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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
“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 you
“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 communicating
“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
“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!”
In today’s digital world, the internet has made it possible to source and deliver information in an instant and connect with others from all around the world. However, as soon as you turn on your device and log online you’re bombarded with emails, messages, news, social networks and reminders which can actually have an adverse effect on your productivity.
Too much information – or ‘information overload’ as it’s commonly known – can lead to interruptions, become unmanageable, create confusion and if nothing else, can drive us mad!
That’s why in the new version of DropTask, we’re transforming our notification center so you can effortlessly manage all task-related information and updates – without getting bogged down! Let’s take a closer look…
To ensure no important information is lost amongst the abundance of activity that takes place within DropTask, you’ll only be alerted of key changes or updates to your tasks – such as reminders and comments. By reducing the number of notifications received, you’ll find it easy to take necessary action and respond to changes.
Though some notifications are required and determine next action steps, in many cases you probably don’t need them. So in the new release, notifications for smaller task updates (such as the addition of a subtask or importance flag to a task), will be hidden – reducing distraction and giving you the ability to focus.
In our new release, notifications will wait for as long as you need them to – they’ll only disappear once you’ve seen and actioned them. Even after a notification is cleared, it can still be viewed in the ‘Dismissed‘ section of the app at a later time.
Technology, information and the global economy is growing at an increasingly rapid rate, so much so, that if you want to stay in the game and be successful in business, you must keep up to avoid being left in the dust. Change – and the ability to adapt, therefore, becomes essential for any organization wishing to remain competitive.
But change doesn’t come easy for everyone. Whether it’s fear, a lack of willingness to learn, or pressures of added workload, some people are resistant to any form of adjustment to their ‘routine’. Meaning when faced with the task of implementing a new system for your team, it may become a formidable challenge to say the least. So, to help smooth the process, we’ve got 5 ways to help you overcome those challenges and successfully implement a ‘new way’ system in your workplace.
1. Set Expectations
Change is often resisted in organizations because people feel it is being forced upon them – they’re happy with the current way of doing things or they have preconceptions based on past experiences. Underlying all of these reasons, you’re likely to find unclear or mismatched expectations – meaning people will operate based on their preferences and their habits. One of the most critical factors to get employees to buy into the change is communication. You should deliver clear, specific and unambiguous communication about what you expect from your team – and how it is to be achieved.
2. Convey your Vision
When communicating with your team it’s important to let them know the ‘whys’ of the change and not just the ‘how’. By explaining the benefits of the new system and the problem you’re trying to solve – such as your old methods are ‘losing relevance’, are not ‘efficient’ enough, or you need to move forward with the ‘latest trends’, they’ll be better informed and more likely to be understanding and supportive of the change.
3. Gain Consensus
In order for change to be accepted, it helps to gain support from those at the top of the organization, such as those who hold greater influence and potentially represent different departments. Having key influencers on board will help when rolling out the new system to the rest of the team, because without them buying into the change, you’re likely to face barriers during the process and encounter disagreements amongst key decision makers.
4. Listen to Others
Organizational change expert Peter Senge noted, “People don’t resist change. They resist being changed!” Employees may actually be open to change, but if it is forced upon them, they’re likely to obstinate. You should involve your employees at every stage of the process – ask them for feedback, listen to their ideas and answer any questions they may have. You’ll remove any doubts or uncertainties and may discover ways to improve the process – making the transition to the new system seamless and smooth.
5. Provide Support
Despite efforts, some people simply don’t like the change and will try to shoot the new system down. But a helping hand in the form of training, will help them learn how to use the new system and make them feel supported – which can help during the transitional period. It’s worth noting that this shouldn’t be a one-off practice either, as regular communication and support should be offered to maintain understanding and confidence for a new way of working.
Already using DropTask in your organization? Leave us a comment below and let us know your top tips to introducing change!
(You may like to follow the 5 steps above to effectively introduce DropTask to your team. Sign up for free today at www.droptask.com/signup.)
“I am always looking for tools that I can use to make me more productive both at work and in my personal endeavours. After many months of researching different programs and waiting for the right one, I was introduced to DropTask through iMindMap. In the past, I had looked at other tools such as Gantt programs and email task managers, but they were not motivating for me at all – the visual nature of DropTask really caught my attention.
In my position as Controller – amongst other activities – I am responsible for the company’s accounting and bookkeeping undertakings; from keying in payables and payroll, to all month end/year end journal entries. DropTask helps me to get all of my work done effectively and efficiently, with a very low error rate.
