We all have trouble focusing from time to time. With the massive time waster that is the Internet tempting us with endless pages of Lolcats, YouTube videos, social-networking sites and Netflix, it is practically turning us all into creatures with the attention span of a goldfish. When was the last time you actually got through a task without checking Facebook? Or sending a text? I bet you can’t even remember.
It is no surprise that an avalanche of free applications has been released by developers for the Mac that helps to combat the lack of productivity that sometimes occurs in our everyday lives. Whether the issue is that there isn’t enough time in a day to get it all done or you just don’t seem to know where the time is going, these apps can help.
You might not realize how much productivity you lose in a day just by the tiny interruptions you allow yourself. RescueTime allows you to see it all listed for you, so you can see just how much time you spend doing what and what it is costing you. It will also give you little warnings when you have exceeded a certain amount of time on any nonproductive task – for example, if you have spent an hour that day, even broken up, on Twitter.
It is easy to overwork yourself, which can cause serious problems. Headaches, painful muscles and joints, tiredness and general irritability are among the most common issues. But spending too much time working without a break can hurt your overall efficiency, as well. Time Out Free is an annoying – but effective – program that reminds you to take breaks, small and large. It is fully customizable and can really help to eliminate some of those nasty effects of staring too long at a screen.
To copy and send files takes some time, especially across networks or machines. This application lets you do it all with one program by simply dragging and dropping it into the Drop Zone. You can even copy on one machine and paste on another. It is so fast that you’ll be hard-pressed to know how you got along without it.
Keep track of every call that comes in with this advanced phone log. It allows you to categorize calls and place notes on each one. Details go directly into the app, with a built-in reminder system. There is a professional option for a fee, but the basic call log application is free of charge.
Remind Me Later
This is an easy-to-use reminder application that runs in the background as a calendar and then pops up when you have set an event, including monthly needs like paying bills, buying groceries or keeping appointments. It was designed to quickly add tasks to save time, making it a better program over most that require a lot of initial organization.
This is essentially an application-launching program that puts together all of your browser icons in one place, along with other applications, to let you pick and choose without going through all of your files. Unlike other launchers, this one is genuinely simple.
One of the most popular applications ever made, Evernote lets you make notes, save web pages, attach images and PDFs, set reminders, make shopping lists and more. Then, it automatically syncs with all of your Mac products, from your computer to your iPhone and more. This makes them accessible from anywhere and links them all up in a simple-to-use way. Now, it is compatible with Windows, all Internet browsers and various mobile phone brands, such as Android, BlackBerry, Windows and Palm WebOS.
If you have an Inner Fence Merchant account, this is a must-have application. It works by connecting your financial account to your cell phone, turning it into a credible card terminal so you can accept payments, send invoices and more while on the go. It works very well, though if you don’t have an Inner Fence account, you will have to get one – that does cost money, though the app is free.
Sometimes you just have to sketch something, which is why many artists carry around a tablet with a stylus. With SketchBook Express (and SketchBook Pro), you can draw to your heart’s content, using professional digital tools and saving your images to your Mac. It has layers for building up a drawing, a ton of preset brushes and pens, the ability to import images and more.
How much time would it save to just be able to compress files rather than send multiple zips? StuffIt lets you compress, decompress, share and browse other public zips. It also opens files from other zip programs, such as WinZip, RAR, Rucksack and more.
You don’t have to feel like you are drowning under your own lack of productivity anymore. There are plenty of tools to help you stay focused and make the best of the time you have. What are some of your own favorite apps? Let us know in the comments.