Like you and many others, we’ve all been sold on productivity apps being championed as the holy grail of tools that will take us into the “Promise Land” of optimal task management. Personally, I’ve tried just about every single productivity task app out there, and they are the following:

  1. Wunderlist
  2. Any.do
  3. Apple task
  4. Things
  5. Evernote (I do still use Evernote for note taking)
  6. Teax Deux
  7. Apple Notes (yes, low tech but still works great for quick jot down stuff)

Although excited in the beginning, while jotting down tasks like a crazed secretary, the 2-3 weeks following previous task app installs would result in a 1987 Wall Street style crash. The novelty would wear off and the app would be deleted from my mobile device, relegated to the graveyard of the Apple ICloud store. I like to call this place, App Heaven.

So you’re probably asking, “Why on earth would you give this another shot?” To be honest, it was accidental. I’ll explain. As many of my friends know, I’m a Chrome extension junky. I’m always looking for another Chrome extension hit. Yes, I’m the person with 15 icons in their Chrome browser. I’m not joking, check it out:

I found this wonderful Chrome extension called Momentum. It’s really simple. Whenever you open a new tab on your browser, it has nice beautiful background image of something scenic, tells you the weather, greets you with a nice good morning, and most importantly—allows you to create a running set of tasks that you can manage from the dashboard. In addition, you can pick from the list of tasks and choose which task should be your focus for the day.

Here’s what it looks like:

Moment

Momentum

As soon as I installed it, I noticed an instant boost in productivity. There is no app for Momentum yet—just an extension. I wondered, “Why? What is Momentum doing, that these other fancy apps were not considering?” Two words. Experience Design

And what is Experience Design? There’s a very fancy definition that will create more questions than answers, but in short, it’s:

When designing a product, taking into account the environment or surroundings of the user of your product

This Hammerhead bike accessory is a perfect example. Watch this short video:

Cleary looking on your phone while riding your bike is a recipe for splat city, so HammerHead syncs with your phone while giving you visual cues on what direction you should go.

Oh, it gets better. What the good folks at Momentum realized is that it’s not centralizing of tasks that only matter, but more importantly, the places where you can get repeat messaging on what you need to do. New browser tab is a pretty normal habit for most users, especially throughout the workday. Every time you open up that New Tab, those tasks are staring you in the face, waiting to be completed.

via GIPHY

But Momentum went a step further and built integrations with a multitude of popular task management apps that sync across all services. My app of choice is Todoist. No matter what tool I’m using, my task list syncs through the app and my Momentum Chrome extension. In addition, I’ve added the ICal link to my Mac Calendar so I see my tasks there too.

Basically, your tasks move with you within each “task walled garden” with repeat messaging. Think about how many times you open up your Calendar app? Think about how many times you turn on your mobile phone and check a notification? Then think about how many times you do new tab on your browser? IMO, this repeat messaging is necessary, as multiple things are competing for your attention. I believe, the Momentum folks really thought about the typical environment an average worker is in. They needed to be better at competing for your attention over all the other distractions. Let’s just call this process, productive distractions.

Todoist on it’s own is a pretty damn good app, but it’s the task management ecosystem that truly elevates the power of Todoist. Even if you don’t like Todoist, there are many other tasks management apps that integrate with Momentum. As one of my favourite golden era rap groups used to say:

I left more than a mark, I left a dent
Cause I’m a product, of the environment

Always remember, we are a product of the environment. A key consideration as you use and build solutions. Ox, signing off

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