The 14 Most Useful Apps & Services For Creative People

Creative and smart people demand creative and smart software. The following is a list of the best apps and services for supplementing and enabling your creative endeavors.


iA Writer

ia writeriA Writer is the text editor that I use for creating all of my written work. It is simple, distraction free and allows you to focus on getting words out of your head and onto the screen. It intentionally lacks features and is the best tool I know of for getting serious writing done.


1PasswordThis program revolutionized my computer security. Instead of trying to remember different passwords for every website I use, I just use 1Password to assign a random string of characters as a password to any given website. Then when I want to log into a site, I just open the app in my browser and it logs me in with the unique password. Simple, elegant, secure.


dropboxDropbox is a file sharing services that works on a huge selection of devices and computers. Simply add a file to your dropbox and almost instantaneously that file will be available on all of your other devices. This tool is part of the foundation that allows me to be as portable as I am.

Final Cut Pro X

final cut pro xFinal Cut Pro X is my video editing program of choice. It has a steep learning curve but is sophisticated enough for feature film quality editing while being streamlined enough to allow you to focus on story without getting caught up in editing fodder. It is a feature beast but can facilitate better storytelling.


apertureAperture is my photo organization program of choice. It integrates seamlessly with OS X and allows me to edit, store and share my library of 100,000 of photos. Better yet, it includes a smart backup feature and an organization structure that makes it easy for me to find exactly the photo that I am looking to share.


iworkFor more complex documents (spreadsheets, presentations, reports), I rely on Apple’s iWork suite. It does everything I would need from Microsoft Office but is much cheaper and easier to use. Best of all, the entire suite is less than $30.00 USD.


omnifocusOmnifocus is the most used program on both my desktop computer and on my iPhone (iOS version here). I pride myself in being efficient and this is the task manager I use to organize my life. It is complex enough to give you flexibility with the hierarchy of your projects but simple enough to use in the split second you pull out your phone.


Private Internet Access

private internet accessPrivate Internet Access is an Virtual Private Network (VPN) service that allows you to securely access the Internet from untrusted wifi hotspots. Better yet, the service offers servers all over the world so you can both decrease your latency and increase your service availability.

Amazon Prime

amazon-primeEven though I am only in the United States for half the year, I am a happy Amazon Pride customer. In addition to the free two-day shipping, Prime also gives you access to 100,000s of free books, TV shows and movies for use as inspiration when pursuing creative endeavors.

Adobe Creative Cloud

adobe creative cloudI use Photoshop every single day. It is a behemoth of a tool but more often than not, it has the exact feature I need. With Creative Cloud, you not only get Photoshop, you also get Illustrator, Lightroom, inDesign, Fireworks, Audition and 20 other Adobe programs. I don’t recommend paying full price for the cloud version. Instead, I recommend either finding a discount through your current employer or signing up for a design class in your area so that you can get the educational discount and learn the software all in one move.


t-mobileCreative people don’t like being locked into long-term contracts. I recently switched over to T-Mobile and am quite happy with the service. Not only does it over LTE support all over the nation, it also is contract free, offers unlocked devices and most importantly, has no extra cost international data in over 200 countries.

WP Engine

Wp EngineIf you get a serious amount of traffic to your WordPress blog and need fast support and connectivity, WP Engine is the clear choice for you. It is expensive, but it is feature rich, fast and has great support channels. I have been using it for a year and can’t imagine switching to anything else.


githubGithub is a service for remotely hosting source code and software documentation. It is well thought-out and immensely useful for collaboration. It provides all of the code backup and organization that I need and frequently releases new features.

Earth Class Mail

earth class mailEarth Class Mail is a company that scans and forwards postal mail to the e-mail address of your choice. In addition, it mailed in deposits checks (for a fee), saves PDFs of your postal mail online and offers in-person pickup and package signing. It isn’t cheap but it is essential for US based digital nomads.

These are all tools that I have paid my own money for and have used once a week for at least the past year. They are the enablers I enjoy and trust. That said, I do want it to be known that some of the links above are affiliate links which means I earn a small fee if you choose to purchase the corresponding product.

But enough about me, what tools are you using to create your works of art? What should be added to this list?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • David Bradway

    Great article. I actually thought I was reading a “Lifehacker” post in my RSS reader before I saw the “lifelisted” link at the bottom.

    • :-) Thanks David, I consider that a high compliment. I am a big fan of Lifehacker.

      I am working on making the posts on Life Listed more actionable for readers so this was my first stab. I think this is a step in the right action but only a baby one. Just like life, writing and crafting content is a iterative process. Going forward, I am going to put an emphasis on one small step readers can make to improve a given aspect of their lives. This post was kinda a grab bag of resources that I find useful. When I do this style of post again, I am going to work on making it more targeted.

      Cheers bud!

  • Tim

    Omnifocus can’t be beat, it’s just so good.

    • I am seriously addicted :-) Stocked for the new desktop version that is coming out next month.

  • Danny – good stuff as always. Haven’t used 1Password but I use LastPass which is similar, and basically I would now refuse to use the internet if something happened to LastPass. Can’t live without it!

  • Markus Allen

    I find Pixlr is a FAR superior alternative to the cloud version of Photoshop – and it’s 100% free!

    • Excellent tip Markus, I am going to check it out! :-)

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