Why buy anything when it’s all here for you…
What if I told you there are 5 hidden gems on every Mac that will mean you’ll never miss anything ever again – and they are all free…has that got your interest?
The Mac is at the centre of my day, every day and has been for as long as I can remember, and I can’t see that changing any time soon. While I may play with the notion of using a Google Pixel or Nothing 2 phone in place of my iPhone, switching from Mac will never be an option.
Part of the skill (if there is one!) of what I do is being both motivated and organised. If you don’t have some kind of schedule or idea mapped out of what you are going to be doing, chances are that you’ll forget something.
I know there are many creators out there who seem to overcomplicate the whole process and spend a fortune on third-party apps – but I honestly don’t know why.
Your Mac has all you need with its in-built native apps to get you organised and help you plan your day, week or month. Although on the surface some of these apps seem to trip over one another, in reality, they all play distinctly different roles.
1. The Mac Calendar app
The most basic of all organising apps is the calendar app, but oddly it’s the one I tend to use least of all.
I guess if you’re the kind of person that has a ton of meetings then the calendar app will be of more importance to you, but for me, the calendar app is used only to remind me of the few meetings I do have and for annual reminders – things like car insurance or birthdays. You can set reminders within the app for a week or two weeks in advance of the actual event which is handy and have the events set to roll on year to year. I like the way you can add address details too which then fits in with Apple Maps and CarPlay – if you have to drive to a meeting.
I’ve heard of Fantastical and Calendly but for my uses, they just seem to be overly complicated. The Mac calendar app works just fine for me.
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I love the Reminders app and use it all the time.
It’s one of my daily go-to apps – quick and simple to use and powerful too. I like to keep an empty inbox – while others seem to wear the unread message count as a badge of honour, for me, I like things clean and simple. I like an uncluttered workday.
So, I will read an email and action it – and then promptly file it in Dropbox if I think I’ll need to refer to it later or just delete it.
But let’s say the email requires me to follow up by a given day or time, then I’ll set a reminder. I tend to use reminders for short-term tasks rather than annual or longer-term reminders.
I have several different reminder tabs set up – for work, family or content ideas. Another great feature of reminders is that Siri integrates with the app and you can simply ask Siri to set a reminder when you’re out – it’s a super simple and easy way to clear things from your mind and equally not overlook them.
You can geotag your reminders and of course, set a time and date for them as well – you can even add hashtags to them for quick reference across your devices such as iPads & iPhones.
If you’re not using reminders you need to look into it!
I know this is an odd one, but it works for me, and it may be a handy one for you to use.
It’s linked to my lust for an empty inbox and also serves as a reminder of sorts. The way I have my screens arranged means that the Mac Mail app is always open on the MacBook Pro and in my line of sight.
If I’ve read or replied to an email or think I will want to re-read it later on, then before deleting I flag it and archive it. That way I can see a figure against the Flagged folder in the mail app which is what reminds me to check it out.
I stumbled across this method, but it works great – sometimes simple truly is best!
The most basic of apps doubles up neatly as another reminder app.
Mac’s Notes app is open most of the day as I work – that way should anything randomly cross my mind I can quickly jot it down there and have it to hand when I’m out.
Notes for me work well for the humdrum shopping list and other routine things that are on my mind. Often I can have a great idea for a story or video while I’m out – Sod’s Law I think they call it – but using notes organises my thoughts and again means I don’t forget those little nuggets.
This one may not be for everyone, but with Freeform you can storyboard ideas and brainstorm with others.
So let’s say I’ve had an idea for the podcast while I’ve been out that I’ve made a note of. When I get back I can sketch out a basic idea for the podcast and then collaborate with my co-host and get his ideas back in real time.
You can add PDFs, pictures, stickies and annotate input from co-workers.
This last one is probably more suited to the creatives but it is another native Mac app that serves to keep you organised and on point – and again will be in sync across all your Apple devices. Freeform works hand-in-hand with Messages and FaceTime if you want to talk these ideas over as well.
It’s all there
I’ve tried Todoist, Notion and Trello and while I’m sure they have their place and work well for some, as I said earlier, simplicity is my bye-word. If I can get the job done and keep it simple, then I’m happy.
Using a combination of these Mac or Apple apps means that luckily I rarely forget things – I still carry too much in my mind, but I try to get as much baggage as possible out of my head and into one of these apps.
We all know of the ability of the Mac to be a creative workhorse – but it’s also pretty bloody good as a mundane organiser. And the best part about it – all these apps are native on Mac and cost you nothing.
Sounds like a win to me…
I’m now writing regularly on Substack too – informal stories about things that randomly cross my mind. You can follow me here.