Do Productivity Hacks Help, or Hurt?

I received access to two new productivity helpers today — Desk, a multi-platform blogging tool, and Google’s new Gmail Inbox

First up, let’s talk about Desk. The good: It’s beautiful, simple, minimalist, easy to set up, and seems to publish directly to my blog on Squarespace and to Facebook seamlessly.

The bad: I can’t for the life of me find my blog categories, which is driving me mad. I can access the tags on my Dropbox, but nothing inside Squarespace. I’ve sent a help request on that. And, and this is my fault, but… because of the horrifically tiny print on the new Yosemite operating system, when I went into the app store to download Desk, I thought it said $2.99. Since it looked very intriguing, I went ahead and bought it. I rarely pay for apps, because 90% of the time they’re a waste of money, but I like the idea of having a blog record, and since I’m trying to blog more…

Well. You can imagine my dismay when I got the receipt from iTunes and saw that it wasn’t $2.99, but $29.99. Thirty bucks for a freaking blogging app is so far out of bounds - this sucker better make my tea and fold my clothes in addition to ease of use and swanky minimalist looks. And now I’m fully committed because I have to get my money out of it. I’ve had the blog window open all day and have been playing with it - and I must say, so far, so good. I will report back in a month.

On to Inbox. I took one look at it (okay, two or three) and I’m not sold. It’s confusing. But it could also be very very helpful in streamlining email. We’ll see what it looks like tomorrow morning when my usual glut is there. And… it’s only for iPhone now, though if I ran Chrome I’d be able to use it. But I’m a die hard Safari fan, so maybe Inbox isn’t for me just yet.

So while my life may be enhanced by these two new innovations, it is now 1:38 p.m., and I haven’t done any creative writing because I’ve been wrapped up in these two new toys. 

And that’s where productivity hacks become the bane of our existence, rather than the savior. I lost several hours this morning setting up a system that promises to streamline my process. And truth be told, with as much offline work as I do, I can see that Desk will be helpful to that. But the lost hours — if I were a smart writer, I would have waited to play around with the app.

This morning shone a spotlight on my failings as a time manager. 

I am not a smart writer when it comes to hacks. I am a child. I am a magpie. I love shiny objects. I’m constantly chasing after them instead of keeping my head down. Granted, there are a LOT of things going on right now. I’ve overcommitted myself yet again, and I’m trying to dig out from under the pile of yeses that drown me daily. I so hate to say no, to disappoint people, yet I know, I KNOW, I am a better writer, a better friend, a better spouse and daughter, when I do refuse. 

Something to work on, I suppose. What about you? Are you drawn away from your work by inconsequential things? Or do you possess steel in your spine that allows you to focus mercilessly on your tasks at hand?

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*For those lovelies among you who expressed worry at my sight issues - I went to the eye doctor to get my glasses RX looked at, because I was convinced I had cataracts or something else equally unsavory. Turns out my Wayfarers had the entirely wrong RX in them. The distance wasn’t strong enough, and the reading area needed a boost. Will that help the hideous Yosemite font? Probably not, but I’ll see better in general.  

** This post was composed entirely in Desk. I will admit, it is pretty.