A Productivity Detox?

Alright. I’m giving this a serious go. I’ll report back with my findings. So far I’m keeping some apps that I truly to deem “must have”.

  • 1Password
  • Castro for Podcasts
  • Todoist (I use this app everyday and know it like the back of my hand)

From my phone I’ve removed: Fantastical, Carrot, Obsidian, Spark email and have gone back to stock apps at the moment. Phone is essentially back to a new install. We’ll see where I end up.


I’m totally with you here @beck - life is too short to use crappy apps (as anyone employed in a big corporation will know all too well, but then there are no alteratives :slight_smile: )

The Marie Kondo approach of “does this bring me joy” is a good one.


Quick update. I lasted all of 20 mins without Fantastical. :laughing:

I have some shared events and time slots booked at work so people don’t book me into meetings, but I don’t want to see these so I hide them from my calendar. Can’t do that in stock app. Also, having to click each individual day to see its events is so tedious in the stock app.


The point isn’t to avoid subs or apps for financial reasons.

It’s more — if I’ve been a contractor for 15 years and I start to feel like I’m buying way too many unnecessary tools or lugging too much equipment to every job site, I may want to start a job next week with just the toolbox I used in trade school to see if there are areas where I can pair things back a bit.


OT a bit here. May be we should start another thread on podcast app. I hear many people like/hate overcast. Castro is now mentioned as the must have app for @AppleGuy . I personally like Pocketcast, but I now feel that the basic podcast app from iPhone is alright :laughing:

I created a poll. Very keen to know the results

1 Like

Ooh, I have thoughts….

Fun exercise. Dialing your review times to the right length and frequency can take a load off of your system/tools, reducing the brittleness.

1 Like

After getting burned by the demise of an app called Bento (FileMaker) many, many years ago that I’d been using to journal, I’ve stuck to the include macOS productivity apps as much as possible. An exception to that would be Lightroom, but that’s about it. I know there are apps out there have really cool features, but how much time do I want to invest in them if they’re not going to be around for the long haul? Still figuring that out.

1 Like

Interesting thread, thanks for sharing/asking. I’m having an enforced reset. I fell off the bandwagon due to an extended period of firefighting in Q1. It’s given me a good point to re-group, re-read GTD and restart using OmniFocus again.

I’ve realised I tried and failed at the One App life; OmniFocus for everything doesn’t work for me. The contextual computing concept is more aligned with how my brain works. So I’m mid refactor:

  • Changing OmniFocus to current projects and things with actions or benefit from being in OF (e.g. actions I need to track and can due/defer).
  • Removing things without actions or stored in OF. They keep OF too full and ‘busy’, which made managing the day-to-day harder and things like reviews daunting
  • Building a high-level Project Map in OmniGraffle (inspired by @MacSparky)
  • Preserving notes and ideas in a mix of Evernote and Notes.
  • Using App links to keep everything easy to access and in the right place, minimising duplication
  • Being more transparent with Team Tasks and sharing them via Trello boards for our remote teams. Rather than drip-feeding from OF to Trello at strategic points to support current and future development

Fingers crossed. I like the Marie Kondo quote above. OF used to bring me joy, it not was an early warning sign my setup was no longer working. I was dreading opening OF and putting off reviews. Once my reviews slide, the rest follows.


The point we all need to realize is that we are all wired differently. That’s actually the reason I started asking guests on the show after the first year. I realized that we needed more points of view than just me and Katie.

I also think a good rule of thumb with any class of apps is, “as complex as you need, but no more than that.”

Hopefully we can keep bringing you all new and interesting options.


I use Hook to capture links to specific notes in Apple Notes. I do not think it can be done with the free Hook version. I guess it could be done with AppleScript.

1 Like

That’s misleading from my post, sorry. I don’t have a way to do that.

I (taking MacSparky’s point that we all have differing needs/systems/ideas and one of the main reasons I loved Focused is it makes me think and opens my mind to new ideas):

  • use Notes to store quick access general notes and ideas I am chewing over.
  • use Evernote for more mature ideas/things I am not chewing over and all ref material. That provides ace App links
  • also have a todo in OF as part of my refactoring project to explore https://hookproductivity.com/. Which featured on Focused and seems like a great way to contextually link even more.

Ah, I missed your post! Thanks for sharing. I hoped that was the case but have not looked into Hook fully, yet. That will be mega.

Interesting concept. Here’s one for you - recently I saw that Mac Most (https://macmost.com) said that he does not keep many bookmarks.


He said for him it is much simpler and easier to simply go to a browser and type a few search terms rather than hunting through his bookmarks.

I have many bookmarks. I’m just adding some food for thought.

1 Like

Hi Chris- is there a specific episode that he discusses this? I’m not familiar with the podcast.

1 Like

I keep bookmarks. Often when I need something again, I find it by search; it’s just easier. When I do, often think: I may need this again, so I bookmark it – only to find it’s already in my bookmarks.

That’s ok. Sometimes I can’t find it again by searching. Then I check my bookmarks, and it’s there.

So for me, bookmarks are the safety net, not the initial resource. (Except the bookmarks bar – I live by that, thanks to bookmarklets and a handful of sites I need regularly.)

Interesting thread!
I’m tempted to ask: why can’t you give up 1Password as well? I’ve never understood why people use it instead of Keychain. I must be missing something…

This is the answer. I completely reject the argument of having to go with crappy stock apps. There is an argument to be made about digital detoxing but that doesn’t mean getting rid of the apps that ‘spark joy’ and provide value in your life.

Apps like Things 3, Reeder, MacUpdater, HomeCam, PocketCast, 1Pasword, Paprika, and Prism have enriched my life so much that I can’t imagine going without them.

1Password is in another dimension compared to keychain. It’s like saying why do you drive a Ferrari when you could ride a bicycle. One product gets you to your destination safer, with more style and in a much more fun way :slight_smile:

1 Like