July 6, 2021
As a self-proclaimed productivity enthusiast, I like to find ways to save time, improve some processes and make my life easier in one way or another.
So I am always looking for some tools (or apps) to help me with that.
In this post, I will go through all my favourite apps that I (mostly) use daily and that make my life easier.
Let’s dive into it. I will split this into 2 sections - Mac apps and iPhone apps. My daily drivers are the iPhone X, and the 2020 M1 MacBook Air.
As I said, we are going to start with the Mac apps. These are the apps that I use daily.
I first started using Notion back in May 2019, and I immediately liked it. It was a great all-in-one tool for me at the time, and it has, until this day, remained one of my main apps.
I use it as a project management tool for my personal stuff and my client work. It’s also a database of all my important notes and ideas, documents I wrote, achievements, journals, etc. It’s definitely the app that carries the most functionality for me.
I use Apple Notes as my quick-capture note-taking app. Whenever I need to write something down quickly (random ideas, information, anything I might need, I write them down in Apple Notes. I’ve created folders to help organise all these notes, but I mostly just open the app and start writing. If I’m feeling extra productive, once a week I’ll go in and organise the notes into their folders.
One of the main benefits for me is the sync function across Apple devices. I can write something on my iPhone, and see it right away on my Mac. The search function within the notes is great, too.
Overall, a great app for capturing quick notes, and keeping them in one place.
Apple Reminders is my reminder app of choice. These reminders are for my recurring tasks that happen on a weekly or monthly basis. For example, I use this to remind me to water my plants, cleaning the apartment, pay the monthly bills, send invoices, my shopping list, etc.
Bear is the app I use for writing long-form content, such as these blog posts. It’s really simple to use, and it has great functionalities for helping you write, with no extra features to distract you. It’s meant to be used for writing, and it’s a great app for that.
Every blog post you see is first created in Bear as an idea, then as a draft, and finally as a final post. After I do some grammar and spell checking, I upload it to the website!
Google Calendar is my main calendar app for all my personal and work stuff. I use it to keep track of all my events, deadlines, activities, birthdays, etc.
I would say using a password manager is one of the best decisions I ever made. It made my internet usage so much easier. I don’t have to remember all my weird passwords, I don’t have to create random passwords in my mind, LastPass can just generate a super-strong password for me with 2 clicks.
I only recently upgraded to the paid version, I used the free version for the last 2 years, and it was more than enough. 10/10 would recommend.
NordVPN is my VPN of choice. I bought the ‘pro’ version last year and I planned to use it when traveling. As the covid pandemic happened, I obviously didn’t do much traveling, so I mainly use it when I visit coffee shops to work from. Since I’ve been working from home for the last 15 months, I take the opportunity now and then to go to a coffee shop and work there for a few hours.
At the time of me writing this blog post (Jul '21), NordVPN is having their summer sale where you can get 72% off their 2-year plan.
I use Clockify to track the time I spend working on my clients. I don’t bill them by the hour, I track the time spent for myself. I want to know how much time I spend on each client per month, so I can better optimize my time and see if I am being fairly compensated for my services.
I used Toggl before which is also a great tool. I prefer Clockify now, mainly because of the widget “Start tracking” that shows up on websites when I’m working (for example, inside all Google Suite products)
Last but definitely not least, is Alfred. Alfred replaces your default Spotlight app on your Mac. You can use it to open apps, search the internet, open certain websites, do calculations and currency conversions right in the pop-up bar that shows up. It’s a quick way to some of these things, without needing to go to Chrome or Safari, open Google and then searching. I prefer Alfred over the default Spotlight because I find it it just finds documents better, if that makes sense. The search functionality is better in my eyes.
Sorted is an app that I just started using. It combines my tasks, calendar events and notes into a single app and view so I can schedule an entire day in one place, without having to check different apps. I love it so far.
While most of the apps on this list are cross-platform, meaning I use them on both my Mac and iPhone, there are a few apps that I use only on my iPhone.
Audible has quickly become my favourite way of “reading” books. I’ve found that listening to audio books enables me to go through more books and I can finish them faster. If you haven’t tried audio books yet, I definitely recommend trying Audible.
Instapaper is my “read-later” app. When I come across an article or a blog post that I can’t read at that moment, I use the Instapaper Chrome or Safari extension to save that for later. Then later, usually on the weekend, I take my phone and read my saved articles from that week. It’s a great way to keep up with everything that’s going on, I mostly use it for business, marketing and growth-related topics.
I switched to Instapaper from Pocket because I liked the interface better. Also, I can forward my emails to my own designated Instapaper email address, and it will automatically save that email to my Instapaper library.
Spotify is my music streaming app of choice. Whenever I’m working, I put on some instrumental music, mainly lo-fi and electronic. I’ve tried Apple Music and Deezer, but I feel Spotify works best, and their recommendation algorithms are excellent.
Airr is my go-to app for podcast listening. It has one great functionality - air quotes. If you press the quotes button, it will save the last 30 seconds, and it will ~transcribe~ what’s being said. This is an awesome feature, and if you use an app like Readwise, you can export this text to Notion or Roam.
I use Scannable by Evernote (and Evernote itself) as a sort of documentation file. If I need to keep some documents, I will scan the paper document, put it in Evernote and throw away the papers. That way I can keep track of all my documents, without having a lot of physical papers.
Done is an app I started using recently, I use it to track habits. For example, I decided to get better at writing, so I set myself a goal of writing at least 20 min per day. So, if I haven’t checked off that task fo the day, at 7pm Done will notify me and remind me to write something. I like it so far, and it’s been pretty useful.
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