There are more than 28,000 productivity apps in the App Store and about 27,000 in the Google Play Store. If you're planning to develop a productivity app, that's what you're competing against.
The number of apps within the category that make it to more than 50,000 downloads are even fewer. For instance, only 7 percent of the overall productivity apps crossed that mark in the Play Store. This is not meant to discourage you, rather to give you ways to create a successful productivity app.
Before you go down that route, pay attention to what makes for better productivity. There's nothing better than the five popular productivity methods or systems below that people worldwide have adopted to increase efficiencies and get the work done.
Understanding these systems better will not only increase your chances of creating something that users will want, but also ensure you're on the path to a successful app launch. All you need to do is to think creatively on how you can maximize a combination of these into your app.
Getting things done (GTD). One of the most popular productivity systems is David Allen's Getting Things Done, popularly known as GTD. Great for managing complex projects, this established methodology has been tried and tested by many Fortune 500 companies.
Unlike some theories, which focus on top-down goal-setting, GTD works in the opposite direction. Allen argues that it is often difficult for individuals to focus on big picture goals if they cannot sufficiently control the day-to-day tasks that they frequently must face. Things that can be done quickly should be done sooner, and large projects should be broken up into things that can be done quickly.
If this is a bit overwhelming to process, this quote from Mark Twain will get the message across: "The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one."
Don't break the chain or streaks. A simple yet efficient productivity method developed by Jerry Seinfeld, streaks works on a simple system that you pick something that you want to begin doing, start doing it and then spend every subsequent day doing the same thing, marking it down on a calendar.
Psychologically, over time, the marks on the calendar will serve as their own motivation, pushing you to keep going on. The idea is not to break the chain, as skipping one day makes it easier to skip the next. Small improvements accumulate into large improvements rapidly because daily action provides compounding interest.
The Pomodoro Technique. This time management technique developed by Francesco Cirillo involves breaking work down into manageable chunks of 25 minutes. These blocks of work are separated by short breaks of three to five minutes. Each cycle is one 'Pomodoro.' After four Pomodori, the user takes a longer 15 to 30 minute break.
The Pomodoro Technique is built on the philosophy that the human brain functions better in sprints, not marathons. It says that you will get more high-quality work done if you work for a short period knowing there's an end in sight, after which you'll stop working.
The Action Method. This is a methodology and software from Behance for people and teams. The Action Method proposes that you leave every event, whether it's a meeting or a brainstorming session, with a set of concrete tasks you can perform, called action steps. Each item is its own to-do, and they're kept separate from references, or the materials you need to accomplish those items.
It provides users with a way to track and delegate tasks and accept and reject projects. It is an effective means of collaboration for teams. In summary, it focuses on the rather self-explanatory Action Steps, Backburner Items and Reference Items.
Franklin Planner. Developed by Franklin Covey in 1984, this methodology went on to form part of the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
In the offline world, a Franklin Planner is similar to a personal organizer. It consolidates tasks, appointments and personal notes in one place. It asks users to set goals and organize their time by considering the entire week, not just each day. The Franklin Planner comes with a weekly schedule sheet, which includes space for an individual's roles, goals, daily and weekly priorities and appointments. Users should review their schedule at the start of each day to effectively plan and prioritize.
In the online and mobile world, many apps have made great adaptations of this methodology and sold successfully. Some of them are FranklinPlanner Activity, FranklinCovey Tasks and Benjamin. And then there are apps which people gave up their offline Franklin Planner for these: 2Do, Planner Plus, Pocket Information Pro.
Sure, there are apps that already exist which cater to each of these methodologies, but that shouldn't stop you from creating something better!
As Twitter's co-founder Evan Williams said, "Here's the formula if you want to build a billion-dollar internet/mobile company. Take a human desire, preferably one that has been around for a really long time, identify that desire and use modern technology to take out steps."