When, Where And How To Use A Productivity Tool?


A simple Google search with productivity tools as a key word will introduce you to umpteen options.. There are tools for all kinds of activities you can think of – check lists, follow ups, to-do lists, team management, time management and so on. You think of a process, there sure is a productivity tool or app for it. A good chunk of them are free, have brilliant features, are flashy and seem like THE solution you need to improve your or your team’s productivity.

It seems like you just have to identify the right productivity app or tool and get it into you work environment. Bingo! You have your productivity skills shooting up! Well, it’s neither that simple nor so easy.

Let’s face it. A productivity tool is a tool. Just like a Golf Club is one. The same golf club in the hands of Tiger Woods will behave a whole lot differently than in your or my hand. Same thing holds true for any sport or trade or even art for that matter. The tool is a mere tool. It will not act by itself to create wonders.  

The productivity skill of the person handling the tool matters. A lot! There is no tool in the whole wide world (web) that can replace the skill of a person totally with a tool. A tool definitely aids the process of productivity. This happens only when the person using the tool knows the when, where and how to put the tool to use.

When to use a productivity tool?

Ideally you need a tool only when you have something to do. Let’s consider this to be the case of a business activity for the sake of this article. You will need a toll with respect to your business activity when there is enough and repetitive activity. There is no point having a tool and not knowing when to put it to use. You need a productivity tool when:

  • Your business activities are becoming more than you can handle.

  • Your time can be used elsewhere to improve the overall productivity of the business process.

  • Your time diverted and replaced by a tool doesn’t alter your business process majorly.

Where to use a productivity tool?

It is important to know where to use a productivity tool once you know when to use. Each tool has a single or a set of specific outcomes if use properly. It is important to map the uses of the productivity app or tool to your business workflow processes. Most people miss out on this important step. Just having a tool by itself is not going to improve productivity. It’s not magic! Not for sure, if not used at the right time and right place in your business process workflow. You do this bit to get the productivity tool you are using to start revealing its magic.

Another major benefit of having a clearly worked out workflow process is the utter clarity it brings. It will give keep you focused on the big picture constantly. Further it will allow you to organize everything in great detail. Such an organized and focused environment is brilliant for using a tool. This helps applying the tool at the right point for the right results.

How to use a productivity tool?

Many times business owners or managers think that introducing a tool into your work environment is good enough. Well, it’s not! You need to introduce it to the people working in your business environment. What good is a tool if no one knows or wants to use it! It is an important step to train your workforce to use the tool the right way. This takes time and effort, sure. It is worth the time and effort investment if you want to reap the benefits of the productivity app or tool you are introducing. Note, that it is an investment and not time or effort spent. This shift in the attitude will go a long way in using the tool to its full potential.

There have been enough business cases where a productivity tool is introduced to bring in innovative changes. Instead, the tool became a source of distress and disruption, as the team using it was not trained. If you want your overall productivity to go up, you sure need to get your team’s buy in.

The importance of a tool cannot be undermined. Agreed! But, it is imperative to accept that a tool is a piece of technology that is as good as the person using it or the process in which it is used. Whether it is 2020 or 2050 technology will aid productivity but cannot completely override the participation of human intelligence, the core of all productivity.

- Author
Shivam J


PMI®, PMBOK®, PMP® and PMI-ACP® are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

The Swirl logo™ is a trade mark of AXELOS Limited.

ITIL® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

PRINCE2® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

IASSC® is a registered trade mark of International Association for Six Sigma Certification.

Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM) is a registered trade mark of SCRUM ALLIANCE®

CISSP® is a registered mark of The International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2.

CCNA® is a trademark of Cisco.

Microsoft and MS Project are the registered trademarks of the Microsoft Corporation.

SAP Trademark(s) is/are the trademark(s) or registered trademark(s) of SAP SE in Germany.