Top 5 productivity apps (for Mac)

Recently I got a cute, little MacBook Air for university purposes (decent battery life and lightweight is all I needed in a laptop, really, but I also wanted a Mac). The medical school gave us iPads when we joined (it costs the medical school less to buy us an iPad each compared to printing all our resources, which is equal parts hilarious and terrifying) and since then I’ve slowly replaced my electronic devices with über-expensive Apple versions. Whoops.

On the plus side, the Apple Store has loads of apps that I’ve found super useful in terms of productivity. Here are my five personal favourites. Please do note that a few of them offer in-app purchases which I didn’t specify explicitly in this post.

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5 Mendeley (free)

If you’re doing a subject that involves any type of literature search, this is an absolute godsend. In this post, it’s ranked quite low down because I can see I wouldn’t really use it once I finished the psychology degree but right now I have never been more grateful for a single app. It allows you to save PDF files and web pages of journal articles into the app and automatically lifts the information you need for a citation. Then you can just copy and paste into whichever word processor you used to write your essays. Saves me hours on referencing.

4 Focus matrix (free)

Have you heard of the Eisenhower matrix? Good: neither have I. Split your tasks into categories based on whether they are important and urgent. It helps me prioritise tasks that I really really need to do right now (like an essay on psychotherapy due the next day) and tasks that I shouldn’t really spend that much time on (like writing my next blog post immediately after I finish this one).

3 Calendar (native app)

I’m aware that I’m trying to justify my purchase of Apple products a little, but one big advantage is that you get pretty seamless syncing across the Cloud throughout your devices. It’s great when it comes to scheduling with other people: my boyfriend and I are both horrifically disorganised and being able to see each others’ schedules saves us cancelling on each other because we quadruple booked. Plus there are the standard advantages of simplicity and ease of use.

2 myHomework (free)

This is a great organisation app for both school and university students since it pulls your classes and assignments into one convenient place. There’s a functionality that lets teachers add in their classes and assignments for students; obviously, this would only be useful if your teachers use this app.

1 Be focused (free)

Formerly Pomodoro Time, this app is based on the Pomodoro Technique developed by a guy called Cirillo. To be totally frank, I was drawn in because it was called Pomodoro Time (in Italian, the word means tomato. Who wouldn’t be intrigued?) but the system works well for me.  This app is especially useful this year when we basically have one hour most days in uni. Since I steamrolled straight from school into Medicine, I never really had to take a huge amount of responsibility in terms of private study and being disciplined with organising my time.

Which apps do you use to enhance your productivity? Is there any particular ones on other devices (e.g. phones and tablets) and platforms (Android and Windows) which you’re particularly fond of? 


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