Why I Stopped Using ClickUp for Personal Use: Switching Tax in ClickUp 3.0

As a long-time user of ClickUp, I recently made the decision to stop using it for my personal use.
Jerzy Rajkow 3 min read
Why I Stopped Using ClickUp for Personal Use: Switching Tax in ClickUp 3.0
Photo by Stormseeker / Unsplash

This decision was driven by the announcement of ClickUp 3.0 and the changes it promises to bring. While I can appreciate the excitement surrounding the upcoming release, there are certain aspects of it that have left me feeling uneasy.

Switching tax (or costs)

Each time you switch from one task to another, there is a cognitive cost associated with it. This is because your brain needs to reorient itself to the new task, which can take time and mental energy. This cognitive cost is often referred to as "switching costs" or "switching tax". If you're constantly switching between tasks, you're effectively "taxing" your productivity, because you're not able to focus on any one task for a sustained period of time. To minimize switching costs, it's often recommended to batch similar tasks together and to avoid constant context switching throughout the day. This allows you to focus on one type of task at a time, which can reduce the cognitive load associated with switching between tasks.

Going back to ClickUp, their developers seem to believe that there is no "switching tax" within an application. I disagree with this notion. Even when working within a single application, switching between different contexts, such as tasks, documents, Gantt charts, chats — still requires an adjustment period. This can slow down productivity and increase the likelihood of errors. The context in which we work matters, regardless of whether it's within a single application or across multiple windows in an operating system.

Photo by Mailchimp / Unsplash

Clever marketing

ClickUp's marketing strategy cleverly glosses over this issue, but I believe it's important to consider the impact of context switching on our productivity. Clickup as a tool is OK — I've used ClickUp to model the business processes of a 100-person office, and while it's faster than using multiple applications, the switching tax issue still persists.

This is a workflow problem, not a tool-related issue.

No tool can replace our ability to focus and concentrate on a single task for extended periods. While ClickUp offers many features designed to streamline workflows, it cannot eliminate the need for dedicated focus. In my experience, a simple Pomodoro timer has been more effective in maintaining concentration on tasks.

Shot on Sony a7C + Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8.
Photo by Alex Shuper / Unsplash

ClickUp 3.0

Another concern I have with ClickUp 3.0 is the lack of attention given to the home screen. The presentation briefly mentioned that users will be able to choose components, but it seems that the initial selection will be quite limited. This is reminiscent of the ClickUp mobile app, which took years to achieve the same functionality as the older version (and is still lacking some views and functions as of today!).

One of the key advantages of ClickUp 2.0 is the calendar widget on the home screen, which provides a central location for events, tasks, notifications, and assigned comments. However, it appears that this feature may be absent or limited in ClickUp 3.0. The developers claim that the calendar can be visualized from anywhere, but this seems to me like a workaround for what will be offered as "views" on the home screen rather than a design choice.

Moving away from ClickUp

As with any tool, there is no perfect solution for productivity and project management. While ClickUp has served me well in a professional setting, I've found that the upcoming changes in ClickUp 3.0 have pushed me to explore other options for my personal use.

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