I need context when I'm writing, this productivity app scares me.

I need context when I’m writing. This productivity app scares me.

“There’s an app for that.”

Apple trademarked this phrase about the diversity of applications available for iPhones. They might be right. Limitless button pressing is at my fingertips.

Wade through the fart and fake aging apps, and you’ll find a palatial collection of productivity applications (Android users: this goes for you, too). They get their own section of the App Store.

  • Do you run a business that needs a productivity boost?
  • Are you a frequent shopper of the household?
  • Have you thought about writing your first novel?

Yes, there are apps for every niche. Browse through the many apps present, and you might begin salivating over the productivity porn. Look at all of the opportunities to save time, money, and life — how enchanting!

Download a productivity app and you’ll travel into a rabbit hole. Hours may go by without any work. Every productivity tool has a learning curve. It takes time to learn skills and make them habitual. Trying something new is rarely, if ever, seamless. Apps are fun to manipulate and play around with — the interaction feels natural and it is.

Maybe you switch to another app — there’s another, better feature. Maybe the app you originally downloaded gets an update. Maybe you decide to downgrade back to another productivity system. Maybe you are struggling with syncing issues — the productivity app information is no longer across devices. There are a lot of maybes — I know — but something is inevitable. The learning curve never stops — you’re never freebasing productivity.

It’s easy to imagine productivity apps as a superhero’s cape. Put this on, and you’ll instantly be able to fight your assignments, organize your life, and win at work. The reality is that capes bog you down, aren’t aerodynamic, and take more time to put on. You’re busy fixing app changes, looking for the latest options, and browsing for new methods of saving time, as you pour it down the drain.

Time is limited. It motivates us to become more efficient. We’re desperate for more down time. I struggle to start difficult projects, but finding, downloading, learning, syncing, and beginning to use a new app is an illusion of productivity. It feels purposeful, but isn’t.

Wake from the productivity dream. You’re the only tool needed to complete your projects. That’s because productivity rarely comes from addition — only subtraction. Every computer contains all the productivity programs necessary: a word processor, calendar, and calculator. 99% of my tasks can be completed within these programs. When I’m desperate for a productivity app, it must be something that doesn’t require any interaction (i.e., IFTTT). When you add more to this system, you are significantly risking your total time.

I’m a writer. There are limitless productivity apps for my kind. But simplification and frugality don’t come from a $20 writing app for iPhone. Nothing more than a basic word processor is needed. I simply need to start typing.