Why stepping out of your comfort zone should be at the top of your to-do’s this Halloween

In business, it seems that it’s always the most daring of individuals who take the first step into the unknown. Without a following behind them and a feeling of doubt in their gut, it’s up to the lone wolf to take charge of their own future. By stepping out of our comfort zones we’re welcoming the prospect of revitalized change and personal growth, in the hopes of accomplishing something that’s beneficial to our lives. With corporate directors, managers and CEO’s often feeling trapped and not knowing where to turn next, little do they know that the door that leads them to their maximum potential is open right in front of them. But why is it that we’re still so apprehensive of stepping out of our comfort zone? The fear of ‘doing’ is just another way of fearing success. Tackle your fears today and take a step forward in what you might think is the wrong direction. See our 4 simple steps below, how coming out of your comfort zone with DropTask will help you to maximize your productivity output and to progress with those Projects you’ve got in the pipeline.

1. Become comfortable with taking risks.

take risks
Risk taking is seen by some as unwise and dangerous, but for others it’s seen as the perfect opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Shake the curse of ‘being different’ and feeling threatened with the prospect of the unknown. Prepare well by planning out your strategic steps in DropTask’s signature Canvas View. With an overview of the bigger picture you’ll feel at ease from the offset, and can ensure that you’re asking yourself those hard high-level questions.

2. Gain control

Gain Control
When the prospect of stepping out of our comfort zone dawns, it’s easy to get caught up in self-doubt which can lead us into thinking that we’re incapable. You’ve already been courageous enough to take the risk, so now it’s time to take the reins and own it. Use DropTask to avoid slipping back into those old habits which hold you back from succeeding. The built-in Calendar allows you to plan your schedule weeks in advance so you can hit the ground running with your new venture. And with the ability to take a peek at other colleagues’ schedules in the Team Calendar, you can ensure that your team is fully aware of what’s creeping around the corner to avoid being startled by looming deadlines.

3. Reinforce your creativity

Reinforce Creativity
Research shows that when individuals foster their creative thinking, they often outperform their rivals in revenue growth. What’s holding you back from revisiting those ideas that were left in the shadows? With regular sessions of brainstorming and by nurturing your unconventional ideas, sparks of genius will arise which you never thought were possible. DropTask’s visual nature encourages interaction and subsequently boosts engagement, and with color, shapes and icons prompting you down the right path, the thought and act of getting things done is significantly less daunting. With a less formal approach, watch your ideas come to life and bury the uncertainties which hinder your success.

4. Accept failure

Accept Failure
Everyone in life has experienced failure, though admitting to it can be a tough pill to swallow. Failures are valuable experiences as they often bring to our attention what we can improve on to progress forward. Without failures, you may still be stuck down that dead end street which brought you no hope. In DropTask’s Completed Tasks View, you’re able to review your performance as you go, and see everything that you’ve overcome to get to where you are. With a historic view of Shared Files, Conversations, and the Project Members that you’ve collaborated with, you’ll be reminded of why you pursued your gut feeling and stepped out of your comfort zone in the first place – the thought of which now seems a lot less daunting than before.

Have some tips of your own? Share your experiences in the comments below and tell us how stepping out of your comfort zone has helped you. 

New to DropTask? Learn more about the benefits by signing up for a free account today.


10 innovative ways to stay motivated at work

At DropTask, we pride ourselves on being an innovative crew. Our all-visual task management tool is the only one of its kind and packs a powerful productivity punch, and we operate from a really cool, hi-tech space in Wales – Tec Marina. Lately, we’ve been thinking a lot about motivation and the different ways we keep ourselves geared up throughout the day or week. In this post, we’ll be sharing some of our most innovative tips to help you stay motivated (and productive) at work.

Find a personal ‘why’
Trick yourself into doing a task you dread by linking it to something that matters to you, and get a much-needed push to finish the job. Ask yourself: What bigger goal of mine does this task connect to?

Have a game plan
Sometimes all that’s needed to give you a kick up the butt is a clear plan. Create an agenda to put your priorities in order and give you something to run with from the get go.

Be task-driven, not time-driven
Focus on  what you need to do, instead of how much time you have to do it. Breaking tasks down into bite-sized chunks is a great recipe for getting some ‘quick wins’ under your belt.

Get inspired on a daily basis
What can you read/watch/listen to/play to get a burst of optimism and good feeling each day?


Commit to being better
Don’t just look to get something done, aim to get it done better, faster, easier or with more energy. Not only will you get superb results, but you’ll also see a huge lift in your motivation and self-esteem.

Look at what you’ve done
Feeling a bit ‘meh’? One quick way to recapture your mojo is to look at your completed tasks. Ride the wave of your earlier successes and keep the momentum going to achieve even more.

Celebrate – you’re worth it!
Review your progress and celebrate each victory with a small reward, even something as simple as your favorite dessert. Knowing a reward is just around the corner gives you added drive to reach your goals.

Set ‘to-be’ tasks as well as ‘to-do’ ones
Include exercise and wellbeing activities alongside your usual work related to-dos. By building self-care into your week, you’re more likely to stay on top of weightier tasks and feel energized in the process.

Get close to your colleagues
Research shows that workplace friendships can increase productivity and job commitment. Spend time getting to know your co-workers. Go to lunch, grab a coffee or even hit the gym together.

