4 Ways Small Businesses can Improve their Productivity

Being productive is important for any business. But, when your company is small, it’s even more crucial that you stay on top of your tasks. Being productive doesn’t just mean saving time. It brings a greater level of engagement in the office and a better work-life balance; efficiency matters to both the company and the individual. Good work gets done faster and employees have fewer late nights a week – a win-win for all.

Luckily for you, here at DropTask, we are something of an expert in the field of task management. So, to ensure your workplace is functioning at the highest possible level, we’ve come up with four key tips to increase office productivity:

make your SME productive with canvas view in DropTask

1) Less planning, more doing

Timescale is a key factor in boosting staff productivity. If you’ve ever had a to-do list that’s as long as your arm, you’ll know that inefficient planning can eat into the time spent actually doing the work. With DropTask’s Canvas View, firing out tasks is quick and easy. Add new tasks to your project in Canvas View with a speedy double-click and quickly populate your workspace with bubble-shaped to-dos.

Being able to respond to change quickly is a key characteristic of an innovative small business – DropTask offers you the flexibility to do this. Whether it’s a deadline which is bumped up or reordering tasks, DropTask’s Planner can adapt. Your Planner is your own personal workspace. It gives you the freedom to instantly schedule tasks Now, Next and Soon from any project, keep track of priorities and quickly rejig when needed.

be productive, manage your workload

2) Manage your workload

When a small business is managing a high volume of work, it can begin to feel overwhelming. There’s only so many times you can underline, circle or number your urgent tasks without losing sight of what’s really important. Workflow View is helpful for projects that move through logical stages, allowing you to see your tasks in linear lists. The simplicity of this visual tool makes processing workloads easier and helps to drive them forward. Team avatars provide instant clarity of task ownership, and Importance & Urgency flags draw your attention to where it’s needed the most.

work anytime, anywhere with DropTask

3) Work anytime, anywhere

Being out-of-office doesn’t have to mean being out of the loop. Good teamwork is crucial for smaller companies, but being physically in the same workspace isn’t always possible for modern teams. With DropTask for desktop, web, iPad, and phone you can rest assured you always have a central hub of collaboration. Real-time updates mean notifications will alert you when you’ve been assigned to a new task, or when changes have been made to an existing one. For managers, this means you can assign work remotely. Use task checklists and Progress bars to keep everyone up to date with the project.

improve your small team's communication with DropTask

4) Clearer communication

A clogged up email inbox is good for no one. It takes time to work through, requires superhuman levels of concentration and is often a symptom of micro-management. Discussions in DropTask have everything you need to keep communication brief and timely. Being able to add attachments means no more trawling through your inbox. Using Discussions in DropTask is guaranteed to save time, and ultimately boost productivity for small businesses.

Try DropTask’s productivity-boosting strategies to help your small business today – it’s FREE to join, sign up here.

Back to School made easy with DropTask

Back to School

If you’re preparing for the start of a brand new school term, DropTask can help you manage your priorities and prepare your work in time for when the bell rings. Whether you’re organizing homework deadlines, or planning your lessons for the week, DropTask will help you to stay on top of your goals for a stress-free school year.

To help you jump back into classroom life, take a look below for 3 ways you can set yourself up for success this semester. Before you know it, you’ll be armed with the knowledge and tools you need to make this semester your most productive yet.

DropTask Planner

Manage priorities with your DropTask Planner

With the DropTask Planner, you can schedule your tasks in three simple boards: Now, Next or Soon. Breaking your to-do list into smaller chunks is a much more effective way to prioritize your work, so you can stay focused on the tasks that are most important. We all know that priorities can shift and new deadlines can crop up last minute – make quick changes as priorities move around by simply dragging and dropping your tasks onto a different board, so you can take control of your workload.

These simple boards are only visible to you, giving you your own space to organize your thoughts and tasks in a way you can understand. Say goodbye to your traditional to-do list, and use the DropTask Planner for the flexibility and ease to re-order and manage your tasks as priorities might change around you.

Group Project

Use Projects to categorize your workload

DropTask’s Projects give focus to things that need to be done and allow you to categorize tasks and responsibilities into one productive workspace. Create your own private project to display your personal lesson plans or revision notes. Alternatively, invite students or classmates to a group project so you can easily work together on a project.

By creating a group project, you can further encourage teamwork and collaboration with discussions. Keeping your conversations and assignments together in one space will make it easier to work on your tasks as they develop, and maintain a seamless flow of communication with others. Easily send and receive comments and feedback by using the ‘@’ symbol within a specific task to mention your colleagues. When someone mentions you in a comment, you will receive a notification within the app, so you won’t miss any activity.

