The cult of productivity & Your personal time-assistant

Why it is important to step outside of your bubble, Tally 2.0 is here, Rise launches public beta, and a lot more in this week's issue of Creativity.

The cult of productivity & Your personal time-assistant

My name is Philipp and you are reading Creativerly, the weekly digest about creativity and productivity-boosting tools and resources, combined with useful insights, articles, and findings from the fields of design and tech. The newsletter built for the creative community.

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When I was at university, I was astonished about the fact how pretty much all of my colleagues were stuck within an exclusive design-bubble. When I asked them about their inspiration sources, they were all talking about the design newsletters they are subscribed too, the design books you have to read as a designer, the design YouTube channels you need to watch, and the designers you need to follow on Instagram. It was no surprise to me that the content and designs my colleagues produced and created was sometimes as generic as the content they consumed. I do not want to brag about my colleagues or impair their work, I want to let you know that, especially as a designer (but this applies to loads of different professions), it is incredibly important to step outside of your design bubble, as it will lead to the discovery of a whole world of inspiration and insights.

Venturing beyond our cozy bubbles means opening ourselves up to new experiences, fresh perspectives, and crazy amounts of inspiration. It's like adding a little extra spice to the otherwise bland dish called life. When we stay within our bubble, we limit our growth potential. We miss out on the chance to challenge our beliefs, confront our biases, and expand our horizons. Getting a taste of different perspectives allows us to spot opportunities that others might miss. It's like stumbling upon a hidden treasure chest while everyone else is still lost in the maze.

Especially when you are starting your journey as a designer, it can be exciting to follow all the amazing Instagram pages that keep reposting the same content and design over and over again, it can be insightful to read all the design books your favorite designer is recommending and entitling as "must-reads". While some of this stuff might work and actually deliver insights, let me tell you that it is way more important to be open, step outside of your bubble, and embrace the adventure that awaits you. If you consume the same content, read the same books, subscribe to the same newsletters, and watch the same videos as countless other designers, you will hardly ever create "new" content and designs. Are you looking for typography inspiration? Ask your parents or grandparents if they have old newspapers or magazines, stroll through your city and look out for signs. Do you want to create exciting and modern layouts for posters, books, and magazines? Again, take a stroll through your city and take photos of buildings to dissect grids and layouts based on doors, windows, or balconies. Do you want to create striking user interfaces? Do not get distracted by big software companies, but rather think about interfaces that you enjoy to use and ask yourself why you enjoy using them.

Step outside, embrace the unknown, and let the world surprise you. Embrace the quirky, the unusual, and the extraordinary. Allow yourself to be inspired, challenged, and awed. Who knows, you might just discover a whole new universe of ideas that will make your life a roller coaster you can't wait to ride again.

Apps, Software, Tools


Although the calendar space is one of the most-crowded ones within the field of productivity apps, I still get exited whenever I stumble across a new calendar app. Kyugo caught my attention since it reimagined the calendar and how we manage our time and events.

Kyugo is your personal time-assistant that helps you to take control of your day with ease. It guards your work-life balance and automatically solves your schedule for work, meetings, and your free time. Over the course of the last couple of years, the market has been flooded with new calendar apps. Amie, Cron, Rise, Vimcal, or Routine are just a couple ones which have been making waves recently. While some of them follow a "classical" approach, others tried to reinvent the calendar by combining it with dedicated to-do lists, the ability to easily share your availability, or automatically create your daily schedule. Therefore, I think it is a bold statement that Kyugo has place on their website, which says that "there has been no innovation in how calendars work for more than 30 years". I agree with that statement to some extent. There are loads of calendar apps that wanted to reinvent the calendar as we know it, but most of them failed as the only thing they introduced was a nicer looking interface. But what is the deal with Kyugo?

After years of testing and researching, the team at Kyugo came to the conclusion that spreadsheet-like interfaces are fine to create a meeting, but are simply not enough to plan your life, guard your limited time, and achieve true work-life balance. As they were looking for a solution to their problem, which was, working too much, meetings interrupting their deep work, and not having enough time for their families and themselves. The result of testing and researching is Kyugo, a circular calendar. Almost every single calendar app that has launched over the last couple of years is based on a spreadsheet. I have never asked myself if that system might be unsuitable for my needs when it comes to planning my day and keeping a healthy work-life balance. Kyugo states that it has done years of research to understand how we perceive time and how we visualize it. Therefore, they decided to build a more visual and intuitive way to plan your day.

With Kyugo you can create fixed daily blocks for meetings, work time, and your life. All you need to do is to select the event length, and Kyugo will automatically find the time in your calendar and plan it for you. Thanks to Kyugo you can say goodbye to wasted energy because of planning and checking when you are available. A feature called 'Daily Circles' instantly visualizes your busy days and times, and shows you what kind of events you have planned for the day, when, and how full your day is.

There is no need to create a new calendar, since Kyugo runs on your existing Google Calendar. Kyugo is optimized for mobile usage, as it is available for iOS and iPadOS. Especially on iPhone, Kyugo offers a thumb-friendly navigation, having a single-hand usage in mind, all controls are placed at the bottom of the app for fast interactions. The controls Kyugo is offering are intuitive, since you can change event length or type quick and easy with just a single tap. The same applies to rescheduling an event, just a single tap and Kyugo will find another time in your calendar automatically. Besides that, Kyugo offers you insights into how much time you have left for meetings and work. But you can also share your public calendar with anyone, which updates in real-time based on your available time slots.

