Author Archives: Yogi

Could remote working work for you?

remote-blog-headerLike it or lump it, remote working is having a moment right now. An outburst of cloud technologies and connectivity tools has made the ‘virtual team’ a reality, and we see workers from distant parts of the globe pulling together to meet common business goals. With more and more people opting to work from home or off-site, remote working is fast becoming a mainstay of the corporate domain.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of home workers in the UK has grown by 1.3 million since 1998, amounting to 13.9% of the nation’s workforce. While in the United States, Global Workplace Analytics reports that approximately 20–25% of workers operate remotely on some occasions, and 3.7 million people now work from home at least half the time.

The rise of remote working has become impossible to ignore. But, what makes it so popular?

Why work remotely?

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From an individual standpoint, the growing trend in remote working is undoubtedly positive, bringing greater flexibility in work hours, time saved on the daily commute and a better work-life balance. This is terrific news if you’re a parent juggling family responsibilities alongside a hefty workload. But what impact does it have on the average small to medium-sized enterprise? Quite a lot as it stands. Remote working can be a step in the right direction for many companies, offering a wealth of opportunities to cut costs while boosting the productivity of your team.

  • More talent – Remote working opens up a whole world of talent and you can hire the best and brightest people for the job, regardless of where they live.
  • Office savings – With fewer bods on-site, businesses can save on overheads such as rent, rates, lighting, heating, equipment and any other costs associated with running a physical workspace.
  • Enhanced productivity – Forget the idea that working from home equates to slacking off. In a recent survey by employee engagement firm TINYPulse, 91% of respondents said they were more productive when working remotely. When all that’s needed is a good internet connection, remote work makes it possible for people to choose when, where and how they work, so they’re motivated to hit maximum productivity.

Judging by these benefits, working remotely is working smartly and the traditional office may soon become a thing of the past. But it’s not all smooth sailing. For some organizations, the more flexibility that’s added, the more it can feel as if you’re losing control of your team. To get the most out of a remote workforce, you need a well-considered approach and the right tools for the job.

Here are 3 practical tips to make remote working work for you.

3 tips to make your remote team a success

1. Create connections

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Strong communication is vital for running a remote team, and in these digitally connected times there’s no reason why distance should pull people apart. Thanks to modern devices and apps, we no longer need to be sitting in the same room to touch base, share data or collaborate on projects. Whether your teammates choose to work from a home office, a local co-working space or a coffee house, make sure they have the communication tools they need to be productive.

With full mobility across multiple platforms – Windows, Mac OSX, iPhone and iPad – DropTask acts as a real-time communication channel for teams working online and easily overtakes email in the collaboration stakes. Project teams can target their interactions so that essential messages or files don’t get drowned in people’s inboxes, and individuals can quickly locate conversations without having to dig through an email chain that’s miles long. There’s no reason for freelancers and other ad-hoc workers to feel left out of team play either. They can stay in touch on the projects that concern them and keep close ties with the team from within one virtual workspace.

2. Fit in some Face-Time

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Encourage your distributed team to schedule frequent hangouts in their DropTask calendars – maybe weekly, fortnightly or monthly – so that everyone knows what the rest of the crew is working on and can offer each other support where needed. Regular video or phone conferences are great for connecting people and provide a valuable outlet for sharing issues or problems, ensuring no one in the team feels isolated or stuck. But remember that while technology is great, nothing beats face-time. It’s a fact that human beings work better together when they’re comfortable in each other’s company. Inviting your remote workers to ‘get personal’ via face-to-face meetings at the HQ or during fun, social activities will build camaraderie, and can make all the difference to team dynamics.

3. Keep tabs without losing trust

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One of the biggest fears among managers is that remote workers will ‘goof off’ if left to their own devices. This comes down to trust. Showing that you trust your virtual team is essential to making things work as it gives them the vote of confidence they need to be productive – but you still need to stay in the loop. Incessantly asking questions and checking up on people will only undermine trust, and so the best way to ensure people are doing what they’re supposed to is to keep a tight focus on results. Set concrete goals, deliverables and timelines, and if they aren’t met, follow up with your team members to find out why.

