Author Archives: DropTask

5 quick tips to keep calm in an instant

Keep Calm & Use DropTask Header

Studies suggest that job related stress is a major cause of concern for adults. These issues can stem from causes ranging from inefficient productivity techniques and gloomy workspaces, right through to stressful lifestyle choices. In acknowledgement of National Stress Awareness Day, we’ve got some top tips to help you stay calm and focused throughout the day. Plus, if you have any other methods that you use to stay stress free we’d love to hear them – so don’t forget to leave a comment below and share your advice with us.

Identify your worries

1. Identify everything that is weighing on your mind.

Setting out your worries can help you identify the true cause of your stress. You could write a list, or even better, you could put all of your concerns and tasks into an app like DropTask. Making a conscious effort to evaluate the priority of each task with importance and urgency labels can help you feel on top of your work rather than overwhelmed. This exercise will also help you get a good idea of where to begin and what you should work on next.

Add plants to your workspace

2. Get some plants.

Not only will plants help to purify the air in your office, they’re actually very soothing and will help to keep you calm. A study performed by Washington State University showed that the addition of plants to a working environment meant that people were more productive and less stressed. The results showed that subjects displayed 12% quicker reactions, a significant drop in blood pressure and reported feeling more attentive when the plants were present. So what are you waiting for? Get your gardening gloves on and combat stress by adding some shrubbery to your workspace!

Walking

3. Take a walk to clear your head.

Aside from giving you a great opportunity to reflect on what is worrying you, walking is a great way to help your body to release endorphins as a result of exercise. Endorphins are chemicals released by the brain that trigger positive feelings and can help to give you a better outlook on your worries – leaving you feeling optimistic and able to tackle your challenges.

Time to spare

4. Allow yourself time to spare.

Rushing from one thing to the next can contribute to feeling stressed out at work. Whether you’re going to a meeting or simply on your way to work, if you know it takes you 30 minutes, why not allow yourself 40 minutes to travel instead. Arriving at your destination relaxed and with time to spare will give you time to make yourself a coffee or check your emails before you begin.

Know your deadlines

5. Know your deadlines.

Time pressure can be a major cause of stress. Being aware of your deadlines can help you plan ahead and figure out what you need to do and when. By being familiar with your deadlines, you can ensure you don’t receive any nasty surprises or leave anything until the very last minute. Using DropTask you can take advantage of notifications, reminders and even email summaries to make sure you always know when your deliverables are due.


Transform your workflow into a stress free and productive way of working by signing up to DropTask for free today: www.droptask.com/signup

 

Time Management Tips for a Productive Week (Part 2)

Time Management Tips

On Friday, we looked at how you could get started with the free version of DropTask to get the most out of the working week. So today, we’re going to explore some practical tips for the advanced functionality that you can expect from DropTask PRO. If you missed last week’s post, click here to take a look.


1. Make things manageableBreak down large tasks into manageable sections

Many of us procrastinate when faced with a large responsibilities as it can sometimes be a struggle to work out where to begin. When faced with a challenge such as this, it helps if we break tasks down into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Whitson Gordon, productivity and technology expert from LifeHacker claims : “Once you’ve got it down into quick, simple steps, you might find you just start doing the task right then and there. The hardest part is laying out what you actually have to do to get it done. By thinking about it, you’ve already accomplished half of the task.”

With DropTask PRO, you’re able to create ‘subtasks’ for each of your tasks. When subtasks are added, a segmented ring will appear around the outer edge, and this allows you to visually track the progress of your task as each section will light up when a subtask is ticked off. This feature can be very useful as you can see how far a task is from completion with just a single glance.


2. Maintain accountabilityAssign tasks to establish responsibility

Steve Jobs famously created an efficient working environment at Apple. He introduced a methodology called the Directly Responsible Individual, where he would assign every task to a specific person, so that the team knew who had the lead on everything that was being done within the business. This meant that someone was always accountable and employees knew who to turn to for each and every task.

When solving a complex issue, individual task assignment helps team members to identify that someone is driving the task forward, and it can act as a really great motivator too. With DropTask PRO, simply drag and drop a co-worker’s profile picture onto a task and test out Jobs’ DRI system for yourself.


3. Improve teamwork
Collaborate with your team members

Whether you are working as part of a small team or remotely collaborating with colleagues from around the world, keeping everything together can be a chore. With an abundance of apps for collaboration, file sharing and notes, keeping track of your workload can be time consuming.

With DropTask PRO, you can keep your files, conversations and tasks together in one place. Working with others in real-time enables the whole team to be aware of what is going on at any given time, and this not only saves time by reducing the number of status report meetings, but it also allows team members to identify how they could be collaborating more efficiently. For example, you might see that a colleague is working on something that you have done before, and perhaps you have expertise in that particular area that you could share.

Combining these steps with the tips discussed on Friday will get you well on your way to a more productive and time-efficient way of working. Take the challenge and try implementing these tips this week – let us know how you get on in the comments below.

Get started by signing up to DropTask for free today.

