It was towards the end of a recent TeamTalk I was delivering, within an initiative my client calls ‘Staying ahead of the curve’.  We were covering the whole gamut of attitudes, skills and behaviours around personal productivity and working smarter.

Inevitably, the topic of leveraging technology to drive priority decisions and smarter workload management behaviours was raised up and a lively exchange ensued, comparing various Apps. As often happens, people started downloading Apps whilst others were still advocating them – such is the hunger to stay on top of stuff.

It was at this stage that I re-emphasised that the most potent productivity apps reside between our left and right ears and set out my 3 suggested ‘Rules for Tools’ that they might want to apply to any workload management App they download.

3 indispensable productivity apps that are critical to working smarter:

  1. Aptitude – successfully syncs with Attitude – Indispensable together.
  2. Appetite for success – whether framed as greed or hunger; purpose or vision; future or desired state; there must be an internal world motive to drive that external world manifestation.
  3. Application – nothing happens until we do something. Sometimes it is almost like we want to do it right …. but not right now. Everyone I work with knows what they ‘should’ be doing, yet some allow themselves to do something else.

3 fundamentals for good workload management app selection

  1. They must provide you with a crystal clear answer to the critical question, ‘What must I do next?’ It must always be immediately visible even within the most demanding high volume, high velocity workloads.
  2. They must work seamlessly with your primary productivity tools whether Microsoft Outlook / Exchange, Google Apps, or others.
  3. They have their place in the personal productivity platform hierarchy – right at the end!
    Purpose > Principles > Process (behaviour) > Tool.
    The tool must serve the process, the process must serve principles and the principles must serve the purpose

So, my friends, before you download another workload management App trial, even if suggested by your most trusted advisor, look at your current workload management behaviours and your mandated productivity tools. If nothing else, this will give you a framework for deeper evaluation of the tool.

Photo found on Blake Patterson’s Flickr stream.