The perfect productivity app does not exist

I wrote an article about some of my favourite productivity apps earlier this year. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to try many of them. Sometimes, a friend would recommend an app and I would try it out just to see what features it has and rate its ease of use.

A few weeks ago, someone who read my article told me they had downloaded all the apps I had recommended and were using them all. I thought this was unnecessary and most likely would result in decreased productivity for him. I asked him which was his favourite among the apps he had tested so far? He chose Evernote. I recommended he stick with that and leave the rest for now. Evernote is likely to meet his personal productivity needs.

A cellphone screen with many app icons
Too many apps spoil productivity

I know I have said a lot about how apps can be useful for increasing your productivity and I will stand by that statement any day. In a digital era, having information on what you should be doing on the go can be a lifesaver. Many people use smartphones and devices. If you have an app that synchronises across all your devices, it makes your planning a lot easier.

That being said, the perfect app that will magically solve all your productivity problems does not exist. One to-do list app is really no different from the other once you put aside the user interface. They all do the same thing. Some of the most productive people I know use minimal interface apps. Others use apps that come with all sorts of features such as fancy fonts, ability to colour code, set up a schedule and collaborate with team members.

A search icon
Don’t search too long

Everyone is different. What determines which app works best for you is what you need it for. The personal productivity needs of a fulltime university student will be quite different from those of a business owner or a Bank Executive. Even among students, people respond positively to different stimuli. A colourful app might encourage one to study. Another might find the bright fonts distracting.

Instead of trying out one app and hopping to another app after a few months, try and understand the principles behind personal productivity. Learn the techniques. The apps are simply the point of application. Once you have mastered a few techniques, you can decide which app works best for you and go for it from there.

A generic hand holding a cellphone
Pick what works and stick with it

On a final note, the simplest productivity “app” is a pen and notebook. If digital apps are not your thing and you have no trouble carrying a notebook and pen in your pocket or bag, it could solve your productivity problems. Before you dismiss this as being analog in a digital era, I know quite a few Lawyers who use a diary to keep their cases organised. If it gets the job done, why complicate matters?

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