What are the Best Productivity Apps for OSX?

productivity | 3-5-2013

I've been a huge fan of Apple since college. What's not to love? The user interface is clean and intuitive, the shell is based on Linux, which makes it easy to use and Macs hold up really well to both wear and tear and malicious software.

I use a Macbook Pro as my primary development machine, so I literally spend all day on it. Over the past couple of years, I've become obsessed with reaching my maximum productivity while working. Software is rarely the solution to better productivity. It is often part of the problem. However, I have found a few applications and browser extensions that actually do help to make me more productive. Here are some of the productivity tools I use on a daily basis.


This is an amazingly simple and elegant app that allows you to make lists, assign deadlines and check off items as you complete them. I use Wunderlist to keep track of what I need to get done while I'm working as well as tracking the personal items I need to accomplish throughout my week. Wunderlist allows me to break goals down into small chunks so I make sure I'm completing daily tasks that will help me reach my long-term goals. You can install Wunderlist on your computer, smartphone and tablet and it will sync everywhere.


Evernote is a really great app that allows me to store and create documents that are easy to find later. I've been using Evernote for three or four years now and it has really allowed me to consolidate my thoughts and document trail. I routinely use it to photograph documents with so that I can get rid of useless hard copies and keep my space free of too much paper. Evernote is available for computers, smartphones and tablets.


This is a simple little application that allows me to create a list of sites that tend to distract me from working on what I need to get done. I can block the distracting sites for an arbitrary amount of time. I know that I personally tend to waste time on Facebook, LewRockwell.com and YouTube, so I keep those sites along with several others on my blacklist. I generally block all of the sites on my blacklist for 4 or 5 hours, check in on Facebook over lunch to confirm that I didn't miss anything and then block them all again for the rest of the work day.

Simple Time Track

This is a simple extension for Google Chrome. If you're like me and need to keep track of your hours so that you bill each of your clients correctly, Simple Time Track is really handy. You can create as many projects as you want and then just stop and start the timer as you migrate in and out of working on a particular project. By the end of the day, you should have a good idea of how much time you actually spent working on each project.


This simple application blacks out all applications aside from the one that I am currently working in. That means that other applications can't distract me while I'm working. This isn't always practical to use as a developer, because I need to have a code editor, the terminal and a browser all displayed in tandem. However, I tend to use this when I'm writing a complex piece of code or a blog entry where I only need to focus on only one program at a time.


QuickSilver is an app that runs in the background and allows me to search my entire computer for apps, documents, bookmarks and emails quickly and easily. I think of QuickSilver as a Google search for my computer. If I need to locate something, QuickSilver is always waiting to be of assistance.

There are tons of great productivity tools out there and I've only listed the ones that work best for me. What do you use to stay on track and get things done?

About the Author

Tyson Cadenhead is a Senior JavaScript Developer at Aloompa. He lives in the greater Nashville area. His specialty is writing large, scalable JavaScript applications on the client and server side. His passions are for good design, usability, and clean, reusable code.

Tags: Productivity OSX

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