Apps or Analog: A Mixed Approach to Productivity

Task management is at the heart of success, helping you keep track of projects, minimize distractions, and address deadlines – but with so many organizational options on the market, it’s easy to get bogged down in the details. Should you use a scheduling app or a digital checklist, a standard paper planner or a detailed journal?

To decide, you need to understand your productivity profile. From apps to analog, everyone has a different approach to staying organized.

Using productivity apps

App Advantages

One of the main advantages of using an app for productivity is the ability to assess tasks and update your to do list no matter where you are. Apps like Remember the Milk, for example, are designed for mobile and desktop use and even integrate text and email reminders for tasks and deadlines. You can plan out your overall agenda at your desk and then take it with you wherever life takes you.

Apps are also better designed to account for team responsibilities than most other productivity strategies – in fact, team environments are why project management software is so popular. Combine that long-term overview with programs like TrackTime24, a flexible employee scheduling tool, and you’ll never miss a deadline due to scheduling conflicts or overbooking.

Using analog productivity tool

The Analog Approach

Despite our attachment to digital devices, paper planners are actually going through a golden era, so don’t count them out just yet. In addition to the highly regarded and goal-oriented Passion Planner, other popular options include the glossy Desire Map from Danielle LaPorte and the streamlined Panda Planner. These organizers are designed to track deadlines but also set future goals, keeping the personal and professional all in one place.

Of course, for the most ambitious paper planner users, these printed planners may not be enough. No, some people are just made for bullet journaling, a fully self-designed journal where you can log anything and everything. Though there are a few standard spreads such as the weekly spread and future log, other users throw in meal planning tools, reading logs, habit trackers and more. Bullet journals can do everything but they require added effort.

Using both digital and analog productivity tools

The Hybrid Approach

Digital task management tools are almost unavoidable these days, especially if you work in an office, but ultimately you don’t have to commit to a single approach. Many people rely on a hybrid approach to task management that integrates both digital and analog tools, and this can take many different forms.

Do you want to stop wasting time so you can get more done? Digital tools like SelfControl, a website blocker that prevents you from visiting certain pages, can help you build better habits and you can reinforce them with a habit tracker in a bullet journal. Your habit tracker can also help you wean yourself off these supportive tools and take control of habits like wasting time or meditating by keeping a log in your journal.

Another potential hybrid approach relies on digital support for at-work responsibilities and analog for personal and home-based tasks. This approach is great if you want to spend less time on your phone but have a hard time turning off your work brain. Once you’re off the clock, you can move to the paper checklist to take care of the kids, cook dinner, or get to the doctor without missing a beat.

Ultimately, the goal of task management is to find a way to sustain productivity levels and you can only accomplish that if your approach feels natural. If you aren’t using a tool, just ditch it. The perfect approach is out there if you’re willing to experiment.