Daily Email Summary

Stay on track with daily email summaries

Start your day on track and make sure nothing slips through the net. We’ll send you an email every morning to let you know which tasks you have to work on, as well as which ones are overdue, due today and due tomorrow. Within each task that you create, you can add due dates so we can send you these helpful reminders to ensure you’re always one step ahead of the game.

Want to add more to your tasks? When setting your due dates, you can also add extra details such as the level of importance, urgency and effort required for each task. There is also an adjustable progress bar, so you can specify exactly how far your task has left to completion.

Sign up for DropTask FREE today, and make this school year your most productive and efficient yet.

A quick guide – Using DropTask’s new Planner for personal productivity

DropTask Planner

When you’re part of lots of collaborative projects, keeping your priorities in sync can be a challenge. You need a space to view all the tasks that lie ahead of you, so you can work through your responsibilities strategically – without letting anything slip. We designed your DropTask Planner with this in mind.

Work collaboratively, but in your own way

Your Planner is yours and yours alone. It is only visible to you and cannot be found by anyone else in your team. This makes it the perfect place for personal prioritization. As you are planning projects in Canvas or Workflow View, you can schedule your own tasks for Now, Next or Soon and find a copy of them in your Planner. Visual markers – that only you can see – are added to specific tasks in your projects, helping you to keep your own priorities in mind.

DropTask Planner Assigning Canvas

Give all your tasks one home

It’s unrealistic to think that all tasks come from projects. Some tasks just crop up, out of nowhere, and they need to get done. Your Planner allows you to create standalone tasks that can live outside of projects. They only exist in your Planner, and you can schedule them for Now, Next or Soon depending on how quickly they need to be completed. Introduce these standalone tasks and get them ticked off alongside your project tasks. Keeping all your to-dos in one place, no matter where they come from, will help to keep your priorities balanced and in sync.

DropTask Planner Creating Task

Work flexibly to your own deadlines

You’ll notice that your Planner is dateless. We’re giving you the freedom to set your own time parameters. Tasks on your Now board might need to be dealt with before lunchtime, but, for another DropTask Planner user, that same Now board may consist of tasks that are to be completed before the end of the week. It’s down to you and how you work best. And, as priorities shift and new tasks arise, you can rejig your Planner to reflect what’s now most important. In the modern world, you must be flexible in order to achieve. The ability to pivot and reassess your priorities is crucial, and DropTask’s Planner allows you to do just that.

How have you been using your new DropTask Planner? If you’re looking for some extra inspiration take a look at our full DropTask Planner tutorial here:

Try DropTask’s new Planner today to prioritize the personal tasks that will move your shared projects forward – with real world productivity. Sign up today for FREE.

Get things done – Now, Next or Soon – with DropTask’s new Planner

DropTask Planner

Powerful prioritization with your DropTask Planner

Even the best task management tools can’t help you to do everything at once. DropTask is for real-world productivity. And, we know, that to stay on top of your workload in the real world, you need to be a pro at prioritizing.

As tempting as they can feel, traditional to-do lists won’t cut it. Trying to fix down to-dos in a linear list will only end in disappointment. New tasks can crop up that need to take priority, and immediately your list is redundant. Pen scribbles, confusing arrows and wasted paper will get you nowhere. You need the flexibility to pivot and reorder your to-dos based on what’s happening around you.

DropTask is giving you a more realistic way to tackle your personal workload. Work across all projects, and use the new DropTask Planner to schedule your assigned tasks for Now, Next or Soon. These three simple boards are just for you to use, and they’re going to help you properly prioritize whatever you’ve got to get done. And, if things crop up, you’re free to shift your current tasks around and slot in those new to-dos – simple.

See the Planner in action – Watch our video here:

Get to know your new DropTask Planner

So, when you’re faced with a heavy workload, how do you decide on what’s a priority? In this blog, we’ll help you to assess the tasks that lie ahead of you and prioritize flexibly and effectively using the boards in your new DropTask Planner.

Now board DropTask Planner

Now

Keeping your goals in mind, consider if you should be working on a task right now, or if there are things to do before it. If you’re assigned to a task of urgent importance, then it belongs on your Now board. Be strict. Tasks on your Now board cannot be put off and need your immediate focus. You can define your own time-frame for your Planner. Tasks on your Now board may need to be completed this morning, today or by the end of the week. Anything that needs to be done after that time belongs on your Next or Soon boards.

