First there was email, then cell phones, then Outlook and now the Android tablet. All of them were supposed to make things easier. They were supposed to make us more productive. And although technology may be good for some, it seems to making life more difficult for most. Looks like the good old fashioned Franklin Planner may be ready for a return.

New productivity products “have skyrocketed in the last couple of years. There is way too much out there to make sense of it all,” said Whitson Gordon of Los Angeles, editor in chief of Lifehacker, to the Wall Street Journal.

In theory, everyone loves a good idea, the problem is implementing them. The result is the same old swamp of email overload, to-do lists that never end, and projects that somehow never get completed.

The failure of most people to implement classic time management ideas begs for a root cause analysis. There are two causes. First, there’s the failure of self-discipline. And as the WSJ puts it: improving your productivity isn’t about searching for a better app or finding the right software. “Ultimately it comes down to managing yourself.”

If people struggle to diet, or exercise, or quit smoking, why should it be any easier for them to shed their lousy time management habits? The self-discipline required is formidable — and most people, frankly, don’t have it.

Second, and perhaps more important, is peoples work environment. You can try to establish new, more productive behaviors, but unfortunately people continue to get bogged down in unbending office politics.

Therefore, before you download new apps or buy new books, consider whether or not you’re disciplined enough to actually implement the ideas, and figure out how to get your company (or at least your boss) to change expectations.

Good luck!  

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