Author Archives: Rowanne Whatley

Got deadlines? We’ve got it covered

When we plan to meet deadlines we imagine the best-case scenario; involving no hiccups or bumps along the way. But the reality is, deadlines often get missed and before you know it, you’re already two steps behind on next week’s work.

At DropTask, we want to eliminate the risk of missing important deadlines. We’ve made note of just some of the ways that DropTask can help you to plan, manage and achieve anything that you put your mind to. Don’t believe us? See for yourself below.

Plan thoroughly

Imagine this. You’ve just arrived at work and before you’ve even had a chance to sit down, your manager has unexpectedly thrown you a bundle of urgent deadlines to meet. Already juggling your current workload, the thought of adding more tasks into the mix, seems almost impossible. First things first – don’t panic. We suggest making each deadline a task in DropTask to make getting your head around your impending work that little bit easier. And the best thing about tasks? Creating them is simple.

    • Tasks are a great way to identify the steps you need to take. We suggest doing this so you know exactly what you need to work on. Click here to turn your deadlines into tasks.

Now you’ve made a visual note of everything you need to do, the next stage is making each task more desirable to tackle. Next up are Checklists:

  • Checklists allow you to break down the original tasks that you’ve created. For example, if one task is particularly tricky, you’ll be able to define the individual steps you’ll need to take to complete the overall task. This feature is a great way for you to limit the chances of overwhelm and let’s face it, we’ve all been there.

Ready to break it down? Learn more about Checklists here.

Manage accordingly

So now that you’ve jotted down your action steps for the coming weeks, it’s time to cement those deadlines in place. We suggest selecting a date before the actual deadline is due. Confused? Don’t worry, we’re here to give you the low-down.

Welcome to ‘self-imposed deadlines‘. If you’re unfamiliar with this method, self-imposed deadlines simply encourage you to work harder. By setting them days or even weeks before a deadline is due, you’ll give yourself extra time to perfect those finishing touches.

Set and manage these deadlines by assigning Due Dates to tasks. Once Due Dates have been set in place they’ll automatically be slotted into the built-in Calendar, carefully displaying your schedule for the coming weeks and months ahead, helping you to remain on track to meet all of those deadlines.

(Top tip: Want to rearrange a date? Simply drag and drop your task into its new date and let DropTask rejig your schedule accordingly.)

Achieve consistently

Last, but certainly not least, is achieve. You’ve planned your steps and created a personal Calendar, now all that’s left is to meet those deadlines.

From the very start of creating your tasks, to sliding the Progress bar to 100% complete; DropTask is there to help you work more efficiently towards reaching that end goal. With its unique capabilities helping to boost performance and maximize your potential, you’ll never miss a deadline again. Now, you’ll be able to keep track of everything (including the important details) all in one, organized workspace.

Never miss a deadline again with DropTask. Sign up today – it’s free.

Avoid speed bumps on the road to project completion

Within every type of project, whether you’re working alone or as part of a team, there are dependencies that effect how fast it progresses. And while completing all steps are vital in making a project a success, miscommunication between team members and being ill-informed of key information can impact accountability, and the execution of the overall project.

To avoid this from happening, we’ve made note of how to limit the possibility of project failure to ensure you always remain on an uphill cycle.

Establish everyone’s direction

While it’s important to work on the tasks that you’re Assigned to, stepping back to look at the bigger picture allows you to see previous actions that have been taken and the remaining tasks left to complete. But not being aware of your contribution towards the project’s overall completion can sometimes stall progress for other team members, and their ability to begin their own work. In DropTask use the Canvas view to envision the aim of the project and get that big picture view. With each step clearly defined as task circles, you’ll be able to gain a visual perspective of the entirety of the project, and identify which actions you need to take.

Another simple but highly effective way to ensure team members are informed of the impact their tasks have on other members’ work, is to encourage others to update one another on the Progress of their task. With a performance indicator displayed on the task circle, you’ll be able let others know how much longer the task will take. And if you’re still curious on the status of a task, drop the team member a direct Message to ensure you’re always informed of key developments within the project.

