First, some quick business to take care of:
- If you’re a Windows/Linux user, I recommend searching around (duckduckgo.com) for an OS- or Web-equivalent. In The Year of Our Lady (YOOL) Two Thousand and Nineteen, there are (most likely) similar pieces of software out there for you to use. If not, hey, there’s an app idea for you!
- None of these recommendations are paid recommendations. I’m not compensated in any way for these recommendations. There is one affiliate link that’s clearly labeled.
Alright, into the water we go!
OmniFocus — Task Management App 🌟
OmniFocus (https://www.omnigroup.com/OmniFocus) is a popular, well-developed task management app.
Their tagline is
Accomplish More Every Day
And it’s damn right.
OmniFocus is designed to help you manage your actions and projects. When I’m not in Trello for collaboration, I’m in OmniFocus.
OmniFocus is where I manage my business, client, and personal projects and actions.
I’ve used OmniFocus for 9 years now.
I’ve tested Things (1, 2, and 3), and several lesser task management apps. OmniFocus is the winner.
For me, the way OmniFocus approaches getting things done and the Getting Things Done™ methodology is perfect.
There’s a vibrant ecosystem of guides on how to use OmniFocus out there (https://www.google.com/search?q=OmniFocus+guide) to help you get started.
OmniFocus is available on macOS, iOS, and has a brand new web version (https://www.omnigroup.com/OmniFocus/web !!!) which seems rad as hell. I’ve been wishing for OmniFocus for the Web for 9 years. Hallelujah.
TextExpander — Text Snippets
TextExpander is my secret weapon. Email templates, little snippets of text (phone numbers, addresses, names), and everything else you can think of, you can store in TextExpander.
TextExpander’s value prop from their homepage (https://textexpander.com/) is:
TextExpander lets you instantly insert snippets of text from a repository of emails, boilerplate and other content, as you type – using a quick search or abbreviation.
TextExpander is a place:
- To store all of your email templates and snippets, like The Magic Email (https://themagicemail.com, which is ;tme for me)
- To fix frequent typos (ecommerce -> Ecommerce, for me)
- To handle all these things you frequently type, like today’s date (check out the image below)
With the type of
;fdate, I get today’s date automatically entered for me. That’s nifty.
TextExpander is available on:
- The AppStore
- Google Chrome
Check it out here https://textexpander.com/.
Alfred (with the PowerPack) — Powerful Automation From Your Keyboard (and fingertips) 🌟
Alfred is a productivity app on the Mac that gives me:
- Upgraded search (for the Mac and web) to find apps and files
- A clipboard history, storing the last 50 things I copied to my clipboard (!)
- A quick access calculator
- System commands, like sleep, empty trash, and more
There’s even a really power-user-level Extension and Automation feature. I haven’t even touched that yet.
Alfred is a fantastic Mac app for boosting your productivity.
And the core of Alfred is free. It’s great. I used the free version for years before I upgraded to the Powerpack, which is amazing.
I used Quicksilver https://qsapp.com/ for years before Alfred and migrated to Alfred when Alfred Version 1 came out. Now? Alfred Version 4 is here.
Try Alfred out. Then, try out the Alfred Powerpack. Alfred is a great productivity tool for macOS.
1Password — Password Manager 🌟
Go ahead. Forget your passwords.
They’re the best in the business when it comes to securing your passwords and making them incredibly easy for you to access.
1Password is built around making your passwords secure and easy to access. You need to remember your Master Password to unlock the app and your vault — mine is a multi-word phrase that’s easy to recall — and then you have easy access to your passwords.
1Password (https://1password.com/) makes it so easy to access my passwords, I’m finally using long, random, highly secure passwords for each website I use. It’s great. And it’s painless.
Here’s what the NYTimes had to say about 1Password in 2016: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/21/technology/personaltech/apps-to-manage-passwords-so-they-are-harder-to-crack-than-password.html (since then, 1Password has switched to a subscription model and has a 🌟 cloud/web version and syncing).
