Do you use technology more for distractions or to increase productivity? Many applications on our phones serve as distractions, but the same doesn’t have to be true of the apps on your computer.
The Mac App Store has apps that help you save time on little tasks that waste more of your day than you might realize. These apps can help you track how much time you’re spending on certain tasks, or give you easy access to the files you need often.
Some apps eliminate distractions like social media, notifications, and addictive websites. Others identify opportunities to automate tasks that you’re currently doing manually.
In the article below, you’ll find seven productivity apps to help you in seven different ways. Read on to find the app that’s right for your workflow needs.
Xmind for Mind Mapping
Do you ever find your thoughts jumbled when starting a new project? The Xmind mind mapping tool provides you with diagrams on which to organize your thoughts.
Unlike traditional project management tools that show the tasks in a straight line from beginning to end, Xmind puts the project components on diagrams. This shows the relationships between individual tasks and the project as a whole.
Xmind provides different types of map outlines including:
- Fishbone chart
- Brace map
- Organizational chart
The tool is customizable, giving you the freedom to place your thoughts in any order you want. Xmind costs $59.99 annually.
Serene for a No Distraction Zone
This next app rejects the idea that everyone has to multi-task throughout the day. Serene helps you focus on one task each day.
Each day, Serene will prompt you to define your goal and break your day down into different sections that will help you achieve that goal. The task can be broken down into multiple steps, but each completed step moves the progress bar along towards the ultimate goal completion.
Instead of opening your laptop and bouncing between emails, Slack messages, and projects, you’ll simply open Serene and immediately define your daily goal. Serene also blocks out distractions. You can connect Serene to your phone to block notifications from other Mac apps or to Slack so you can automatically set your status is, “busy.”
You can use the Serene app in tandem with a scheduling app to make sure your Slack teammates know that you’re occupied with meetings or appointments on your schedule. For a list of scheduling, apps to use alongside Serene, check out https://setapp.com/how-to/best-scheduling-app-for-mac.
Serene can even connect your smart lights in your home to turn them on during video meetings and off when you need to buckle down and work. Serene is free to download in the App Store.
Spark for Your Email Inbox
Think of Spark as a cure for the feeling of being overwhelmed by your email inbox. The first thing Spark does is unify your various email accounts into one simple inbox.
You can still tell which emails belong to which account, but won’t have to switch between pages to see your different inboxes. Spark’s big draw is the Smart Inbox. This feature sorts your email by what Spark thinks you care about.
Personal emails and notification emails go near the top. Newsletters and other promotional emails go near the bottom. Spark also has a “snooze” feature, which can help if you struggle with remembering to reply to emails. Once you snooze an email, Spark removes it from your inbox but reminds you to reply at a later date.
Spark also allows you to schedule emails to send at a later date, which is helpful if you tend to reply to emails outside of traditional business hours. Spark is free for single users or $6.99/month per user for the Teams version.
Apptivate for Easy App Access
This next app might only save you a minute or two out of every day, but those minutes add up. Aptivate is simple; it lets you assign hotkeys to open up certain apps.
Instead of searching for the app in Spotlight or scanning your launchpad for the right icon, Aptivate prompts you to select a combination of keys to quickly open the app.
Apptivate is especially useful for designers using multiple editing apps or students who have to open different Macbook computer apps for different assignments. Apptivate is free to download in The App Store.
Hazel for Automated File Organization
Organizing files takes so much time that most people just fail to do it at all. That’s how you end up with cluttered desktops and long searches for the folder you need.
If you’re wondering how to increase productivity and organization at the same time, Hazel can help by automating file organization. You can create rules that tell Hazel to move certain files to certain folders. These rules generally depend on the file name, date created, where it was downloaded from, or the type of file it is.
Hazel can also help with mass reorganizing by allowing you to rename and tag multiple files at once. Hazel is available for $42 in The App Store.
Clockify for Time Tracking
Clockify is a great time tracking app because you can run reports to learn how you spend your time. The app sits on your desktop where you can track time and assign it to various projects. You can then connect the app to your Clockify account online and generate reports.
Clockify has a summary report of your overall time tracking. It also has a weekly report and a detailed report that breaks time down into each project, client, or tag.
These types of reports can show you how you’re spending your time and help you learn how to better allocate your time moving forward. Clockify is free in The App Store.
Workspaces for a Way to Increase Productivity
Whether you’re writing an essay or creating a marketing email, you’re going to use multiple websites, files, and other Macbook apps. Workspaces is designed to bring all those files, websites, and applications together in one place at the beginning of your project.
When you create a new “Workspace” you load it with everything you’ll need for your project. As you work through the project, all the different components are easily accessible in your Workspaces window.
This makes it less likely that your workflow is interrupted by opening tabs, switching between Macbook applications, or combing through folders for files. Workspaces is available for $19.99 in The App Store.
Ready to Make Your Mac More Productive?
After downloading the apps mentioned above, you might wonder how you ever got by without them. The best part is, some of these useful apps will only increase productivity more as time goes on.
As artificial intelligence becomes more commonplace in various software systems, apps like Spark and Hazel that use learning algorithms will adapt to better serve your needs and move the industry forward. Keep reading our blog to stay up to date.