What do you do whenever you feel like you’re not productive enough? You might head straight to the Play/App Store for the next app that promises to “change your life.”
But here’s the thing: these apps won’t instantly transform you into a productivity machine. In fact, chasing after the newest, shiniest productivity app can actually do more harm than good. Here are some main reasons why you don’t need more productivity apps.
1. More Context Switching
Open an app on your phone, and you are likely to open other apps as well. Maybe you wanted to quickly reply to a message on Slack; next thing you know, you are reading your emails, scrolling through social media, and reading the news.
It’s hard to stick to your intended reason for using your phone when there are so many other apps vying for your attention. Context switching sabotages your productivity, as it takes time for you to regain focus each time you switch tasks. What’s more, if you don’t pay attention, you might end up spending hours on your phone without actually completing the task you initially set out to do.
To avoid this, you need an effective system to help you stay on task. For example, task batching is a great way to minimize context switching. Grouping similar tasks together allow you to complete them more efficiently and reduce the likelihood of getting distracted.
2. App Overload
These days there are apps for everything, from tracking your steps and reminding you to drink water to apps for monitoring your screen time. It’s easy to get caught up in the overwhelming number of choices and download multiple apps for the same tasks or activities.
But, do you really need two meditation apps? Or three different to-do list apps? You probably keep downloading all these apps after realizing the previous one was not that magic solution to becoming productive. You end up trapped in a hamster wheel, chasing new apps but never really finding the perfect one.
App overload leads to decision fatigue and information scattered across different platforms, making it hard to stay organized and get things done. Moreover, many productivity apps in the same category share similar features and functionalities. So, it makes more sense to stick to one app that meets most of your needs instead of using multiple apps that offer the same features.
That said, instead of trying out every new app, take time to learn how to use the apps you already have. Learn the ins and outs to make sure you use them to their full potential. You’d be surprised to discover that you already have everything you need to be productive.
3. More Apps Lead to More Notifications
You might not realize it yet, but notifications are one of the biggest productivity killers. Each ping or buzz disrupts your focus and pulls you away from the task at hand. And as we have mentioned above, it takes time for you to regain that focus.
Installing more apps on your devices only leads to more notifications and more distractions. So, if you’re looking to increase your productivity, one of the first things you should do is take a good hard look at all the apps that send you notifications. You probably don’t want to receive notifications from all these apps when you are working.
In addition, you can set up and use focus modes on your smartphone to control which apps can send you notifications at specific times. This is a great way to minimize distractions and maximize your productivity.
4. Some Apps Cost Money
In some cases, it’s not only your productivity that’s at stake, but also your wallet. There are a lot of great free productivity apps out there that can help you boost your productivity without breaking the bank. However, several apps come with a price tag.
While some paid apps are worth the investment, others might not. Before you shell out your hard-earned cash, make sure that the app is actually going to help boost your productivity or bottom line by doing your research, reading reviews, or playing around with the free trial (if available).
5. You Can Develop an Unhealthy Reliance
Rushing to pick up your phone or downloading more apps whenever you have a productivity dip can quickly turn into an unhealthy reliance on technology. You might not perform as well as you’d like for many reasons; it could be that you are taking on too much, not getting enough sleep, or simply having an off day.
But, if you perceive your productivity apps as the cure-all for your productivity problems, you will likely develop an unhealthy dependence on them. This is not a sustainable solution, as you will eventually hit another productivity wall.
What’s more, most apps are designed to get as much attention from you as possible. This means that you might spend more time on your phone and less time on the task they are supposed to help you with.
6. The Learning Curve
Another important consideration is the learning curve that comes with each new app. It takes time to learn how to use a new app and even longer to master it, and this can quickly become a productivity drain, especially if you are using multiple apps.
So, before downloading an app you might not need, think about how much time you will be willing to invest in learning how to use it. It might be more productive to stick with the apps you already know how to operate efficiently and meet most of your needs.
Productivity Apps on Their Own Are Not Enough
For the most part, productivity apps are effective enablers that can help you do more in less time. However, that’s all they are—enablers, and they won’t do much independently without the right mindset and systems to support them.
Just like a professional athlete needs to pair top-notch gear with hours of training, you need to set yourself up for success if you want to make the most out of your productivity apps.