App Overload: Too Many Apps Kill Productivity

Options are good. Competition is good. But too many options can be fatal for our productivity – right? App overload can kill productivity in most cases, so it is important to identify your realistic needs and uses and maintain a clean workflow.

What I mean by App Overload

As a Tech Geek, I find myself always wanting to try new things and see what is different, better, etc. The problem is, for me, that I often find my self caught in a sort of technology stew. The ingredients being multiple apps that do the same things, beta versions here, alpha versions there….even apps I am not sure I will use, but I am curious.

It is great to try new things and explore beyond the norm, but at some point we have to have a workflow. We have to narrow down the number of “inputs” we have to process and attempt to manage an efficient workflow – both in our work and personal lives.

Common areas of “App Overload”:

  • Messaging
  • Media / Streaming
  • Photo Management / Editing
  • Cloud Storage / Syncing (Need vs think you need)
  • Note Taking
  • Tasks & Todos
  • Photography (1-2 should cut it)
  • Games (How many do you really play?)


App Overload Example: Google Keep vs Evernote

For example. I have been using both Googke Keep and Evernote for managing notes. I would go back and forth between each of them. Which one I used likely depending on mostly my mood and possibly my perception of which I felt was better suited for the exact need at hand. Even more ridiculous was the fact that I would use one because I felt it had all of these “other capabilities” that I thought made it better – even though I never used them. A simple, but real-life example of app overload.


The Realization

In a casual conversation with Scott Greenstone, I brought my dual-wielding issue up. Just by talking about it out load with someone (ok, maybe in a Hangout chat), it became clear to me that I was using Evernote because I had these unrealistic expectations that I was going to use several bells-and-whistles features. I am not saying those features are not great or usefully, but they were not being used by me – even after several years of partially using Evernote. Some features may have even been available in both apps, but I just stuck, blindly, to Evernote.

Examples of unused or cross-over features:

  • Reminders
  • Scan Business Cards
  • Annotate PDFs
  • Save Emails in Evernote
  • Seeing Content Related to my notes
  • Scanning Documents to Evernote

Some of those are great features. I just don’t use half of them and the others are available in Google Keep which is simpler and integrates with my “Googleverse”. So, I have completely dropped Evernote and I only use Keep now. I just feel better about it. Need to take a quick note, create a checklist, etc…. Just have one choice now – Google Keep.


Something to think about

On a larger, deeper level, this got me thinking about how app overload kind of stresses me out. It’s essentially about having too many choices – even when some of them are choices that can be eliminated because you just never use them or finally realize you can narrow it down to 1-2 apps. When it comes to be productive, we need to reduce the amount of unnecessary clutter around us. We need to be realistic about our needs and time available, then build and maintain an efficient workflow.


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