How to Manage Interruptions at Work

It’s the start of a new day; you’re raring to go and feeling inspired to tackle those all-important and must-do tasks. But suddenly, you get interrupted and thrown off track.

Whether it’s by a phone call, email, over-heard conversation or colleague stopping by your desk, these unplanned activities might steal your attention – distracting you from the task at-hand.

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that the typical worker is interrupted or switches tasks, on average, every three minutes and five seconds. What’s more, once focus has been lost, depending upon the complexity of the task, it can take over 23 minutes to regain focus and return to the original task. Not only is valuable time lost and wasted through interruptions at work, but the number of errors and mistakes can also increase, affecting the overall quality of your work.

Time is one of the most cherished resources, and although some interruptions are inevitable and beyond your control, many can be controlled or prevented. Below, we’ve got some top tips that will help promote discipline and aid forward planning so you can protect your time and invest it in the projects and tasks that are most important to you, and achieving both your personal and business goals:

Break down your day

Sending emails and checking mobile for updatesIt’s all too easy to get distracted by the email announcing cakes in the staff room, or the latest trends on Twitter. But these distractions disturb your trail of thought and productivity, and with no set time frame, it’s hard to manage how long is spent on trivial tasks.

So, instead of dipping in and out of your inbox or continuously refreshing social media sites, set aside blocks of time dedicated to regular activities such as responding to emails, making calls and updating social media. Having specific time slots for different activities throughout the day will reduce unnecessary amounts of time being spent on low importance tasks, and higher priority tasks will have your full attention for more sustained periods – without interruption.

Listen to music

listen to music while you workIt’s been found that listening to music at work can increase accuracy and speed, with 9 out of 10 workers performing better when music is playing. Music allows you to block out other sounds and surrounding noise from the environment or other colleagues – making it easier to concentrate on getting things done. Putting in your headphones will also act as a visual ‘do not disturb’ signal to team members – meaning they’ll be less likely to interrupt you while you work. So the next time you need to work without disruption, plug in, tune in and zone out.

Asses the situation

Time pressures at work

When interrupted and asked to take on a task by someone else, it’s only natural to drop what you’re doing and rush to get the job done straight away. While your willingness to help and eagerness to complete the task will do wonders for your credibility, it will increase the pressure to meet your own deadlines, as the time you have to complete your work will be reduced.

So, when you take on any extra tasks you should always assess how long it will take you to do, what will be required to get started and when it needs to be done by. If you’re not able to fit the requested task into your own schedule, delegate it to a team member or ask a colleague for a helping hand to get it finished. But remember, if it’s not feasible for you to take on the new task, you can of course say no, followed by a short explanation of why you’re not available to help this time around.

Relocate

Quiet work space at DropTask HQ

Open space for distraction-free work at DropTask HQ, Tec Marina.

When you really need to get something done but find yourself surrounded by interruptions, temporarily move to a different location. Whether it’s a conference room, an empty desk, the cafeteria or even the outside seating area (weather dependent of course), escape to a place where you’ll be able to focus and get on with your work with fewer distractions. Remember, this should only be a temporary measure, and if you do choose to move, it’s important to communicate with your team so they know your whereabouts.

Plan ahead 

Use DropTask to plan aheadSome things just don’t go the way you expect them to, but by planning ahead and using a tool like DropTask, you can limit the amount of disruption to your work before it occurs.

When organizing tasks, prioritize where your time should fore-mostly be spent, and define the order for completing them. Then, if you are faced with interruptions or delays, disruption will be minimal as higher priority tasks will have been completed first and any lost time will instead affect tasks with lower importance and less urgency.

If you do get held up or a colleague, manager or client is waiting on you for information, then be proactive in communicating with them. Leave them a comment or update a task’s status to keep them informed of how you’re doing. If others are aware of your progress, they’re less likely to interrupt you for an update.

Finally, when setting deadlines for your work, allow yourself some extra time to complete them. A little leeway here and there means if any unforeseen delays, problems or distractions do arise, you can be flexible in responding – without falling behind on deadlines.