Time Management Tips for a Productive Week (Part 1)

With Friday upon us, the wise look towards the week ahead. Forward planning almost always results in improved organization and performance. Whether this week went as planned or if there were a few hiccups along the way, looking at how we can improve the week ahead is a smart move.

Those who manage their time effectively are able to get more done and successfully take advantage of the hours that they have available to them. Although these people are often said to be “super-organized” or “naturally organized people”, many of them have a trick or two up their sleeves that the rest of us “ordinary folk” could learn from. In this two-part post we will take you through some top tips to guard you against an unproductive way of working – before we set you some small challenges to put your new-found knowledge into practice.


Keep everything in one place

1. Keep everything in one place

Whether you use pen and paper, your laptop or even your cellphone, when you have an ever increasing pile of things to do – put them all in one place. Jana Jasper, a New York-based productivity expert and author of Take Back Your Time, tells how we are plagued by the fear of forgetting our tasks – “We’re always in a rush. We start things and don’t finish them and are constantly nagged by the idea that we’ve forgotten to do something, but we’re not sure what it is.”

So, as soon as you realize a task needs to be completed, record it. That way, the next time you’re haunted by that nagging feeling you can simply look through your array of tasks and locate what you need in an instant – which is much easier than trying to rack your memory! Once you have all your tasks in one place, you’ll also need to develop a system whereby you can easily organize, locate and manage them in an effective way – without wasting time. We’ll address how to do this towards the end of this post.


Group tasks together

2. Group related tasks together

When recording your tasks it can be important to keep related tasks close by to enable us to be more efficient and complete groups of tasks all at once. For example, you may need to speak to an events company about organizing a local charity event but you know that you also need to organize a party in a weeks’ time. Two separate things that are on your radar of things to do, but by grouping them together you could make one phone call and inquire about both the charity event and the party at once.


Prioritize your tasks

3. Prioritize

Not all tasks are simultaneously urgent, important and need to be actioned immediately. By taking a moment to analyse which one of the following groups a task falls into, you’ll be helping yourself decide what to do next and what can be left until later. This is a widely accepted way of filtering out your tasks as devised by D. Eisenhower (former president of the US):

  • Urgent and important (action immediately)
  • Not urgent but important (action later)
  • Urgent but not important (consider dismissing/delegating)
  • Neither urgent nor important (consider dismissing)

By setting both the urgency and importance of a task, it will help you know what you should focus your attention on next and what can be left until later. It’s impossible to do everything at once, but prioritizing your workload can help you see where to start. You may even find that you reduce your workload by eliminating irrelevant tasks or those with low importance.

Now you know how to become one of the “super-organized”, I’d love to point you in the direction of DropTask as the place to go to put these steps into practice. In DropTask, you can use a simple drag and drop approach to create tasks based on your responsibilities, while easily organizing them into colorful groups to keep related items together. What’s more, you can do all this (plus much more) for free by signing up to DropTask here.


Coming Soon… In part 2 of this post we will show you how to take these concepts further by introducing person-specific task assignment, team collaboration, sub-tasks, plus more! In the meantime, why not let us know how you’re getting on when practising these time management tips? We’d love to hear from you, so leave your comments in the section below or if you would like some one-to-one advice email us at support@droptask.com.

 

Celebrate teamwork this Labour Day

DropTask Labor Day Sale

As Labor Day celebrates the success and achievements of workers in the United States, there’s no better time to evaluate whether you and your team are doing all that you can to maximise your productivity. What’s more, we’re giving you the option to improve your performance with an extra month of DropTask PRO completely FREE when you sign up to any annual PRO plan!*

Together Everyone Achieves More

Here are 3 powerful reasons why working as a team should be at the forefront of your mind…

1. MotivationMotivation

Knowing that there are other people working towards the same goals as us inspires motivation. Whether we turn to team members for support or to celebrate big achievements – we’re better together. Share your projects with an unlimited number of people so everyone is working from the same page. By inviting your team members to collaborate on projects you can make your team feel inspired, motivated and supported – all whilst getting a better idea of what everyone is up to.

2. Improved Efficiency

Improve Efficiency

Dave Liddell, President of SKYE Business Solutions, speaks about the importance of teamwork in an organization: “It is proven through research that when employees feel ‘included’ as part of a team and part of a work family, they will be more productive and more efficient.” Combining the individual strengths of team members can help push a project forward, and clearly defined responsibilities ensure that work is accounted for and completed by the team member who is most suited to the task.

3. Optimized Solutions

Fresh pair of eyes

When you work with others you can gain otherwise unseen perspectives on a problem. This means that others can spot things you might have missed, or even identify a different approach that you may not have thought of. This is incredibly valuable when problem solving but is also a great asset when generating new ideas or beginning new projects.  With more people working towards the same goal, you can be safe in the knowledge that you have covered all bases. So start a conversation with your team today and get those ideas flowing!


Engage your team and celebrate Labor Day this weekend by upgrading to DropTask PRO and claiming an extra month of PRO for FREE.* To redeem, simply hit the button below:Redeem Offer*Offer valid when purchasing any annual DropTask PRO subscription and expires at midnight on Monday 7th September 2015. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.

