Survey Results: State of Productivity

A month ago we set out to summarize the State of Productivity and we were delighted with the insight thanks to your participation in a 10-question survey. Below is what we learned organized close to the charts for easy reference.


  • We had 107 responses answering 10 questions. Invitations were primarily collected from people in the Appigo database who have used productivity software.
  • 59% used Appigo Todo products and 50% didn’t. Below is the summarized data with lessons learned at the bottom.
  • 50% were from the U.S.A and 50% from 16 other countries mostly in Asia and Europe. Our data is skewed because everything was in English. **We hope to expand our future data collection beyond English speakers.


  • Productivity measures are complex and overlapping but generally, respondents describe success as finishing lists, achieving balance, efficiency of time and output, volume of output and quality of results.
  • Interruptions, low motivation, too little time, disorganization and forgetfulness are the challenges of productivity.


  • 69% think about productivity daily. Not surprising considering the invitation source.
  • Intuition led us to surmise that those who think most about productivity would be more satisfied than those who don’t, but there was equal variation in the data leading us to continue questioning what leads to productive satisfaction.
  • Notice that 65% of people were somewhat or very satisfied.


  • While interruptions, low motivation, lack of time, and disorganization are equally problematic, motivation and disorganization are two problems with perhaps the biggest upside to improve.
  • Task management with advanced reminder/tracking systems still has not outpaced the helpfulness of calendars.
  • Surprisingly 7.5%, and 6.3% respectively chose paper, memory and written planners/journals as their most helpful solution.
  • What is it about paper that keeps us tied to it? Is it the quick access, physical touch or reliability that makes it hard to give up?


  • Goal setting and better reporting are clear winners suggesting perhaps that delivering outcomes matters most.
  • Other web analytics, business intelligence and healthcare software vendors have pioneered a path that the productivity app vendors can pattern after to provide personal insight for productivity enthusiasts.
  • Accountability tracking as used in Master Mind groups has real potential but without more details of its application in productivity it makes sense its benefit isn’t obvious.
  • Interesting the other features like ring tones and productivity reputation scores borrow from the gamification tactics that have driven wide-spread social sharing like Venmo, Strava and Yelp.


  • 36% of you said success is about finishing the list
  • 22% of you said success was about getting your stuff done so you can ‘FEEL’ relaxed, satisfied, calm, in control, balanced.
  • 18% of you said success is about efficiency, using time most effectively to get the most stuff done.
  • 15% of you said success is about delivering quality work without errors.
  • 8% of you said success is about the total volume of stuff done.


  • Cross correlating Q9 and Q2 data showed that 45% of retirees are very satisfied, nearly 3x that of any other group.
  • Those working for an employer had greater extremes and 25% of them were somewhat unsatisfied compared with slightly more moderate opinions from those who are self-employed.

Pretty interesting data. We love research and we will be creating another survey shortly to dig in a bit deeper on some of the questions this data raises like:

  1. What are the routines and schedules to stay productive?
  2. Exactly what are those systems and people relationships that people rely on beyond software to find optimal output?
  3. When you fall out of optimal productivity, how do you get back?
  4. What successes and failures have you made that others can learn from?
  5. What are the key tools and processes used for achieving the different end goals expressed in question #7.

So what else should we be studying? Let us know.

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