The best Apple Mac software for productivity

I use a lot of software to run my business: I can hardly believe I use so many programs!

This is just a list, but over the coming month I plan to tell you more about many of these programs via separate blog posts. In the meantime, if you have any questions, shoot me an email.

During an average week I use the following software which is included with every Mac…

  • Dictionary
  • Mail
  • iCal
  • iTunes
  • Preview
  • Safari
  • iPhoto (I have 27,000 photos here, mostly of my wife and children, not surprisingly!)
  • Address Book
  • Calculator

I use the following software which I downloaded for free from the web…

  • Dropbox (actually, I pay $9.99 a month to get 50 gig of backup storage, but you can get about 2 gig backup storage for free)
  • Alfred (a program launcher I prefer to Quicksilver)
  • Firefox (the browser I use when Safari occasionally doesn’t show a page correctly)
  • NetNewsWire (for reading new posts on sites I follow)
  • Tungle (so people can book coaching/counselling sessions with me from their browser)
  • Growl (produces an alert box on the screen when certain tasks are completed)
  • Notational Velocity (notes app which syncs brilliantly with Simplenote on my iPhone and iPad)
  • VLC (for watching movies)

The following is a list of paid-for programs I use pretty much every day…

  • MarsEdit (reviewed on this site)
  • Direct Mail (reviewed on this site)
  • QuarkXpress (desktop publishing: quite buggy though)
  • Together (reviewed on this site)
  • I Love Stars (rate the song playing on iTunes by clicking on the menubar: 99c on the App Store)
  • OmniOutliner (for creating the structure for all my talks, presentations, teleconference calls, ebooks, business planning and more)
  • RescueTime (for logging how much time I spend writing, surfing, emailing each day – there is a free version)
  • Typinator (reviewed on this site)
  • SpamSieve (spam filter for Mail: fab)
  • Pages
  • Numbers
  • Keynote
  • Little Snapper (reviewed on this site)
  • Call Recorder (records video calls automatically)
  • iGlasses (improves the quality of my image on screen, and I can get it to zoom in on my face if I am sitting back)
  • Fetch (reviewed on this site)
  • iMovie
  • Jaktsa (have you ever visited websites showing videos that don’t have a download button or a pause button? This app sneakily downloads these videos so I can watch them at my leisure and scrub through them quickly to find the parts of a presentation which interest me the most)

…that’s 34 applications I use during an average week.

Next is free software I use at least once a month…

  • Caffeine (a tiny program which puts a coffee cup on your menu bar to switch off screen dimming for when you’re reading what’s on the screen, so you don’t keep having to move the mouse to brighten the screen again)
  • Activity Monitor (included with every Mac)
  • AppleScript Editor (included with every Mac)
  • YouSendIt (for sending large files like mp3s of my presentations over the internet)

The following list is paid-for software I use at least once a month…

  • Leap (reviewed on this site)
  • TextSoap (cleans up text taken from, say, an email: removing carriage returns; changing case; etc.)
  • CleanMyMac (reduces the size of apps so loading time is faster; frees up space on my hard drive; more apps can fit in RAM without resorting to virtual RAM)
  • Grammarian Pro2 X (corrects my grammar, and spots where I type it’s instead of its etc)
  • Box Shot 3D (for creating the 3D rendition of my ebooks, adding shadows)
  • Comic Life (for creating comics out of photos with speech bubbles)
  • GraphicConverter (I use this for scaling images to smaller sizes, and for cropping images to an exact pixel size)
  • CoverSutra
  • EasyWMA (converts WMA/FLAC files etc to mp3s or whatever)
  • ThoughtOffice (idea generator to help me come up with product names, headlines, different ways to market my business, and more)
  • NovaMind Platinum (produces fab mind maps, often where I’ve created the structure in Omni Outliner first)
  • Sound Studio (for editing my audio presentations, interviews with authors, adding intro music, etc)
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Audio Hijack Pro (grabs the audio from streaming media such as webinars/teleconference calls)
  • Dragon Dictate (for dictating notes from my notepad)
  • MacSpeech Scribe (turns my audio notes on my iPhone or Olympus digital recorder into typed text)
  • Rank Tracker (tracks the changing rank of my sites based on various keywords)
  • ScreenRecycler (enables me to connect a second MacBook Pro (or PC laptop) to my MacBook Pro via Ethernet cable so the other computer acts as a second screen)
  • Carbon Copy Cloner (clones my hard drive so if this MacBook Pro is stolen/lost I can get a new one and transfer the disk image to this new MacBook Pro and get a perfect clone running quickly and easily)
  • TuneUp (reviewed on this site)
  • Clarify (for example, for showing clients step-by-step procedures how to do certain tasks on websites I have built for them)
  • ScreenFlow (videos what I do on screen so I can teach people how to use certain software etc)
  • Day One (as a daily journal: I don’t use it that much now)
  • Timing (this app logs what I’m doing throughout the day so at the end of the week I can see how many hours I’ve spent writing in Pages, surfing for information, emailing, and so on)
  • Snapheal (for ‘healing’/removing unwanted elements from photos)

I’m beginning to use…

  • Market Samurai
  • Spotify
  • Tweetie
  • Yep
  • Clipstart (for storing all the videos I created on my compact camera, so I can add tags, trim beginning and end, and post to YouTube etc with ease)

I use rarely…

  • Data Rescue II (rescues files from a ‘dead’ hard drive)
  • Decompose
  • GrandPerspective
  • Devonthink Pro (snippets manager)
  • Evernote
  • SoundSoap (cleans audio I have recorded, removing background noise, or a persistent hum/buzz)
  • Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor
  • AppZapper
  • AppFresh
  • MailSteward (archives my emails)
  • DaisyDisk
  • Bee Docs Timeline
  • Picturesque
  • Prizmo
  • LogMeIn
  • Livescribe Desktop (for the Pulse SmartPen)
  • Things
  • OmniFocus (I prefer Things as I love the tagging facility)

Applications I bought but no longer use…

  • Clean App
  • Forever Save (Lion autosaves files)
  • Suitcase Fusion
  • Delicious Library
  • Dreamweaver (I used this to modify my websites when they used to be html sites: now I use WordPress)
  • MemoryMiner
  • Parallels Desktop
  • Running Applications
  • TrackTime
  • Xslimmer
  • App Tamer

Applications I tried for free but didn’t buy…

  • Chronories (nice app, but conflicted with RescueTime)
  • TextExpander

Applications I’m considering buying include…

  • dupeGuru or Tidy Up
  • Posterino
  • KeyCue
  • Default Folder X
  • DayLite

In summary, I use 63 different apps over an average month, and 23 more I might use once every 2-3 months.

What is your feedback about these lists? If you use a PC, which productivity software do you love? I’d love to know…

Do please share this content! :)
Christopher John Payne

Chris helps coaches, trainers and consultants to double or triple their net income by optimising their website, product funnel, pricing structure, and more. He lives just outside London, England. His main site is at

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