Next board DropTask Planner

Next

On your Next board are the tasks that can wait for now, but will soon need to be tackled. These tasks might depend on you finishing the Now tasks that you’re currently working on. It’s important to consider dependencies while prioritizing your workload. For example, you may have “Book flights” on your Now board, but “Arrange airport transfer” on your Next. Once you’ve completed a Now task, turn your attention to a Next task by pulling it across to its neighbour board. This one-out-one-in cycle keeps your workload manageable and will get you into an effective rhythm of productivity.

Soon board DropTask Planner

Soon

Your Soon board is for those tasks that you need to do, soon. Sounds obvious, but this Soon board is a crucial part of your prioritization process. Soon tasks have enough importance to deserve a place in your planner, but they don’t need your attention right now. By giving them a space on your board, they’re not going to slip through the net. One day, your Soon tasks will become your Next tasks, and eventually, move their way through the framework until they are marked as complete from your Now board.

 

Once you’ve added tasks to any of your boards, you can reorder your task list to add an extra layer of prioritization, with the freedom to reshuffle at any time. When you’re working in a DropTask project, schedule your tasks for Now, Next or Soon from the sidebar to find them in your Planner. When you’re in your Planner, you can add any of your tasks from existing projects. Being able to work across tasks from any projects allows you to keep your individual priorities in sync, no matter where they’ve come from.

Did you know?

In your Planner, you can create tasks that stand outside of projects. We all have those odd, miscellaneous tasks that don’t quite fit into a particular project. But, these tasks still need a home. They can now live solely in your Planner, scheduled amongst your existing priorities and ready to be actioned. They are yours and yours alone, and will only be found in your Planner, which only you can see. If ever you need to, you can later assign these tasks to any of your projects from the task sidebar, and work collaboratively on them with teammates.

Try DropTask’s new Planner today to prioritize the tasks that will move your projects forward – with real world productivity. Sign up today for FREE.

How people, like you, are using DropTask

We love to hear how individuals and teams are using DropTask. One of the best things about our tool is that it can be used by anyone and everyone, and hearing the unique ways that people – just like you – are using DropTask really makes our job worthwhile. We received the below case study from Pasquale Sciancalepore, a dedicated DropTask user who wanted to share how he uses our app to better manage his daily tasks, and the difference it has made on his day-to-day life:

“For many years, I was struggling to keep track of deadlines. They were either missed, pushed aside or simply forgotten about. I knew that I was in need of a solution to help stop this from happening. While on the lookout for a way to combat my inability to keep track, I stumbled upon DropTask. What I liked about DropTask was my ability to brainstorm, set priorities and deadlines, and monitor and manage tasks based on their importance to the project, all from one place.

Before DropTask, I was new to task management applications. I was aware that there were a lot of different tools on the market, but there was something different about DropTask. DropTask’s unique visuals and its ‘at a glance’ representation of tasks and how they can be managed really made the app stand out from the crowd. Now, all of my life passes through the DropTask streams. I use the tool on a personal level. If I receive an email that requires my action, I send it straight through to DropTask to ensure it doesn’t get lost within my inbox.

I have always been passionate about technology and creative solutions that help you live and work better, and I’m confident in saying that DropTask is one of these.”

DropTask can help anyone achieve more everyday. If you’ve got a story to share, we’d love to hear it. Drop us an email today at support@droptask.com for more information on becoming one of our case studies.

New to DropTask? Sign up here today for free.

Teams, collaborate better this July 4th with DropTask

July 4th DropTask

We’ve all had to work with others at some point in our lives in order to get things done. Whether it’s working towards a strict deadline or organizing a big event, we often rely on fellow team members to help us get over that final hurdle, and they’re often the ones who we’re celebrating with at the finish line. And, while some prefer working on their own, many of us can’t imagine facing everyday workplace challenges without a supportive team behind us.

Rally your work buddies together this 4th July with DropTask and create the best team on the block with our top tips below.

Congratulations

Boost morale – a ‘good job’ goes a long way
Being thankful for hard work and celebrating small successes can sometimes get pushed aside by other pressing deadlines. Recognition of your team’s hard work not only allows you to express gratitude for their efforts but also encourages employees to strive for greater results with a clear understanding of what behaviors and outcomes your organization values.

Share praise by instantly by Congratulating a colleague on completing a task – big or small. A playful celebration of confetti will shower their screen, and get them geared up for the next phase of the project.

Delegate

Oversee, don’t micromanage
Employee autonomy limits the need for constant direction from managers and CEOs. However, in a 2013 survey conducted by Stanford University focusing on executive coaching, 35% of coaches admitted that delegating work is something that they need to work on. And even when managers do delegate responsibility, they fall into the trap of micromanaging the rest of their team, resulting in employees performing at a lower level (as found in a recent study).

