Why Productivity Apps DON'T Work

Why Productivity Apps DON'T Work



Mateo Bilbao


Why Productivity Apps DON'T Work

We love automation because we love productivity—and when we say productivity, we mean optimizing processes that give you more time and less stress.

Most people like to implement apps and software to help them do that. The reason being is that productivity apps are designed to enhance efficiency by helping you prioritize tasks, track time, keep communication open, and meet deadlines. The problem is: sometimes adding a productivity app can have the opposite effect.

It isn't your fault, and we're about to explain why.

The 3 biggest mistakes people make with productivity apps

Issues with productivity apps often come down to the app failing to support the user's work style. Productivity looks different for every person. We all learn differently, and we all organize our lives differently. If we try forcing ourselves to fit a productivity app (instead of finding one that fits us), we end up frustrated and unproductive.

Below are 3 of the most common issues you can avoid when adding a productivity tool to your workflow.

Number 1: Forgetting to define your "why"

The first and most essential thing to do before finding a productivity app is defining the results you want to achieve. Obviously, you want to be "more productive," but what does that actually mean?

Take time to answer these questions, and you'll know what you need in a productivity app.

Number 2: Choosing features over functionality

While most of us know the phrase "less is more," most of us also tend to say: "Uh, no thanks—I'll take more is more!"

There are numerous of situations where that's a great mindset (you can never have too much cheesecake—no matter what anyone tries to tell you.)


When it comes to productivity apps, sometimes more is just… overwhelming.

It doesn't mean productivity apps with lots of features are bad—it just means you have to remember our previous tip. Know exactly what you need to ensure you're reaching your goals in the most effective way possible.

You can't go wrong starting small if you're new to productivity apps. Get used to the activity and build good habits. Once you've had the chance to see how your workflow evolves, you'll start noticing where you may need more (or fewer) features.

Number 3: Not defining high-value tasks vs. low ROI processes

After defining your "why" behind introducing a productivity app, your efforts will yield better results if you audit your current processes. You'll want to identify which tasks should take priority vs. what is actually eating up your time.

You might discover that one productive thing to do is introduce automation to alleviate a time-consuming process altogether!

You can learn more about how and why you should consider automating lead generation and beyond by checking this article!

The best productivity apps For beginners

Now that you've determined your main priorities when choosing a tool, we're going to share 6 of our favorite productivity apps. These apps range from free to paid, but all are great for users of any skill level.

Best of all... each app offers free versions that are loaded with features and customization.

Note: Every app mentioned has so many cool features that we could spend all day talking about each of them. To save time, we've provided a summary of our favorite elements—but strongly encourage you to test out each app to get the full experience.


Trello is our favorite task management app for beginners. It's simple, yet offers surprising flexibility to customize your workflow. Trello uses a drag-and-drop board system to create and manage tasks and teams. Visually engaging, it offers free and paid plans. It also allows you to invite others to create and manage their own "boards."


This app is a widely beloved productivity workspace because it's so flexible. Notion is incredibly powerful and effective once you get the hang of it, but does have a learning curve for new users. We recommend checking out a few Youtube videos to get some workflow inspiration before you dive in—it’s worth it.


Providing a similar "drag-and-drop card/board" interface to Trello, Milanote ups the anty with more features and visual creativity. As a result, it's an excellent app for brainstorming because teams can add and manipulate in one centralized canvas.


Quickly establishing itself as a highly effective and user-friendly productivity app, Sunsama offers users a fun and engaging onboarding experience and UI. Integrating with apps like Asana and Gmail, Sunsama lets you track time, manage daily and weekly goals, and even record how you felt about your day.

Google Calendar

If you stress about remembering important dates—or like planning very far ahead, Google Calendar is a great option. Aside from adding meetings and deadlines to your calendar, you can lay out your day in time blocks, and have reminders sent to you to help keep you on track.

It’s simple, it’s free, and it’s easy to access on any device.


Asana is a great productivity tool for teams. Aside from being user-friendly and visually rewarding, you can give each department a workspace to track their projects, deadlines, and more. Members can create briefs, attach relevant docs and files, and keep every project contained and easily manageable.

Productivity is like good art

Why? Because it will look different for everyone who engages with it. It's critical to find the productivity app that speaks to you because where one person might see a masterpiece—you may feel completely uninspired.

Productivity apps should make you feel excited and less stressed. Anything less, and it isn't doing its job.

Today we've shared productivity apps we found flexible and comprehensive enough for most work styles. However, be sure to try as many as you can—you never know when you'll find your new "can't-live-without" tool.

And hey… if you end up finding that you work best with a good old pen and paper—there's nothing wrong with that, either.

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