Don’t be so quick to pay for that app

I have been asked a few times whether I think paying for a productivity app is worth it. All the personal productivity apps I have used have been free and I am still yet to pay money for any productivity app. I know people who use a notebook and pen for all their planning. Some of them are the most productive people I have ever known.

A phone screen with many app icons
How many of them are useful?

A subscription app or an expensive gadget is not going to make you magically productive if you have not taken the time to develop the habits that promote productivity. It’s easy to buy a smartwatch and equip it with a subscription based fitness app so you can track the number of steps you have walked a day. However, your fitness goals still won’t be achieved unless you make the commitment to exercise everyday. In other words, the expensive gadget and app might be a distraction. You might just be spending money to convince yourself you have taken the first step towards achieving your goal. Meanwhile, you still haven’t made a plan to get out of bed every morning and go for a walk.

When most people talk about getting an app that promises to make them productive overnight, I always advocate caution. Before you pay money for an app or a gadget, do you have:

  1. A clear and actionable Personal Development Plan.
  2. A SMART goal statement.
  3. Step-by-step tasks to achieve your goal.

If any of the above are lacking, you would be better off investing time to write them down before making a decision to get a new app. I know many people who paid for a gym subscription (often as part of a New years’ resolution) but are still yet to use it. They never had plans to go to the gym, start exercising and eating healthy. Paying the subscription made them feel good about themselves. At least they can say they tried something and it just didn’t work out. Paid productivity apps are the same. Until you learn the basics of productivity and start applying them, it won’t matter whether you use a notepad or a premium app. Any number times zero will remain zero.

A phone screen, a wrench and hammer
No app is a magic bullet

Make plans and develop a smart work ethic. Maybe when you do, you can decide if a paid app will be a boost for you or just a vanity project. Remember, you can always use the money to buy shawarma instead.

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