If you feel like you’re just not making the most of your
waking hours, you’re not alone. With all the competing demands on our time and
energies, most of us can use a bit of help prioritising our most important
goals and keeping focused on the steps we need to take to reach these goals.
Happily there are some fabulous apps available for Mac users that can help you do just that.
I’ve created a list of the ten best free apps that will help you jump-start your productivity. All are free, but some invite
you to upgrade for a fee, in order to access an ad-free or more feature-rich
version of the app. For many users, though, the free version will be all you
ever need to get the job done.
Without a doubt the first step to boosting your productivity
is to get organised, and the best way to do that is to be clear about what your
goals are and prioritise the tasks you need to execute every day to fulfil
The Todoist app is a simple to-do list
that helps you to manage your daily tasks by documenting them, prioritising
them and adding deadlines or due dates.
- add, complete, and reschedule tasks from mobile devices,
desktop, browser, email, etc.
- syncs automatically across all your devices
- add sub-tasks, task priorities, sub-projects, and color-coded
- share projects, assign tasks, and add comments to team
members from within the app
- and more
User SamManns says:
“Love this app. Beautiful, uncluttered interface.”
If you work with a lot of images, graphics and/or videos, then you know how important it is to be able to access your media quickly and easily on different devices and to be able to share files with colleagues in an instant when necessary.
Photo Transfer WiFi enables you to do just that by making speedy, hassle-free transfers between devices on the same W-iFi.
- Simple drag and drop operation
- Import HD videos to Mac from another Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini, or iPad Pro
- Make your pictures accessible from your Mac to other users on the same WiFi network
- Transfer your single and multiple photos and videos, albums, photos in full resolution
- and more
User David Paine says:
“You put a copy of this on your iPad and a copy on your Mac. You start both programs. They talk to each other. The Mac program sees your iPad and the iPad program sees your Mac.You drag and drop from your Mac into the little program window and transfer is instant, even with a little wavefile sounding of the photo wizzing off to your iPad. Is really amazing. Buy this…you won’t regret it.”
One of the most important factors in living a more
productive life is being able to focus on one task without distractions for a
period of time.
Focused helps you get tasks done
by breaking up the time you spend working on them into discrete intervals separated by short breaks.
This helps you retain motivation and focus. You can track
your progress throughout the day, week or any custom period you choose.
- fast and easy goal tracking
- customise work interval and break duration
- different alarm sounds
- syncs between Mac and mobile devices
- and more
User ElevatingCreativity says:
“Be Focused allows you to keep track of specific activities that you’re engaging
in, and how much time you’re spending there. It automatically alternates
between focus sessions and break sessions. It allows you to specify how much
time you want to alternate between focus and breaks, and will automatically
remind you to stay on track. I haven’t yet tried the pro version, but just this
free version does a lot and is very useful.”
Where does the time go? This is a mystery for many of us,
but it doesn’t have to be. If you want to understand exactly how you’re
spending the working hours of a day, then Toggl
Desktop app is an indispensable tool.
Each time you begin a new task, you enter
it in the app. When you’ve completed the task you log out. At the end of
the day, week, and month you’ll have a detailed record of how you’ve spent
- idle detection
- tracking reminder
- task timer
- and more
User Lucas2114 says:
“I use Toggl as a freelancer. It’s amazing how good the free
version is. I tried many apps and this one is perfect. It’s also open-source,
which is cool.”
AudioNote Lite is a brilliant app that will save you time
and energy while improving the quality of the notes you take in meetings,
lectures, interviews or study sessions.
The app is essentially a notepad and voice recorder combined.
When you hit the record button the app begins recording, and thereafter each
note that you type acts as a link to the point in the recording that you typed
This means that during playback, you don’t have to waste
time searching through the entire recording to find a certain point. Just click
the note you’ve written and it will take you to the exact point in the
recording when you made it.
- synchronised note and audio recording
- find important parts of audio instantly just by tapping notes
- ability to insert text, drawing, photo, and highlighter notes
- audio amplifier for recordings made in larger conference rooms
- and more
User Thumper124 says:
“This is one of the best note taking apps I’ve tried. I
especially like the recording feature, and the option to type your notes
instead of writing if that is what you prefer. Love this app!!”