I start each day by opening DropTask and checking for any tasks which might be overdue and I reschedule them. Then, I focus on today’s tasks. With just a glance, I’m able to see what I need to do (or at least what I’d like to do today), and I make sure that any tasks flagged as important are actioned first. The ability to attach documents to tasks is extremely useful; I simply attach a file, it gets uploaded, and I have the additional details available to me anywhere, anytime. I wouldn’t be as organized without DropTask keeping my tasks visually in front of me. I absolutely love watching the items get checked off as I complete them and seeing the recurring task slide in – I never get tired of that, it motivates me to get more tasks completed.
In my first year, I was tasked with creating the company’s first Policy Manual, along with setting up a new Health and Safety Committee. I tried using a Gantt program but because I was new at the job and wasn’t aware of what interruptions I may experience, I had to keep changing task dates and durations which soon made the whole Gantt process very tedious and frustrating.
Instead I turned to DropTask and it was quick and easy to set up groups and tasks for both the Policy Manual and the H&S Committee. I was able to mark each task with different attributes and by creating a visual link between tasks, I could instantly see what had to be done next. As things changed I would still have to adjust task dates – but it was effortless due to the flexibility of DropTask, in comparison to the Gantt program. I thank DropTask for keeping me motivated through the many late nights needed to meet my deadline. The program was integral to keeping the project tasks defined and the project on time.
The visual nature of the app really appeals to my brain, it’s key to my motivation and it makes me very efficient – and I’m all about efficiency. There are other programs which are somewhat visual in nature, but nothing that compares to DropTask. Having the app available over the internet is a real bonus as it gives me the flexibility to access DropTask from any computer – or even my phone, which is very convenient.
I highly recommend DropTask to anyone, even if you’re not in a team environment and just want to manage your own duties. With more and more work being piled on workers these days it just makes sense to use a tool that can make you do more in the same time, or less!”
Get motivated and start checking off your tasks by signing up for free today at www.droptask.com/signup
Already a DropTask user? Share your story with us at firstname.lastname@example.org for your chance to be featured in a future post!
You’re probably familiar with phrases such as “not enough hours in a day” or “too much to do and not enough time”. With the majority of us having up to 150 individual tasks, meetings and emails to take care of at any given time, it’s no surprise we find ourselves short of time when getting things done.
And for many, meetings are one of the action items that dominate business life. According to the National Statistics Council, 37% of employee time is spent in meetings. Other data indicates that 11 million business meetings take place each and every day.
However, the benefits of bringing people together to discuss a specific topic can be lost through disorganization and lack of structure – with people leaving meetings frustrated, confused or overwhelmed. That’s why we’ve got 4 ways to make your next meeting more efficient and productive…
1. Plan ahead
Time can be wasted by setting out what will be discussed during a meeting – as part of the meeting itself! If you’ve got 6 people in a meeting and the first 10 minutes is spent discussing what will be covered, that’s 60 minutes of lost working time that you’ll never get back. Avoid this by compiling your agenda and sharing it with attendees prior to the meeting. Everyone will then understand the purpose of the meeting including the details of what will be covered.
2. Set priorities
Conversations can soon escalate and run off topic – leaving you short of time to discuss everything on the agenda. Avoid having to schedule additional meetings just to cover missed topics by prioritizing. It’s simple – just decide which topics are most important and cover these first so if you do run out of time, anything of low importance can be left until next time.
3. Take Action
After your meeting you’ll likely have a number of next steps and action items. However, with a lot of information to take on board, some smaller tasks may slip your mind. By having DropTask open during your meeting, you’ll be able to quickly create new tasks – ensuring all grounds are covered and nothing’s forgotten about. By keeping everything in DropTask, you’ll even save time by not having to record your minutes!
4. Ask yourself, “do I really need a meeting?”
Quite often, topics covered in a meeting don’t need to be communicated face-to-face. If you’re simply rolling off a list of to-dos or are after a quick status update, try not to interrupt your teams’ workflow and use DropTask instead. With a central place for your team to engage in conversation and monitor progress, you can withhold meetings for things which are easier to communicate in person, or for higher level discussions on strategy and business goals.
Are you already using DropTask to manage your meetings? Leave us a comment below and let us know how you’re using it!
As we welcome in 2016 and look to the year ahead, motivation and promises to make this our best year yet are bursting. With phrases such as “New Year, New You” ringing in our ears, newly set goals and intentions make us feel good as we’ve finally decided to make a change…
But our motivation and good intentions are short lived and rarely make it past the first weeks of January; only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year goals. Though, should we really be surprised by this statistic?