Avoid a pile-up

The definition of backlog is – ‘the accumulation of uncompleted work needing to be dealt with‘. Ring a bell? Perhaps it’s emails that need to be followed up, forms waiting to be filled in or feedback that needs reviewing, avoiding tasks that lack excitement are normally the ones that delay other work from starting.

Stopping and stalling a project is inevitable. However, if this is a frequent occurrence during all stages within your project, then it’s time for a change. Think about all of those instances you’ve wasted locating miscellaneous to-do’s and what you could have achieved if you’d kept everything together. It would be pretty great, right? With DropTask, there’s no need to worry about the misplacement of documents, dates or reminders of important actions that you need to take, because DropTask’s got it covered. Attach Files to tasks that you’ll need to recall, and assign Due Dates to ensure you’re aware of upcoming deadlines. And if this isn’t enough, add Reminders to prompt you on actions that you need to take (and ones that you’re likely to forget about). With everything you need in one convenient workspace, your projects will be completed more efficiently and effectively, without the backlog.

Buckle yourself in until the end

Without the willingness to help push the project towards the finish line, tasks will not be executed to a high standard, resulting in work needing to be revisited later down the line. In a 2014 survey conducted by Salary.com, 69% of employees admitted to wasting a substantial amount of time at work and letting urgent work slip to the bottom of the pile. Avoid this from happening by becoming more committed, and use your own initiative to utilize your time on something more productive.

Keep moving forward and begin by editing your workspace to indicate to others what you’re working on. Use Dependency arrows to draw links to connecting tasks together, so others (you too) will remain informed of the order of the tasks that you’re going to complete. With focused and visual order displayed within your project, it will give others a gentle nudge of the timescales of their upcoming work.

If you’re facing difficulty with an unusually large task, why not make use of Checklists to break the task down into separate actions. Plus, with the number of checklist items appearing on the task circle, your progress will be instantly visible for those within your project. An employee who is proactive with their time recognizes when responsibility is needed. Don’t be the weak link in the team. Take charge of your work and utilize the time you’ve been granted to increase your accountability, and to remain focused on producing consistent results.

To learn more, sign up for free at www.droptask.com/signup

 

Rally your team together this 4th July

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

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

Boost morale – a ‘good job’ goes a long way

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

Share praise by Commenting on a specific job well done, and get the team geared up for the next phase of the project. With the ‘@’ symbol you can mention team members in a comment to thank them for their hard work.

Oversee, don’t micromanage

Employee autonomy limits the need for constant direction from managers and CEO’s. However, in a 2013 survey conducted by Stanford University focusing on executive coaching, 35% of coaches admitted that delegating work is something that they need to work on. And even when managers do delegate responsibility, they fall into the trap of micro managing the rest of their team, resulting in employees performing at a lower level (as found in a recent study).

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

Define deadlines

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

How do you motivate your team to get things done? Let us know in the comments below.

How DropTask takes center stage at the ‘Zebra Financial’ offices

Frank Xiriha, Managing Director of Mortgage Brokering Company ‘Zebra Financial’, was looking to build a more productive and efficient process for the internal day-to-day operations within his company. With up to 8 stages that client files must progress through before completion, performing duties and keeping on track of status proved to be an issue for Frank and his team, until he found DropTask. By eliminating the hurdles, DropTask provided the team with a complete oversight of the entire business and the processes within it.

‘Prior to finding DropTask, we were searching for a tool that gave us that ‘big picture overview’. This search was not only time consuming but it also turned into a repetitive and boring task.

‘DropTask is now a vital part of our day-to-day operations’

Being an ‘outside the box’ thinker, I made it my personal mission to explore new ways to solve our problem of keeping track of each stage of sale process, while at the same time ensuring that when we found the right solution, it would be an easy transition for the team. After what seemed like forever sifting through various task management platforms, one of the most intuitive and visually pleasing was DropTask. The visuals that I was presented with from the very beginning was a welcoming first impression, and was fun and friendly to work with.

