Patience may be a virtue, but you don’t have to like it. Just ask any toddler – waiting for things you want is hard. When you’ve ordered  something you’re excited about getting, even two-day shipping seems unreasonably slow.   Instant gratification is one of the things we love most about our smart phones and their apps, isn’t it?

There’s always something to look at and be stimulated by on your phone. And if you can’t find anything interesting to do on your phone while waiting in an endless line, well – you can always venture on over to your phone’s app store. It’s like a virtual playground filled with more entertainment options than you could ever get to, and new choices are added every day. It truly couldn’t be easier to try a new app…. and that’s kind of the problem.  

Time Management Apps: They’re Fun, But Do They Work? 

There’s just something thrilling about downloading a new app, isn’t there?  Clicking that icon for the first time is a tiny bit like ripping the wrapping paper off a new gift. As you’re opening a newly-downloaded productivity or time management app, there’s a tiny little voice in the back of your mind saying: this is the one that’s going to help me change everything.  

You might experience something similar when opening new apps that claim to help you lose weight or save money or improve your memory. You might do the same thing with physical tools, like planners or calendars. You might already have a drawer full of old, empty planners at home. Buying those other planners didn’t magically make you more productive… but this one could be the one. 

I get it! And this line of thinking is hopeful, isn’t it? As long as you’re searching for the solution to your productivity problems, you’re open to change. But there are a couple problems with switching from system to system, or from app to app, constantly hoping that you’ll find the one.  

  • First, no app or new planner will work as a solution until you’ve gotten really clear about what your problems are. Trying one after another and being disappointed that they don’t work is a little like trying to date when you have no idea what you’re looking for.  
  • Second, it’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of downloading, exploring and rejecting new apps. It’s a stimulating and entertaining way to pass some time, but not necessarily a good use of your time. Technology is a powerful distraction. While you’re focused on it, you might forget to think about looking for other solutions that really will help you make lasting change.  
  • Third, (and lastly) no single tool can be the entirety of your time management toolkit. Distraction and overwhelm are powerful forces. You need more support to fight them than one app can provide. 

I often have clients ask me to recommend time management apps that work. I don’t have a perfect answer to that question because the truth is, it’s very unlikely that any one app is actually going to help you create real, lasting change in your life.

That’s not to say that these tools aren’t worth trying!

I advocate creating a time management system that works specifically for your life and your brain, because we’re all wired differently. There could be an app out there that really does work for you. If it’s useful, it can absolutely be part of your productivity toolkit. It just can’t be the only thing rattling around in there.  

I talked a little about time management apps recently when I was a guest on my friend David A. Greenwood’s podcast, Overcoming Distractions. He explores a range of topics related to thriving with adult ADHD. We talked about time management and how to get the most out of time management workshops.

It’s all about finding the right match – the program that’s designed to help you address your specific problems, rather than applying a one-size-fits-all solution.  

That’s exactly how I’ve designed Time Matters Boot Camp LIVE!, which will be held December 5th-8th outside of Boston. (As I told David, it’s ADHD friendly!) When you attend boot camp, you will:  

  • Find out exactly what you need to do in your day to reach that goal that you’ve wanted to reach.  
  • Learn how to focus on what matters most to you so you can create meaningful goals that you actually achieve.  
  • Work with me and other participants (face-to-face) and really get clear on how to manage your time and tasks in a way that works for you.  
  • Walk away with a customized system that works for you that will allow you to get things done!  

Click here for all the information!

In the meantime, if you find a time management app that works for you, I’d love to hear about it!  



Sarah Reiff-Hekking