How do you cope with or limit interruptions while you work? Share your top tips with us in the comments below.

Learn more about the benefits of DropTask and sign up for a free account today. 

Are you doing too much? How shared planning can save time & improve work processes

With team members each using different methods for managing workloads, and with no easy way to view all activities, Hamish More – Director of People & Capability for the New Zealand Fire Service, was after a more streamlined and collaborative solution that the whole team could use.Hamish More, Director of People & Capability for The New Zealand Fire Service

“Before DropTask, there was no consistent approach for planning and managing tasks within my department, and team members were all using various methods. There was a common complaint from our people of “we’re doing too much”, but with no clear overview of all activities, no-one could easily explain – or ‘see’ what was causing all of the busyness. To overcome this problem, I wanted to adopt a shared planning approach and so needed a tool which would give a visible indication of the number of activities we had under way, and allow for the whole team to contribute.

“DropTask appealed to me most because of its unique visual interface and the ability to ‘see’ relationships between tasks.”

While searching for apps and tools to help manage workloads, I looked at a few options, but DropTask appealed to me most because of its unique visual interface and the ability to ‘see’ relationships between tasks. I signed up for the free version of DropTask and within a matter of weeks a large number of the team were using DropTask PRO.The New Zealand Fire Service TeamDropTask is used on a daily basis by the team in a variety of ways – all of which are hugely valuable to us. I primarily use it to track reporting on projects, so I know which reports need approving. In one DropTask project, Cameron Hawke (Project Manager for our Service Resilience & Development Team), has set-up a sequence of groups – one for “drafting”, one for “ready to approve”, and one for “approved”, others also include “closed” and “rejected”. Applying a Kanban-like method of working, we manage the process by moving tasks between these groups. When a task hits the “ready to approve” stage, I’m assigned to that task and I instantly receive a notification (both within the app and via email) of my new task – I then have 5-days to either approve or reject the attached report for that task.

“…they had an “aha” moment when they saw the large visualization of our work.”

I also use DropTask to manage the team’s activities; the visual nature of the app allows me to get a good idea of the amount of work just by glancing at a project and seeing who is assigned to what. I’m then able to present and share this information with other colleagues to illustrate our workloads. If I need to delegate new tasks, or re-assign existing ones, then the drag and drop functionality of the app – which I love – makes it quick and easy to do so.

DropTask Project using iPad AppDropTask has surprised many people in the team; they had an “aha” moment when they saw the large visualization of our work, and started seeing where most of their time was being spent and why they were so busy. Now, by prioritizing our work in DropTask, we’re able to better utilize our time by focusing on what’s important, and spending less time on – or even putting on hold, low priority tasks.

“DropTask has helped introduce efficiencies and effectiveness.”

I would say that DropTask has helped introduce efficiencies and effectiveness around our reporting and has also given me a far better oversight of workloads and status. It has saved me a lot of time by helping to make our work processes much easier and faster.”

Collaborate with your team and see what DropTask can do for you by signing up for free today at www.droptask.com/signup

Already a DropTask user? Share your story with us at contact@droptask.com for your chance to be featured in a future post!

How to turn wait time into productive time

Waiting - how to be productive while you wait

Waiting; we’ve all been there. Whether it’s at the station platform, in the office or even at the doctor’s surgery. But when you have a busy schedule to follow, there’s nothing more frustrating than having to wait. After all, every minute spent waiting for something or someone, is a minute wasted. Or, is it?

I recently found myself at a loose end ‘waiting’ for some unexpected software updates – which ultimately put a halt to any laptop-based work. In this day and age we rely so heavily on technology and being connected online, that it’s easy to forget about the many other activities we could be doing that don’t require a digital connection. So, instead of staring at my screen and waiting for the update % number to increase, I took the opportunity to partake in some creative thinking and brainstorming of new ideas.