Before making the decision to move to DropTask, we had various methods of tracking our day-to-day processes. Among these methods were spreadsheet software, markerboards and filing cabinets; all proving to be ineffective, overly complex, and required a huge amount of effort to maintain. But with DropTask, staying on track has never been so easy.

Our usual way of managing projects was by using an old fashioned markerboard, but we’ve since upgraded our projects to a 65″ TV which now takes center stage in the middle of our office.

One of the key features we use to manage and oversee stages within projects is the Workflow View. The Workflow View replicates the way we used to try and manage stages on the markerboard, except now we’ve spared ourselves the time of rubbing and re-writing names on the board. The Workflow is easy for the team to use, and has proven to be a seamless transition for us all.

The team LOVE DropTask and the fact it gives them the ability to update tasks even when they are away from the office. The app’s online and offline capabilities and availability on different devices means that work is easily accessible, even outside of traditional working hours. This proved to be the most substantial ability that the app provides, as it guarantees effective collaboration between a range of employees; whether they’re working in the office or remotely.

Going digital with our daily processes has been the best decision that we’ve ever made. To monitor our processes, we create a task to represent each client deal that’s in progress. As the task moves through its own process, in the Workflow view we drag and drop the bubble into its corresponding vertical swimlane. This makes each stage instantly identifiable, and makes knowing what’s in progress and what’s completed visible at a single glance.

The fact that DropTask is overall visually pleasing and user friendly was the main reason why I made the decision to introduce it to my business. The ability to Assign Tasks to members of the team and allocate them to a particular file by simply adding their Avatar image onto a task is useful to the whole team. Everyone not only knows who’s assigned to which task, but with their avatar image displayed on the task circle it reminds them that they’re responsible to complete it. I can’t remember a time without DropTask as it’s now an integral part of our day and how we get work into its completed stage.’

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

Streamline your workflow and keep everything in one place

In the busyness of 21st century living, the amount of information that we absorb can often be overwhelming. We all have important documents that we can’t afford to lose, and with a safe place to keep that file and another folder to keep those important forms, even when we think we’re on top of our workload, things still get misplaced. When we’re trying our very best to stay afloat, we’re drowning in emails, messages from team members and updating client notes, all while jumping between different apps and devices, resulting in wasted time as well as frustration.

At DropTask, we’re on a mission to make it easy to stay on track. See just the few ways you can minimize the risk of losing important information below, and gain a central hub for ideas, notes and attachments while feeling at ease, knowing that everything you could ever need is in one place.





Connect seamlessly

We all have our go-to tools that we rely on to remind us of actions we need to take, and the truth is there are some tools we just can’t live without. But sometimes when we have so many applications that we have to update, it can become a chore in itself trying to locate specific information. Spare the worry of jumping between applications and instead, connect DropTask with the tools you use everyday. With a long list of Integrations on hand, you’ll be able to effortlessly intertwine DropTask with your favorite services. Now, you can sync your Google Calendar with DropTask to ensure you’re informed of all of life’s events, import notes from Evernote to turn them into actionable tasks and upload Google Drive files to your projects, giving you the flexibility to manage work and mark progress from wherever you are.





Manage without email

It’s hard to believe that at some point we went through our day-to-day lives without email. In 2014, over 100 billion emails were sent and received every day, so it’s no wonder that we spend most of our days chasing numerous email threads, resulting in low productivity and missed information. With a constant stream of instant notifications, many of us find it difficult to stay on top of our overflowing inbox. With these shocking statistics, business leaders, managers and team leaders are looking to limit the amount of time employees spend in their inboxes, with the aim of increasing employee productivity at work and to prevent wasted time.

