Why Your To-Do List Apps Aren’t Getting Things Done

With the wide variety of tasks involved in the content production process, it’s easy for your to-do list to feel endless and overwhelming. Staying organized and productive is a challenge and likely a significant reason that only 29% of B2B content marketers think their company is very or extremely successful.

So much technology exists that attempts to help us stay on top of our jobs, and to-do list apps are among the more popular and accessible. They seem like a great idea, placing all tasks in a list on an always-handy phone, your work computer, or a laptop.

How much do you refer to that list, and how often do you feel the accomplishment of checking off all the items? Yeah, we know the feeling. Let’s examine why a tool that is supposed to be helpful just isn’t.

The Features of To-Do List Apps

I don’t want to claim that a to-do list never works. I use one often at home to hold myself accountable when I know I need to mow the lawn and repair the pesky, loose board on the deck before I sit out on said deck to enjoy a grapefruit High Noon on a perfect summer day.

However, I also won’t be able to fully relax if I know that I didn’t accomplish everything on my work task list at the end of the week. Instead, I’ll spend that time sorting through and organizing my app and probably doing some work, too.

Modern-day to-do list apps are certainly an improvement over the old-school paper versions. First, you won’t misplace it or tuck it away in a drawer, forgetting it even exists. Secondly, they have features that do make them more effective than paper, such as:

  • Due date settings
  • Reminders
  • Calendar and list views
  • Multi-list capabilities
  • Task completion checks
  • Sharing between people

Many apps also allow you to view your tasks across multiple devices. Despite these updates to the paper versions, these tools still aren’t efficient in helping you complete your content production tasks.

The Reasons Your Apps Don’t Work for Content

The other day, I was chatting with a new client who was lamenting the chaos surrounding managing the content workflow. This person has a great team, but they struggle with completing tasks on time, though they’ve tried various to-do list apps. The team was getting burned out.

If this sounds familiar, let me be the first to say: It isn’t you; it’s the app. Here are a few reasons these apps don’t work for content operations teams.

1. They Make You Feel Overwhelmed

The thing about task lists is that they present everything in one place. Confronting a long list of items is daunting, even if your app allows you to create due dates and reminders.

Marking a task as complete is gratifying until you remember that you added 10 new ones earlier in the day. We all understand that content marketing is an ongoing process.

Your brain may just have a hard time coming to terms with the fact when looking at a list that seems to grow endlessly.

To-do list apps don’t help us maintain the focus we need to move a content piece from ideation to publication. You need a system that lets you adjust your view of what’s coming to dial in or zoom out to see upcoming tasks at different scales, such as Divvy’s dynamic calendar.

2. They Don’t Prioritize Tasks

Digital to-do lists are more functional than paper versions. However, they still can’t prioritize your tasks.

Unfortunately, we all love tackling the easiest tasks on our task list, even if they are the least important. It gives us that little bit of a dopamine hit, the sense of accomplishment, however fleeting.

Efficiency is critical in content marketing. The easiest task on the list isn’t necessarily the one that gets the job done on time.

Divvy’s platform includes content production workflow tools with embedded task prioritization, so you don’t have to think about which tasks take priority. Your workflow determines the order and deadlines for each task on your list.

DivvyHQ custom workflow configuration organizes tasks more efficiently and effectively than to-do list apps.

DivvyHQ’s Workflow Builder

3. They Require Constant Updating

To-do list apps are in constant flux. Delete one task. Add five more.

Rearrange items to ensure you know which tasks take precedence over the others (and then ignore the order to complete the easier ones first).

An automated system keeps your tasks up to date throughout the process. If you mark a task as complete, the system automatically moves the content item to the next step, alerting the person responsible for that task that they’re up.

Divvy’s automated production workflows and notifications — along with customized dashboards — ensure your task list and schedule are always current. If someone on your team changes a deadline, the system updates everyone’s tasks and deadlines to reflect the change.

DivvyHQ notification settings allow you to tailor task reminders, unlike to-do list apps.

DivvyHQ’s Notifications Settings

4. They Don’t Help You Plan

Sorry to burst your bubble, but a to-do list app isn’t a planning tool, even if it has a calendar feature and deadlines. You add tasks as they arise, breaking down a project into the smaller tasks needed to complete it. Or just adding the project as one item because you know all the steps involved without marking them down.

Task lists don’t help you organize your time. We humans are not great at gaging time. We both overestimate and underestimate how long it will take to complete tasks.

You need a set of tools to help you plan a project from beginning to end, with predetermined timelines to help you stay focused.

5. To-Do List Apps Can’t Handle the Complexities of Content Management

Content production and management are complex processes involving multiple stakeholders at varying levels of the business. Task apps won’t let you know that the blog a team member just wrote is ready for editing or that the content manager has approved a topic, and you now have the green light to begin creating the video for your YouTube channel.

The path between brainstorming and content performance analysis isn’t a straight line.

We designed the Divvy platform for content ops and comms teams producing high volumes of content. We understand the complex nature of content marketing and built our system to handle it.

Divvy has everything you need to produce and publish killer content efficiently. We eliminate the chaos, reduce the overwhelm, automate the mundane, and help you stay on top of your content creation game. Request a demo today to see why you won’t need to-do list apps if you have Divvy.

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