I recently had the privilege of attending Second Wind Network‘s Traffic Management seminar in Chicago. There are many challenges facing the small- to mid-sized agency market; we simply must maximize the resources we have in order to thrive in such a challenging and competitive industry. Thankfully, our faces are awash in the glow of that shiny Mac on our desks — let’s talk about how software can make us more productive!

With efficiency in mind, here’s my top 5, can’t live without ’em, productivity apps for your Mac, listed in no particular order. They’re all terrific.

1.) TextExpander – I can’t imagine how much time I’ve saved with this useful macro maker. You simply create ‘snippets’ which trigger the program to automatically insert a clip of text you’ve saved. It’s great for commonly used phrases, signature or even your legal disclaimers. It’s easy to set up and once you start, you won’t stop. Hopefully, it’ll keep carpal tunnel syndrome at bay, at least a little while longer.

2.) Wunderlist – The simplest, most straightforward getting things done (GTD) app. Sometimes a simple task list is all you need to feel better. Gosh it feels great to check off items. Wunderlist has native clients for Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, and Android. It keeps your lists in sync between all of your devices and allows you to share lists with others. And, best of all, it’s free.

3.) CurrentTrack – Ok, admittedly, I may be a bit biased on this one but great traffic management software is hard to come by and CurrentTrack has all the features a small- to mid-sized agency needs — from time tracking, project management and asset sharing to agency calendars, address books and financial reports. I use it every day and my workflow would have a massive hole in it if it weren’t for this great web-based system built specifically for the ad industry.

4.) Postbox – I love GMail, I really do. But, sometimes I want an enterprise worthy system for managing my messages. Postbox fits the bill. It allows me to set up templates for commonly used messages, makes my mail easily searchable (even offline) and reminds me to attach a file if I use the word ‘attached’ in the body of a message. Slick!

5.) iA Writer – Simple, no frills word processing. If you find yourself getting distracted by options and formatting, or other programs, this app is for you. It’s straight up simple. You get a white background, one font and an excellent distraction-free full screen mode. For getting your thoughts on digital paper with no fuss, nothing beats it. Plus, it natively syncs with the excellent web service Dropbox. An iPad app is available as well.

There you have it, just a few ways to inexpensively juice up your workflow using the equipment you already own and minimal investment. All apps, except for CurrentTrack, are found in the Mac App Store.

Do you have a favorite app I missed? Comment below or shoot me a message!

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