I’m going to be bold – if your excuse is that the only way you can receive updates from team members and review the status of a project is via email, then you’re doing it all wrong. With DropTask, you’re be able to manage everything without the need for long and messy email threads. Simply Invite members into a project that you’d like to collaborate on and use your project as a workspace to hold, share and manage key information. If you need an update on the development of a task, step away from the inbox and use the ‘@’ symbol to mention the team member in a Message. Maintaining an effective flow of internal communication between team members will increase company coordination, as everyone will be informed of the common goal that they’re required to work towards, outside of their inbox.





Update from anywhere, at anytime

The way we use technology is dramatically changing while at home and at work. These days, you’ll find a laptop, a smartphone and a tablet at each one of our desks, and we often move between these devices in order to complete one activity after the next. However tech savvy this may seem, more often than not, each device holds different information and restricts us from creating a seamless workflow during our day. If your preferred way of working is using your phone on the commute, the interactive whiteboard for meetings, and the iPad for jotting down notes, then take advantage of DropTask’s portability to ensure you’re always prepared. Available on a wide range of devices with online and offline capabilities, you’ll be able to stay connected and up to date at all times.

Even if you alternate between a Mac in the morning and a Windows desktop in the afternoon, DropTask will provide you with a central hub to capture your notes and recall information at anytime, from any device, making the everyday ‘impossible‘ workload a total breeze.

Keep everything you need together in DropTask. Sign up for free today at www.droptask.com/signup.

Why important details never get missed for CRM team member, Katherine Flores

As a member of the Customer Relationship Management team for Telecommunications and Cyber Security company ‘VPNet Inc’, Katherine Flores was looking for a task management system that wasn’t ‘stiff’ or ‘boxy’, like others she’d tried. Going against workspace norms, Katherine moved away from the company’s traditional way of managing tasks, in the hopes of finding a tool that looked and worked in the way she wanted it to. Drawn to its visual nature, Katherine found DropTask’s intuitive way of managing tasks intriguing, and her and the rest of the team have been hooked ever since.



ui
‘While other applications I’ve worked with in the past give you never-ending lists, DropTask’s alternative way of displaying information provides me with an eye-catching view of all the work I need to complete. The app’s UI is a pretty big selling point and was something that I was drawn to right from the beginning, as DropTask allows me to break things down as far as I want to without losing the big picture overview. I can’t emphasize enough how simple the tool is to use. Whenever a new employee is added to the company, all I have to do is introduce them to the application and the rest is self-explanatory. You simply log in and can instantly begin updating your projects, it really is that straightforward.

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While working at ‘VPNet Inc.’, DropTask has kept me on top of all the roles I’ve ever had. One of the things I do on a daily basis are portabilities. This task requires transferring a client’s number from their current provider, to ours. This process has various steps that are always the same. To save time, I have created a Template Project called ‘Portabilities’ that includes various Categories (phases) the client will go through, and within these categories I have tasks that include all of the necessary steps to complete the port.

reminders
If I’m at a step that requires an answer or document on behalf of the client, I set Reminders to follow-up if we haven’t received anything after a certain amount of days. With my self-proclaimed horrible memory, reminders are a necessity. If things seem to be at a stall, I can Invite Members to the project and Assign a sales representative to the task and have them follow-up with the client. In addition to this, if any forms are missing, I can Attach Files directly to the task for easy access for other members.

Our projects are completed in stages and this is done effortlessly with the use of DropTask, as we have everything we need in one place. Like most companies, various departments are involved in accomplishing an end goal. Being able to run all of these steps and procedures through DropTask is a huge advantage, specifically when it comes to communication. Without DropTask, one step can easily become a huge email thread that goes back and forth and by the end of it, no action has taken place. DropTask gives us a way to determine an owner for each action, a way to follow-up on this person and an easy way to view updates. Something that may have stalled for days – or even weeks, is now being completed in less than a week.

