tldr: yes, you can be productive without using any tools but it would depend on your circumstances and natural skills.

So, we’re used to – and often depend on – multiple productivity apps. You know the saying “there’s an app for that”, right 😂 And sure there is, and not one or two but dozens of apps for every aspect of productivity.

From stopping procrastination to building good habits there really is an app for everything. It’s quite easy to forget about the core principle of productivity, and, consequently, core productivity systems get lost in a sea of confusion while constantly trying out new productivity apps.

Is it possible to be productive without any apps ? Imagine that; no apps – not even a planner or a to-do list?

Yes, it is possible to be productive without any tools and apps. However, from our experience this is quite rare.
Having said that, we’ve seen a couple of knowledge workers doing just fine and staying productive without using any tools.

There are certain circumstances and personal traits that should be viewed as prerequisites, though.

1) A very good memory

A to-do list and planner living in your head.

2) A predictable or not too busy schedule (or simple workflow).

Depending on your work circumstances your schedule and workflow may be quite predictable.

Let’s say you have a project manager who keeps track of the deadlines for you and you just deal with the tasks they send your way as and when required.

3) Good VA or PA

Now, this is a bit of a cheat code but a good assistant can keep track of all the things you’d otherwise have to remember yourself.

4) Essentialists

Essentialists are people who can focus on what is really important.
If you have a laser focus on things which really matter, you’ll soon notice that the list of things you have to remember isn’t really that long.

Wrapping up

As will all things productivity related, your millage will vary with our tips above. Most of us will need at least some basic tools to be productive. However, it is certainly possible to be productive without using any tools.