one place, so you can access all your favorite sites with a single click.

        You’ll save time and keep all your accounts secure simultaneously. A personal plan is $2.99 per month.

        Download: 1Password

        4. Bear.

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          Bear is a unique kind of note-taking app designed to make it easier for Mac users to jot down notes on the go. With it, you can create to-do lists, give yourself reminders, and outline concepts for future brainstorming sessions.

          It comes with many different inline styles so you can customize your notes to your personal preferences, and remember the context in which you wrote them. The core version is free, with a $14.99 per year version available as well.

          Download: Bear

          5. Hazel

            Hazel by noodlesoft is an automated organization tool designed for Mac that will help you automatically organize your files based on any custom rules you want to create.

            For example, you can set it to move untouched items from one folder into another folder labeled “action items” if they haven’t been addressed within a week. It can save you hours of organization over the course of a few weeks. A single license is a flat $32.

            Download: noodlesoft

            6. Alfred

              Alfred is an all-in-one app designed to save you time with Mac shortcuts and convenient custom actions. You can use it in a variety of ways.

              For example, you can access Alfred’s clipboard memory so you don’t copy and paste the same material over and over, or set up custom workflows to automate some of your most repetitive tasks.

              It’s a paid app, with multiple price points based on the features you desire.

              Download: Alfred

              7. TextExpander

                TextExpander does exactly what the name suggests; it allows you to type a short snippet of text, and expand that text automatically.

                For example, you can create a custom expansion that allows you to conjure a full paragraph you type repeatedly by simply typing a unique abbreviation. Once you get used to your custom combinations, you’ll spare your fingers from typing thousands of words.

                An individual account is $3.33 per month.

                Download: TextExpander

                8. Backblaze

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                  If you’ve ever experienced a crash, or theft of your Mac, you know how much time a system restore can cost you. You’ll spend hours replacing the files you lost, and lose thousands of files that are irreplaceable.

                  Backblaze is an automated, inexpensive way to back up your entire Mac for just $5 a month.

                  Download: Backblaze

                  9. Keyboard Maestro

                    Keyboard Maestro is an older app that still has the power to make your life easier. With it, you can automate any number of tasks based on a certain trigger (such as a hotkey combination, or an event like connecting to a wireless network). A single license only costs $36.

                    Download: Keyboard Maestro

                    10. Snagit

                      There are many applications for a good screen-capture app, whether you’re trying to illustrate a tech problem you have or just want to make an interesting meme.

                      Snagit makes it easy, with built-in editing for both still images and video. A single license covers two machines, and costs $49.95.

                      Download: TechSmith/Snagit

                      11. Bartender

                        Bartender is the cleverly-named app that helps you clean up and organize all your menu bar icons. You can also access them quickly with keyboard shortcuts.

                        If you’re like most Mac users, those icons get cluttered quickly and stop you from working efficiently. It’s free to try for 4 weeks, after which you’ll need a $15 license.

                        Download: Bartender

                        12. Otter

                        Otter is the Mac app for the note taker who hates typing. It’s an intelligent voice-recognition system and note-taking app that will help you transcribe your conversations, keep notes during meetings, and even take contextual notes to yourself in your own time.

                        Best of all, it’s free to get started!

                        Download: Otter

                        13. Flux

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                          Do you often find yourself feeling tired throughout the day, or feeling unable to get to sleep after a day of staring at your computer? That could be because of the unnatural blue light that radiates from your Mac.

                          Flux naturally adapts your display to emit light that matches the time of day, so you can sleep better and feel less tired. It’s also free!

                          Download: Flux

                          14. PDFpen

                          If you deal with PDFs on a regular basis, you probably find yourself wishing for some kind of tool that can let you mark up those PDFs however you want. Without a dedicated app like PDFpen, this can be difficult.

                          PDFpen lets you edit PDFs in almost any conceivable way, giving you more power and saving you time. A single license is $74.95.

                          Download: Smile Software/PDFpen

                          15. OmniFocus

                            OmniFocus is all about task management. It has a clean interface that allows you to tag your tasks, schedule events, and even automate certain features.

                            It’s one of the most comprehensive solutions on the market, so there’s a bit of a learning curve to get the most out of it.

                            A standard license is $39.99, while the pro version is $79.99.

                            Download: OmniFocus

                            16. Franz

                              If you’re like most professionals, you’re tired of having to switch between dozens of different chat programs like Facebook Messenger, Slack, and WhatsApp, whenever you want to have a conversation with a different contact.

                              Franz’s solution is simple; offer access to all these apps in one convenient package. And best of all, it’s completely open source.

                              Download: Franz

                              17. MindNode

                                If you’re the brainstorming type, you need an app like MindNode to help you efficiently organize your thoughts. There are dozens of tools you can use to connect ideas in a mind map, or simply jot down notes for future reference.

                                The core app is free, with in-app purchases available.