completed_tasks
DropTask has given me a much more visual platform with its simple and effective UI system, which I have failed to find in other competitor tools. Now, I can literally make my tasks disappear when they’re completed. There’s a much greater sense of accomplishment for me when I see my Completed Tasks just ‘poof’ away. I think a lot of people underestimate that effect. There’s so many more details and options for me to organize myself and prioritize my work. Details that may have been lost throughout are now visible and easily found within the Comments of a task. And as a team we’ve gained so much more valuable working time, as we’re no longer trying to contact employees to find out a piece of information, because now it’s simply found within the task. ‘

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

Planning your week like an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur week

When an entrepreneur takes the jump from employee to leader, it can be a challenge to assess main priorities for the week. If you consider yourself as an ‘entrepreneur’, or someone who likes to leverage opportunities, then you’ve probably had to take a few risks in your time. But sometimes, these risks come with obstacles that result from poor planning and lack of structure to our business model, which can have a severe impact on success rates.

Limit the risk of business failure with DropTask for Business, by following our top tips below.

MondayGenerate ideas and get inspired

Get Inspired

At the heart of any successful business is a great idea. Use your fuel at the beginning of the week to think of new ways to improve your business model, or better yet, create a new one. Use the inspiration you gained from the weekend to try something new, and brainstorm all of the possible avenues that you could explore by using the iMindMap 10 to DropTask integration. Develop your idea by thinking of its potential flaws, target market, required budget and what’s needed to make it standout from the crowd. Then, when you’re ready to get to work, transport it into DropTask to turn your idea into a reality. Brainstorming first thing on a Monday morning can have its perks; not only gearing you up for a productive few days ahead, but allowing you to explore new ways to enhance your innovative idea.

Tuesday Delegate your time

Set Reminders

No matter who you are and what you do, countless emails will still find their way to your inbox. Whether it’s an invitation for a networking event or a request to follow-up, these emails need to be answered if you want to connect and spread the word about your newest venture. Instead of spending countless hours buried in your inbox, delegate your time by setting Reminders to tasks, and receive prompts for specific times of the day to address unanswered emails. By separating your day into segments, you’ll be surprised by how much work you’ll get done. If an email requires more than just a response, Email Tasks In to turn it into something that you can action. With the email now embedded within your DropTask project and surrounded by other tasks, you’ll have a visual reminder of something that you need to do.

WednesdayPlan accordingly

Calendar view

As a leader of a business, an entrepreneur needs to be productive in order to set a precedent. To remain up to date with priorities and approaching deadlines, assign Start and Due Dates so you’re aware of what’s in the pipeline. The likelihood of a pitch being rearranged or a business meeting getting cancelled is inevitable. If this happens, simply rejig your schedule by dragging and dropping tasks or events into the newly scheduled date. With the built-in Calendar you have the flexibility to easily shift priorities so you can leverage every opportunity that comes your way.

ThursdayFocus

Importance flags

The danger of being an entrepreneur and living in a world where we have the ability to be on call 24/7 can defer us from getting valuable work done, meaning our important work remains untouched. Prioritize must-do tasks by assigning Importance Flags that will be instantly identifiable on your workspace. To avoid getting distracted by other intriguing work, focus your concentration by Collapsing Task Categories to hide work that doesn’t require your immediate attention. And if you do have a spare hour towards the end of the day to explore something new, expand your Collapsed Categories to reveal the tasks that you’ve been looking forward to getting stuck into – after all, you’ve worked hard all day.

FridayAssess your progress

Completed task

Whether you’re determining where you are now to where you thought you’d be, or, visualizing your goal for the next 5 years; assessing progress is essential to any entrepreneur’s development. Reflect on what you’ve accomplished by glancing at your Completed Tasks. This view will allow you to review trends and patterns to identify which months were more successful than others, and how much of it contributes to the particular activities you were carrying out. If tasks such as proposals or reports need a few adjustments before they’re ready to be pitched, simply transport them back into your project and make a Checklist to revisit specific areas that you need to develop in order to reach that desired end goal.

