Staying on Track on the Mac

Whatever you do, if you work on a computer there a whole host of ways that you can get distracted and not get much done. Here are some apps and techniques that I use to get work done everyday!

Read it later services

These services are great if you're taking a quick break from work to check social media, but don't want to get distracted and end up following endless chains of clickbait. By saving links to articles to a read it later service like Instapaper or Safari's reading list, you don't have to worry about missing out on anything interesting, and you can get back to work.

Don't get disturbed

Do Not Disturb mode is great if you are on a roll and don't want to be interupted. The option to switch it on appears if you try to scroll up in Notification Centre. It'll automatically switch off at midnight, so you'll start getting notifications again tomorrow. Alternatively, just return to Notification Centre and switch off when you've got your work done.

Review your productivity

I use an app called Timing to automatically track all of my activity on my Mac. It records what websites i've visited, or what files I open, and how long I spend on each of them. It then allows me to sort them into different activities, and see a summary of how much time i've spent on different projects. Really handy to see just how much time you've spent on Facebook or watching movies instead of working! It's expensive, but it does exactly what it's supposed to.

Never forget another meeting

I use Fantastical on both my Mac and my iPhone. It's very smooth, and its natural language recognition makes staying organised easy. Its menu bar app functionality on the Mac makes it worth the asking price alone.

Take advantage of every inch of screen you have

With iPhone displays getting larger, why not take advantage of that extra screen real estate? Duet Display uses your iOS device as an external display for you Mac. It runs over USB, and is way more stable than most of the VNC based solutions that i've tried before. I mostly use it to play videos on my iPhone while working on my Mac, just to save some screen space. Again, it is a little bit expensive, but is really reliable and works every time.

Password Managing

If you're not using a password manager, you're doing it wrong. 1Password was the first password manager I tried on Mac/iOS, and it's neve given me any reason to try anything else. It integrates really well with Safari and Chrome on the Mac, and it's extension on iOS makes entering complex passwords a breeze. This is another app that has a killer menu bar app, most of it's functionality is accessible from just a few clicks.


Windows 7 brought with it a pretty neat window management tool called 'Snap'. BetterSnapTool brings the same functionality to the Mac. I'm not a big fan of Apple's implentation of split screen in El Capitan, considering it relegates you to only using apps that support full screen mode. Do yourself a favor, and pick up BetterSnapTool as soon as possible. You'll thank me later.

Jack Alexander