Being disconnected from the internet meant I was really able to explore my own mind and think outside of the box without any distractions – it even inspired me to write this post. That’s why I want to share 5 things (including brainstorming), that you can try the next time you find yourself waiting – turning wait time into productive time. If there’s something you do to stay productive while you wait, then I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

1. Brainstorm

Brainstorm to generate new ideas

As we get comfortable in our lives, we form routines and can often fall into the trap of doing things the way that we’ve always done them. But when it comes to our professional lives, in particular things such as personal progression, company growth, and staying competitive, it’s important to seek new ways of achieving our goals.  So, if like me, you want to make the most of your time, then why not do some creative brainstorming?

Brainstorming promotes the generation of new ideas and fresh approaches. Whether it’s improving your organization’s offerings, driving your business forward, developing strategies to advance your own strengths, or even thinking of new ways to keep the kids occupied during the holidays, brainstorming plays a significant and valuable role during problem solving and decision making.

2. Read a book

Read a book while you waitReading is an important activity, as amongst other benefits, it can boost creativity. But the number of people taking time out to read a book has dropped over the years. In fact, in the past year, over a quarter of American adults (28%) didn’t read a book at all.

Losing yourself in a different world through reading can help engage your imagination – and by opening yourself up to new experiences, you may come up with some new and creative business solutions. Engrossing yourself in a book can also help to reduce stress, as you can escape the worries of day-to-day life. So, dust off those old books, fully immerse yourself in a good read, and inspire new ideas.

3. Organize your space

Organize your workspaceWe’ve talked about the benefits of having a clear workspace in the past, but often, spending time rooting through desk drawers and sorting mountains of paper work can fall to the bottom of our priority list. But, if you’ve got some spare time on your hands while you wait, try using it to de-clutter your desk or workspace. After all, having a clean and organized space will save valuable time when looking for things, and will provide a state of calmness while you work so when you’ve finished waiting you can easily focus on what’s important and maximize your productivity.

4. Take a break

Take a break to improve productivity

When tackling busy schedules and working long hours, it’s important to take regular breaks to maintain and even improve productivity. In a survey by Staples, 86% of respondents recognized that taking a break would make them more productive. A break can reduce fatigue, prevent feeling burned-out and improve both happiness and health – it’s a chance to refuel and rejuvenate, and when you return to work you’re ready to work productively for the remainder of the day.

Taking a break isn’t limited to the office – if you’re out and about waiting, then use the time to escape your normal activities and routines. Taking some time out will allow for a period of thinking – which you may not normally get chance to do, and will help clear your mind.

5. Plan your day

Use DropTask to organize and manage your task list

Use wait time to plan ahead and organize upcoming activities. If you have access to a mobile, tablet or computer while you wait, then a tool such as DropTask helps to get everything out of your head and into one clear workspace. Once you’ve jotted down your to-dos in DropTask, share them with others, add notes and important documents, and check in for updates – plus much more, to schedule, manage and organize tasks. When you’re finished waiting, you’ll know exactly what needs to be done – so you can be more efficient and productive when getting tasks ticked off!

From just the few examples I’ve shared with you above, it’s easy to see that wait time really doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Whether it’s a few minutes, an hour or several hours, with a little forward planning, there’s always something you can be doing while you wait.

How do you spend periods of waiting? If you have a favorite thing to do while you wait we’d love to hear it. Leave us a comment below and share your tips.

Autism Awareness Day 2016

This Saturday marks the eighth annual Autism Awareness Day; a day dedicated to spreading awareness about Autism on a global scale.

As the fastest-growing lifelong developmental disability, Autism effects 1 in 100 people in the UK and is prevalent in 1 out of 68 births in the United States.  So, what exactly is Autism?

Autism affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people – including how they make sense of the world around them. As it’s a spectrum condition it effects each individual in a different way, with some living very independent lives and others requiring a lifetime of specialist support.

For some people with Autism, communication can be quite challenging. Visual symbols and sign language play a very significant role, since difficulty is experienced with the literal understanding of language – whether verbal or non-verbal. For example, sarcasm, facial expressions or tone of voice may be difficult to process as it may depend upon interpretation and intent – after all, people don’t always mean what they say.  For others, the language itself is less challenging, with behavioural traits such as repeating what the other person has said, more prominent.