How do you use DropTask as a daily task manager? Let us know in the comments below!

How to become an invaluable asset to your company

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With the right mix of professionalism, attitude and teamwork you can become a model employee and your company’s most valuable asset. In a world where company goals and employee responsibilities are rapidly changing on a daily basis, there’s one thing that always remains the same; striving to become the standout individual in the business can do wonders for both personal and business progression. So, what exactly does a model employee look like? Whether it’s showing enthusiasm regardless of the task that’s placed in front of you, or demonstrating dedication by staying longer than your required working hours, these minor things mean a lot and can determine if we’re truly irreplaceable in the running of a business.

If you’re ready to step on the career accelerator, follow our three simple steps on how to become an invaluable asset to your company and an employee that any company would be lucky to have.

Step 1: Be professional
unprofessional

Sounds obvious, right? Affecting the maintenance of our job and the advancement of our careers, being professional is vital when cementing our reputation as a model employee. A 2012 ‘Professionalism in the Workplace Study’ conducted by York College of Pennsylvania, researched which key factors are important to an employee’s professionalism, and their findings showed that time management and work ethic efficiency were large contributors.

Skills like effective time management and work ethic efficiency can all be ramped up with the use of DropTask. Time management is a desirable skill for most professionals, particularly if you’re responsible for making decisions or working in a high pressured environment. But, being efficient with time management can do much more than just make you standout from the crowd, as it’s considered to play a big part in achieving a long-term career. As well as being an important factor in the initial stages of recruitment, the York College of Pennsylvania study showed that 92.9% of HR managers agreed that an employee’s professionalism has an substantial impact on potential promotion opportunities. So, if you’re looking for ways to become the exemplar employee, it’s time to brush up on how you conduct yourself in the workplace.

By using a simple planning tool like DropTask, you’ll be able to prioritize and adopt a more focused approach to completing your work with efficiency. As a result, you’ll reach high productivity levels and will be admired by your employer as a member of the team who strives to meet and exceed all targets, regardless of the amount of pressure involved.

Step 2: Have a positive attitude
positive

There’ll certainly be times where you’ll have to deal with strict deadlines, difficult co-workers, and tasks that seem impossible to complete, and as a result it can be easy to slip into a state of stress and negativity in the workplace. This is in itself one reason to be noticed by your employer; but you’ll want to avoid attracting attention for the wrong reasons. Remain calm and collected by breaking down the various stages of your project in a clear and concise manner before you start taking action. You can do this using DropTask’s Workflow View for a visual road map that leads you step by step towards completion.

To uplift your mood and boost engagement, add personalized Cover Images to tasks. Cover Images will not only brighten up your workspace, but will allow you to identify areas of work in an instant. No one likes a negative Nancy, and with an upbeat and positive vibe permeating around the workplace, your employer will take a concentrated interest in the quality of work that you produce and your consistent effort to perform to a high standard.

Step 3: A willingness to develop
team

A requirement needed to earn both company and personal success is the ability to work within a team. By collaborating with others, you’ll be exposed to a wide range of personalities and a greater set of skills, while also having the chance to enhance your own. Group work and shared projects can also be a great opportunity for you to demonstrate your own initiative. You can do this by assessing your strengths and subsequently Assigning yourself to tasks, even if they present a challenge. See this as an opportunity to help others as well as develop your own personal skills. By showcasing your range of abilities, you’ll solidify your status as a valuable member of the team.

If you’re feeling up to the challenge, you may also want to volunteer as the project admin. With the added responsibility of overseeing project developments and meeting estimated timescales, you’ll demonstrate to senior management that you’re always willing to go the extra mile. And with valuable experience in managing a team and taking a collaborative project from its initial stages of planning all the way towards the finish line under your belt, you’ll show that you can take on further responsibilities; a great positive to flag up in your next performance review. With your leadership skills on a continuous uphill progression, you’ll be an employee that a business can rely on to deliver.

What do you think makes a model employee? Let us know in the comments below.

