Most Useful Mac Apps 2016

I swear by this list, trust me.

I bought my first MacBook 7 years ago and have performed several clean installations since. The latest one took place a few days ago as a result of water hitting the keyboard.

Every time I do a clean install, I find myself reinstalling a bunch of familiar apps over and over again. They’re the ones that have survived the Trash and have proven themselves to be truly useful.

What my desktop looks like right now, how lovely.

What my desktop looks like right now, how lovely.

Here, I’ve compiled a short list of the most truly useful Mac OS X applications that I can’t live without. I use these apps on a daily basis, swear by them, and am in no way paid by any of the companies to put this list together.

Whether or not you’re new or familiar to OS X (macOS), I hope you’ll find the list helpful.

In no order of importance or usefulness, here goes:

Caffeine – Nifty menubar app that prevents your screen from going to sleep with a click of the mouse.

ColorSnapper 2 – Great menubar app that helps me bring up a colorpicker with a keyboard shortcut.

F.lux – A menubar app that tailors the amount of blue light on your screen to the time of day. Great if you’re a night owl like me.

Screenie – Another menubar app I love that helps to organize screenshots and bring up the most recent ones with a click of the mouse.

aText – Great text expander that lives in the menubar. Every Mac user needs one.

BetterSnapTool – Awesome menubar app that lives in the background but allows you to manipulate windows like a pro. You need this!

DeskPM – If you blog or write often, this app is one of the best authoring apps out there that provides a super smooth writing and publishing workflow.

Spotify – Need I say more? Never worry about downloading music again.

Franz – Great app that integrates an insane amount of Instant Messengers out there into one dashboard.

Evernote – Best free notetaking app I’ve ever used. Thanks guys.

I’ll continue to build on this list as I go along. Let me know if you found it helpful!

Life Hacks: How I Blocked 27548 & Counting Ads On The Internet

Can you imagine life on the Internet without advertisements?

No advertisements to distract you while you’re surfing the web. No advertisements stopping you from watching your favourite videos on YouTube. No advertisements on your Facebook and Twitter news feeds. No advertisements on the results page when you Google something. No advertisements anywhere, ever again.

You can, with ‘AdBlock Plus‘.

I found AdBlock Plus after I started looking for a way to prevent YouTube from sneakily making watch lame advertisements right before watching one of their videos. I really hated those 15 to 30 second long ads that didn’t allow you to skip them. Talk about destroying user experience, those ads on YouTube really did for me because I’m a YouTube addict.

AdBlock Plus prevents YouTube from showing me ads, it hides advertisements on Facebook, Twitter, Google search results, and many other places where one might encounter ads on the Internet.

AdBlock Plus

27548 ads blocked to date.

Sweet.

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How I Bookmark Webpages

I’ve recently found a system to bookmark pages on the web that I like or love or find interesting or want to refer to in the future.

I used to use Chrone’s native bookmarking feature, I felt it was the natural thing to do since I’ve used Chrome for the last 4 years. That’s quite some time. I just never got down to keeping track of the sites I love properly.

Anyway, that system was really messy, and more often than not, I couldn’t find the bookmarked pages when I needed them. I either forgot to bookmark them when I was supposed to, or they got lost in the mess of bookmark folders.

I’ve since discovered a new bookmarking service, called Kippt. It’s a clever pun on kept I think. And I really think that it does its job really well. That’s on top of the fact that it has a really nice user interface. I like pretty things. Back to the topic, I’ve been using Kippt for the past 2 months and I haven’t looked back since.

In my opinion, a good bookmarking service should be easy to use, have a good user interface, and have social sharing functions. I like the idea of being able to share my bookmarks with anyone with the click of a button.

Kippt

I also like that Kippt has a simple Chrome extension that allows me to bookmark sites, drop them into separate folders, add notes and tags, and even share on Twitter or Facebook. All this without needing to access the webapp.

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How I Burnt My Last Weekend Being Productive

My last weekend wasn’t a weekend because most of it was spent clearing the huge backlog of work that I had slowly accumulated over time. The good thing is even though I pretty much burnt the entire weekend working, I managed to get some extremely productive work in, and achieved much more than I usually would have been able to.

It’s a timely reminder of how it always pays off to be focused and productive when getting things done. That said, I can definitely work with better time management as I only managed to sleep in the wee hours of the morning on both days of the weekend.

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Optimizing Your Browser’s Start Page

A 3 min task that will save you a lot of time

In my previous post, I talked about automating our digital lives and making it more efficient by designing friction out of our environment through streamlining unoptimized workflows and removing distractions.

For a start, I’ll be sharing how I set myself up for success by designing my browser (environment) to get the best Internet experience with as little distraction as possible. And today, I’ll be talking about why and how I optimized my browser’s start/launch page.

Why bother?

It’s important because we use Internet browsers all the time, in fact, my browser is the first app I open when I get on my computer and it rarely gets closed after. I spend a lot of time on my browser every day, and I’m sure you do too.

Here’s where things get interesting. If you know the important keyboard shortcuts like I do, you’d be able to save precious seconds every time you wanted to close or open a browser window. If you have an optimized browser start/launch page like I do, you’d be able to access all your favourite websites in one simple click.

Add that all up and you’ll realize that it’s a whole lot of time saved.

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Automation And Designing Friction Out Of Our Lives

It’s all about designing our environment

I’ve been spending an obscene amount of time on the computer, in my case a 2009 Macbook Pro, ever since I’ve started working and freelancing. It has gotten to the point where I’m now spending at least 10 hours on the computer every day. While I’m not sure how much of it is actually being spent productively, I definitely know that I have a ton of unoptimized workflows and distractions that steal time from me, slowly but surely.

Unoptimized Workflows

I like to lump stuff like an inefficient system of getting down to email inbox zero, trying too hard to multi-task on one screen, or even not knowing simple keyboard/application shortcuts, into the category of unoptimized workflows. Unoptimized workflows can easily be identified and optimized to streamline productivity.

Distractions

The other category I like to lump stuff into would be that of distractions. Things that fall into this category would be the incessant checking of Facebook and Twitter, mindlessly surfing through the internet, or even refreshing email inboxes every five to ten minutes. Distractions in my opinion are also easily identifiable, but are harder to eliminate than unoptimized workflows because they require at least some form of self-discipline.

I’m a sucker for efficiency and productivity. In other words, to avoid inefficiency, I always try my best to stay focused. Ever since I’ve embarked on my drive towards efficiency and productivity, I’ve discovered a slew of methods that have helped me to either optimize my digital workflows or reduce the amount of distractions around me.

If you haven’t yet read my post on Effecting Change With The Elephant, The Rider And The Path, you really should because it tells you all about how we can design our environments to help shape our behaviours and overcome the stubbornness of our subconscious minds.

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