The Top 10 Desktop Apps I Use To Get The Most Out of Each Day

Earlier this week, I wrote about my top 10 iPhone and iPad apps that help keep my productivity high. Today, I want to focus my attention towards the desktop apps (Mac and PC) that help me achieve maximum productivity.

Since I split my day working on a PC by day and a Mac at night, I will include both types for a little variety.

Let’s get started.

Top 5 PC Apps

  1. Autodesk AutoCAD – design software for drawing architectural / engineering / mechanical / electrical or industrial engineering type drawings.
  1. Autodesk Revit – this is the next generation of AEC software that combines the 2D traditional plan view with the 3D world we live in. This software is widely used in the AEC industry and is rapidly replacing AutoCAD as the tool of choice.
  1. Configura CET Designer with CANVAS extension (Haworth) – Configura CET Designer is a new furniture design package that helps furniture planners / marketers / sales people / facilities planners showcase early concept furniture layouts in 2D and 3D. CANVAS is the Haworth extension that I use most often in my role as a furniture designer. This package allows me to create quick mockup drawings for customers in real-time to show them options for furniture reconfigurations.

Good alternative – ProjectMatrix ProjectSpec & ProjectSymbols – It does require the user to be well-versed in furniture part numbers or have a spec guide on hand.

  1. Microsoft Internet Explorer 10– we use this modern browser to help run our growing web application system.
  1. Microsoft OneNote – our work team uses this app to help keep track of all the web projects we want to launch, meeting notes, ideas and weekly highlights.

Good alternative – Evernote – If you have no restrictions with your network or cloud storage, Evernote will work for you. It is like having a digital file cabinet with you at all times and syncs with your mobile devices.

Top 5 Mac Apps

  1. Desk – for writing and publishing my blog posts. This is a new tool from John Saddington (creator of Pressgram) that helps me write, edit and publish to my WordPress blog from a desktop app.
  1. TextExpander – create small snippets that expand into larger blocks of text. This tool is awesome. I setup these small snippets (especially for items I write a lot). For example, I send the same message everytime I complete the meeting minutes for my church’s missions committee. I type “mcml” and it expands the text to email with links to minutes. I created something similiar in Microsoft Outlook with email signatures since I cannot load a text expanding program on work laptop.
  1. Alfred – small app launcher which allows me to launch programs quickly and easily. This tool has become part of my muscle memory that when it is not installed on a Mac, I find myself searching for where to find a program. I type the keyboard combination ⌘+spacebar and it brings up the launcher screen.
  1. OmniFocus – task management system of choice. I tend to jump back and forth between task management systems primarily because of design issues. The new iOS 7-inspired design feed my need for apps to have a great looking design. The functionality and ease of use is much better than version 1.

Good AlternativeNozbe – I have been using Nozbe for the last few months, but it has some limitations for my current workflow. Michael Hyatt uses Nozbe as his task management system of choice. Either is great option, and it depends on your needs and requirements.

  1. 1Password – stores all my passwords and I would be in serious trouble if this app was not installed my Mac. I could not tell you any of my passwords for sites, because I have generated passwords that are so complicated it that it takes the computer to decipher them. These days, with all the hacks and data breaches, this should be the first program you install on your computer. It does have a Windows version, but I cannot install it on work computer.

These apps support me for the roles I currently perform. Unless you are in the AEC industry such as Architecture / Engineering / Furniture / Facilities you probably will not have much use for AutoCAD or Revit. That’s the beauty of the apps we use…one size doesn’t fit all!

Question: What are your one or two must use apps on your Mac or PC?  Please share your apps in the comments by clicking here.

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I help facilities manager and planner create spaces that are backed by research, engage employees of all generations, and drive business objectives. I am also the founder of Dave's Book Club – a once per month reading experience designed to help professionals grow their influence.

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