Be positive, no matter what.
Focusing on the negatives of work (the pressure, deadlines) will zap your motivation and blind you to all the good stuff. Practice being upbeat every day and look for the hidden positives in every challenge.

Which of these 10 innovative tips get you moving? Got any special motivational tricks of your own? Then share them with your fellow DropTaskers below.


Tackling information overload with DropTask 2

Information overload

Emails, reports, Twitter, news, YouTube videos, reminders, websites, RSS feeds, blogs, Facebook, IMs, texts, Skype….Information is everywhere! We live in a hyper-connected world where the gadgets and gizmos of modern work life make outrageous amounts of information available to us at the click of a button. For the most part, this is awesome because we can find what we need to know, when we need to know it. But as legions of us in the workplace are discovering, you can have too much of a good thing.

It’s hard to keep a straight head and focus on your to-dos while being bombarded by a relentless flood of data, which soon plunges you into ‘information overload’. According to a study cited by Jonathan Spira, author of Overload, a shocking 94% of people have at some point felt so overwhelmed by information to the point of incapacitation. The result? Things don’t get done, or they get done badly.

DropTask’s visual display can clean up the clutter

Cleaning up clutter

The fact of the matter is linear, top-down lists don’t cut it as a tool for managing dizzying quantities of information and tasks. Under the crushing pressure of ‘infomania’, our brain has a tough time processing text and separating the trivial from the important. And even a to-do list of only one page can become unwieldy if there’s no obvious structure to it. Plus, let’s be straight, it’s bland. A visual representation like DropTask’s colorful, shapely dashboard is much less taxing mentally and helps to simplify info and to-dos with crystal clarity. Dr. Dimitrios Tsivrikos, business psychologist at the University College London (UCL), highlights the value of visuals for getting to grips with complex data: “Research has proven that by visually presenting information, data processing demands on the brain can be reduced”.

To avoid drowning in a deluge of tasks, use DropTask to pull everything together in one place so you can see the whole view of a project, from the bigger picture right down to the smaller details. In other words, both the forest and the trees! Unlike linear, text-heavy tools, DropTask allows you to build an eye-catching and coordinated framework around the contents of your task list, putting you in firm control and warding off overwhelm.

Let’s take a closer look at how the all-new enhancements in DropTask 2 can help shrink the clutter and give your brain the breathing space it needs to be super-productive.

1. Filter through the flood

Filter through the flood

For a simple way to cut through the noise and find what matters most, use the new Filter feature to (you guessed it!) filter tasks, either by Assignee, Importance, Keywords, Effort, Tags, Attachments or even Status (tasks not started, tasks in progress and tasks on hold). By narrowing down your field of vision, you get a clean glimpse of only the things you need and want to see, whether you’re tracking performance or sifting through priorities. If you want stress-free task management, this is it!

2. More ways to manage – Workflow Boards and built-in Calendar

Workflow and Calendar

The latest rendition of DropTask offers not one, but two glistening new ways to view and organize your information, projects and tasks:

  • Kanban-style Workflow Boards – Pave a clear path through your tasks and track your progress with ease. By setting staged categories like ‘To-do’, ‘Doing’ and ‘Done’, you can model your workflow along vertical swimlanes and get an instantaneous view of where you are and where you’re going. As you work through your to-dos, your completed items stay visible giving you a sense of sequence and mucho satisfaction.
  • Built-in Calendar – The key to combating information overload is to be organized. With DropTask’s new Calendar feature you can stay on top of what you should be doing today, and what’s due in the future. Need to reschedule? Simple. Just drag and drop to reprioritize your tasks in the right order, so you always know what needs immediate attention.

3. Sometimes less is more – Collapsing Categories

Collapsing categories

While it’s essential to capture all the details you need to remember, there are times when you just need a quick snapshot of your current situation. This is where DropTask’s nifty new tool for collapsing and expanding project categories comes in. It gives you the added flexibility to keep your eye on the bigger picture at all times, without getting flustered by the bitty errands and chores still on your plate. With your most critical data consolidated into one compact space, it’s easy to locate key information and concentrate your efforts, minus the strain.

Rather than letting an influx of information get the better of you, use DropTask to organize and bring clarity to it. All your tasks are brought together on a single eye-grabbing dashboard, putting you right at the center of the process so nothing slips through the cracks. You’ll spend less effort trying to find what you need and more on getting stuff done. How do you conquer information overload?  Offer up some tips in the comments below.

New to DropTask? Learn more about the benefits by signing up for a free account today.

Can shorter workdays mean higher productivity?

Shorter workdays

More work hours = more output. Right? New developments in Sweden suggest otherwise.

A growing number of Swedish employers are moving to a 6-hour working day in a bid to lift productivity, counter burnout and make people happier. These organizations (which include Toyota service centers, retirement homes and hospitals) have found that a shorter workday can decrease staff turnover, enhance creativity, inspire loyalty and boost profits as well as efficiency. Impressive benefits by anyone’s standards!

But will this 6-hour workday model catch on in nations like America, where clocking long hours is the norm and ‘presenteeism’ sees workers burning the candle at both ends to prove they’re up to the job? This ambitious, workaholic mentality is as much a part of US culture as hot dogs and baseball, and is worn proudly like a badge of honor. Yet research shows that cranking out more hours at your desk doesn’t necessarily pay off when it comes to output, and the Families and Work Institute discovered that working longer can even damage productivity as people are more likely to make mistakes and get sick.

