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App review: Dangling the productivity carrot

The iOS app Carrot is billed as the To Do app with personality and on that point it fully delivers.

When you start you only have the ability to do the basics and that’s refreshing for users of other productivity apps that break things down into parts of tasks and projects and ask you to set deadlines and assign stuff to other users.

With Carrot you use gestures to navigate: pull down and enter text to add a task, swipe left or right to find and close menu options. But as you earn points for completing tasks, you get the ability to do more, like decide priorities in your list and make edits.

This app is ideal for people motivated by sarcastic criticism. “Greetings, lazy human,” is the demoralising introduction. “Pardon my surprise,” it says if you manage to reach a new level. “Persist in sloth and I will be upset,” it warns.

If you don’t like to be insulted, you’ll be less impressed. And if you want a fully-featured, granular task manager from the outset rather than a gamified product, Carrot is also not for you.

The Carrot creators also have a fitness app and an alarm clock with the same approach to motivation, so if you’re going to download those, be warned. 

Amanda Sachtleben is an Auckland writer and social media type, who's also Idealog's former tech editor and business journalist.

Review overview