2014 Alert! Did You Get It Done Yet?

Time & Life Management

A Review of Productivity Apps

Saturday, January 4, 2014


I had the opportunity to interview Spencer Shulem, a young man who has developed two very successful productivity apps for Apple and might just be living proof that the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree (he’s my son). One is called “Pill Reminder” and was the #1 medical app for Apple upon launching. The second one is called “Do It” and still ranks among the top productivity apps.

More than 4,600 productivity applications have been written for the Mac alone, and productivity apps number in the six-figures overall, so discerning which ones to select can be daunting. When I work with a client, many times we need to find a program or system that will make task or time management easier. Bottom line, if the app doesn’t make the things you have to do easier, there is no point in having it. Period.

What makes a good productivity app?

Something that connects with the user directly works best, one that doesn’t change how you are productive — but enhances your ability to be productive.

How does an app help someone be more productive?

Everyone has their own way of being productive, so it depends more on what someone’s deficits or needs are. If there is something you want help in doing, then seek the application that offers that feature.

To create a general productivity app is a disaster, but to create a specific productivity app is a masterpiece.

So, tell me about the productivity app you created and why it works.

I designed something that I needed and created it so it would work for me. I figured there could be maybe100 other people who also might also benefit from it. Apps offer something that someone needs. Mine might only be perfect for a select number of people and for what their needs are, which is great. It works because it is simple. It’s easy to use and set up and basically self-explanatory. For people who have difficulty getting things done, the last thing they need is something with a long lead time to use.

What does Do It do for people?

Do It is essentially a timer app for Mac computer users, yet it does more than simply alert you to go to your next task. The whole point of this app is to have a timer with a purpose. Timers just allow you to reference time, but this app encourages you to move directly to the next task with little or no transition time. You tell it what you need to do next, and it alerts you and opens the program you need next. This is great because you don’t get sidetracked or distracted by something else instead. 

Can you set up more than one alert at a time? 

Yes! That’s the beauty of it! You can set up several in succession. So, if you have a phone call to make at 10 a.m. and then an email to send at 11:45 a.m., you can set up for as many tasks as you have to do in a row.

The company is called Unparalleled Software, and the app version 2.0 is currently available. When selecting a program or app for your use, be sure you understand what it is able to do and what it won’t do. You may find multiple apps would benefit you if they all do different things, but if they all offer similar features, that will only add confusion and therefore completely reduce the productivity you are attempting to improve.