With a season of partying, eating copious amounts of food and visiting friends and family over, January can be an exhausting month as we catch our breath – without the added pressure of taking on a new challenge. That’s why we suggest putting your New Year’s resolutions on hold until February, so you can recharge and recover from the post-holiday blues. Though, there are a few steps you’ll want to take this month to get yourself ready for making those resolutions a reality in February…
1. Get some rest
After a busy period full of festivities, you may be running on little sleep which can affect your concentration, your ability to learn, and can increase the likelihood of you becoming easily irritated and frustrated – all resulting in poor productivity. By putting your feet up and getting some early nights for that much needed rest, you’ll be fully focused and ready to take on your resolutions.
2. Wipe the slate clean
Before looking at what you want to achieve this year, you should take some time to reflect on the past 12 months. It’s the perfect opportunity to look back at your accomplishments through 2015, while removing any clutter and taking care of those smaller tasks that you’ve been putting off. It’s your chance to tie up any loose ends, wipe the slate clean, and move forwards without worrying about something which should have been done last year.
3. Set realistic resolutions
Often, resolutions are hard to stick to because they’re long-term goals that aren’t attainable in the immediate future. So, rather than focusing on the end goal, try breaking your resolution down into smaller, actionable steps which are easier to manage and more attainable. For example, ‘losing weight’ is a popular New Year’s resolution, but it won’t happen overnight. However by focusing on smaller milestones such as ‘eat more fruit’, ‘eat less chocolate’ or ‘go to the gym’, you’re more likely to achieve your ultimate goal.
4. Choose a tool
Having a place to record and track your resolutions – along with all of your other goals and plans for the year – will help you stay on top of everything that needs to be done and keep you focused on reaching the finish line. DropTask allows you to visually capture to-dos in an intuitive space where you can map out your plan of action and break tasks down into smaller, more manageable steps. The ability to set deadlines for individual milestones, define the order in which tasks should be actioned, and even ask others for a helping hand gives you the support and motivation to see those resolutions through to reality.
Already using DropTask? Leave us a comment below and let us know how you’ll be using DropTask to plan and manage your goals for the year ahead!
With the holiday season in full swing, many of us will be taking time out to rest up and recharge our batteries after a busy year. So as 2015 draws to a close, it’s the perfect opportunity to reflect on everything that has been accomplished – before looking forward to the year ahead. Here’s a look back at just some of our most memorable moments at DropTask this year…
As we looked to find the right tool to engage with our users, we set up the DropTask Yammer Community – providing an engaging and collaborative environment for users and the DropTask team to connect with one another. By strengthening our connection to you – our incredible supporters, we’ve been able to gain valuable insight into your needs as well as deliver the support that you require – resulting in a product that brings great value in managing people’s tasks and lives, as well an invaluable user experience.
2015 saw the release of our plugin for Outlook – making the way emails are managed even easier. The ability to instantly transform emails into actionable tasks ensures that incoming to-dos don’t get lost or forgotten in an ever-increasing inbox.
Hot off the back of this release was the launch of our integration with popular note-taking tool, Evernote. A two-way sync makes it possible to bring notes to life by putting them into action in DropTask, or sending to-dos straight into Evernote to generate ideas and watch work take shape.
With DropTask available on the Web, as well as on iOS and Android devices, we were thoroughly excited for the much anticipated launch of our native desktop apps for Mac & Windows. Boasting lightening speed performance and offline capability, the apps give you the complete flexibility to be able to leverage DropTask from your chosen device at any time.
As part of our mission to continuously deliver value and improve user experience, we also made some small yet powerful enhancements to the app. From the ability to Transfer and Archive Projects, to improved Searching and Filtering functionalities, these small enhancements give even more freedom and flexibility – helping to reduce distractions and bring focus to the areas that need it the most.
How others are using DropTask
From large organizations and schools, to family-run businesses and sole traders, DropTask has been helping users from around the world to manage their to-dos. Amongst the stories we’ve shared, we’ve learnt how sales at Corporate Recognition have increased, working in remote teams has been made easy at HP, and how efficiency and transparency has been inspired at Hudson Architects – all as a result of implementing DropTask into the day-to-day running of the organizations.
Throughout the year we’ve been listening to what our users have been saying and as a result, we’ve been making some big changes to the app – including a beautiful new design and strengthened organization and management capabilities. The team were extremely excited to hit the road and head to London for TechCrunch Disrupt (one of the most anticipated tech events of the year), to unveil the upcoming release for the first time. Now, with the beta already under way, we’re pleased to announce that we’ll be lifting the lid on our new release early next year. But in the meantime here’s a glimpse at some of the feedback we’ve received….