Clearly there is a link between wellbeing and productivity, so how do we create a workplace that nurtures a balanced relationship between intense work and time to chill? Here are some ideas for making the shift.

1. Set the tone

Set the tone

If you’re a leader, it’s up to you to set a positive tone for your company culture and embark on active steps to create a healthy work environment for your team. People take their cue from you, so send a clear message that wellness matters. Praise teammates who work sensible hours, go on full lunch breaks, use their annual leave and take time to rest after a busy stretch, and rap the knuckles of those who don’t. Practice what you preach by stepping away from your desk once in a while, and openly discuss the ways you take care of yourself with your team. But don’t stop there. Make the most of internal communication channels to raise awareness about work-life balance by circulating blogs, factsheets and informative websites; and use posters, noticeboards and company newsletters to promote your message in visible ways. The more people are educated about good work habits, the more likely they are to take measures to improve their own situation and to look out for those they work with.

2. Take frequent ‘pulse checks’

Take frequent 'pulse checks'

Schedule regular one-to-ones with team members to check how they’re doing and catch any early signs of stress. What’s their energy like? Are they feeling overwhelmed? How’s their morale?  Did they come back refreshed after their recent vacation? Remember that being super busy all the time doesn’t mean that person is more productive or engaged. They may have fallen into bad habits such as multitasking or being constantly plugged in to technology which disrupts their focus. It’s also worth keeping an eye on people who always volunteer for extra tasks, as they could be taking on more than they can realistically chew because they’re hungry for more brownie points. To supplement your one-to-ones, use DropTask to drop subtle hints to colleagues who might be slipping when it comes to their wellbeing. All it takes is a quick comment urging them to re-align or take a break from a task.

3. Be flexible

Be flexible

According to The Harris Poll, 89% of Americans believe employers should offer flexible work hours so long as the job gets done, and over half of American workers (52%) feel they would perform better at their jobs with more flexibility. Let’s face it, one-size-fits-all policies are too rigid and don’t account for the fact that people are individuals and work optimally in different ways. Encourage your teammates to figure out what kind of schedule works best for them and be open to ideas for alternative approaches, such as remote working or 4-day workweeks.

Job satisfaction soars when people feel valued and are given the opportunity to make small shifts in when, where and how their work is done without being micro-managed every step of the way. Putting people in charge of their time motivates them to knuckle down and give their total attention, dodging distractions like nonessential emails, social media or meetings – meaning more work gets done. DropTask is an ideal tool for ensuring work stays manageable in a flexible environment. In-app notifications keep teams and managers up to speed with every project, so the ball never gets dropped. And completed tasks are all cataloged in one place, making it easy to review performance based on what people have achieved and not the number of hours they spent in the office.

How do you encourage personal and professional balance within your team? Do shorter workdays or other flexible arrangements work for you? We’d love to hear your experiences and advice in the comments below.

New to DropTask? Learn more about the benefits by signing up for a free account today.

Don’t have time for time management? Think again

Managing your time

4 Small tips for getting big things done

People often think that they don’t have time for time management. Small business owners and managers commonly fall into this trap. They’re so busy being busy, that they never sit down to adequately plan or even look at their to-do list. If this sounds like you, then it’s high time you acknowledged that this could be what’s standing in the way of you and your team getting ahead.

Not meaning to go all deep and philosophical (we know you’re far too swamped for that!), time is the most precious currency in life. Once spent it cannot be replaced. With a finite number of hours in the day, you can’t buy or hoard time ready for when you need more of it. Doesn’t it make sense to manage how you spend your time to ensure that you use it wisely? Without some form of time management, you can easily lose time on the wrong things or end up running in circles, trying to do everything all at once. Worse than that, you might even delay getting started on the big projects that count. According to cognitive psychology research by John Bargh and colleagues, your brain will attempt to ‘simulate’ productive work by avoiding heavy projects and tackling lots of menial, low-value tasks to fill your time. It cleverly tricks you into thinking that you’re super busy, but the real work that produces measurable results remains undone.

At DropTask, we’ve long been fascinated by how entrepreneurs, professionals and businesses of all sizes manage and make best use of their time. Through our observations, we’ve discovered that time management doesn’t have to be a massive burden or effort to execute. The biggest gains in productivity often come from the small investments you make, the minor tactics and habits that only take a portion of your time. So far from being a waste of time, a good time management system can be the ultimate time saver.

Here are four little things that you and your team can do to deliver more value in less time, pronto.

1. Carry your tasks with you

DropTask Calendar

Keep your to-dos and calendar on your smartphone or tablet, so you can access them at a moment’s notice. Unless you have superb powers of recall, trying to store numerous tasks and meetings in your working memory is a recipe for disaster. And there are inevitably going to be times when you can’t make it back to your desk or notebook to retrieve your to-dos. Take advantage of the portability technology can offer so that you’re always prepared. DropTask is available on Android, iPhone and iPad for you to access anytime and anywhere, so there’s no excuse! The app supports real-time collaboration on tasks too, with changes automatically synced and updated while you’re on the go, guaranteeing that you’re never out of step with your colleagues.