The way we’re wired

Visuals (whether it’s icons, logos, symbols, colours or shapes), play a very significant role in the world around us.  They help draw our attention to certain objects, areas or even bits of text, and above all else, visuals have the ability to convey information with great speed – especially in comparison to text which challenges our brain to ‘decode’ before we can understand. Did you know that it’s said to take 1/4 of a second for our brains to process visual cues? It’s undeniable, therefore, that visuals go much further than just their aesthetic appeal.

For those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, visual supports can be of help with seeing and understanding as they provide an opportunity to communicate with less difficulty. Encouraging communication and development can have a great effect on self-esteem as well as independence, and there are a number of great tools and learning aids available for people of all ages and abilities.

During the development of DropTask, visuals have always been a key focus for us as we look to support the natural processes of our brain. Textual information is still useful and certainly holds its place, but as humans, we’re biologically wired to process the world visually and this can greatly aid in the realm of organisation and productivity. In the infographic below, we explain why:

Autism Awareness Day

For more information, get in touch at support@droptask.com.

3 top tips for tidying up your to-dos, plus get yourself a sweet treat in our Easter sale!

DropTask Easter Sale Bunnies

Here in the UK, spring has sprung and with the holidays just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to clear clutter and get organized. Excessive clutter can lead to a loss of time and money for many organizations, and it’s thought that over 4 hours per week is wasted by employees looking for items that were not returned to their original places. As well as this, if staff members are not easily able to keep track of things then it can lead to duplication of work and expending valuable resources.

Combined with the emotional effects (such as a lack of motivation, stress and unhappiness), a cluttered workspace can have a damaging impact upon productivity. A survey conducted in America found that 90% of Americans admitted that clutter had a negative impact on their life – with 77% of respondents stating their productivity was affected.

Being organized helps to promote smoother work processes, and satisfaction is established when everything can easily be located. So, by taking time to clear your clutter, you’ll feel far more in control and less stressed while you work. But remember – being organized isn’t restricted to your physical working environment. As technology continues to advance, it’s important to also consider your virtual workspace. So, why not give your to-dos a tidy? Cleaning up your tasks will bring focus to what’s important, and provide a state of calmness while you work – boosting motivation and maximizing productivity. See below for some top tips for polishing up your projects…

1. Archive projects

Archive ProjectsDo you have completed projects that you no longer want to see, but don’t want to delete? Archive old work to clear distractions and bring focus to the job at hand – remaining safe in the knowledge that old projects are always there if you need them.

2. Action emails

Send emails to DropTaskAs your email inbox grows, incoming information can quickly become lost or forgotten. Try separating your tasks from correspondence and turn a ‘please do’ into a ‘to do’, by emailing it straight into DropTask – where it’ll wait until you’re ready to take action.

3. Define order

Define order with Task DependenciesDon’t waste time trying to identify next action steps – we can take care of that for you. Maintain structure within your projects and keep an eye on upcoming duties using Dependencies. Creating visual links between tasks will help you clearly define the order in which tasks should be actioned.

DropTask Easter Sale! Get 3 Months FreeSo there you have it; 3 quick tips to ensure you stay clutter free and remain on target to achieve your goals. Plus, to put a spring in your step this Easter, we’re giving away 3 MONTHS FREE of DropTask PRO, offering all of the features mentioned above as well as extras such as Task Assignment, File Sharing and Messaging – plus much more, when you join today.*

Redeem Now


* Offer valid on annual DropTask PRO subscriptions only and expires on Tuesday 29th March 2016. Cannot be used on subscription downgrades or in conjunction with any other offer.

From visualizing processes to presenting; DropTask is more than just a task management tool for Product Manager, Dieter Karrer.

Dieter Karrer has been part of the team at Swiss technical security company, Securiton, for over 13 years. With roles spanning from Head of Development, to his current position as Product Manager, Dieter was in need of a solution to help manage his daily to-dos and projects.