Enhance your productivity by eliminating these bad workplace habits

3 Bad Habits
In this day and age, we’re always ‘too busy’. If we’re not at our desks; we’re on an important business call, if our meeting gets postponed; we’re rearranging for another date, and if we’re on our break; we’re responding to emails. Why is it that everything’s so rushed?

If I said that the way to be more productive is by doing less, how many of you would believe me? According to Christine Carter, sociologist and happiness expert, we live in a ‘more is more’ culture. What we have is never enough, and we’re fighting a continuous battle with ourselves to wear ‘busyness’ as a badge of honor. But often, when we have less things to focus on and we’re more selective with our energy and time, we can take a step back to realize that doing more isn’t necessarily better.

The key to achieving more is working smarter not harder. See how DropTask can help you to project maximum productivity output below, without having to exert yourself.

Don’t: Multi-task

Effort

Yes that’s right, you read correctly. Although many of us are under the false impression that multi-tasking enhances our productivity, it’s actually one of its killers. Anything from answering the phone to sending a marketing email; multi-tasking makes it difficult to return to the original task at hand. If you ever feel as though the pressure is mounting or that your workload has suddenly been taken up a notch, it’s probably because of the constant juggling and inability to find a way to cope when multiple deadlines are looming.

People often forget that when we have to engage in an important conversation or make a crucial decision like signing off on a project, we need to focus solely on that task to avoid any mistakes being made. If you’re easily distracted by miscellaneous tasks, you need to cut back on what’s being displayed in front of you. Collapse Categories so that work that doesn’t require your immediate attention is discreetly hidden away. With limited information on display, use the Effort attribute to enlarge the size of your task circle and the Importance icon to channel your focus and priorities. This will not only draw your attention to what you’re currently working on, but even in the scenario where you do get pulled away, you’ll be able to easily find your focus when you return.

Don’t: Delay

Dates

We often make excuses to avoid tasks that require a lot of effort. The ‘I’ll do it tomorrow‘ excuse is a popular one in the workplace, but one that results in little productivity and missed deadlines. The tomorrow syndrome not only rejects opportunities, but results in a looming backlog of work. It goes without saying that sometimes we really are just too busy to begin new work, but when our excuses are being used more frequently than the tasks we complete, then something’s not quite right.

As we get wrapped up in our busy working day, it’s important to remember that unexpected tasks that get placed in front of us can be a chance for us to excel. The next time this occurs, instead of pushing the task to the bottom of the pile, take advantage of it. If your time is sparse, assign a Start and Due Date to the task for a time that best suits you. It may be that you will start it tomorrow, but the difference is that you will actually start it (instead of letting the opportunity pass by). With dates assigned to your task, your Calendar will automatically be updated, meaning that any work that you have scheduled will be slotted into your plan for the coming weeks. With a clear and concise roadmap of everything you need to do, you’ll be able to limit your distractions and remain on track to ensure you’re getting the most out of your working day.

Don’t: Leave things unfinished

Research shows that 80% of American employees feel as though companies are expecting too much work from too few people, with 70% of employees admitting to feeling as though they have to work overtime to finish their uncompleted tasks.

But when 75% of employees rate teamwork and collaboration as ‘very important’ in the workplace, why is it that we aren’t we taking advantage of the great benefits that come with working as part of a team? Instead of falling into the habit of leaving work unfinished, take a quick glance at the Team Calendar to see if there’s a colleague who has a spare moment to lend a hand. By working collaboratively and using the ‘at a glance’ indicators in the Project Browser, you can gain instant feedback on the project that you’re working on, such as what’s currently ‘in progress’ and what’s been completed – without the hassle of nagging for an update. As the saying goes, ‘two heads are better than one’, and once you’ve identified the issues that were previously stalling your project from moving into the next stage, you’ll be able to eliminate the knock-on effect that could’ve staggered your progress later down the line.

Which workplace habits are stalling your productivity? Let me know in the comments below.