2. Use a template

Project Templates
Rather than wasting time writing out your recurring activities each day, create your own Project Template which includes your most common to-do items. This ensures you don’t forget all the small odds and ends you need to do, especially when unique or unexpected demands call for your immediate attention and crowd out your day. Even better, create templates for your bigger initiatives as well, and you’ll avoid that overwhelming feeling that can sometimes paralyze you at the start of a new project. This is incredibly easy with DropTask’s Template feature, which allows you to set up multiple projects, break them down into standardised steps and keep track of each phase of development, from initial brainstorming and task allocation through to completion and evaluation.

3. Set start and due dates for your tasks

Start and End Dates

Just as you set dates for meetings, make sure you set dates for getting started on tasks as well as deadlines for getting them done. Don’t wait until you can “get around to it”, make an appointment with each important task in your calendar, so that it doesn’t slip off your radar. DropTask’s built-in Calendar allows you to schedule tasks by Start Date or Due Date, so you can really focus your attention and stay on track to meet all your major deadlines. Identifying start and end dates forces you to realistically consider how long your tasks will take and helps you put your priorities in order. This simple trick makes time management in the workplace much easier as you can tackle the things that need to be done on a time constraint before moving on to tasks with more flexible timescales. Using DropTask, any shifts or changes in priorities can be accommodated in an instant by effortlessly dragging and dropping your tasks around the Calendar. Aim to fill up your calendar with meaningful work instead of endless meetings, and be reasonably disciplined with yourself to power up your productivity. Research by MIT and INSEAD business school professors in 2002 found that students who imposed strict deadlines on themselves for assignments performed far better and were more consistent than those who didn’t. Challenging deadlines can buck us up to achieve more and are a practical strategy for curbing procrastination. So create manageable start and end dates for your tasks – and stick to them!

4. Stay notified


Being organized saves tons of time. But you don’t need ultra-complicated systems to keep on top of your work; you can boost business efficiency simply by automating how you and your team stay informed. Notifications and Reminders are great for alerting you to any note-worthy changes or looming deadlines, so you and your colleagues never miss a trick. Instead of trying to mentally and physically manage everything yourself, let DropTask track your work for you. Every morning, DropTask will send you a Daily Summary Email to let you know which tasks you should be working on, as well as which ones are overdue, due today, and due tomorrow. You can even set multiple reminders on important tasks so you can delegate, action or follow up as needed. Shaun Kennard, CEO of Vestack Group describes how he witnessed a “20% increase in each person’s productivity, and an even bigger influence in business effectiveness” by using DropTask to keep tabs on the core activities undertaken within each company unit.

Whether you’re working solo or with a team, these four little actions can have a BIG impact, helping you optimize your time and squeeze more out of your day. Have some time management tips and tricks of your own? Please share them in the comments below.

New to DropTask? Learn more about the benefits by signing up for a free account today.

Do, doing, done – how Kanban helps your flow


What do you look for in a productivity system? Here at DropTask, we believe that the best productivity methods are those that keep your to-dos in front of you and give you full visibility into what’s happening with your workload. The Kanban approach does just that, enabling you to plan work, monitor progress and review completed tasks all on one visual board (a ‘Kanban’).

The name ‘Kanban’ derives from the Japanese word for ‘signboard’ and the method has its roots in automobile manufacturing. But don’t let that intimidate you, it’s actually one of the simplest tools around for supercharging your day-to-day productivity. With Kanban, tasks are organized in columns, usually by progression (e.g. To-do, Doing, Done). As you power through each of your action items, they are moved along to their new columns, helping you sustain a smooth, continuous workflow. Kanban is ideal for professionals and teams who like to see the big picture at a glance. When using this technique, you have a full view of everything on your plate – all your tasks, due dates, priorities – so you’re never at a loss as to what to work on next.

Getting started with Kanban is easy, as there are only two fundamental ‘rules’ to follow.

1. Visualize your workflow

A Kanban board gives you a simple space in which to lay out and organize your to-dos. Tasks are arranged in vertical columns representing different categories or stages of your workload, so you always have a clear picture of what you need to act on, the progress you’re making and what you’ve accomplished. As an example, for your blog you could set up for columns for Writing, Editing and Published, and each task would relate to a specific article. While for launching a new product, your columns might be based on different marketing activities, such as PR, Advertising and Events. Kanban is super practical for projects that cycle through stages, such as auditing, recruitment and product development. During a recruitment drive, for instance, you can track job applications as they make their way through each step of the process, from CVs to Shortlisted to First Stage Interviews, and so on.

As well as helping you master your individual output, Kanban really comes into its own when used for team collaboration. A public Kanban board is a powerful visual aid for viewing the entire status of a team project and getting a handle on all its phases. Working together, teammates can quickly highlight priorities, allocate manpower where it’s most needed and identify any bottlenecks in workflow. The upshot is that teams spend less time discussing work and more time doing it!

DropTask’s Workflow Board is built around Kanban-style task organization, with columns automatically created for all your to-do categories. Moving tasks is as simple as dragging and dropping them into the right column to visualize your progress. You can add as many details as you want to each task, including visual cues for priority, due dates, checklists, reminders, notes and attachments. Before you know it, you’ll have a visual collection of action points you can readily dive into.

