Productivity apps - should we take their claims seriously?

Productivity – more elusive than ever before, but still as highly sought after. It’s the skill that helps us conquer large projects in 2-hour work sessions, build and manage multiple streams of income, and see profitable growth… oh and maintain a great work-life balance.

In short, improving productivity is the secret to slaying your work goals. But it’s easier to talk about it than to actually achieve it. Click To Tweet

Here’s the good news: There’s a productivity app for that. In fact, there are plenty of apps for that. But do they really work? Do they actually make a difference, or are they just a glorified form of procrastination?

In this article, we’ll take a look at how productivity apps like Timing work, why and how they can be beneficial, some potential downsides of using productivity apps, and finally, why a productivity app can actually improve your overall work-life balance.

The Basic Idea of Productivity Apps

The basic idea is simple: to keep track of how much you work, when you work, and what you work on. The resulting insight will, in theory, help you to improve your overall time usage, focus, and – you guessed it – your productivity.

Here’s how a productivity app like Timing works to help give you greater insight:

A good app tracks working time – down to the level of minutes

The first (obvious) feature of a productivity app is that it measures your work time in detail. And, if you use an automatic time-tracking app like Timing, you won’t need to set a start and stop timer…helping you to get more accurate results without the hassle of remembering to “log on.”

Knowing exactly how much you worked each day (or week, month, or year) may surprise you. You may be working far less than you think you are – indicating that you may be getting distracted frequently. Or, you may be working more than you think you are – indicating that you’re either spending too much time on certain projects, or that you simply need to slow down. In either case, the more informed you are, the better your decisions can be.

Organizes your time usage

A detailed productivity app like Timing will organize your working hours and minutes by category, project, client or even all three). You may have to do a little legwork to help the app optimize categorization (Timing makes it easy to do this with keywords and “paths”) but the pay-off is significant. You’ll gain accurate knowledge of how much time you’re spending on specific client work or projects – and how to better invoice and/or estimate your value as a result.

Measures your productivity and activity

Timing generates data on how active and productive you are throughout the day, displayed in an easy-to-understand bar chart on the “Overview” tab, as shown below.

Productivity apps - not just eye candy, but can seriously aid your productivity.

This can help you plan your workday more strategically – knowing when to ramp up your focus and when to take breaks.

The Big Benefits of Productivity Apps

By now, you know that productivity apps help you to track your time, stay organized, and gauge your personal levels of activity and productivity throughout the day. But what are the bigger picture benefits of using an app like Timing? In other words – can a productivity app really change how efficiently you work or even your life?

A good productivity app keeps you accountable.

First and foremost, a decent app can hold you accountable to meeting your goals and getting your work done. Staying focused is perhaps the most significant challenge that the modern worker faces. In fact, in 2017, 68% of employees in the U.S. were disengaged at work. Part of the problem? Staying focused and avoiding distractions.

Because productivity apps provide concrete data as to what we’ve been doing and when we’ve been doing it, they’re a great way to keep us personally accountable. Companies can also use them to monitor employee productivity. The result? A measurable tool that helps you (or your employees) stay laser-focused on the task at hand.

It helps you assess the value of your time.

As mentioned above, a productivity app that gives you detailed insight into your time usage – like Timing – can ultimately help you assess the value of your time. And the value of your time is deeply linked to your earning power and income.

For example, you may find that one of your lowest paying clients is sapping a significant amount of your time. You spend hours every month fielding emails from the client and responding to urgent requests at the expense of finishing higher value work. A productivity app can help you recognize that…and help you decide if you need to part ways with the client. Fact based knowledge is far superior to gut feeling.

Or  you may discover that you’re able to complete a certain kind of project – a blog article, for example – quickly. Once you discover this using your productivity app, you may want to consider a higher flat rate that’s more appropriate to the value of the project, rather than your standard hourly rate.

It helps you improve over time.

If you’re reading this article, you’re most likely the kind of person that’s interested in self-improvement…and believes that it’s possible to become more efficient with the right tools and strategies.

Timing is a productivity app that provides highly detailed insight and advanced functionality. For the “power user,” it can truly transform productivity and efficiency over time to help you grow your business, acquire more clients, and earn more money (Don’t believe us? Check out this case study from Bianca from Wahm Workspace on how Timing changed the game for her business).

The Potential Downside of Productivity Apps

The only potential downside of using such tools is the cost. If you’re investing in a detailed, highly functional app, it will most likely cost you a monthly subscription rate.

That being said, assess the value of what you’re getting out of your app. If your app is helping you increase your productivity by just 10% a day, for example, you’ll be more than likely to cover the cost of the app in extra income earned.

Using Productivity Apps to Improve Your Work-Life Balance

One final surprise benefit of using a productivity app is a better work life balance.

As many of us know, burnout is all too common – affecting professionals of every kind, resulting in illness, and increasing turnover (In fact, one study says that 95% of HR leaders claim that burnout is damaging retention).

Burnout can be caused by hours that are too long and workloads that are too heavy. But it can also be caused by a general lack of efficiency that makes your workday longer and more stressful than it needs to be.

Productivity apps can help people avoid burnout by becoming more efficient, more organized, and faster at their work. They can also help them take control of their time so that they feel more empowered to set aside time for rest and recreation. Ultimately, they can be used to achieve a greater work-life balance – which is, after all, the key to a great, sustainable career.

Productivity apps - do they deliver on their promises? Can they actually improve the elusive work-life balance?

Timing: A Productivity App That Works For You

Timing is a productivity app that is capable of helping professionals (freelancers, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and 9-5ers alike) gain valuable new insight into their time usage. With powerful functionality that includes…

  • detailed time-tracking (telling you what app, document, URL, and more you were on during a specific time frame)
  • advanced categorization abilities
  • data insights into both productivity and activity
  • detailed reporting
  • and more….

Timing can help you to gain insight and assess your time usage in a way that ultimately helps you to become a better worker. The result? A more enjoyable, fulfilling, and lucrative career. To try Timing for free for 14 days, click here.