I'm not the first person to realise this, but productivity apps don't work for me. I've tried countless apps and services but none of them seem to work for me. The recurring problem I have is that all of them require me to be online or have a digital device in my hand. I like my iPhone, but using a task manager app on my phone usually ends up becoming a chore that I could do without.
My latest experiment was using Wunderlist to track some projects I've been working on. I setup the necessary lists I needed and started working with them. However after a few weeks of using it I ended up with lists of stuff that I haven't looked at for a fortnight.
Maybe it's just me, but tools like Evernote, Things, Omnifocus, and Wunderlist and other apps that aim to make you more productive, inevitably become dumping grounds for ideas, todos and other stuff that I end up never reviewing or actioning.
So what works for me then?
Pen and paper seems to be the choice that I keep coming back too. It's simple, effective and cheap, but not in terms of price. In terms of focus. I never get distracted by the latest features of pen and paper. There aren't any. I just open, write and close.
There's a place for productivity apps in my workflow and that's when you are collaborating with others as part of a team. Seeing what tasks are yours and sharing information in a group of people working on a project together is essential to making progress. I've no arguments with using productivity apps in this context. Especially when that team isn't in the same physcial office as is the case with so many people who take advantage of telecommuting to their job.
However, for personal projects and products I'm working on and day to day stuff that life throws at you, I'll stick with the lo-fi option of pen and paper. It works for me and that's what matters.