Kyugo will cost you €9.99 per month or €79.99 per year. I would love to get some more insights into the research Kyugo has done regarding the statement, that spreadsheet-like interfaces do not work for our calendars. It works great for me, and I do not have the feeling I need to switch to another system, or a circular calendar. This is a great example why I am not a fan of apps that try to convince me to use them by telling me how broken the things are which I am currently using. Those apps should convince me with their features. The same thing applies to all the note-taking and PKM apps or PKM gurus, that tell you folders do not work. They do work, for loads of people. They work for me. I love to structure not only my notes but literally everything in folders. I do not care if someone tells me that my brain does not work like, when it actually does, since that is the reason I am heavily relying on folders.

Ultimately, it always comes down to personal preference. But somehow, I have the feeling that this should be reflected within the story that you are telling about your app. Saying that a specific system is unsuitable for the modern needs to plan your day and keep a healthy work-life balance is bold, and possibly not true, at least not for me.


The reason why so many people take notes constantly and build up knowledge bases is because they want to profit from it, learn about new topics, acquire new skills, and gain insights. Most note-taking apps out there do a great job providing the interface and features you need to actually take notes and connect your ideas and thoughts. To profit from your notes, you not only need to write them down, you also need to recall, rediscover, and revisit them. Some apps offer integrations or plugins to achieve workflows like that. Recently, I stumbled across NotesNudge, an app that has a dedicated focus on helping you to rediscover your past thoughts to spark new insights.

NotesNudge is not yet another note-taking app. It follows a new approach. With NotesNudge you get the power to reconnect with a single note from your past each day, which will get gently delivered to your inbox. The idea behind NotesNudge is to not bombarde you but rather resurface thoughts that make you smile, ponder, or spark entirely new ideas, every single day. To use NotesNudge, you need to integrate it with any of your note-taking apps, so it can safely extract your notes. After that, NotesNudge's system with send a random note to you every single day.

While doing my research, I could not figure out what note-taking apps NotesNudge is exactly exporting. Since you need to give NotesNudge access to your notes to experience its features, there are also some privacy concerns. Before using NotesNudge, I urge you to read through its Privacy Policy.

I like the idea of NotesNudge, but the fact that it needs access to my notes, worries me a bit. Additionally, existing note-taking apps could implement what NotesNudge is offering as a whole app, with a single feature, in fact Obsidian and the 'Random Note' plugin is already doing it. What immediately struck my eye on NotesNudge website, was the pricing section. As of now, I am not sure if it is a typo, but it seems like NotesNudge will cost you $19, per month, which is quite expensive. What is even more mind-boggling is that $19 per month is a reduced price, since $49 is strikethrough.

If you now ask yourself why I wrote about NotesNudge when it seems like I would not recommend it, because that is what Creativerly is about. I do not only feature tools because they are awesome and I would recommend them to you without hesitation, I want to provide information and insights. The general idea of NotesNudge was intriguing enough to write about, but while doing my research, the app raised some concerns I wanted to share with you too.

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Fresh Updates & News


With the introduction of version 2.0, Tally revealed its new logo, a redesign, and lots of product improvements. Among the new features, you will find the redesigned dashboard with a simplified header menu, sticky sidebar, and breadcrumbs for easier navigation, the command menu that helps you use Tally faster via keyboard shortcuts, and two-factor authentication to protect your Tally account.

tabExtend* →

tabExtend is one of the most beautiful and powerful browser extensions I know of. It gives you the possibility to turn your new tab into a drop-off zone for your tabs, with the power to add notes and reminders, and organize everything with ease. It transforms your new tab into a Kansan board. You can use tabExtend to offload sides, jot down quick notes, and strategize your day with to-do's. The newest update introduced version 2.0. The newest version of tabExtend brings some sought-after features and a rewrite in the background to enable better performance and real-time syncing with the upcoming mobile apps.

Besides that, you can now open all links in a stack, you can now see meta images and descriptions, merge groups, and experience a design refresh.


After 2,5 years iterating on Rise, the company announced that it opened up its Public Beta, which means the waitlist is gone, and you, your friends, and teammates can simply sign up and create an account to give your calendar an upgrade. Rise is not only calendar app, with features like Flexible events, FocusGuard, Best time to meet, Meet and Reschedule, Cross-calendar blocking, Sharing availability, and a lot more, Rise is a true powerhouse to manage your time and events. And now, everyone is able to experience it.

Mental Wealth

The cult of productivity – 'I recently posed this question to my wife. She spent most of her career in HR and doesn’t think about creativity or creative endeavors like I do. At the beginning of the pandemic, she left her cushy corporate job and decided to pursue being a life/career coach. Now as an independent professional, she creates way more content on various platforms than I do. Yet, she wouldn’t identify herself as a creative or a creator.'

The Cause of Depression Is Probably Not What You Think – 'People often think they know what causes chronic depression. Surveys indicate that more than 80% of the public blames a “chemical imbalance” in the brain. That idea is widespread in pop psychology and cited in research papers and medical textbooks. Listening to Prozac, a book that describes the life-changing value of treating depression with medications that aim to correct this imbalance, spent months on the New York Times bestseller list.'

The decline in Design (Thinking) – 'Design was my first love. She opened my eyes to the little things in life — how a mug handle curves to hold your hand; how a ketchup bottle stands on its lid; how you can fill a Cup Noodles and microwave it without needing a bowl. Design taught me to see things differently. Of course, I picked up other lenses along the way — music, history, economics— but I’ve recently come home to design to understand why we are the way we are.'

The psychological immune system: four ways to bolster yours – and have a happier, calmer life – 'Our minds are more resilient than we know. According to a growing body of research, first popularised by psychologists Daniel Gilbert and Tim Wilson in the early 2000s, the brain has a remarkable capacity to make the best of bad events: when we encounter negative situations we subconsciously activate what is known as our psychological immune system.'

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