Instead of feeling like you have to constantly look over your team’s shoulder, take a step back to show that you trust them to perform at a high standard. By granting the team a little authority, they’ll have the freedom to work together to get things done. After Delegating responsibilities, you can gently oversee project developments by looking at the ‘Active’ projects from within the Project Browser. Here, you’ll be able to view what’s in Progress, what’s been Completed, and areas that require your attention. With indicators displaying the status of the overall project, you’ll be able to keep track of project developments at a glance.

Set due dates

Define deadlines
Strategic deadlines push the team forward towards the desired end goal. Set specific task Due Dates to inform your team of the activities and timescale required for the project’s successful completion.

How do you motivate your team to get things done? Introduce them to DropTask. They can sign up today for free.

Smart ideas for staying productive this summer

Summer has officially arrived – hooray! Now that our days are filled with sunshine and heat, being stuck in the office is might be feeling less desirable. Summer is also a time when workplace attendance drops by 19% and projects can take up to 13% longer to complete. So, how do we make the most of summer whilst still getting the work we need to do done? At DropTask, we pride ourselves on smart ways of staying productive, and that’s why we’re here to help. Read on for some of our favourite ideas.

Take your work outside
Sitting in a hot, sweating office is no fun for anyone, but the sun being out is not a good enough excuse to take the day off. Why not switch up your work environment and take your to-dos out in the sunshine? Take your laptop or iPad and head outdoors. With DropTask’s online and offline capabilities, you’ll be able to edit progress, ask team members for updates and schedule meetings, all whilst you enjoy the hot weather. And don’t worry, when you return to the office your tasks and projects will instantly update to keep everything up to speed.

Start your day earlier
When the afternoon comes around, the heat can make us feel exhausted and lethargic. Instead of starting heavy tasks in the hottest part of the day, get started on those daunting tasks in the morning. Not only are the mornings a little cooler, but you’ll be able to focus on the urgent things that need to get done before any distractions occur later in the day. To hone in, use visual indicators on tasks, such as Urgency and Importance icons, to mark what needs your attention first thing. Did you know, people take in visuals 80% better than written text? Use eye-catching Cover Images to help identify your most important tasks. Before you know it, you’ll have turned a backlog of to-dos into completed tasks.

Reshuffle your priorities
With summer in full swing, some people will have planned a well-deserved vacation break. Before you switch on your ‘out of office’, make a list of all tasks that you’re responsible for. Delegate these responsibilities to others by Assigning Tasks to team members to ensure things tick along nicely whilst you’re away. Use the Calendar assess Start and Due Dates and to see what will need to get done ahead of schedule. Reshuffle dates with a drag and drop, and feel at ease knowing that your schedule will instantly update. Be transparent with your team. Block out the time you’re away in your Team Calendar, so the people you work with know when you’re unavailable.

Set yourself up for a productive summer with DropTask. Sign up today for free.

Staying productive in a world of interruptions

As technology continues to advance, staying productive should be getting easier. In the workplace, the usual culprits of distraction are constantly pinging, buzzing and beeping. But, the question is, how do we stay focused when the temptation to break away from our current task is so frequent? Instead of letting hours pass you by, we’re on hand to help you get the most out of every minute. In today’s blog, read our top tips for staying engaged and productive in a world full of interruptions.

Find the power button
How many devices do you currently have spread across your desk? If the answer is more than one, then things need to change. Did you know, that jumping between different devices and apps actually makes us less productive? That’s right. When we work in this way, we increase the risk of losing important information, which is something that we don’t want to happen. Our advice? Switch off any additional devices and use just one to keep all of your important information. Make DropTask your home for everyday projects and keep tasks in one place. Upload documents, add notes, assign tasks and progress with your work, all from within one app and device.

Make a list
No, really! If you’re struggling to focus, create a list of things you need to get done. Did you know, that when things are written down, we’re more likely to go on and achieve them? Create an Urgency list in DropTask and before you know it, you’ll be one step closer to achieving the goals, you originally set out to achieve. In your Urgency list, you’ll be able to determine what’s normal or high urgency. With everything that you need to do right in front of you, you’ll be more inclined to get to work. If you’re concerned about forgetting about a task, don’t be. Urgent tasks will be assigned a colored lightning bolt to ensure they’re the first tasks that catch your eye whenever you open your project.

