Running the Keep Productive channel does introduce people to plenty of apps, and that can be good for people searching. But for others who are looking to switch for switchings sake, it can be damaging.
Switching is like moving house. Moving your house every few weeks or months would be hideous. You lose things along the way, can’t get comfortable and for work, it can get in the way of getting things done.
I wanted to address my own journey and approach
These are all of the moves I’ve made over the last 5 years with my apps.
- Evernote was my default note-taker since 2010
- In mid-2017, I discovered Notion and experimented with it for 6-months
- In early 2018, I took a 90-days time period to transition toNotion
- Notion is not my note-taker, more for checklists
- Evernote is still used for important notes, clipping and valuable PDFs
- I think of Evernote as more of a search tool for all my past data
- Todoist has been my go-to task manager since 2013
- In early 2018, for 90-days, I trialled Things 3
- Things 3 didn’t make the cut, not suitable for my work
- Todoist still stood the test of time and delivered all I needed
- Still continuing to use Todoist as daily driver
▶ Take the “Find My Perfect To-Do List App” Course
- During my college/university years, I used Trello for projects
- These projects were small and lightweight
- At the start of my freelancing work, I used Trello for my first full year
- I transitioned to Notion for my second year (late 2017)
- Notion has been the home of projects for 1 year
- Google Calendar has always been my calendar’s home
- I use one main 3rd party tool now, that is Timepage
- Before, in 2014, I use Calendars 5 by Readdle
- Until mid-2018, in which I moved to Timepage by Moleskine
- Previously, I solely used Gmail for Web to access email
- In 2016, I moved to Newton and shortly afterwards, joined the team.
- In mid-2018, I moved from Newton (due to shutdown) to Spark Mail
- I trialled Spark for 90-days, but it wasn’t a suitable fit
- Missive is currently 30-days into a 90-day trial as my email app
Giving yourself a full 90-days to test an app is the perfect approach. 70% of the time, the app is suitable for your needs, thanks to your research into it. But the other 30%, it might not be ideal for you. To that, I recommend finishing up your full 90-days, as long as it isn’t bottlenecking your work. The 90-days is to help you to reduce the need to switch and give you time to explore the tool and migrate, without exporting all your stuff.
One of the best approaches for me, when looking for a new app, is asking yourself a few questions. The first “Do I need this app?” — essentially, what issue/workflow does this tool solve… The second “Does this app just look good or does it actually solve workflow concerns” — many people jump on the “sexy” productivity softwares, without exploring the advanced features or even the simple ones that solve their issues.
- Thinking Ahead
The beauty of many resources is that they can grow with you. Your workflow can be scaled. Case in question, when I joined high-school, I chose Todoist because I knew after university, it would still be useful in the workplace, so for 3–4 years, I could invest my time and grow with the tool. Many students used Wunderlist during their time, which wasn’t as scalable for future projects. Your goal is to plan ahead and think of your investment as a 5-year plan.
As you can see, it doesn’t always work. I actually didn’t expect to go fully freelance after university, so I didn’t invest in project tools or even client management software, and even professional-standard email… So naturally, things in the last 2 years have been moving faster than normal, nut now I’ve made a base, I don’t expect to change for a few years, at least.
Over the last 5 years, these have been my overall moves.
- 4 major app switches in 5 years
- 2 temporary trials in 5 years
- 10 experimented with for all core workflows