Apps are huge. The infographic above by IT company Conosco illustrates the breadth of technology that exists to help you and I get the most out of our day. From time-management apps to goal tracking resources you’ll be spoiled for choice. Stand out resources include HabitRPG, which makes the achievement of goals fun, and Focus@will, which claims to boost productivity by a staggering 400 percent through a powerful combination of music and neuroscience. Here are 3 other apps to add to the list:
An app for iPhones and iPad that allows you to customize your phone so you can avoid unimportant or distracting tasks. You ‘tell’ your phone how to respond to a particular action. For example, you can programme your phone to call Uber before an appointment. Workflow connects apps together so you can automate tasks you would normally do manually.
Slack is rather like a mobile chat room and allows you to keep in touch with your team without having to wade through a ton of emails. You can tag people and create a number of channels for smaller team projects. Slack allows you to stay focused on what’s important and what’s happening right now. It’s free, and available for iOS, Mac, Android and the Web.
This app, for iOS and Mac, offers the simplest way to keep track of your tasks. Drag and re-arrange your to-do list or add items effortlessly. And when you’ve finished a task, simply swipe to the right.
More to Productivity Than Apps
Although all of these apps can help you achieve much, it’s worth noting that not all impediments to productivity stem from being disorganized or lacking the necessary discipline (as the need for productivity apps would seem to suggest). Many productivity issues are, in fact, psychological. There’s a growing body of research that highlights the importance of the way we think about reward and cost in our perception of productivity. In other words, how productive you perceive yourself to be can be subjective.
For example, your job may require much strategizing and innovation, both of which need enormous ‘thinking time’. But you may feel that you haven’t achieved much because your work is open-ended and uncertain. Despite this, you can tick off 20 items of little importance from your inbox and feel that you‘ve had an enormously productive day.
Another example: you have 8 items on your to-do list, and you manage to tick off just three of those items, leaving you feeling frustrated about your ‘lack of productivity’. However, if your to-do list was made up of just those three items that you ticked off, you would probably feel pretty productive. As you can see, there is an irrational component to our perception of productivity.
There are other culprits that can be implicated in the productivity issue: procrastination, perfectionism and, yes, the to-do list itself. Why? Because the to-do list is just that: a to-do list. To-do lists can be mentally ‘gamed’; human beings are like rats, ticking things off boosts our reward centers. How easy is it to add items to your list that you’ve already completed but which weren’t on your original to-do list? Or to add unscheduled events? Have a healthy lunch. That’s worth a check. Clean your desk. Another check.
Still, productivity apps are very welcome. Which are your favourites, and why? Share your comments below...