Put Down That Productivity App. It’s Making You More Distracted.

Pandemic life might require a written to-do list and not an app

Angela Lashbrook
Debugger

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Photo: d3sign/Getty Images

My next few days look like this:

Finish last interview. Write draft. Read 25,000 emails, respond to half. Get started on next two stories. Spend several hours pitching. Write weekly book list, get started on best books of the year list, finish three books I’m currently reading so I can get to the next two I’m already behind on, get through 50 pages of editing on book, go grocery shopping, clean house, set up the Christmas tree, get started on challah, cook for the week…

That’s a pretty normal work-life to-do list, at least for me. And yet, given the circumstances — a pandemic, a lonely holiday season, the threat of so much worse (unemployment, illness), and merciless uncertainty hanging over my, and everyone’s, heads for most of the past year — it can feel insurmountable. Surely I won’t be able to do all that. Surely I need some help getting all that organized and under control. The kind of help that a productivity app, or two, or 10, can deliver.

If you’re an anxious person — or have found yourself becoming more that way as 2020 did its thing — I urge you to put the phone down. Keep away from the surplus of productivity apps out there and, if necessary…

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Angela Lashbrook
Debugger

I’m a columnist for OneZero, where I write about the intersection of health & tech. Also seen at Elemental, The Atlantic, VICE, and Vox. Brooklyn, NY.