2. Limit what you take on

One of the biggest advantages of Kanban is that it helps you avoid taking on too much in one go. Each task moves through standardized stages so you can track your progress step-by-step. If tasks start piling up in one of the columns on your board, then you know you have too much on your plate! Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry, authors of Personal Kanban: Mapping Work / Navigating Life, recommend applying Work-in-Progress limits to restrict the number of things you work on at the same time – around three ‘in progress’ items should be about right to stop you getting overwhelmed. This capping of tasks keeps a tight rein on your workload so that you focus on the to-dos that matter most, without the inefficiencies of multitasking. The clear sequential structure of DropTask’s Workflow Board means you can quickly see how your categories are filling up, nudging you to concentrate on finishing your current jobs before starting new ones. Not only will you stay out of crisis mode, but you’ll never miss a deadline.

Step-by-step: Create a Kanban Board with DropTask

Now that you know what Kanban’s all about, give it a go using DropTask to get your to-dos under control. Here’s a step-by-step guide to build your board from scratch:

Step 1. Create a project

First things first, click the + Create Project tab under the Menu to set up your project. Give it a name and add any other team members who will be working with you. We’ve called ours ‘Personal Kanban’ and we’ll be using it for at-home tasks.


Next, click on the Workflow option in the top right of the main navigation bar to view your Kanban-style board, which will be empty of categories or tasks at this point.


Step 2. Set up your categories

These represent how your to-dos will be grouped (i.e. your Kanban columns) and can take the form of ‘work topics’ or progressive stages of your workflow. We recommend that you start small with three simple columns labeled ‘To-Do’, ‘Doing’ and ‘Done’ (or ‘Backlog’, ‘In Progress’ and ‘Complete’ if you want to be more formal about it) until you get a feel for the system.

  • To-do – work waiting to be done.
  • Doing – work in progress right now.
  • Done – work completed. Done and dusted!

To create your categories in Workflow mode, start by clicking the Create a category option in the left-hand column.


Type in your category name and select a color, and your first column will appear. You can add as many columns as you like from here by simply dragging the Category bubble from the top navigation bar and dropping it into an empty column. We’ll be using three for this example – To-do, Doing and Done.


If you ever find you need to re-order your columns, click and drag the re-order icon, situated next to the category label.


Step 3. Add your tasks

To add a task to a column, click on the Task bubble from the top navigation bar and drag it where you want it. This will open up a box for you to input your task and any other details that might be needed, such as members, start date and due date in the appropriate fields.


Keep repeating this step to fill your board with tasks. At any point, you can edit or add more detail to a task by clicking on it to open up an information box. You can red flag your high priority tasks, add notes or attachments, and even define the Effort (small, medium, large) needed to get it done.


Step 4. Keep things flowing!

Now get to work! Use drag and drop to move your tasks across the board in keeping with your progress. Set your own policies or rules for how you manage your workflow. For instance, every time you move a task into the ‘Done’ column, make a point of pulling in the next task from the ‘To-do’ column to keep things moving. And be sure to set a task limit for your ‘Doing’ column so you only juggle x number of tasks at the same time.


Try turning your own ‘to-dos’ into ‘dones’ with the Kanban method and see if it helps lighten the load, or use it with your team to manage the flow of your projects from start to finish. The Kanban view is exclusively available to members of DropTask for Business. Upgrade from just $99/year. Learn more.

Got Kanban experiences of your own to share? Let us know in the comments below. 

Back to School with DropTask

DropTask canvas view

4 Simple tips to kick-start the new semester

School is back in session! It’s time to hit the books and get productive. But before you settle into class, remember there’s one tool you definitely shouldn’t be without this semester – we mean DropTask of course. For students who need a helping hand juggling academic schedules and incoming assignments, DropTask is the ultimate all-in-one task app that will see you back to school with confidence. And as it’s conveniently available on any device – smartphone, laptop, tablet and online – you’re guaranteed to stay ahead of the learning curve.

Here’s your first lesson. Follow these 4 smart study tips to get the academic year off to a flying start.

1. Get ready for class

Categorized tasks
Right, so there’s English, History, Biology, Algebra, Music, Geography, Languages…Whether you’re heading to high school or college, you’re going to have several different classes to manage each week. Use DropTask to keep track of your syllabus and you’ll easily be the most organized student on campus! First thing’s first, create a separate Project for each of your main subjects. This acts as ‘folder’ to contain all your info and to-dos for that class.

Next, add Category bubbles to represent the various topics or activities you need to get a handle on for each subject. For instance, you might have categories for Homework, Reading List, Group Work or Exams. By picking specific colors to code your categories, you can bring a sense of calm and order to how your school work is organized, as well making it easy on the eye. Once you’re all set up, start inputting your tasks as and when they begin to roll in. This entire process takes only minutes but gives you quick at-a-glance overview for each subject that you can access from anywhere.

2. Keep on top of homework

Task details
Homework is a fact of life for every student, and you might need some help staying on top of it. To make homework as painless as possible, make sure you add it to DropTask as soon as it’s assigned. By that we mean straight away, so you can avoid a last-minute panic when you realize that papers are due in tomorrow. To do this, simply drag a Task bubble into your Homework category and type a brief description. You can even add your own comments or instructions from your teacher (as notes or file attachments) to capture all the details in one place.

Now it can feel daunting having a huge homework task staring you in the face. One great way to relieve the pressure and make it more manageable is to break it down into sub-tasks. Say your assignment is to ‘Write a 2-page essay on Macbeth’. This could be divided into smaller, more doable pieces such as: ‘Gather background research,’ ‘Prepare an outline,’ ‘Write introduction’ – you get the gist. This is easily done in DropTask as you can add a checklist of items needed to complete each task, and get a buzz of satisfaction each time you check one off.