Dieter Karrer - Project Manager at Securiton“Before discovering DropTask, I would keep track of all of my notes and to-dos by drawing sketches. To replace this method, I was seeking a graphical solution which would help organize my to-dos, projects and notices. After spending quite some time researching many different tools and solutions, I stumbled across DropTask in an article online about helpful tools for productivity. My first impressions of the app was that I loved the graphical interface. As my previous method of organization was very graphical, the unique visuals of DropTask were the key selling point for me; DropTask is predestined for me.

“My first impressions of the app was that I loved the graphical interface.”

DropTask is used for my own personal organization and management, and together with my email client, it is the most important tool that I work with. I use it as a type of ticket tool, where I create new task circles for all of my daily to-dos.

Using DropTask to stay organized

“…together with my email client, it is the most important tool that I work with.”

I have found DropTask very easy and intuitive to use, and I love the fact I am able to get a dynamic graphical overview of my work. The ability to add attributes such as importance, effort and status to a task, provides a clear structure of what should be actioned next. I am even able to personalize my work by using my own pictures as visualizations on tasks.

In addition to managing daily to-dos, or a particular project or study that I may be working on, I also use the app to brainstorm ideas and envisage processes. I once had to consider the different processes in a service organization and therefore I used DropTask to clearly visualize each step and action item that needed to be taken. I have even used the app to present information to others – the audience were delighted with the appealing, colorful design and visual display of information.

“…one of the big advantages of using DropTask is its availability across the web and other platforms, such as iOS.”

DropTask iOS iPad app

Of course it is always more efficient to use only one tool for managing numerous tasks, and therefore one of the big advantages of using DropTask is its availability across the web and other platforms, such as iOS. I’m able to access my projects through several browsers and on my tablet as well, with no restrictions.

Although at the moment I am using DropTask for personal management, I hope to use it with my colleagues soon, and I am excited to make full use of the collaboration features within the app.”

Visualize your to-dos and get organized by signing up for free today at www.droptask.com/signup

Already a DropTask user? Share your story with us at contact@droptask.com for your chance to be featured in a future post!

The features that you might have just missed

Features; whether it’s the latest pocket gadget or the new ‘smart home’ control system, we just can’t get enough. Features offer substance, and sure, some can be throwaway gimmicks, but more often than not they become indispensable due to their ability to make our lives easier – to solve a nagging problem or to fulfil a need we didn’t think we had. Plus, let’s face it, they’re one of the key drivers that leads us to ‘buy-in’ in the first place so it’s important to know exactly how they can be put to best use.

Now when it comes to DropTask, we try to keep things really simple. We don’t expect you or your team to study tutorial after tutorial just to get started, so we pack in the power in a way that we hope enhances your user experience rather than hinders it – which is especially important if you’re new and trying to find your way around a productivity-boosting app. Despite this, some features can still get overlooked, so here it is; our rundown of 5 fantastic features that you might have just missed…

1. Turn a ‘Please Do’ into a ‘To Do’

Email 2 Task

It’s one of the fan favourites – any email that you forward to task@droptask.com automatically converts into a ‘to-do’ within DropTask, as long as you’ve emailed from the same address that’s linked to your account. But what if someone else wants to put in a request via email?

Well, neatly located within your user preferences (which can be accessed by selecting your avatar in the top right corner), you’ll find a unique email address ending in ‘droptask.com’. Simply give this to colleagues, friends, family or anyone else who likes to dish out the odd job, and anything they send to this address will automatically land in your DropTask as a colorful and interactive task bubble, begging to be burst.

2. Keep your eyes on the task at all times…(or not)

Unwatch Tasks

By default, you’ll receive notifications and alerts on almost all of the activity that takes place on a task that you’ve created – whether you’re assigned or not. It’s a great way to stay in the loop, but doesn’t need to be the case if you’re looking to hand over responsibility and then take a step back from having any further involvement.  To opt-out of updates, simply select the task to access the feature-rich task sidebar and then click the button marked with 3 dots. Then, select ‘Unwatch‘ from the drop-down menu so you can go back to your day without hearing another peep.