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                                Download: MindNode

                                18. Focus

                                  The internet is a wonderful thing, but it can be awfully distracting. And if you’re like the majority of us, you’ve interrupted work on a project because of some attention-grabbing site or bad online habit. That’s where Focus comes in.

                                  This app allows you to block the worst offenders with custom time limits and other constraints, so you can focus on the task at hand. A single license is $19.99.

                                  Download: Focus

                                  19. CleanMyMac

                                    Chances are, your Mac isn’t working as fast as it could, thanks to gigabytes of clutter and unnecessary files on your system. CleanMyMac will help you scan your Mac, monitor its health, and ultimately clean it up—so you can handle all your tasks that extra bit faster. A single license is $39.95.

                                    Download: CleanMyMac

                                    20. Grammarly

                                      A spelling error or grammatical mistake can cost you big time. It could be the source of a worse grade on a big paper, or compromise your credibility in the workplace. Thankfully, Grammarly can help you.

                                      This Mac-integrated writing assistant will monitor all your writing and make live corrections, so you’re alerted to your potential mistakes before they become permanent.

                                      A free version exists, but the premium version will cost you between $11 and $30 a month, depending on how you pay.

                                      Download: Grammarly

                                      These productivity apps should help you squeeze more productive hours out of every day, but they aren’t the only tools you’ll have to help you find success.

                                      Make the time to learn about and experiment with all the life hacks that can make you more productive; by improving your devices as well as your outlook and focus, you’ll be able to get far more done in a day, and feel better doing it.

                                      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                                      More by this author

                                      Anna Johansson

                                      Anna is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant.

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                                      Published on November 9, 2018

                                      How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                                      How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                                      Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.

                                      Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.

                                      So, are you ready? Here we begin.

                                      6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)

                                      When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-

                                      1. Spreadsheets and Databases

                                      Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.

                                      To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.

                                      In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:

                                      • Microsoft Excel
                                      • Microsoft Access
                                      • Statistics
                                      • Data Analytics
                                      • Adobe Campaign
                                      • Quickbooks
                                      • XML Database management system
                                      • Filemaker Pro
                                      • MATLAB
                                      • Hive
                                      • FORTRAN
                                      • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
                                      • SAS

                                      2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging

                                      Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.

                                      Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:

                                      • Content Management System (CMS)
                                      • Google Analytics
                                      • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
                                      • Email Marketing
                                      • Web Page Design
                                      • WordPress
                                      • Digital Media
                                      • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
                                      • Campaign Management Software

                                      3. Graphic Design and Word Processing

                                      A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:

                                      • Adobe Photoshop
                                      • Adobe InDesign
                                      • Adobe Illustrator
                                      • AutoCAD
                                      • CorelDRAW
                                      • Microsoft Visual Studio
                                      • Maya
                                      • Microsoft Word
                                      • Microsoft Publisher
                                      • Operating Digital Cameras

                                      4. Software and Hardware Design and Development

                                      The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.

                                      To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:

                                      • HTML
                                      • C/C++
                                      • Java
                                      • Python
                                      • XML
                                      • UI/UX
                                      • LINUX
                                      • CISC and RISC architecture
                                      • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
                                      • Memory Management
                                      • PCB Layout
                                      • SQL

                                      5. IT Troubleshooting

                                      Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.

                                      So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:

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                                      • Backup management
                                      • Diagnostics
                                      • End User support
                                      • Client-Server management
                                      • Installation and configuration
                                      • Issue tracking system (ITS)
                                      • System administration
                                      • Tech support

                                      6. Enterprise Systems

                                      Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.

                                      Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.

                                      The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills

                                      Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.

                                      Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.

                                      Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:

                                      1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja

                                      a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

                                      Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.

                                      Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.

                                      b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

                                      This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.

                                      c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

                                      Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.

                                      Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.

                                      2. Rule the Social Media World

                                      a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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                                      Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.

                                      From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.

                                      b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

                                      This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.

                                      c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

                                      Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.

                                      Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.

                                      3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment

                                      a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

                                      From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.

                                      b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

                                      Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.

                                      The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.

                                      c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

                                      The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.

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                                      4. Live and Breathe Creativity

                                      a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

                                      It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.

                                      From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.

                                      b. Canva Design School

                                      From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.

                                      c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

                                      62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.

                                      d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

                                      The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.

                                      Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.

                                      5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting

                                      a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

                                      IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.

                                      It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.

                                      b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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                                      The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.

                                      Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills

                                      The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:

                                      • Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
                                      • Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
                                      • Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
                                      • eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
                                      • Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
                                      • GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
                                      • QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.

                                      Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead

                                      Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:

                                      1. Practice, Practice, Practice

                                      It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.

                                      Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.

                                      2. Work on Your Efficiency

                                      Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.

                                      For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.

                                      3. Look for Shortcuts

                                      Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.

                                      4. Apply for an Internship

                                      Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.

                                      By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:

                                      How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                                      The Bottom Line

                                      Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.

                                      So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

                                      Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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