3. Take control of your time

Time management
As the semester picks up speed and assignments mount up, some students can fall behind. Make sure you’re not one of them by setting Start Dates and Due Dates on your tasks, and use Reminders to give you an extra nudge when a deadline’s approaching. Don’t wait until the last minute to get started on a class report. Block out specific times to dedicate to your homework, group projects or exam study in your DropTask Calendar, which you can schedule according to start or due date to keep tight control of your tasks. By building a routine around your workload, you can quickly get back into the swing of studying and bang out those term papers on time.

4. Organize your school notes

Notes on tasks
At school, there’s always a reason to take notes, and you want to make sure they’re as organized as possible. More and more students are taking advantage of Evernote; a super-useful app for capturing and storing lecture notes, class handouts, research, reference lists and other material (photos, screenshots, audio, web pages) on your subjects. DropTask features two-way integration with Evernote so you can turn your Evernote notes into actionable tasks to get your school projects underway, or plan the content of your study sessions before that big test. And vice versa, you can send your existing to-dos from DropTask into Evernote where you can collect everything that matters and further develop your work. Then, as you make progress, use Tags in Evernote to update a task’s Status in DropTask. DropTask’s sync with Evernote connects two powerful productivity apps together, so students no longer need to juggle their notes manually and can easily track their next steps for getting things done.

FEATURE FACT: The name of your notes will become the task title and the body of the notes will become the task description.

An awesome tool for school. From outlining your syllabus to planning your homework to scheduling study time – with DropTask on your device, you’re in good shape to start the semester and ease yourself back into the school swing. We’d love to hear what works for you. Tell us in the comments below how you use DropTask for study success.

New to DropTask? Learn more about the benefits by signing up for a free account today.

Introducing DropTask 2, with an exclusive limited-time offer


DropTask 2 features

Watch our video above to see what’s new


We’re so excited to introduce you to DropTask 2! Fully charged with a bundle of powerful new features and a stunning redesign, our latest update has been developed to help you plan, manage and achieve anything beautifully. And today, we’ll be unveiling what we’ve been working on and why it’s our most powerful update yet.

DropTask 2 is a big step ahead – visual smart and friendly. 

– Stefan Fedor

We’ve come a long way since DropTask 1, and over the past year we’ve worked on evolving the app’s original capabilities with the vision to transform it into the ultimate productivity solution that’s visual, powerful, and friendly enough for the entire team.  One of our biggest focuses for the new version was to open the path for a clearer way of working, so when you log in the first thing you’ll notice will be our brand new user interface. Designed with simplicity in mind, our improved navigation creates an intuitive user experience for a DropTask pro as well as a beginner, and gives you easy access to all of your projects – including multiple ways to view them.


With this in mind, it was important that we enhanced the filtering abilities with the addition of extra options, as well as a clear and simple way to access them from all of your main views.

Filtered Tasks

You’re now able to filter your tasks by anything from Keywords and Status (Not Started, In Progress, On Hold), to tasks that hold attachments. This will enhance your ability to find information quickly, so you can concentrate on particular areas of a project at times when less focus is needed on the bigger picture.


As a further power-up to this ability, we’ve also introduced Auto-Layout, which when activated, pulls all of your tasks to the center of the Canvas with a smooth, synchronized visualization to help you see everything with ease.

Eliminating information overload

Collapse and Expand

When it comes to data management, ‘information overload’ refers to the challenges that one may face with problem solving and decision making when presented with too much information. For example, top-down lists can be overwhelming, and with limited structure, don’t quite allow you to accurately map out what your project might entail in the same way that a visual representation can.

Our brains have a limited means to process and absorb information, which is why we’ve introduced Collapsible Categories.

Expand Tasks

By collapsing individual categories you can eliminate overload to easily digest the information that’s important to you at that time. Your tasks will be discretely hidden, and can be quickly retrieved at any time.

Creating a workflow

Workflow View

One of the most exciting additions to DropTask is our brand new Workflow View, offering a Kanban-style workspace that will add simplicity to even the most complex project cycles.

Once you’ve unloaded your to-dos into the Canvas, switch to the visual Workflow for more of an agile approach, where categories will form into ‘lanes’ that represent various stages within the project.


Categories can represent anything from status and progress, to something more custom to fit your project cycle. If you’re looking to prioritize work to ensure that you maximize your resources, then working with Kanban can help you limit the amount of work that’s in progress and identify where the bottlenecks are within a delivery pipeline. The focus is all on getting things in a ‘done’ and ready-state. You can see an example of this in the image above.

Scheduling and team management

Time management enables us to work smarter, so we can achieve more in less time. In DropTask 2 you can remain one step ahead at all times with the brand new Calendar feature. Plan forward for deadlines, important appointments and must-do errands by simply adding Start Dates and Due Dates to each of your tasks. They’ll be instantly scheduled within your Calendar, where you have the flexibility to toggle between Start and Due so you can easily view your priorities and track what’s next in your journey.


This exciting addition also comes with the ability to view other peoples’ calendars, so you can check on the availability of your entire team and gain an overview of what’s on their plate.  You’ll be able to view another person’s calendar as long as you’re collaborating on a project together.

Get started today with our exclusive launch offer

To celebrate our new release we’re giving away an entire year of DropTask for Business free when you upgrade to any of our 2 year plans.

