When you’re lying on your deathbed, you’re probably not going to be thinking, “I’m so glad I had that social productivity app for my professional and personal life to constantly distract me when I went on my honeymoon, played with my kids and hiked up half dome.
It seems like everyone has a productivity app these days, but do they make our lives better? Let’s start with what is the “better” life. I would define it as actually having one. That would mean that when you leave work, you do just that; leave it for tomorrow because you’ve done your job for today with the help of a productivity app. Then you’d go enjoy your life with friends, family, a hot date or a good novel.
So let’s assume (or at least hope) that you have a life. You killed it at work today, enjoyed a well-earned beer with your friends, and now you’re sitting down to read The Hunger Games trilogy before hitting the sack. But wait…you decided to get that new killer productivity app that you can use to manage your entire life, from checking off tasks at work to buying flowers for your honey, and getting social with it all. Obviously, you’re extremely important and everyone wants to see what you’re up to. With the help of your new social productivity app, you’ve shared your new project with fifteen friends on Facebook and now you have seven new comments awaiting your reply. And you need to get on that so you don’t look like a douche. You are one. Your productivity app owns you. So you reply and try to get back to your book. “Beep, beep…” you just got another reminder from your new swiss army life application: GET A LIFE!
Hey, who doesn’t love a good productivity app? We built one, and we do see the value in social collaboration at work…for work. Facebook rocks the social life already, so why do we feel the need to blur the lines between work and play? If you’re an American, it’s probably because you were bred to be a workaholic, and you may not even know it. Maybe now is a good time to reconsider mixing your professional and personal productivity so you don’t regret the few short years you have on this planet to enjoy yourself with your loved ones who want to enjoy you. One thing is for sure: when you are looking at your iPhone every 10 minutes, getting pinged with reminders and updates, no one is enjoying you or themselves.
Sure, task management is helpful with both our work and personal lives. But when a GTD or productivity app crosses over into both, is that really productive? You’re at work using your productivity app for task management and there, in your face all day long, is your personal to-do list waiting for you when you get off work. Distracted? Well maybe you’ll just surf the web in the middle of work to go look for that birthday present for you mom. If you can just take care of that, you’ll be right back to work…until you see the next thing on your list of endless things to do.
Now let’s add the social aspect on top of that, because Facebook is so productive. Hello, McFly, your shoe is untied. Think, McFly. Think! Facebook is a social network. What about that sounds like saving time and money at work? Facebook is supposed to be a social diversion; one of which people who have friends (i.e., a life) can enjoy to spend their free time to connect, catch up and post inappropriate pictures of their weekend debaucheries. Unless you’re trying to expand your market reach with social media optimization, then sharing project and task management on Facebook and Twitter is not what I would classify as a productive way to get things done.
So here’s some advice when looking for a productivity app: start with your pain points as an individual or team. Who cares about the mob and the latest innovation in universal connectivity? They’ll be onto the next big thing next week. Just find a productivity app that solves your problem and isn’t just out to use you to distribute their product through your personal social networks so they can get a series A investment. Think about what will actually help you to Rule your work so you can enjoy your life. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” – Jack