I love apps. It’s one of my little obsessions that I would freely and willingly admit.
They help make my job as a writer easier and, well, fun to do.
That’s the best part: we get to use technology to make our lives as freelancers a lot more manageable. We can work more productively, efficiently, and we can focus on the more important tasks at hand.
I’ve tried apps from various platforms, and a handful have become key components to my freelancing career. I’d like to share these with you in today’s roundup.
Let me begin the series with 30 useful Mac apps I’ve personally used for freelancing.
These are my favorite utilities to use on a Mac:
Alfred (Free, £15 for the Powerpack) – my faithful butler, always ready at my command whenever I need to shut down, restart, look for a file, move a file, or paste copied text. It’s one of the first few apps I downloaded when I got my Mac back in 2011.
CleanMyMac ($29.95) – this big guy cleans up my Mac, sweeping out the junk, logs, caches, and items I’ve thrown into the trash. I’m able to retrieve up to 4GB of space every month.
1Password ($24.99, $34.99 when bundled with the Mac version) – the gatekeeper, the protector of all my passwords and important information. It’s also a great password generator if you want to use stronger passwords—which you should to protect yourself from attacks.
PDF to Word + ($18.99) – we all know how converting PDFs to editable documents can be a pain in the butt. Use this to get the job done and in case you don’t have access to the internet.
Window Tidy ($5.99) – always find yourself lost in your own desktop? This nifty tool can help you resize windows to better organize things and work more productively. Switching is now a thing of the past.
PopClip ($4.99) – one of my favorites, this little guy allows me to perform certain tasks after highlighting a string of text, such as copy, open link, look for the definition in the dictionary, etc. It also allows me to paste formatted or plain text. Very handy!
Let’s now move to writing, saving, and sharing notes. We all know how important this is in freelancing, so these are the apps I recommend.
Evernote for Mac (Free) – the classic note-taking app for practically any platform. To write, store, and share notes and notebooks, this is the app I use to do all that.
NotesTab (Free) – if you’re more of a menu bar kinda freelancer, I recommend NotesTab. Just summon it with a keyboard shortcut and it’ll appear on your desktop, ready for your notes.
Notational Velocity (Free) – it hasn’t been updated in 2 years, but everyone loves it. I love it for its simplicity and the fact that I can create and store notes without worrying about losing data at any time for any reason.
File Sharing and Storage
Every freelancer knows it’s important to backup all of your important data, more so the convenience of being able to share stuff on the web.
Here are apps you can use to do both:
Dropbox (Free) – the number one file storage app I use for everything that I do, even uploading photos and videos of my children. You get 2GB free when you sign up for a free account.
SkyDrive (Free) – I use SkyDrive for files I receive on my Outlook.com account. If you use SkyDrive, you can use their Mac app to access your files instantly.
Google Drive (Free) – for all you Google lovers out there, you can access your Google Drive files through the Mac app. Very handy, although opening documents created using the web service will prompt the app to open them on your browser.
Cloud (Free) – now this I use purely for sharing files on the web. I just drag the file to Cloud’s menu bar icon, drop it, and wait for it to generate a link for easy sharing.
Notes are good for quick jotting and saving. For the big guns, these are the apps I recommend:
Office 2011 for Mac ($139) – this roundup would never be complete without the suite of apps for word processing, presentations, and spreadsheets. If you work primarily with .doc, .docx, .xls, and other related formats, go with Office.
iWork ($19.99/app)- this is Apple’s suite of apps and the counterpart of Office. On Pages, you can actually save documents as .doc and .pdf, so compatibility shouldn’t be a problem.
Markdown Pro ($9.99) – since learning how to write in Markdown, I’ve never stopped using Markdown Pro for writing web content. It’s very easy to learn and it has saved me a ton of time from editing on HTML.
Blogging for clients? This I recommend.
iA Writer ($4.99)- When I need to write in clean, white space, Writer is my go-to app to be in that state. It’s designed to be distraction-free with everything you need to write at your fingertips.
Email is a vital component of freelancing. It’s our communication tool, and having a desktop mail client brings all of your email accounts together in one place.
Mail – your built-in Mail app is powerful enough to handle all of your email accounts. I use it to support Outlook, Gmail, and Google Apps.
Postbox ($9.95) – I did however try this really great desktop mail client, which I recommend for those who want to try a different user interface when handling their email.
Tasks and To-dos
Wunderlist 2 (Free) – this is my first task manager and it recently went through a major redesign to make it perform, look, and work better. It’s beautiful, and if you like beautiful apps, get this.
TaskPaper ($24.99) – this is a to-do list of a completely different approach. It isn’t for everybody, but if you enjoy working with plain text and simplicity, this is a good app to use to manage your to-do lists.
Omnifocus for Mac ($79.99) – this task/project manager is a powerhouse when it comes to managing your tasks. I use this to manage projects of all kinds, and it’s been a lifesaver for me countless of times. It’s a bit pricey, but it works.
Chronicle ($14.99) – bills, bills, bills. Never forget a single one with this app. It’s fun to use too, so paying up doesn’t have to be a frustrating business.
Money ($38.99) – I use Jumsoft’s Money app to manage my finances, from income to budgets to my daily expenses. It’s a lovely app, easy to use, and it converts currencies at your convenience.
Savings ($9.99) – I’ve tried Savings briefly and it works for those who want something in between. It’s a lot cheaper than most personal finance apps and it gets the job done.
So, we’re down to our last section, which is a mixture of apps that I’ve used for various purposes.
Fantastical ($19.99) – it was difficult working with a computer that didn’t have a calendar to display on the desktop. I’ve been using Fantastical to view and create events and reminders according to date and it’s been my best pal ever since.
Skype (Free) – for all of my client interviews and meetings, Skype works for me. It’s free for Skype-to-Skype calls, so not a penny is spent at your expense.
QuickTime (Free) – I was so busy looking for a good tool to take screen recordings, and lo and behold, our very own QuickTime Player can record screencasts.
Filezilla – when working on the backend of my blog, I used Filezilla for Mac for all of my FTP needs. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great free alternative to the expensive FTP clients out there.
oDesk Team 3 for Mac – of course, my hourly work as an oDesk contractor can only be possible with the oDesk Team 3 app for the Mac. I’m sure you have this time tracker on your list of apps as well.
There are plenty of apps to add to this list, but these are what I’ve used and what I’ve relied on for every aspect of my freelance work. I stand by the value they provided for me, and I hope these will help make your work as a freelancer easier too.
It’s your turn now. If you have a Mac, what apps do you use for freelancing?