Mac Apps I use to say productive

These are some notes for a workshop I am giving on Mac productivity tools. These cover the main Mac apps that I use day to day that I would loosely describe as productivity apps.


Alfred is a better version of Spotlight.

The free version gives you access to a quick search feature, a dictionary, a way to open applications quickly, a way to search various websites for something quickly, and much more.

I use the paid version, this allows you to build your own complex workflows which are triggered by a small series of key presses. You can also download workflows that other people have made.


Evernote is an online and offline document store that makes it easy to create documents that are instantly categorisable and searchable.

I use Evernote to write quick notes which I want to access from several devices, or to store notes or websites which I have found which I think will be useful at a later date. The big benefit of this is that once synced to your computer you don’t need an internet connection to view this material.

I wrote about Evernote some time ago when I covered tools I use when blogging.


Omnifocus is my todo application of choice it is by far the most powerful thing I have used and has had the biggest impact on my productivity.

I try and adhere to the main tenants of the GTD approach to staying productive and I find that Omnifocus is setup in the best way possible for me.

I have written more about Omnifocus in an article called, originally enough, how I use Omnifocus

Better Snap Tool

Better Snap Tool allows me to drag my windows into sensible sizes really quickly.

You can make an app fill up half, a quarter, or the full screen by just dragging it. I really don’t know why this isn’t baked into OS X yet but until it is I will always download Better Snap Tool on any new machine.


TextExpander is an amazing tool, you predefine words, phrases or entire templates that you use over and over and set up a phrase to represent them. For example tgmail for me translates to [email protected] in any text app. Likewise if I want some dummy text I type llorem and get;

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris sollicitudin laoreet felis, tincidunt ultricies odio laoreet ac. Vestibulum porta euismod sapien, a blandit nisi congue id. Pellentesque feugiat orci nec tellus consequat consequat. Nullam sit amet quam cursus leo vulputate mollis feugiat nec elit. Integer neque eros, sagittis euismod malesuada eu, congue eu sapien. Quisque pharetra pharetra dolor get tempus. Vivamus fermentum, enim get lacinia hendrerit, est quam aliquam mi, sit amet convallis metus metus sit amet leo. Curabitur sed metus massa.

I briefly mentioned TextExpander in an bizarre article I wrote comparing automation to your windscreen wipers.

Pomodoro One

Pomodoro One is an application to help you track pomodoro sessions.

I don’t use this as much as I should, but the idea of the Pomodoro technique is you do a block of work followed by a smaller block of rest.

This simple timer lets you know when a block is up and when a rest block is up.

I normally work best in 25 minute bursts with 5 minute breaks. You can set it up however you like.


Noizio is a background sound generator.

Sometimes you don’t want to listen to music but you do want to block out other noise, I found Noizio perfect for this.

It has things like rain, campfire, space, cafe noises. It is an odd concept but really helps keep me in the zone.

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