Some Useful Mac Apps to Increase Your Productivity

Years ago, one of the criticisms lobbed at the Mac platform was that when it comes to software, there just isn’t much out there.

Any Mac user will know that that stopped being true a long time ago, but in the last five or six years especially, the Mac as a platform has undergone a sort of software renaissance. Not only are the big mainstream programs available for the Mac (with the exception of games, where Windows still consistently rules the roost), but independent software developers have put out some of the most spectacular software available for any platform – much of it only available for the Mac.

I’m always trying to juggle lots of different projects and looking for the best ways to make my time and my work as efficient as possible, so I love productivity applications. I don’t quite have a GTD obsession, but I’m close.

For the Mac addicts and newcomers alike, I’ve compiled lots of my favorite Mac productivity applications. This list is by no-means exhaustive, so chime in with your favorites in the comments!

Task Management

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One of the most common types of productivity applications is the task manager. This is an app that can do anything from storing notes, integrating your calendar and to-do lists and popping up reminders and linking information. For many users seeking productivity bliss, the task management app is their productivity hub. The Mac has some great options, but here are 3 of the strongest (verified against an informal poll of my Twitter followers):

Things – Cultured Code’s Things was easily the top choice on my Twitter followers’ lists of “best Mac productivity app.” Not only is the interface gorgeous (it won a 2009 Apple Design Award), the app is both simple and powerful.

Not only can you manage all your tasks on the desktop, the fantastic Things iPhone app is a great way to keep track of your tasks while on the go, as well as a fantastic portable task manager and to-do list.

The Hit List – After Things, The Hit List won my impromptu Twitter poll. Like things, The Hit List is elegant, but powerful. If you participated in MacHeist this year, you got a copy of The Hit List, and as a task-manager, this is one of my favorites. It syncs with iCal, makes it easy to add lists and tasks, as well as attaching and organizing notes onto certain items, and it has an interface that is uncluttered and easy to use.

Information Organizers

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Shawn Blanc calls these kinds of applications “anything buckets” and I have to agree. Although you can use information organizers as task managers, they really excel at collecting and collating lots of different types of information for different projects.

So, you can have a way to store all the files associated with a project, all the pictures and the contact information of your co-workers, all in a way that is taggable and searchable.

Bento – Bento is from the FileMaker, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Apple, Inc., so the interface and features of Bento naturally match and work with those of native Mac applications. Bento describes itself as a personal database program, and that’s true.

You can attach e-mail content directly to a Bento box, just by dragging and dropping, it automatically syncs and can integrate with your iCal and CalDAV calendars. You can also use it with Excel spreadsheets to view and search items and terms more easily. What’s more, there’s an excellent Bento iPhone app that works both independently and in conjunction with the original application.

Yojimbo – Yojimbo 2.0 was recently released and the application has gained some new features, but it remains pretty much the same tried and true information organizer. Drag information into Yojimbo and tag it – it’s searchable in Spotlight, you can find it in Yojimbo, and if you want to take the information or files out of Yojimbo, you just drag it out.

Calendars and Address Books

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Although Google integration for calendars and address book entries is built-into Mac OS X Leopard and improved with Mac OS X Snow Leopard, managing your calendars and address books across systems (or keeping them updated both in Google and on your Mac) can still be a challenge. For instance, when you sync Google calendars with your Mac, many times they are only read-only, and you only have the option to sync five calendars at a time – a real bummer if you have lots and lots of calendars. Additionally, the systems don’t always work together as well as they should.

Fortunately, there are a couple of great Mac apps that do the trick.

BusyCal – The successor in many ways to the fantastic BusySync, BusyCal is like iCal on steroids (BusyMac calls it “iCal Pro”). BusyCal lets you share your iCal calendars across a LAN (great for business users) and also lets you sync with Google Calendar (including the ability to edit Google Calendar events), without Google/Apple’s 5 calendar limitation and with the ability to sync with more than one device. If you just use OS X and you want to sync a calendar with both your iPhone and say a BlackBerry or another phone, you can’t – BusyCal lets you do this sort of syncing.

You also get the option to add weather reports, notes, graphics and other media into your iCal view. Very, very nice.

Spanning Sync – Spanning Sync does much of what BusySync does, but with the addition of Google Address book syncing too. OS X Leopard and Snow Leopard can be set to sync with your Google Address book, but as a former BlackBerry user, I quickly found the problem with this: if you are using another mobile phone (or want to sync multiple Google accounts), the whole thing breaks.

These are what I love most, how about yours? Feel free to visit our site to share your opinion or get more useful information about Mac apps like Mac data recovery software on our site whenever you want.

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