I see exactly what you mean Peter; it isn't totally farcical though I don't think. In the olden days it took years to calculate log tables. I think the ones I initially used in my teens were hand calculated. It is a laborious task, try calculating pye by 'hand' as it were. I remember my dad actually adding up columns of numbers, it would take him week to do what an excel sheet would not do in a fraction of a second. IT would have 'saved' him centuries, though obviously he would have found something else to do. We take for granted the huge productivity powers of computing in general!? Means we can now spend 39 hrs 59 secs per week doing 'admin' instead of adding numbers for 40!
I see what you mean by 'farcical' I sort of argree but it really very much 'depends on what you mean by...'. I am quite sure that it could up productivity by that extent if you express it that way. You raise the interesting point about 'usefullness' though, one well worth thinking about.
As I said before, for me, just avoiding certain 'irritations' is worth the cost of the app, by a huge amount too. I also use automation to discipline myself too, open certain files at certain times: David Sparks has really highlighted this aspect by the way. However one needn't see that totally in productivity terms. It is useful to bootstrap oneself sometimes just to avoid the google suck in.
Sometimes there is just a kind of satisfaction too in having streamlined things in itself as it were: productivity isn't the be all and end all of everything, especially when a lot of us are really quite 'comfortable'. Thanks for the app, really.