Tools for Productivity, Not Popularity

Posted on 10/22/2021

One of the biggest problems in my daily workflow is finding the right tools. I've had this problem since school when we had to work with the first versions of Google Docs instead of the classic Microsoft Word.

My focus, which I wanted to put on work, was quickly lost. The reason was simply the browser. I was constantly distracted by the many tabs, the many buttons, and extensions (which are irrelevant for writing).

All those things are all the time in your view, and you get distracted easily. I still have the same problem today. I prefer a classic desktop application, without constantly appearing notifications and a billion of functions that impose themselves on me.

The scenario described here is just one of many areas of everyday private and professional life in which this problem occurs. Whether writing articles, coding, design, or documentation, most of the applications are overengineered, with far too many functions, far too many effects, and too little focus.

The full focus

I often talk about focus, but what do I mean by that? The focus means your productivity, which is gradually disappearing due to all these effects and useless functions. I want an application that makes me work and doesn't want to market itself while using it. I want to open the application and simply do my work in high quality without being distracted by an undesirable disruptive factor. Every day’s work is complex enough. You rush from meeting to meeting, are distracted by colleagues, or in the home office by family and postmen who want to leave a package for the neighbor. The time I have left to concentrate on my work should not be additionally burdened by an annoying application. Not even Clippy from the early MS-Word days was that annoying.

Wrong hopes?

With every new tool appearing on the market, I get new hopes, that this product will solve my problems, and that I can finally work with full concentration. Often this is even the main strategy of the company to advertise their products with “effectiveness and productivity”. However, I have always been disappointed so far. The design of the website promises exactly these advantages, but ultimately, I'm again distracted by 100 things.

Use instead of learning

Another disadvantage of the most common tools is their complexity. I get promised a super easy-to-use application that can be integrated into the workflow immediately and without problems. There is a well-known company on the market. I'm sure you saw the advertisements somewhere with this rapper as a protagonist. Here I wanted to create a Gantt-Chart for a project because it was advertised as super easy to use. Finally, I registered and was faced with a confusing user interface that first requires preparation, instead of an intuitive system that can be used by anyone at first glance. It's just hard to use. Scrolling through the timeline even appears to be bugged. However, the company advertises its products as a replacement for all tools available on the market. But it’s not. I need a tool that is easy to use and intuitive. I want to avoid spending hours reading around documentation just to create a simple Gantt-Chart.


When I am in contact with other developers, I received mostly the same feedback on the most common tools on the market. Everyone has these issues, be it the focus, the complexity, or the false hopes and promises. Why these tools are still used is easy to explain. It’s because there is almost no alternative to these tools. Users can choose whether they are using a poorly performing, complex and cluttered, or distracting application. What do you choose, Pain or Pain? So, there aren't really “good” tools on the market. Of course, every user has their preferences and desires, and not everyone can be satisfied. However, these companies should develop for the user and less for appearance and popularity. It’s not enough to say “for developers by developers”. Even an application without thousands of effects can be appealing and much more efficient. Just think about this, dear colleagues, before you release your next product.