Save big and go long, with team plans from as little as $1.42/month.*

Claim Offer

*Offer valid when you purchase any two year Business plan. Monthly price based on 36 months, when paid upfront. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.  Offer ends 23rd September 2016. 

As Labor Day dawns, empower your team to achieve more

Labor Day
The first Monday in September marks Labor Day – an annual tribute to the success and contributions of American workers. For businesses large and small, the coming of Labor Day represents a clear opportunity to celebrate achievements, re-energize teams and reinforce the promise of an even greater future.

Why not show your appreciation for your team this Labor Day by empowering them to be and achieve more? Spread a mood of optimism and provide ample opportunities for teammates to grow so that everyone can find satisfaction in their work, while at the same time helping to meet the organization’s goals. Here are 3 clever ways to empower your team for success.

1. Help people build their strengths

Assigned Tasks

Aim to designate and delegate tasks with the strengths of your team in mind. Research by Gallup indicates that workers who have the chance to use their strengths every day (rather than focusing on their weaknesses) are 6 times more likely to be engaged in their jobs and 8% more productive. When you design your teammates’ work around their strengths, you enrich their jobs in ways that help them feel good and want to perform better. Try and ‘work in’ people’s strengths by involving them in interdepartmental teams or giving them extra assignments they’ll enjoy. Be careful not to just dump any old chore on a colleague or bury them in meaningless errands because you know they can handle it. Delegate important responsibilities and visible projects, ones where team members can get recognition and satisfaction as well as build their skill sets.  When handing over duties, ask yourself, “Is this task an opportunity for someone to develop their strengths in…?” DropTask supports strengths-based work allocation among team members, helping you clearly define responsibilities for the workers most suited to a task. Be explicit about timings and expectations, and supply any other useful information or resources using notes or attachments. Then simply drag and drop a co-worker’s profile onto a task and let them drive it forward. For added guidance and motivation, you can set the Importance (with a red flag) and Effort (small, medium or large) of tasks too.

2. Reveal the bigger picture

Task Dependencies

Engaging your teammates to work on their strengths is one part of the equation, but if you want to inspire people to even greater heights, then you need to unveil the big picture. Show your colleagues how they contribute to the bigger purpose in the work they do and they’ll open up to more opportunities and challenges. As positive psychologist Robert Emmons says, “Seemingly small tasks can have tremendous meaning if they are framed as connecting to something larger.” In DropTask, projects can be shared with an unlimited number of people, so everyone is working from the same page and toward the same major goals. Invite team members to collaborate on your most high-level projects, and let them combine their individual strengths and expertise for an optimized outcome. DropTask’s captivating visual canvas allows everyone to ‘see’ the status of a project clearly and presents a uniquely beautiful way to communicate with others and grab their attention. Kate Harthan, Operations Director at a leading promotional products company, highlights how valuable it is to have all information available at a glance in DropTask: “It is refreshing to have a visual representation of what is going on in the office that all employees are able to edit. It has helped reduce my boss’s time spent managing employee projects, and it has increased our response times and overall success of follow-up with customers.” As an added bonus, the daily summary email sent out automatically by DropTask each morning gives increased visibility on progress and kick-starts motivation, so day by day, your teammates are fired up to raise their game.

3. Share decision making and goal setting

Permissions and visibility

Foster an alliance with your team members by letting them have input into the decisions and goals that affect them. While it’s not practical in all circumstances, you’ll be surprised at how much turning over some of your power will engage the troop. Involve your people in looking at new ways of understanding their tasks and possibilities for moving forward, without poking your nose into every aspect of their decision making. Encourage them to set their own goals and challenges for their work, even if it isn’t required. On the other hand, if a goal is fixed and non-negotiable, allow team members to determine how they’ll get there. Holding people accountable for results creates a deep sense of responsibility and ownership, as well as focus and determination – with minimal pushing from you. Worried about losing control and things getting out of hand? Member permissions can be set in DropTask, giving you full control over what others can see and edit. This ensures the right people always remain accountable and responsibilities aren’t muddied. For instance, you may decide to give someone the ability to only see and edit the tasks that they’ve been assigned to, or merely grant them read-only access. Advanced settings also allow you to prevent members from deleting tasks and groups that they didn’t create, as well as restrict their ability to invite others to your project without your consent. Combined with DropTask’s other project management capabilities, you can empower your team in all the right ways so they fully understand their goals, the tasks they’re assigned to and can make sound decisions on their given responsibilities.

This Labor Day we’re giving you 1 year free when you upgrade to any 2 year plan from as little as just $1.42/month*. Save big and go long with our limited time offer.

Redeem Offer*Price based on 36 months, when paid upfront. Offer ends Sept 23rd.

Individual Work Vs Teamwork

Individual Work Vs Team Work

Knowing when to go it alone, and when to pull together

As Rio plays host to the 2016 Olympic Games, we find sports fever taking hold across the planet. No matter what your favorite sport is – rowing, gymnastics, triathlon, volleyball – you can only marvel at the incredible performances put in by so many talented athletes and teams. At DropTask, this got us thinking about the many parallels between this glorious sporting event and the workplace. Just as in the Olympic Games, today’s businesses have individual and team sports, and it’s always best to play by the rules of each game so you can emerge triumphant as opposed to wallowing in defeat.