 

Daydream your way to enhanced productivity

daydreaming is good for you

Task management app DropTask is designed to enhance your productivity, so you’re probably wondering why this blog post is recommending that you daydream at work. Daydreaming is only for the unproductive and lazy, right? …Wrong! As part of the DropTask team, I’m always looking for new ways to stay productive, so I’m here to tell you that daydreaming could actually improve your productivity!

“When we want to come up with creative solutions, it’s sometimes more productive to take a step back from the problem and let our minds wander rather than trying to aggressively force new ideas. In other words, it’s good to allow ourselves to daydream once in a while.” – Chris Griffiths, DropTask founder and author of Amazon bestseller, “Mind Maps for Business“.Must daydream today urgently!

Daydreaming is often attributed to a poor work ethic or a lack of motivation and drive, but in reality it is sometimes necessary to daydream in order for us to stumble across some of our best ideas. The most famous example of this is likely to be Sir Issac Newton when he awakened the world to the theory behind gravity. Here is an exceptionally well known thinker who experienced his ground-breaking ideas while daydreaming.

Newton and the apple

Does this mean that we should spend 10-12am every morning just staring out of the window? Probably not, but studies from the University of California about idleness and rest have shown that people who attempt a challenging task after taking a break often improve their performance by around 40 per cent. The University has also shown that when idle, your brain is performing mental processing to order memories, your concept of the future, social emotions and more. Almost like a disk defragmenter for your brain!

So the next time you are faced with a challenging task or perhaps something that requires a little creative thought, take a leaf out of Sir Issac Newton’s book and allow yourself a few minutes to daydream. Better still, if you can make your daydreams goal-oriented or purposeful, you may be well on your way to knighthood too!

knighted

Project Management: 5 Common Mistakes & How DropTask Can Help

  blog-header

There’s always room for improvement to be more productive and driving personal development is something that we’re passionate about here at DropTask. With World Productivity Day (20th June) just around the corner, we’ve scoured the office and quizzed our team about what they believe are some of the most common mistakes that people make when it comes to organization and productivity. Read on to hear their thoughts, and be sure to share your own tips in the comments below.


1. Not Honestly Assessing Your Own Performance.Drive yourself to perform better with a clear idea of what you have done and what is still to do

We are all human, after all.

DropTask’s visually engaging environment allows you to see not only what you have achieved, but also what’s left to do – giving you a good overview of your own personal progress. As DropTask allows you to visualize your workload, it drives you to perform better as you can easily identify if your time has been spent efficiently, judging by what still remains untouched. It’s all about helping you stay informed and allowing you to assess the performance of yourself and your team more effectively.


2. Taking Too Long Deciding What To Do Next.Avoid taking to long deciding on your next task

Taking the time to digest large amounts of descriptive text so you can decide what to do next often requires more effort than it should. The visual nature of DropTask allows you to assign Cover Images to your tasks for instant image association, and combine this with the ability to set priority status and you’ll never find yourself unsure of what to do again. DropTask PRO users can go a step further by assigning Dependencies too. So, if a task cannot begin until another is complete, creating a visual link will clearly define the order in which tasks should be actioned.

5things-paper-dt-pro4


3. Being Unaware Of What Others Are Doing.See the progress of your team's tasks at a glance

DropTask allows you to monitor the activity of your team, and is an unobtrusive way of checking how your colleagues are progressing. You can avoid disturbing their workflow but still find out what tasks have been completed, what’s left to do and what they’re currently working on. With just a quick glance you’re able to see the importance, urgency and effort of your teams’ tasks too – which will help you if you’re delegating and want to avoid overloading team members who already have a lot on their plate.


4. Forgetting To Take Note.blog-1-takenote

An honest mistake such as this one can have a domino effect that impacts the entire team. When you’re using DropTask through any of our desktop, mobile or tablet apps, you can add tasks in an instant and even assign them to others so they’re never neglected. Assigning due dates and urgency couldn’t be easier, and with just a click of a button you can let your colleagues know what’s important right now and what can wait until tomorrow. What’s more, DropTask PRO users can comment on tasks to add specific instructions, tips for completion, or just a general update.


5. Trying To Do It All Yourself.blog-3-diy2

Whether it’s personal pride, an over-assumption, or perhaps fear of asking for help; trying to ‘bite off more than you can chew’ can be a big problem at work, especially when we all have individual strengths that we can combine to push us forward together. You don’t have to bear the burden – DropTask lets you share the workload with others and delegate appropriately amongst your team.  We even have a feature that lets you ‘see’ how much effort a task will require as task circles shrink down or expand accordingly.


Whether you’re working on a variety of collaborative projects or simply focusing on your day to day responsibilities; DropTask’s fluid and visual approach aims to help you avoid these 5 common mistakes so you can elevate your productivity and truly get the most from your working day.  Leave your desk feeling inspired and motivated; you’ll be well on your way to becoming a productivity expert in no time.


Sign up for free at www.droptask.com/signup and be sure to share your own tips with us below!