Block out the noise
Constant notifications can leave us feeling drained and overwhelmed. The inability to focus can also cause frustration when we realize we’re a day behind on our work. At DropTask, we never want you to feel like this. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, we want you to stay in control with how you’re being notified. We’ve updated our Notifications to ensure you’re being alerted only on the things that matter to you. Choose between Focused, Detailed or Custom Notifications. If you’re busy working on a monthly report or outlining the new marketing schedule, switch your Focused notifications on. Want to be informed more regularly? That’s fine too. Switch to Detailed or Custom Notifications to fine-tune your level of alerts based on your own needs.

How do you use DropTask to stay engaged in your work? If you have a story to share we’d love to hear it! Email us at support@droptask.com today if you’re interested in being a case study.

Become the best leader: 3 tips to manage your team successfully

There is no golden rulebook for how to get the best out of your team, but luckily DropTask is here to help. A good leader knows how to set deadlines, when to ask for updates and how to communicate effectively with their team. With DropTask, you’ll be able to maintain good team relationships, acknowledge great work and delegate tasks to those who have strengths in certain areas.

With DropTask, we make it easy for you to lead a happy and productive team. Read on to learn how.

Set realistic deadlines
Deadlines. Some people love them, others dread them. But we need deadlines to get things done, managers included. The next time you assign a task to a member of your team, ensure you make expectations clear on when it needs to be completed using Start and Due Dates. In DropTask, select the task deadline from the Start and Due Date picker. Once assigned, the task’s deadline will automatically appear in their Calendar. With an overview of their workload, you’ll be able to spot if deadlines and priorities need to shift and move them accordingly. Simple drag and drop the task’s deadline to a new date in the Calendar and feel rest assured that your team has a realistic deadline to work towards.

Keep track, without micromanaging
There’s a fine line between checking up on progress and constantly nudging for updates. Micromanagers will never get the full potential out of the people they manage. If you want an update on a shared project without interrupting your team, head to the Project Browser to see how things are getting on. Here, you can see what tasks have been started, placed on hold, fallen overdue and completed. This gives you the higher-level overview that a manager needs to map out the best next steps for your team project and offer support wherever it is needed.

Have some fun
According to ‘301 Ways to Have Fun at Work’, there’s a direct link between employees who have fun at work and those who are highly productive. DropTask helps to highlight those team achievements that deserve to be celebrated. Taking the time to recognize hard work keeps team morale and motivation high. And it’s not just big project milestones that deserve recognition and praise. With DropTask’s Congratulations feature, you can send your team a fun animation when they complete any task. What might seem like no-big-deal to some, could be a huge personal achievement to another, and as a manager, it’s crucial to acknowledge this.

How do you inspire your team to go the extra mile? Use DropTask as the go-to tool for a happy productive team. Sign up today for FREE.

Springtime projects: How to keep track, stay ahead and get things done

With spring being the season of new beginnings, it’s important that we take care of the projects that have been growing over the past few months. Have you got any projects that need more focus? Are you looking to prioritize your weekly tasks? Or, are you looking to inject a little more color into your current and future workload? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you’ve come to the right place. DropTask’s unique views help you to work at your best. Keep track of your projects, stay ahead and get things done.

If you’re looking to refresh your workload and supercharge your productivity, then take a look at our 3 tips below to find out how DropTask can help.

Switch up your style
Dull, mundane and linear projects only repel us from getting things done. Luckily, DropTask has a view to suit all styles of working, and makes tackling our workload a breeze. From the intuitive and colorful circles in the Canvas View, to clear visibility in the Workflow View and unique icons in Urgency Lists, your work will be far from boring. Plus, there’s no need to worry about changing views. Your work will be carried across so you won’t lose any tasks when you swap. Plus, depending on your project or mood, you can alternate between all views. There really is a view for everyone.

Focus on your priorities
Studies have shown that workplace productivity drops 20% during the spring and summer months. With the lighter evenings already in full swing, trying to focus on getting work done is sometimes easier said than done. “What was I doing again?” is a regular thought of ours when we can’t concentrate on the task at hand. To help combat this and to avoid getting overwhelmed, use Filters to narrow down on what’s in front of you. Filter by Importance, Urgency, Attachments, Tags plus much more. With fewer things on display, you’ll be able to hone in, fight through distractions and focus on your priorities.

Give yourself a pat on the back
The most important point, yet the one we’re all too used to forgetting about. We all know the positive effect that good vibes bring. That’s why we want to say well done to you. When we’re bogged down with work, we often forget to give ourselves a pat on the back. In DropTask, your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. When you reach productivity milestones, the celebratory Achievement feature will appear. This will not only give you a digital high-five, but spur you on to keep achieving great things. Plus, if you’re looking for a mid-week motivator, view your latest DropTask Achievement available now in the main menu.

Stay ahead of your work this spring with DropTask. Why not give it a go today? Click here to sign up today for FREE.