3. Drag attachments

Drag Attachments

The quickest way to upload a file to a task is to go into the task side bar, click on the ‘paperclip’ icon and then select where you would like to upload it from… Right? Wrong.  To save some seconds, try dragging a file from wherever it’s stored on your computer, straight onto the task circle itself and ta-da! It’s attached.

4. Show or hide

Hide Dependencies

Dependency arrows are great for creating workflows so you can easily identify what needs to be done first, or next.

Example:

If you’re looking to bake a cake, then you’ll need to buy the ingredients first. So the sequence will look like this:

Simple Dependency

Pretty simple, right? Well if your project starts to grow and your goals get ambitions, you could end up with arrows pointing in all directions:

Cake Baking Business Project

This is when you’ll want to seek out our Show or Hide filters. Within this filter menu you have the option to show dependencies for a ‘Selected Task Only’, meaning that the arrows will only show when you’ve clicked a task and therefore expressed some interest in it. This filter helps to keep your project clean, so you only see what’s important to you at that time.

5. Sharing is caring

Task Permissions

Spreading the word and inviting friends and family to join you in DropTask allows you to remain seamlessly productive across each area of your life; whether you’re organising whose turn it is for the school run, planning your wedding, or making a start on that business venture you’ve been putting off.  But we understand that it can be tricky to get everyone on the same page, so we’ve created Visibility Settings that you can adjust as the project owner.

Visibility Settings allow you to set projects from ‘Private’ to ‘Public’ (just check that you don’t have any sensitive information that you need to keep private first), and you can share the link with anyone – even if they don’t have an account. What’s more, with ‘read-only’ access you can sit back, relax and share your ideas and goals with complete peace of mind that they can’t be changed in the slightest.


Have you recently discovered a feature that you didn’t know existed? Let us know in the comments below!

Not yet a user? Get started for free.

4 ways Creative Agency, Draft Design House, stay on schedule with DropTask

Productivity tips for designers

Whether you’re a freelance graphic designer, a creative design agency or a print shop; you’ve probably become accustom to using images, space and color to communicate messages and solve problems for clients. But have you considered applying the use of visuals for handling your own work and productivity?

Aside from the fact that color and images add an element of fun and enjoyment to managing your tasks, they can also enhance memory, organization and creativity while you work. That’s why at DropTask we’re turning traditional task management systems on their heads by transforming a to-do ‘list’ into an engaging, colorful and shapely dashboard.

Last week, we spoke to Allie Larsen, Graphic Designer at creative agency Draft Design House, to learn more about how DropTask is used within the business and how you could get started with using DropTask for your own work…

1. Take DropTask with you

DropTask mobile phone app“What sold us the most when implementing DropTask as our tool of choice was the mobile phone apps. We are a very small agency that is always on the move, so we can’t be at the mercy of a program that is only accessible from the computers that are sitting on our desks at the office. Having the ability to access it everywhere we go takes DropTask to a whole new level.”

2. Establish what works for youDropTask Visual View

“Every personality in our office is different, and with that means different preferences and ways of learning. The fact that DropTask provides multiple ways to view tasks – whether it’s in a list for the analytical minds or in the visual view for the creative minds, helps us to be more productive and stay on schedule.”

3. Keep communicatingCommenting in DropTask

The @name feature in the comments section proves very handy. Having the ability to tag another individual within a project is extremely useful as you’re able to get your questions answered in a much more timely fashion. Not only that, but it lets that person know that something is being directed at them, which then provides a better opportunity of getting the task completed.

4. Make it fun

DropTask completed tasks“We almost think of DropTask as a game at times, where you need to ‘pop‘ all of the bubbles – which often gives us just enough of a boost to work faster to get the job done!”

Sign up for free today at www.droptask.com/signup, or learn more about going PRO. 

Don’t cry over spilt milk

Split Milk

Mistakes happen; it’s human nature. And with February 11th officially declared as ‘don’t cry over spilt milk’ day (coincidently falling on what’s celebrated as ‘Inventors’ day in the US), it got us thinking about the challenges that we’ve faced over the years, and how the very same mistakes that once had us trembling in our boots have in fact been instrumental in getting us to where we are today.