Using DropTask, you can track workflows and view progress across a remote team via an easy-to-read visual dashboard without having to constantly badger people for updates. There’s no need to stress about your team getting stuff done because you can easily keep tabs on what they’re up to, even when you’re on the go. DropTask’s phone, tablet and desktop apps all support offline capability, so changes are automatically synced whenever you’re out and about. By giving you ‘remote control’, DropTask is fully equipped to save your sanity as a manager and help you stay coordinated as a team, no matter where you all are.

Make DropTask your ‘virtual office’ and get the best out of your remote workforce. Available via the web and with native apps on Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone and iPad, it’s a multi-platform friendly tool for bringing your team together seamlessly. How do you make remote working work for you? Add your tips in the comments below.

What a year! A look back at DropTask in 2016

As 2016 says its goodbyes, we can’t help looking back and reflecting on the incredible journey we’ve made so far. Thanks to the loyal support and feedback of our users, the DropTask brand has gone from strength to strength. It’s been an eventful 365 days packed with feature improvements, added integrations, and of course the launch of our cutting-edge new version DropTask 2!  We’ve loved every minute and hope you’ve enjoyed the ride with us.

Here’s a round-up of our high points of the year, as well as a sneaky glimpse of what’s in store for 2017.

A recap of our best moments

New-look notifications

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As developments in our beta program steamed ahead, early 2016 brought the announcement of a transformed notification center. When it comes to our tasks and projects, we all want to be in the know. But what we don’t want is to drown under a wave of information, alerts and updates. With our new-style notification center, simplicity is the goal, so now you’re only alerted to key changes or updates to your tasks (such as reminders and comments). This limits interruptions and gives you the chance to focus and take action on what’s most important. Worried you’ll miss something? Your notifications won’t go anywhere until you’ve seen and ‘dismissed’ them, putting you firmly in control of information, not the other way around!

More powerful integrations

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While last year saw the release of our Evernote and Outlook plugins, we hit another milestone in the first few months of 2016 when we added even more cool integrations, allowing you to streamline the way you work across a bunch of your favorite services. From managing incoming emails to syncing calendars to file sharing, we have you fully covered:

  • Gmail and Outlook: Master your inbox and transform emails into actionable tasks, ensuring no inbound to-dos are forgotten.
  • Evernote: With two-way sync, you can bring your notes to life in DropTask or send to-dos straight into Evernote to build up your ideas.
  • Google Drive and DropBox: Instantly upload documents and images to tasks, making it easy to share important info and stay organized.
  • Google Calendar: Sync your projects with Google Calendar for a complete view of your schedule, with visual priority settings to keep you on track.
  • Google Contacts: Invite your existing contacts to collaborate on tasks, and get more done together.
  • iMindMap 10: See your ideas through to completion by exporting branches or whole mind maps into DropTask. Or collate your to-dos in iMindMap 10 to explore ideas further.

Beautiful task management – DropTask 2 unveiled

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You asked for it, you got it! The DropTask HQ was a hive of activity this year as we sought to implement our biggest shake up yet, taking on board your valuable ideas, comments and suggestions in our forum and community pages. Launched in September, DropTask 2 was the result of many insightful conversations and interactions with you guys – our faithful supporters – and is a proud achievement for us all!

In this completely revamped version, we unleashed a stunning new interface design and more fluid operation, with fresh features like:

  • Workflow View: Offers a Kanban-style workspace to map out your project workflow and take you from ‘Doing’ to ‘Done’ with ease.
  • Built-in Calendar: Brings together all of your tasks from every project and allows you to view them by Start Date or Due Date, helping you plan ahead and stay on top of your schedule.
  • Team Calendars: Check the availability of others by viewing their calendars and collaborate more effectively as a team.
  • Start and Due Dates: Assign start and due dates to your tasks to better manage your time and boost your planning efficiency.
  • Collapsible Categories: Eliminate information overload and improve your focus by hiding tasks to reveal only what you need to see at any given moment.
  • Auto-Layout: Activate this feature to optimize the arrangement of your tasks within the Canvas, giving you a centralized view of the whole picture.
  • Completed Tasks: Celebrate achievements with a historic view of all the tasks you’ve successfully completed.
  • Enhanced Filtering: Cut through the noise and focus on the tasks that matter with a variety of extra filter options, including Assignee, Importance, Keywords, Effort, Tags, Due Date, Attachment and Status (Not Started, In Progress, On Hold).

We love bold visuals here at DropTask, and this advanced, feature-packed rendition doesn’t let the side down. Now with four display modes (our original Canvas, Workflow, List and Completed), you can view and manage your workload with confidence, and bring teams together like never before. Learn more about DropTask 2 in our previous blog post.

Where we’re headed in 2017

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With an awesome (and super busy!) 2016 behind us, you may be wondering what could possibly be on the horizon for next year. To give you a hint, we’ll be branching out and looking to make DropTask accessible to more people around the world. New options for introducing reporting are also on our radar, giving teams greater insight into progress, performance, and management. And, in keeping with what makes DropTask special, we’ll be experimenting with some exciting alternative visualizations and enhancements.

Above all, what we’re most excited about in 2017 is helping our users achieve their productivity goals in bigger and better ways. Stay tuned for more by checking our blog from time to time, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for our hottest news and tips.

From all of us at DropTask, thank you for making 2016 our best year yet. See you in 2017!

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.

Filter

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.

Auto-layout

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.

Workflow

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.

Calendar

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. 

Coming soon, in DropTask 2

DropTask Collaboration

Over the past year we’ve been working behind the scenes to bring you a brand new version of DropTask – and we’re so excited to share what’s on the horizon.

Complete with a beautiful redesign and a whole host of powerful new features and abilities, DropTask 2 takes things to the next level so you and your team can come together and achieve anything. The visual nature of our brand new Workflow Boards are perfect for agile working methods such as Kanban, and the vertical swimlanes make transitioning through stages within a project a total breeze.

DropTask on iPad

If you’re already a user of DropTask, you’ll know that we love the simplicity that visuals can offer, over a long (and often uninspiring) list of to-dos. So, in DropTask 2 we’ve made way for a cleaner (and clearer) way of working with all-new eye catching icons and a palette bursting with color. In fact, we’ve applied the same concept to our UI, our new Notification Centre, and even the workspace Canvas – so you only see the things that you want and need to see. And as if that wasn’t enough, we’re also excited to introduce the brand new DropTask Calendar.

DropTask Scheduling

Strengthening your ability to plan and organize – which is key for producing those all-important deliverables on time, the new built-in calendar let’s you focus on what you should be working on today, and what’s due in the future. We know the nature of unexpected interruptions and the impact they can have on your day too, so we’re making sure that you can easily reschedule if your priorities need to change.

DropTask 2 is shaping up to be really special and this is just a teaser of what’s to come. To learn more, we’d like to invite you to participate in our beta program where you can contribute towards development testing and get early access before the official release. To take part, simply drop us an email at support@droptask.com and we’ll see what we can do.

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

To build the team, build the trust

Team Trust

At the foundation of any strong team, is trust.  Building trust between individuals can take time, but once gained, can result in a truly productive team that will harness individual strengths to form a strong, cohesive unit. See below for our top tips on how you can build trust in your team.

Get personalGet personal

It’s easy to fall into a routine where you’re so focused on the things that you need to do, that you forget to engage in everyday conversations that don’t involve deadlines or progress updates. Remember, each person in the team has their own story, values and hobbies and getting to know them on a personal level can create a powerful sense of trust as well as comradery.

Have integrity

Have integrity

In order for trust to be built, an open and honest communication policy should be followed. Honest mistakes happen and promises are sometimes broken, but it’s important to come forward and accept accountability while putting personal consequences to one side. This courage will give confidence to your fellow team members who are relying on you to do the right thing.

Consider everyone equalConsider everyone equal

Whether there’s a new member in the team or a long-standing colleague, be sure to give fair weight to feedback and new ideas – as well as the credit that’s due for them. Acknowledging someone’s contribution regardless of their position will help to convey how much value they bring to the team, and this show of respect will help to build the foundation; resulting in a happier and more productive workforce.

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

3 Qualities to turn a good team player great

2 months free for teams

This week, we’re celebrating teams and putting special focus on how you can promote better collaboration in the workplace.

Effective teamwork is essential to any business or organization looking to achieve high performance rates, and by combining individual strengths and pointing them towards one shared (and clearly established) vision, you can maximise your efforts and make sure that you work to the best of your ability as a team.

To achieve this, having the right skills for the job is undeniably essential, but what qualities define a truly effective team player?  See below for our rundown of 3 qualities that can turn a good team player great, plus, details on how you can get 2 months free when you upgrade to any annual DropTask PRO team plan before Monday*.

1. A willingness to help

Teamwork

A truly great team member will always be glad to share advice, offer support and extend a helping hand if any troubles arise. With this, comes the importance of commitment and dependability, demonstrated through the ability to complete a task within the expected time frame and to the same standard as if it were their own. As Henry Ford once said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself”.

2. Compromise

Work together

Though it might be a hard pill to swallow, we can’t be right all of the time. Being stubborn with your views can alienate team members and create a negative environment for ideas to flourish. Instead, a great team player will remain open to the opinion of others and will follow a flexible approach to any situation, especially when it comes to solving a problem.  As part of having this quality comes the need to be fearless, and placing trust in the judgement of your fellow team members.

3. Constructive communication

Team communication

Even with all good intentions, it’s easy to fall into the trap of giving unsolicited advice and feedback that gets taken the wrong way. For healthy, open communication, a great team member should initiate conversations with respect; listening, using specifics, and offering solutions or improvements if a problem has been identified.  Communication in teamwork is key, so remember, be constructive, not destructive.


SPECIAL OFFER:
For this week only, get 2 months free when you upgrade
your team to DropTask PRO*.

Claim Offer

*Offer valid on annual DropTask PRO team plans only and expires midnight 16th May 2016. Cannot be used on subscription downgrades or in conjunction with any other offer.

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

Autism Awareness Day 2016

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

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

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

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

The way we’re wired

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

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

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

Autism Awareness Day

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

The features that you might have just missed

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

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

1. Turn a ‘Please Do’ into a ‘To Do’

Email 2 Task

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

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

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

Unwatch Tasks

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

3. Drag attachments

Drag Attachments

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

4. Show or hide

Hide Dependencies

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

Example:

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

Simple Dependency

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

Cake Baking Business Project

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

5. Sharing is caring

Task Permissions

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

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


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

Not yet a user? Get started for free.

Don’t cry over spilt milk

Split Milk

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

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

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

Successful people who failed at first:

Thomas Edison

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


Walt Disney

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


Bill Gates

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

 

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

Plan

1. Plan

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

2. Own up

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

Act Quickly

3. Act quickly

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

Talk to someone

4. Talk to someone

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

5. Learn the lessons and be kind to yourself

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

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

“Have I forgotten something?” – a thought of the past for architectural firm, Array Architects

Array Architects using DropTask

As a leading architectural firm specialising in the design of space-efficient and effective solutions for healthcare, Array Architects have been involved in high-profile projects across the globe; from state of the art university hospitals in Cleveland, to speciality hospital and nursing facilities in New York. Earlier this year, the team got in touch to explain how they utilize DropTask within the business.

“With many deadlines – both client and self-imposed, before DropTask we relied on lists (hand-written, “draft” emails, etc.) and lots of post-it notes! There was always the looming thought of ‘have I forgotten something?’. Managing client proposal deadlines by assigning due dates and specific people responsible within DropTask allows everyone access to a forum where we can share files, ask for updates and deposit drafts for review. It allows more independence for staff as each person can see their assignments and can prepare for internal kick-off meetings ahead of time by reviewing attached documents.”

“As a collaborative tool, DropTask allows all team members to see what other members are working on, create and assign tasks, and group tasks by topic. Being able to see the contributions (current and planned) from peers – which may often spark another idea or collaboration opportunity – provides a sense of community. For example, one architect’s ‘in-progress’ blog about a ‘central sterile processing department project’ could tie into a designer’s case study on ‘healthcare flooring options’ – and the two may inform a thought leadership book on ambulatory care design drivers.”

“With a team of six dedicated to marketing and business development, a visual, web-accessible tool has become essential for managing our experts’ content creation. The content begins in each project we do with our clients, and tracking its transformation into a blog, video or e-book has become much less challenging with DropTask.”

DropTask and Marketing
“The marketing team use DropTask in a few ways – primarily to manage tasks, ensuring no team member is overwhelmed. Since DropTask is a visual representation of our projects, we can see who has a light load and who has a heavier load, enabling us to pitch in where needed. Our secondary use is, obviously, project management. We have 3 umbrella project boards to co-ordinate our marketing efforts and we use task groups, tasks and subtasks to keep track. So when we open a new office location, for example, that one project is broken down as follows:

Step 1: Create a task group (we treat them as projects)
Within the Content Creation Project Board we create a group and label it with the new office’s location.

Step 2: Create tasks then assign team members.
Some of these tasks will have subtasks – for instance all blog related tasks have a minimum of five subtasks each: 1)Write/Review/Edit; 2)Send to (name); 3)Revise; 4)Graphic; 5)Layout. We’ve successfully pushed the writing of many blogs through drafting, editing and posting with the help of DropTask’s open communication lines. Some additional office tasks would include: web platform updates, creating a campaign, updating our website and creating office templates such as letterheads, address labels, business cards, etc.

Step 3: Assigning due dates and dependencies.
Depending on the task, we will also change the urgency, importance and effort. We check off tasks and subtasks as they’re completed, and when necessary, we request updates from others and schedule our reminders. For the most part though, marketing’s use of DropTask is self-contained. The entire group has access to all three project boards and each member has the flexibility to invite others, create, delete, complete and change tasks.”

DropTask and Administration
“The admin team use DropTask as more of a daily, weekly and ongoing checklist. An example of some tasks that appear include the weekly supply orders, maintaining our databases and updating documentation. Since many of these tasks reoccur, the admin team use the calendar function to quickly create recurring tasks, as well as to set reminders and due dates.”

DropTask and Accounting
“Our client contracts are managed and tracked within Accounting. Each office location has its own large task group that contains multiple client contracts, with 6 tasks each representing step-by-step instructions on completing a client contract. These tasks are then assigned dependencies as tasks are completed – Accounting checks them off before providing the information for the next task in the client group. Since these tasks never change, Accounting simply duplicate and rename the entire client contract group as required.

Since DropTask is available on the web – along with native apps for both iOS and Android devices, team members across offices and locations can access their projects at any time. This is particularly helpful in weekly meetings which span offices, as each team member can have their DropTask screen open and as the roundtable discussion is proceeding, team members can add tasks, make updates, and assign people to tasks. Having the ability to assign team members – regardless of team hierarchy, provides a level of independence and allows the team to lean on one another’s strengths to increase productivity.”

Boost productivity and get your team started today by signing up for free at www.droptask.com/signup

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