Are you using your time wisely?

time-importance
We’ve all been there, frantically typing as many words as we can to try and increase the word count, only to realize that what we’ve actually written makes no sense at all. Or, scheduling seemingly ‘important’ meetings for every hour of the day, only to result in frequent trips to the kitchen for coffee refills. As well as draining our physical and mental energy, these types of days can fool us into believing that we’re being productive with our time, when in fact, we’re barely making a dent to our hefty workloads.

Leaving the office with a true sense of accomplishment isn’t as difficult as you first might think. Follow our tips below to avoid falling into the trap of wasting crucial hours, and turn every minute into a productive one with DropTask for Business.

Enhance your concentration

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Manic days at the office occur far too often. Even on our days off, conversations with friends become comparisons of how busy we are:

‘Hey, how’s work going?’

‘Busy. Just busy.’

When we’re juggling an array of different tasks that are beyond the scope of our job description, we often dip into less important jobs which aren’t of any real benefit to us. To put it bluntly, we procrastinate. Research shows that we procrastinate by doing useless or less important things, and by doing so, we neglect our long-term goals and targets. To avoid this, take a look at your workload and assess which tasks require completion. If you have an urgent task that is less important, identify whose skills are best suited for the job and use the Assigning Tasks feature to delegate it. Similarly, if you can identify which tasks are important but not urgent, get them scheduled. Simple deductions such as this will allow you to have more time on your hands to focus on the very important and very urgent, without procrastinating on the things that don’t require your time or input.

Increase your motivation
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When we have a lot on our plate, our brains go into overdrive. But research has shown that overworking does little to help our concentration, and subsequently defeats the objective of remaining motivated and productive. Running around in a state of busyness can also leave us feeling deflated when we’re trying to channel our creative juices.

Avoid working in a rushed and disorganized state by splitting your time into designated segments for specific pieces of work. Take ‘The Pomodoro Technique‘ for instance. Created by Francesco Cirillo, this technique is based around the idea of working in sprints, combined with short frequent breaks to help maximize focus throughout the day and to eliminate the feeling of burnout. The next time an unusual amount of work crops up, try breaking each hour of the day into fragments. For example, use Reminders as a prompt for when your break is due, or further personalize them with a note to indicate which area of work you should be focusing on next. With a tight timescale to stick to, you’ll be able to work more effectively, as opposed to watching the hours speed by and having nothing to show for it.

Resolve unfinished problems
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When a deadline is approaching we’re forced to re-evaluate and shift priorities accordingly, but all too often, the tasks that are placed at the bottom of the pile get neglected in the long-term.

Start by looking at the Project Workflow to identify any bottlenecks that could be preventing work from moving to the next stage. Once you’ve found an unfinished task, tie up loose ends by taking action to complete, delegate or delete it. A range of built-in functions within DropTask, such as the Duplicate and Move feature, allow you to take quick actions to ensure that you limit your distractions to remain on track.

Welcome more opportunities
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As a result of good timekeeping and honing key transferable skills, opportunities in the workplace can flourish, such as managers becoming increasingly trusting when looking to delegate responsibilities within the team. However, getting the most out of our hours in the workplace is a difficult skill to master, and sometimes when an unexpected issue arises, our workplace performance can take a hit. Of course, we can’t predict when these instances are due to spring up, but we can prepare for the chances that they may happen.

By getting into the habit of scheduling, your diary will be organized months in advance, giving you clear visibility into what’s on your plate, how much of your resource it will require, and any spare time that you may have to work on other activities to further your career, such as researching training courses that could add to your qualifications, or enhancing your LinkedIn profile. As well as stopping you from taking on too much than you can handle, gaining effective time management skills and demonstrating your own initiative at work will not give you the ability to comfortably re-prioritize for any unexpected situations that may arise, but will result in overall job satisfaction, leading you towards brighter career prospects.

How do you manage your time? Let us know in the comments below.