So, individual work vs teamwork. The question isn’t “which is better?” as they’re both needed for a well-rounded enterprise, but “which is better for what?” Let’s take a look at the kinds of tasks that call for you to work independently and those that benefit from more of a group effort.

Individual work: when flying solo works best

1. Tasks that need high concentration and focus

1. Tasks that need high concentration and focus

Group work can be a bad move in some contexts because it interrupts focused thought. All the chatter might be fun and liaising with others creates strong bonds, but less work gets done. An intriguing study known as the Coding War Games found that programmers tend to work faster when coding as individuals without distractions. And as a general rule, designers, engineers, writers, and artists do their best work alone. For tasks that require pinpoint accuracy and mental clarity, it’s better to find your own private space to be productive. Author of Brain Rules John Medina reports that people whose work is interrupted take 50% longer to finish a task and make up to 50% more errors. If you need to focus on an intricate job, block out time in your DropTask calendar to tackle it single-handedly. You’ll get it done quicker without outside disruptions messing up your groove or pointless meetings eating up your time and energy. Use DropTask to brief your team so they know when you’re going to be in a focused work session and don’t want to be disturbed – then get cracking with those tasks!

2. Learning new skills

2. Learning new skills

Everyone has their own individual learning styles and preferences, and there’s mounting evidence to show that solitude can help us learn. Psychologist Anders Ericsson famously said that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something. According to his research on peak performance, the best way to master a skill is to go directly to the part that’s most challenging for you personally. This usually means going it alone as you isolate the tasks that are just out of your reach and strive to upgrade your performance bit by bit. In his words, “If you want to improve, you have to be the one who generates the move. Imagine a group class – you’re the one generating the move only a small percentage of the time.”

Visuals – such as icons, images, logos, symbols, colors or shapes – play a massive role in our learning. Educational studies have found that up to 75% of the population prefers visual/spatial thinking, and meaningful visuals can ease ‘cognitive load’, improving the overall learning process. DropTask is all about visual task management to support the natural processes of the brain. If you’re on a training course and want to get some serious study done, or looking to lock down a new skill, then take advantage of DropTask to manage your learning from start to finish. Create a project for your skills development and schedule all your study actions by Start Date and Due Date. You’ll have a complete visual presentation of your course which is much easier to comprehend than pages and pages of notes, and reaches more of your senses all at once. With DropTask’s inclusive features, not only can you visually track each learning milestone, you can also store all your study materials in one neat space, making for a clutter-free mind.

Teamwork: when it pays to be part of a group

Brainstorming – generate more, better ideas

1. Brainstorming – generate more, better ideas

Teamwork is a fun, stimulating and useful way to produce tons of ideas, fast. Team discussions offer more scope for creativity in comparison to working solo, especially if they bring together people with diverse backgrounds and experiences. If your group brainstorming sessions always fall a bit flat, then perhaps you haven’t been playing by the rules. For collective idea generation that works, you need to foster a playful environment where people can share their ideas without judgment. Use Alex Osborn’s (the ‘father of brainstorming’) principles as a guideline:

  • Go for quantity: Don’t stop at the first, most obvious idea. Creativity is a numbers game. Aim to extract as many ideas as possible and you might just hit upon a real breakthrough.
  • Seek out crazy ideas: Avoid groupthink by encouraging teams to shoot for insane and exaggerated ideas. The wilder the better. Ideas that seem completely ridiculous or far-fetched on first sight can always be toned down to something more practical later on.
  • Suspend judgment: Postpone any criticism or analysis of ideas until you’ve generated a sufficient number to work with. Snap judgments, whether positive or negative, will destroy the seeds of potential ideas as people fear to speak up in case their suggestions are rejected.
  • Combine and build on ideas: Two bad ideas can combine into a great one. Try snowballing on other people’s ideas to create more robust solutions or merge two radical ideas and see what happens!

Provide team members with a visual platform on which to capture and connect all their ideas, like iMindMap’s brainstorming view. Once you’ve got a pile of options ready, don’t forget the most crucial step – taking action on the best ones. Nothing kills group motivation and creativity faster than new proposals that come to nothing. Use DropTask to get moving on your ideas and secure total buy-in from your colleagues. Invite team members to collaborate on joint projects, and define specific actions and timelines to make things happen. That way, the whole team can share in the moment of victory.

two heads are better than one

2. Problem solving – “two heads are better than one”

Two or more people are always better than one for solving problems. In a team, everyone is unique and can apply different skills and viewpoints to explore a problem from multiple angles. Leave it to one individual, and they’re at risk of becoming overwhelmed and reaching illogical conclusions. Open communication is key for effective team problem solving, but the use of numerous messaging channels such as email, phone and text can be more of a hindrance than a help. Important messages can easily get lost in a wave of back-and-forth emails. Agree upon just one medium to make your team play more manageable. DropTask provides a shared space that makes it easier for each individual to think like a united team when tackling complex problems, rather than acting the lone ranger. People can ask questions, share files and update progress, all in real time. This open environment acts as a great support mechanism for team members during challenging times, as people can look to one another for help and guidance, leading to better decisions. With everyone (including remote colleagues) working from the same page, you can be sure that no one will be left in the dark and that the best solutions will always come to light. After all, a collaborative team is a winning team!

As you can see, a blend of both independence and interdependence is a must for optimal productivity in the workplace, and DropTask supports both. When do you prefer to work alone or in a team? Hit the comments and let us know.