I test a lot of productivity, habit and human optimization apps.
I have to because I am constantly asked at my seminars and keynotes “what app do you recommend” for this or that? I try to always have a recommendation to offer. I even have a PDF document that contains my current and top recommendations. However, I recently discovered something about my app choice and usage. Personally I have migrated back to most of the native (IOS) apps. If I don’t use a native app I noticed that my chalices were always for the simple app.
Simple is where the freedom is
I pondered why and how I choose the apps for may daily productivity and what I kept coming back to was simple! Simple is fast. Simple is not over complicated. Simple is reliable. Simple doesn’t require a lot of brain power thus not creating decision fatigue. Simple is all I require to get the job done.
Stop giving yourself decision fatigue by going simple
Let me share some of my thinking here with you so that you can make an informed decision on if simple will work for you in the app department.
As a productivity expert speaking and writing on the subject of getting more done I have to tell you everything you can do to reduce decision fatigue is essential to your productivity success. We make 25,000-65,000 decisions a day. These decisions start as soon as we wake up. Snooze? No! I mean yes, I’m tired. Brown shoes or black? Oatmeal or avocado toast? Should I take Warm Springs road to work or the I-215? Some of these decisions seem trivial, but be warned: brown shoes or black shoes takes just as much out of the decision making allowance as making a decision on $100,000,000 project. Yep, true story.
This is why simple easy-to-use apps are key in not giving you decision fatigue. If the app is over complicated, just the act of adding an item to a to-do list can be taxing. I counted how many decisions I had to make to add a task to a very popular to-do app. Eight! It took eight decisions just to enter a simple task. I don’t know about you but I need all of the brain power I can recruit for higher cognitive pursuits. So, how many decisions is it to enter it into a “simple” app? None! Hit the plus sign and type, done! Want to save an article to read later? I tested a very elaborate app that boasts tons of features. It’s an app that is made for this sort of curation. It took 9 taps just to send it to the app. Two more click to specify the destination location. I switched to using Instapaper and in two clicks I have it sent, saved and ready to read as soon as I open the app.
Try it out see if simple works for you.
Below is a list of simple apps to test. Kick the tires see if you notice the reduced trouble and decisions to execute just using the basic functions of these apps.
Reminders (Apple IOS)
Notes (Apple IOS)
Pen and paper (Yep, going old school)
Reader and content curator: