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Are Productivity Tools Always the Answer?
Is being more productive a good thing?
The more productive we are, the more we can achieve in every facet of life, be it work, home, school, etc. It is because of this that so many productivity tools have emerged. These tools and apps promise to make the user more productive, and many of them do...most of the time.
However, productivity tools aren’t for every situation.
Interestingly, the plethora of productivity tools and apps available today haven't necessarily made us more productive. There are many circumstances where productivity tools and productivity goals can have negative consequences. Let's look at some...
1. Achieving Inbox Zero
Without a doubt, email is the number one mode of business communication today. It is because of the importance of email that dozens of productivity tools seek to help users get the number of unread or unanswered emails down to zero.
On the surface, this seems a worthy objective. However, email is a business enabler and not the business itself. One can get so bogged down with managing email, one can fail to devote as much time needed to actually get work done.
When using a productivity tool, you often will have to switch between the tool and other business applications multiple times. In bigger organizations that have multiple tools, an employee may have to work with a dozen or more applications per day.
This can be a huge time-waster. Studies show that multitasking actually reduces productivity. Once an employee switches to a different application, it takes them a few minutes to get their bearing and focus on the task at hand. Mobile app versions of the tool are worse, as the constant alerts will be a distraction.
3. Juggling Multiple Productivity Tools
Many productivity tools are designed to tackle one problem. There are tools devoted to cold calling, lead management, email management, time management, network management, project management...my head is spinning. Many people eventually find themselves with so many tools they do not use ANY of them.
Which tools you choose can make a world of difference. You could realize greater productivity by choosing simple tools, such as the Nozbe app, that can handle multiple parts of your daily workflow and help you manage projects, to-do’s, tasks, and have the ability to collaborate in a team environment.
4. Being the Perfectionist
Productivity tools can help you achieve the greatest output from your inputs but they can also suck you into a vicious cycle of unreachable perfectionism.
The goal should be first to finish your work and tasks, not to spend all your time planning to do the work in an app.
5. The Perfect To-Do List
Many productivity tools and apps are designed and programmed to prevent tasks from falling through the cracks. This is based on the understanding that some tasks are not completed not because the person doesn’t want to or cannot do them but simply because they forgot to do them. To prevent this oversight, the tool may present a huge to-do list to motivate the user and that the user is expected to finish completely for their day’s work to be considered done.
However, a huge to-do list may have the opposite effect of motivation. A long to-do list can feel overwhelming and cause procrastination instead, as the user spends even more time deciding where to begin.
Where Do We Go From Here?
So what is the solution? In a nutshell, don't throw technology at every productivity problem. The 'problem' could be solved independently of an app. How about asking your team, co-workers, or friends for ideas on a little different work-flow?
Simply reducing the number of meetings people attend at work would give them more time to actually get work done thus increasing productivity. Reducing or shortening meetings is a non-app solution with great productivity pay-off.
Technology can be a powerful tool. However, it is paramount that people recognize when technology is not the solution and actually starts to be the problem.
Happy Goal Reaching!