I’ve used 1Password for years. I honestly can’t remember when I started using them, it’s been that long.
2009? Na, it had to be before 2009, since 1Password was on the iPhone in 2009 https://twitter.com/ste_prescott/status/1085319192272912385 and I was using 1Password before then.
Anyway, I’ve used 1Password for a very long time and I enthusiastically recommend 1Password for securing your passwords.
1Password is available for:
- Command Line
They just launched 1Password X, which is:
No Mac app required. Fill logins, credit cards, and addresses in just one click. Manage everything in your 1Password account – all without leaving your browser.
It’s slick as hell. The 1PasswordX FireFox add-on makes filling in (or adding) passwords incredibly fast.
Drafts — Quick Notes
Drafts (https://getdrafts.com/) is my current-favorite app to manage plain text (markdown) notes on iOS and macOS.
Drafts lets you capture text quickly and easily (the app opens to a new page with the keyboard ready).
On top of that, Drafts:
- Has a rich set of actions you can perform on text, connecting it with other apps or services (create a file in Dropbox, compose a Tweet, etc.)
- Lets you manage (inbox, tag, flag, archive) your drafts
- Customize your editing and writing experience for your preferred workflow
- Has a great syncing feature, easily syncing your text between iOS and macOS devices
It’s great. I make a dozen+ notes in here every day. I have notes that I refer to daily, like my done.md file.
Try out Drafts at https://getdrafts.com/
nvALT — Quick Notes
nvALT (https://brettterpstra.com/projects/nvalt/) was my previous favorite macOS app for managing quick notes. Then, Drafts happened and changed my life.
Now? nvUltra (https://brettterpstra.com/2019/04/10/codename-nvultra/) is on the horizon. That’s exciting.
I’m including this here as a recommendation because nvALT is a fantastic tool:
You pop it up and start typing. Search or create a note in seconds. It has blazing fast and accurate full-text search, the ability to find related notes based on content, and very complete Markdown editing tools (complete with syntax highlighting and theme editing).
Tr nvALT (https://brettterpstra.com/projects/nvalt/) on macOS if Drafts isn’t your cup of tea.
CloudApp — Screenshots, Gif Recording, Screen Recording…
CloudApp makes it super simple to make and share screenshots, screen recordings, and gifs.
CloudApp has been part of my workflow for years now. I think I started using it in 2012 to share screenshots.
Since then, they’ve charged ahead with feature development and now include:
- Gif recording
- Screen recording
- Screenshot annotation (the best out there – even better than the legacy version of Skitch by Evernote)
CloudApp is great. I strongly recommend the app.
Here’s a referral link. If you sign up with this link, I’ll get a free month of the software: https://my.cl.ly/r/1E3l0L121Y1d2l0T
Grammarly — Free Writing Assistant
Grammarly gives you fantastic grammar checking and spell checking.
Compose bold, clear, mistake-free writing with Grammarly’s AI-powered writing assistant.
It’s great. I’ve used it since 2014 or 2015. I strongly recommend this app to you.
There’s a Firefox extension, Chrome extension, MS Office Version, Native App…
There are a lot of great options.
Try out Grammarly: https://www.grammarly.com/
I’m switching from Gmail (with a set of Gmail enhancing apps) to a desktop client.
In the past, I used and loved Newton (https://newtonhq.com/). Great app. Then it shut down. And I learned today that it’s back open? It’s on the list to try out again.
Right now I’m trying out Spark (https://sparkmailapp.com/), on Philip Morgan’s excellent recommendation. It’s a lovely piece of software that has ~3 of my favorite (paid) Gmail extensions baked into the app. That’s pretty cool.
I haven’t used either enough yet to give a strong recommendation.
If you enjoyed this dive into software Kai uses, loves, and recommends, after using it himself for hundred of hours, then hit reply and let me know. I can write you a wicked sharp article on tools (and recommended systems) to make your Gmail email experience less distracting, more productive, and less anxiety-inducing.