Evernote is all about being organised, and where it really excels is in enabling
users to make notes in a variety of formats, including text, sketches,
photos, audio, video, PDFs and web clippings etc. and then organise those notes in
searchable notebooks and checklists that can be automatically synced between
a computer and various mobile devices.
- everything you store in Evernote is searchable including pictures and annotated
- share, discuss and collaborate with others all in one app
- gather, capture and store every thoughts and ideas
- clip and organise content from the web
- and more
User madman420 says:
“The Mac version of Evernote keeps getting better. I love
that I can drag multiple files onto the dock icon in order to create multiple
notes with the files attached to each note, and I also appreciate being able to
open multiple Evernote windows. This, combined with the flexible workflow tools
and features like reminders, tagging, PDF mark-up, OCR search, synced
notebooks, offline notebooks, local notebooks, and easy collaboration make it
the ultimate, indispensible tool for managing my life and business.”
If you’re ooking for a great digital notebook that you can use for
jotting notes, crafting longer pieces, writing code snippets or sketching, then
check out Bear.
It’s a beautiful, flexible
writing app that allows you to create many different types of notes and access them
- focus mode helps you concentrate
- ability to link notes to each other
- ability to use hashtags to quickly find and organize notes
- Smart Data Recognition of elements like links, emails,
addresses, colours, etc.
- and more
User CompSciProf says:
“There are three main reasons why I love this app: 1) You own
your data, meaning it is not stored in some proprietary format. Along with
this, you can export your data and backup your data very easily. 2) App is iOS
and MacOS only. The advantage here is the development team can focus on one
platform instead of trying to fit their app into each platform. 3) The app is
easy to use and very intuitive. Instead of focusing on creating folders or
creating tags, Bear takes care of that for you by creating the tag structure
dynamically based on the content of the notes. With the latest updates, the
development team does a great job of balancing features while avoiding bloat.”
Skitch is one of those apps that once you start using, you’ll wonder how you
lived without it for so long.
An add-on for Evernote that can also be used
independently, Skitch helps users to use screenshots, PDFs or images from your
hard drive, mark them up with various notes, comments and diagrams and send
them to colleagues in an instant.
- send marked-up documents and images via social, email, SMS and more
- multiple users can mark up one document or image using
different coloured text
- can be accessed across devices
- and more
“I’ve been a Skitch user since it arrived as an add-on for
Evernote. I’ve come to rely on it many of my work and personal workflows. For
example, at work I’ve used it to take screenshots, annotate these screenshots,
and embed them into Evernote notes for use as simple and quick How To for
Text2Speech is a free app that
reads aloud any text copied into the app’s text load window.
You can change the speaking rate or the
speaking voice, as well as pause or stop the program at any point.
- supports over 20 languages
- can select additional voices from Apple’s System Preference
- and more
User Raven3-3g says:
“I’m working on a research paper where I need many sources
from academic articles and this app is saving me a lot of time. I’m better able
to take notes on my readings and I can have the app narrate to me a lot faster
than I’m able to read silently. This is still an amazing app. Very much
worthwhile to have.”
Cloud storage has become very popular and very competitive
lately. One of the reasons why is that it frees us up from endless drives and
the problems associated with them. It also allows us to access our data from
any device and makes sharing documents and collaborating with colleagues far easier.
you free online storage for your files, so you can access them from your Mac
and any other devices you use.
- access your OneDrive files directly from the Finder
- work with your OneDrive files even when you’re offline. Your
changes will sync automatically the next time you’re online
- add several files or folders to OneDrive at a time by dragging
them to the OneDrive folder
- easily open, edit and create docs and other files in
- and more
User Simon Beech says:
“I’ve used a range of cloud saving apps but OneDrive has been
the most reliable and easiest to use. The quick link between my iPhone and Mac
has saved me countless times in interviews, meetings and presentations where I
would normally have to resort to a USB memory stick.”
Well there you have it, the ten best free Mac apps to jump-start
your productivity currently found in the App Store.
Of course, there are many
others I couldn’t cover in this article, so if you have a favourite that I
haven’t mentioned, please drop a mention in the comments.