As we progress through school and develop into adulthood, we’re often pre-conditioned to ‘fear’ failure – almost to the point of avoiding it at all costs. And while the notions are true, that hard-work, preparation, dedication and the right attitude can take you a long way, some would say that real success, starts with failure.

Henry Ford once said “the only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing”, with Alexander Pope perhaps more profoundly stating that “to err, is human”. And while we can endlessly churn out quotes from well-known public figures, we must remember that these are not in fact hollow statements, but instead moments of self-reflection and prophecy that come only with experience and the gift of hindsight. After all, many of the successful figures we look up to today have experienced failure themselves…

Successful people who failed at first:

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison’s teacher allegedly told him he was ‘too stupid to learn anything’. This, of course, came before he became an extremely successful inventor who changed the world.


Walt Disney

Walt Disney was fired from his local newspaper for ‘lacking imagination’ and having no ‘good’ ideas.


Bill Gates

Before building the world’s largest software company, Bill Gates headed up a company called ‘Traf-O-Data’, offering a product which could read traffic tapes and process the data. The company didn’t take off, but somewhat prepped them for Microsoft’s first product some years later.

 

So the next time you land yourself in a ‘facepalm’ moment of epic frustration, embarrassment and disappointment, just remember that your mistakes don’t need to cripple you, but can instead be stepping-stones within your journey.  Check out our top tips for staying calm, bouncing back, and turning what could seemingly be a ‘mistake’, into the beginning of your success:

Plan

1. Plan

This one’s a given; if you fail to prepare then you may as well start waving your white flag.  Lay out your strategy, focus on your goals and address any issues that could crop up. Don’t be afraid of making some ‘what if’ predictions here – a back-up plan will give you support when you need it the most.
Tool to use: Mind Mapping software, iMindMap

2. Own up

When it hits the fan, one of the most important things you’ll want to do is apologize, acknowledge the mistake, and take responsibility.  To make accountability a whole lot easier to manage, some organizations (most notably Apple), follow a ‘DRI’ (Directly Responsible Individual) model.  With DRIs on each and every bit of activity that takes place within the business, uncertainties regarding ownership and accountability are eliminated and each employee knows exactly who to turn to for each task.
Tool to use: Visual task management app, DropTask.

Act Quickly

3. Act quickly

To prevent an issue from escalating, quick decisions are imperative.  This is made easier if your back-up plan is at hand, but as Theodore Roosevelt once said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing”.  In moments like this you might find yourself ‘living in the moment’ rather than making decisions based on the bigger picture, but to really master the art of ‘thinking fast’ there are a number of strategies and techniques worth reading about.
Book to read: ‘Grasp the Solution’ by Chris Griffiths

Talk to someone

4. Talk to someone

Communication is practically our mantra here at DropTask, in fact, you’ve probably picked up on it as being our top tip in almost everything we share – and there’s good reason for that. When things go pear-shaped your instinctive reaction may be to contemplate the feasibility of brushing it under the carpet. But unless you’re the masked magician, you’ll probably struggle to vanish it without any trace – and the attempt alone could dig you into a deeper hole. Instead, think about who your actions have impacted – maybe your colleagues, or potentially your customers? Then it’s time to pluck up the courage and communicate. You don’t need to sweat the small stuff or grab the closest mega phone, but the earlier you start talking, the better the outcome will be.
What to do: Write an email, schedule a meeting, or send a direct message via DropTask.

5. Learn the lessons and be kind to yourself

By this stage you’ll want to ask a lot of ‘whys’ to get to the root cause of what happened. As tempting as it might be to give this one a skip so you can focus on moving forwards, take some time to reflect – it may just give you the wisdom that will facilitate your success in the future.  Was time management an issue? Could you have had better discipline? Did you prioritise well? Learn from the experience because you’ll thank yourself for it later. It’s also important to practice self-compassion, since this will ultimately transform a ‘mistake’ from something you fear, into something you embrace.

Got your own story to share? Share your mistakes and tell us what you’ve learned in the comments below!