Lowering stress in life is important, and being efficient at being a product can help you achieve that. And it’s not just for techy geeks or smarty pants developers. Everybody can improve the way they use their Mac system to save a bit of time, keep the focus on what’s in front of you. And indirectly remove some stress from your life.
Here is a list of a few must-have apps that I think you should consider using in 2022. And some other recommendations of great products.
Your monitor is in landscape mode, and the Dock is at the bottom. Get it out of the way. Move it vertically on the left or the right and auto-hide it. You will never use it again. Instead, use Alfred. And to further clean up your desktop, declutter the top menu bar and only show the things on the top-right that you want to show. You can auto-hide with Bartender, and pull things up when needed.
Stop using the old VLC for certain media content. Stop using multiple apps to try and load videos. Instead, get Iina to do it all. It’s completely replaced every rich media playback on my system. The interface is so clean, the performance is great, and it runs back everything I throw at it.
For productivity, and efficiency for whatever app you use, I recommend trying and stop using the mouse when you can use the keyboard shortcuts. Almost every app has the same dozen shortcuts.
It won’t take long to learn things like select-all, copy-paste, undo with cmd-z, etc. But even more so, switching between open documents within the same app. Switching between apps. Going fullscreen, closing the current window, or even the current app in full. But to take that to the next level for the apps you use the most is really where you can shine. You might surprise yourself.
The app CheatSheet is what I use to visualize what I am looking for in the app, and I’ve never learned how to use an app as quickly as with the same type of cheat sheet overlay that comes with iOS (but now right on your Mac).
To better visualize content, be it videos, documents, or just mind mapping anything to be fair. Figma is what I use every so often to just put thoughts to paper in a visual way. It helps me figure out pretty quickly what I am overthinking, what I might do wrong, or what path I should be taking to achieve something. At first, it will feel like it’s a bit of extra work. But then you realize how much time you save, and how much stress you take away, when you think about a task and map it out. Indirectly you’re making a todo list, and indirectly you’re getting an idea of how to manage the time for any (complex) task.
If Adobe wasn’t so damn expensive, I would recommend it. It’s been maturing the last couple of years. And I love Photoshop, I love Premiere Pro, but, with their subscription model, and simply not using it every day of each month. It’s a money sucker. If you must have it. Wait for Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals. And go share an account with a friend who’s a student. They get it cheaper, and 50% off, but so do you. Of course, I’ve put enough money into Adobe, so fuck them. It’s time they start paying me to use it.
Instead of Adobe, I will therefore recommend fantastic alternatives. For example Serif with Affinity Photo ~ a one-time fee that’s so cheap compared to a subscription model, a great alternative to Photoshop. And Final Cut Pro, which performs so fantastic on Apple Silicon macOS. And a one-time fee as well. A great alternative to Premiere Pro.
Another great option is PixelMator Pro, Luminar, and DaVinci Resolve.
For security, I do recommend to use a password manager. If you don’t use one in 2022, then you’ve ignored my last couple of decades of recommending this. You need to use passwords you cannot remember. You need to organize them. They need to be unique as well. Get 1Password, or anything you’re happy with. Just make sure it also comes on iPadOS, iOS, macOS, and perhaps even Windows. This way if your computer dies, you can just get something new, install the app. And sync back your data from another device. And when you change or add something. The next time you’re on another device it’s synced up as well. Keeping things current.
For privacy, I recommend using at least two external storage devices.
One being maybe a slower, cheaper, but with bigger storage old-fashioned hard drive. This way you can build an archive, enable Time Machine for constant automatic backups. As well as have enough space for a manual backup.
And another perhaps faster but possibly smaller storage device like a USB-C/Thunderbolt SSD, for manual backups and on-the-go storage. The ssd will be smaller, easier to take with you – probably has full disk encryption, and has no moving parts (less risk of damage during travel).
Now, if your ssd fails, you will have a recent backup of your data on the other drive. And visa versa. And if your Mac system dies, you can restore quickly from your Time Machine setup. Or at least do a fresh install and have some of the data that’s most important to you on one or the other drive.
Alright, I have covered, privacy, security, productivity apps, decluttering apps, and all this to have a piece of mind, convenience, and to win back some time you have to invest into doing things on a system. In my opinion. You can’t do without this stuff in 2022. It’s time to stop slacking, by being lazier – let apps do stuff for you that makes doing things boring. Having to think about 5 things at once. You focus on what you need to do to be productive, and the Mac will do the other stuff.
Okay, here’s the list:
Alfred – https://www.alfredapp.com/
Bartender – https://www.macbartender.com/
Iina – https://iina.io/
CheatSheet – https://www.mediaatelier.com/CheatSheet/
Figma – https://www.figma.com/
PixelMator Pro – https://www.pixelmator.com/pro/
Affinity Photo – https://affinity.serif.com/en-gb/photo/
Luminar – https://skylum.com/luminar
DaVinci Resolve – https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve/
Final Cut Pro – https://www.apple.com/final-cut-pro/
1Password – https://1password.com/
Bonus: One-click everything you do frequently? Get a stream deck, it’s not just for twitch streamers!
Stream Deck mk2 – https://www.elgato.com/en/stream-deck-mobile