Five Handy Apps for the Mac-Using Freelancer


If you’re on a Mac computer and freelancing to make an income, it can sometimes be difficult to find apps that fill your needs. When you read recommendations and lists, they may cater to your PC-using friends rather than Mac-specific applications, and Mac versions of PC-native apps often don’t perform as well.

Instead, focus on Mac apps that pack a punch and are either designed specifically for freelancers or function very well when used to your own purposes. Here are five you might find useful.

1. Dropbox
If you’re backing up your projects or sharing work between computers, this cloud storage and sharing application is invaluable. Some freelancers even create shared folders with clients if they typically work intensively with one or two to share updates and new files or saved versions without creating a mile-long email chain. You can access your files from any computer or internet browser, making this very valuable in case of a computer crash.

2. F.lux
You may just find this application more useful than any other if you do late-night work. While not recommended for graphic designers due to its nature, this program tints your screen slightly to match it to the ambient light conditions in your room. If you’re accustomed to doing work in the dark and winding up with a migraine or insomnia, this free and easy application will save you the eye strain.

3. Budget
A simple and lightweight budget program, this may not be the right choice for you if you need Quickbooks files to send your accountant, but if you’re doing all your own budgeting, it could be perfect. It allows you to enter irregular pay and split your paychecks into different “envelopes” for each expense category so you know how much money you have to spend at a glance. This fits well with the feast-or-famine model of income many freelancers experience.

4. OpenOffice
You may have experienced problems with Microsoft Word for Macs. Pages, the default Mac OS X application, just doesn’t always cut it, and Textedit doesn’t have enough features for anyone who wants to create even a .doc file. The OpenOffice suite allows you to open nearly any Microsoft file and save it in a compatible format for easy submission of articles, project planning, or financial spreadsheets to your clients. Best of all, it’s free and well-supported.

5. BusyCal
Looking for something better than the default iCal application? BusyCal has a better task management and to-do system, which is crucial for some freelancers, and is easy to integrate with Google Calendar so you can monitor your calendar from an iPhone or smartphone, any other computer, or an internet browser if you lose your computer. The list view is very useful if you need to look at all your events at once, and calendar cells scroll if you have a lot of events on a day. These features and more make it a wise choice for a busy freelancer managing meetings and project deadlines.
These are just a few of the many applications available for Mac-using freelancers. Some were designed by freelancers with freelancers in mind, while others are multipurpose apps that happen to fit a freelancing lifestyle. Time is money in your occupation, so save time and frustration by having the right apps for the job.

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