“First minute’s impression: WOW, both Schedule and Completed Tasks view are functional enhancements.”
“Great work guys. I wasn’t sure what you could do to tweak it and make it better. This is more than just a tweak!!! This is a whole new program.”
“Love it!! …Love the fact that one can view it in so many different ways.”
So there you have it, some of our favorite picks from 2015 – and what an amazing year it’s been. A big thank you to all our users for supporting us on our journey. Now, with the doors to 2016 to soon open, we’re excited about what’s in-store, so be sure to check in here and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for the latest news, tips and stories.
If you’re new to our blog and want to check out DropTask, you can sign up for free here: www.droptask.com/signup
Earlier this week, we hit the road and headed to London for one of the most anticipated tech events of the year, TechCrunch Disrupt, to showcase our new release for the first time. Least to say, we were all extremely excited to unveil the beautiful new design and demo the enhanced functionality of the app. In fact, we were so eager to get set up and show off our brand new app, we were the first to arrive!
Before long, the doors opened and there was a real buzz about the place as exhibitors, members of the press, and the general public began to flood into the arena to check out some of this year’s hottest game-changing technologies.
Located amongst approximately two hundred other companies in the Startup Alley, we were there to shine the light on the new DropTask. With a complete redesign of the interface, the new app brings a fresh, clean look and boasts a range of modern and vibrant colors – which sure did the job of catching the attention of passers-by. You couldn’t help but be drawn in to the uniquely colorful and shapely design of DropTask, as intrigue spread about the functionality of the app.
This was our first opportunity to show off the new release, and we couldn’t wait to demo the strengthened organization and management capabilities which the team have been busy developing over the past year. A brand-new way of managing your project in stages (as opposed to focusing on time), makes way for a more agile way of working, and can be implemented when using methodologies such as Kanban and GTD. In addition to this, enhanced scheduling across each project will give you a clear overview of your work so you know exactly what needs to be done and when.
With this (plus a whole host of extra features), visitors were able to get stuck in and try the app first-hand for themselves. The feedback we received was immensely positive and users found it easy to relate to the new ways of working – envisioning how they would use the app for organizing both their personal and professional projects and to-dos.
During the exhibition, a whole line-up of events were taking place on the centre stage – including the main event of the afternoon, Startup Battlefield.
Battlefield is all about bringing the latest innovations and technologies together on one stage to compete for the coveted Disrupt Cup, and despite losing out on the top spot, we made it through to the final 10 through a public vote – and for that we can’t thank you enough.
We’re pleased to announce that our official beta will open this Monday (14th December), exclusively to members of DropTask PRO as part of our Tester Program. The beta is an opportunity for you to get a first-look at our brand new app where you’ll be able to try out and test all of the new and improved features for yourself. You’ll also be encouraged to share your thoughts and contribute towards its overall enhancement ready for the official release. To get involved, simply subscribe to DropTask PRO today here, then drop us a message at email@example.com to gain access to the beta!
This week is American Education Week – a time to celebrate public education and honor those that are making a difference to the quality of education in the country. While we give recognition to the people in education, the technological resources and tools that educators and students use should also be recognized as they promote better, and more efficient ways of learning by creating a thriving environment in which students can increase their productivity – they also have great potential for flexibility and personalization in teaching and learning.
DropTask is an essential tool which can be implemented by both educators and students in the classroom. Whether you’re working in groups, sharing files with the class or simply looking for information on a mobile device, DropTask supports a more organized way of working and helps to bring a paper filled classroom into the digital world. Below, we’ve got 3 quick tips on how you can get started with using DropTask for education…
Invite team members to your projects where you can share training materials, work on joint lesson plans or coordinate cross-classroom activities – all in one online collaborative workspace. Working in real-time, staff members can access and update projects from any device at any time with our range of apps, and can leave comments or suggestions on tasks for colleagues.
Wave goodbye to the copy room, because gone are the days when you walk into the classroom with stacks of paper, stapled and ready for distribution. Invite students to your projects and attach documents for them to download – making it easier for you to maintain and distribute lesson resources.
It’s almost certain that if you’re setting up a lesson plan or creating a class project, you’ll need it again sometime in the future. Keeping everything online, you can be sure to save time by instantly turning your projects into re-usable templates which can be used over and over again.
Did you know we offer a special discount to all non-profit and educational organizations? Simply drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.