Why Productivity Apps don’t Work. Try this Instead

Have you ever wondered why productivity apps don’t work? You try your best to be more productive but yet every app you download over and over has not helped you to be disciplined. 

I know it’s an incredible feeling when you can sit down (or stand up) and get things done – especially the important ones. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. You might have been there once or twice, too, and want to replicate it. But that’s where there seems to be a problem. Which makes you wonder why productivity apps don’t work all the time.

I had always wanted to be one of “those” people who can deliver personal and corporate projects when I say I will. But somehow, meeting deadlines or delivering excellent jobs within specified timelines was a problem. I was procrastinating to my detriment, and I needed to change that.

To-do apps, note-taking apps, focus apps, time-tracking apps, habit trackers, communication apps, you name it, and I have used them all. Yet, my productivity levels were still not good. It was frustrating because I knew I could be and do more. I knew I was meant for more, and if I was productive enough, I was going to accomplish more.

If I’m correct, you have used several of them yourself. You’re probably wondering why I’m so sure my guess is right. For starters, you are reading this post because you want to be more productive but find that you’re not getting more things done despite using more productivity tools. 

Secondly, this post (and blog) typically targets ladies who want to improve their lives, advance their careers and just make the most of what they have and their potential. So, if you’re reading this, you are one such woman (or maybe a man).

These apps are not useless. They just don’t increase productivity or work out of the blues. So, instead of looking for the next productivity app or a new, improved version of the one you’re currently using, I’ll give you some hacks that will help you focus on your projects from the onset and get better results with your time and efforts. I can finally get things done, but not because I found the best productivity tools.

Before I do that, however, let’s discuss why productivity tools don’t work, no matter how beautiful and user-friendly they are.

Below are why productivity apps don’t work!

The time management and Calendar apps assume that you’re not managing your time well and need to:

While this might sound true for you, it always isn’t. Yes, you might need to improve how you use your time and your scheduling skills. But what happens when you excellently schedule your tasks but don’t do them?

You’ve been there several times before, right? You had scheduled that you take that online class around 8 pm after work because you want to improve yourself. But that’s when you “stumbled” on an episode of Game of Thrones or Bridgerton on Netflix. And though you didn’t plan to binge-watch, you found yourself drawn in. And then you have to reschedule a time to take the class – after all, it’s self-paced!

While assuming it might be costly, I can safely say it’s happened to you before, more than once. Girl, I know it has!

It isn’t a time-management problem, it is a self-management problem, and we’ll come to it later.

Focus apps might prevent distractions from other apps or websites, but don’t stop you from fantasising away:

Have you ever caught yourself smiling cheek to cheek, blushing in the middle of a project while staring into your computer and presumably working? Sure you have. But what happened? How could you have been here working on something you said was important to you, yet, you were also far away in a dream world?

You might be spending more time daydreaming than you know. But why won’t you even fantasise when there’s so much chaos around, and you just have to find a way to enjoy the present? Plus, you want that beautiful relationship or currently have one and need to escape into a world with only sweetness in your life.

No. I’m not faulting you. I’m only saying it’s affecting your mindfulness and productivity, too, and the apps can’t stop it.

Wellness apps don’t stop burnout:

While properly scheduling tasks and getting those meditation sessions are great, these apps won’t force you to stop working if you’re a workaholic with no breaks. I understand the drive to better your life, advance your career, get better grades, and more. Still, when you reach your limits, your productivity drops due to burnout. And no app can force you to stop before then.

We can go on about why productivity apps don’t work and dive into the shortcomings of each class of tools. Yet what works is dependent on one factor alone: YOU! You determine what gets done and what doesn’t.

The Ultimate Productivity Hacks To help people Focus On their Project

You shouldn’t focus on getting more productivity apps but on learning new productivity hacks that help you get stuff done. Your focus should be on managing yourself. Because no matter how many apps you use, if you don’t work or show up, nothing gets done – the apps are useless.

You should be aware that the best hacks for productivity aren’t about something external like time and the websites you might visit while working. They are about you! They are about self-management.

The best productivity hacks are about helping you manage yourself and various aspects of your life that affect your productivity. These include your emotions and mood, decisions and will, determination, health and wellness, priorities, and more.

Below are some of the best you can start with. They are also foundational and focus on a more holistic view of productivity.

Saying No will improve your life

Priority Hacks For Productivity


Priority management is a critical part of self-management and productivity. If you’re focused on doing the wrong things because they are the things that are simple to do, you won’t get the results you expect.

Actually, that’s what most of you might have been doing. Most people who have problems delivering results don’t sit down on their couches all day doing nothing. They do some things. However, they’re not doing the essential ones.

Productivity begins with defining what’s crucial for the project and workday. That’s the first hack.

Once you have that, the following hacks listed below will amplify your efforts and help you get more done.

Group similar tasks or tasks associated with a priority: Focus your energies on a single theme of activities per time. For example, respond to all emails, do research for all content to be created, edit all images, and more per time. It is always easier to get in the flow (or zone) this way. You’re in a specific frame of mind per time. So it takes less effort to work on similar tasks than to work on many different things at random.

Creating a to-do list or scheduling your tasks in your calendar app becomes more effective when you understand this hack. That’s because you’ll group your activities in your schedules.

Systemize Your Work or Use A System: Trying to figure everything out while working uses too many brain resources. If you can systemize the way you work, you will deliver predictable results all the time. One of the good things about using the hack above is that you can quickly turn it into a system.

Understand the process flow of your work and go with it. If you can improve it to fit your personality, better!

You can use project management apps to help you here. But don’t forget that the applications will not deliver results if you keep going against the system. So, determine the best strategy for you, and then configure your app with that process.

Get Rid Of Distractions: You cannot focus on more than one thing at a time. The brain just can’t hold more than one thought at a time. It is easier to remove the distraction than to work in their midst. Even when you think you’re excellent at multitasking, you’re not accomplishing much.

You might need to remove your smartphone from you if that’s where your distractions come from. If it’s on your work PC or Mac, an app might help.

Health and Wellness Hacks

Like it or not, the results you can deliver depend on your body’s state. A sick or tired body cannot do much.

I have had burnout before. I can tell firsthand that no matter how much you’re paying for using a productivity app, the cost is never enough to motivate you beyond what your weary body can handle. Sadly, it is always very little when you’re in this state.

Here are the health and wellness hacks you need to deliver results when you need to.

Sleep is the ultimate wellness hack: Don’t neglect your sleep. To get more done, you might neglect your sleep. The impact shows in your body and mind. And if you overdo sleeplessness, your body and mind will begin revolting when you need them the most. A lack of sleep or not enough sleep has been shown to result in cognitive performance deficits.

A well-rested body and mind are incredible productivity support systems! Not getting enough sleep ultimately translates into destroying your support systems by yourself. Nothing can be worse than that, as you fall hard and have no one else to blame for it.

Take breaks when necessary: As stated earlier, a tired body and mind hardly focus on anything or get anything done. It’s Okay to take breaks after some time.

There are different schools of thought regarding how long you should work on a single stretch. While studies show that you can go for as long as four to five hours without the mind feeling exhausted, many people are on the low end of the spectrum. Some people work in blocks of 10, 30, or 60 minutes or more. I suggest you find and do what works for you. And if you need to go beyond that, take a break first!

Stay Hydrated: You might not know how much liquid you take in affects your productivity, but it does. The relationship isn’t a direct one. When you are dehydrated, stress sets in fast. And when you’re stressed, there’s not much you can do. So stay hydrated.

Emotion and Mood Hacks

How your emotions relate to productivity is one that very few people discuss. But as a lady, even if you didn’t know it outright, you sure can tell that it is harder to work when you’re not in the mood than when you are.

Knowing how to get yourself in the mood or a reasonable frame of mind that supports work is crucial to productivity. Some jobs or tasks require you to be fired up. Others need you to be in more sombre frames of mind. Whatever the case and your personality type, learn how to switch moods as your jobs require.

Here are some emotional and mood hacks you need to apply.

Work on things you love: Not everyone has the luxury of being at a job they love. But there might be certain vital aspects of the job you feel good about. Work on those and get some results there first.

If you’re fortunate to pick what to work on, work on things you love. Passion can quickly help you blaze through many demanding tasks. It also helps prevent the frequent drifting to Fantasy Island we mentioned earlier.

As a result, you get more done as there’s no time lost to daydreaming.

Work on the most challenging things first thing in the morning or while you’re still fired up: It is no news that work drains your energy and emotions. So, while you still have a “full bar,” focus on the most complex stuff and get them out of the way.

Get enough laughter: Laughter is more than just good medicine. Laughter can be a good mood and creativity booster. Laughter has been proven to help people think and solve problems creatively. So, have a good laugh, enjoy some comedy during your break times or when you’re feeling stuck, short of ideas, or just feeling down. It helps to get your juices up and running.

Allow your mind, Wonder, but not while working: Those periods where you seem lost are also great for productivity. Freedom is an excellent motivating factor for many of us. Allowing the mind to be free to dwell on what it wants can boost your productivity. Just don’t do it while working. If you do, nothing will get done while you’re “away,” and that means you lost time.


So I hope you now know why productivity apps don’t work. I have highlighted some of the ultimate productivity hacks to help people focus on their projects. The list I have above is not exhaustive. But I have grouped them into priority hacks, health and wellness hacks, and emotion and mood hacks.

These might not be mainstream hacks, but they are essential because productivity isn’t just a function of activities. Many people are busy doing “useless” things. Productivity is a function of prioritised work by someone with good health and in the right frame of mind (or mood). This combination always makes for your best work.

I am a wellness and life coach, and I have written several articles to help you on your journey. You can read them by clicking here and make sure you learn Signs of Being Emotionally Exhausted and How to Overcome It. You can also get in touch with me if you need help.

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Hi! I'm Dr Jessica

I share my expertise as a Family Physician to provide you with the support and tools to a holistic lifestyle.

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