Category Archives: Miscellaneous

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!

Happy New Year! But don’t make your resolutions just yet…

Happy New Year 2016As 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 restLack of sleep can affect productivity

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

Wipe the slate cleanBefore 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

Set smaller, realistic goalsOften, 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

Use DropTask to record & track your New Year's resolutionsHaving 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.

Have a productive 2016 and make this the year you achieve you goals – Sign up to DropTask for free today at www.droptask.com/signup.

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!

Drop the pen, ditch the paper, and start visualizing your workload.

World-environment-day-header-day1-b

For those of us who are short of time (and who isn’t?), we’re always looking for the most efficient and productive way to manage our responsibilities. Did you know the average person adopts around 11 different methods for managing their time and tasks, including a mix of paper lists, emails, online folders, and notebook planners? Check out our infographic below to ‘see‘ how visuals can impact the way you work. 

To celebrate World Environment Day we’re giving you 2 months free when you subscribe to any of our DropTask PRO plans today!*

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Offer expires at midnight on 5th June 2015listsvsvisuals-1

Want to ditch your paper lists? Get started by signing up to DropTask today. 

PLUS, we’re giving away 2 MONTHS FREE when you subscribe to any of our DropTask PRO plans before midnight on 5th June 2015!* To redeem, simply hit the button below:

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*Offer valid when purchasing any DropTask PRO subscription and expires at midnight on 5th June 2015. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.

Bring life to your notes and get things done like never before with DropTask and Evernote!

Note taking has long been a part of our history, leveraged to capture historic events and to support us in scientific discoveries.  Taking notes is key to getting ideas and thoughts out of your mind and onto some material that will allow you to both clear your mind, and retain the thoughts and ideas for a later date. Most of us will have experienced that moment in time where you have an amazing idea or thought, but you know all too well that if you do not capture it quickly it will escape you possibly forever.  Have you ever found yourself panic stricken by the pure thought of losing that idea in the moment?

Well I know I have, that’s why I leverage DropTask to capture those ideas and put them someplace I know I will not forget to revisit and expand on when the time presents itself. With DropTask’s visual interface it allows for creative thoughts to develop in a fun and exciting way.  Having the DropTask app on my cell phone, which is almost always with me, is a way to capture my thoughts and ideas and set them aside for rediscovery when I have more time to expand on them.  Visually capturing my ideas and thoughts has never been more energizing and productive.

If I were to ask an audience of note takers what tool they utilized to take notes and capture their ideas, they would surely respond with many different answers.  Some might say they keep a traditional note pad and pencil on their nightstand, whereas others may use the voice recorder on their cell phone, or send a text to themselves so they don’t forget. It is likely some will even use the whiteboard in their office, but many would say they use a tool such as Evernote.

At DropTask we know how important it is to our users to be comfortable and effective in capturing information in your preferred tools. So, today we are announcing an exciting new integration with Evernote. Our integration with Evernote feature is currently being beta tested by some of our DropTask PRO users and will be publicly launched over the coming weeks.

en to dtHaving the ability to capture notes and to track actionable next steps within your preferred note taking tool is essential for getting things done. Whether you’re in a meeting taking notes or you simply have an interesting thought during a note taking session, you want to be able to push your tasks to one central place.  You want a workspace where you can easily monitor and manage next steps, and even delegate tasks to a team member if a little help is required.  Now, with the integration between DropTask and Evernote you can do just that.  Through our seamless integration with Evernote you can see your notes come alive and put them to action by sending them straight to DropTask’s visual and intuitive workspace, where you can manage your tasks and get things done.results

Remember, a great idea is just a great idea unless you share it with others and execute on it.  That’s why sending your notes to DropTask is the perfect solution to bringing your thoughts to life and watching your amazing ideas become reality, for both individuals and teams. What’s more, with a two-way integration, if you’ve started work on a task, but later decide you need to do a little more planning, you can gather your thoughts by viewing your task in Evernote – before sending it back to DropTask to continue making progress.

The integration between DropTask and Evernote, is just one of many new and exciting features our team is delivering to users over the coming months. If you have your own story on note taking or using DropTask to capture those all-important ideas, then share them with me in the comments below.

All the best

Laurie Carey

DropTask CEO

How do you organize your email?

Ever had an email land in your inbox that you didn’t want to forget to act on?  We all have, right?

To get organized some of us create an abundance of folders and place our items in there. But it doesn’t take long until an email you once thought you were categorizing for later falls victim to ‘out of sight, out of mind’ and never gets a second look. Maybe you leverage the categories in Outlook instead, but still find that the massive amounts of incoming emails eventually become unbearable. In frustration, you resort to yet another list and store it in OneNote, Evernote, or even on a whiteboard in your office… Sound familiar? I know I can certainly relate to all of the above.  Not any more though. Now, I use DropTask.Droptask

DropTask is a fun visual task management solution that allows me to not only organize my own personal and professional tasks, but also helps me to engage with teams across both my work and personal commitments that sometimes involve colleagues, friends and family.

Now as DropTask CEO, it’s quite possible that I may be biased, but I truly do love using DropTask because it’s so much fun and incredibly simple to use.  I use the full fidelity of the product on the website at DropTask.com, in addition to the mobile app on my phone which is useful for when I’m travelling or on the move. Think Productivity – the company behind DropTask, is an exciting place to work and the team that designs the features are bringing some exciting new capabilities your way over the coming months. Starting next week, they will present you with the golden opportunity to get your inbox organized once and for all by allowing you to send actionable emails straight from your Outlook inbox into DropTask, to manage it all for you.  Once in DropTask, you’ll have the opportunity to collaborate and assign responsibilities to others to help you get the work done. All you have to do is simply drag and drop their photo on top of the cool task circle that will have formed from your email and ta-da! You’re done.DropTask Task assignment

Just by dragging the photo on top of the task you’ll have automatically sent an email to get some help – with all the details necessary for them to act included in the email.  You can set a deadline for when you need the task completed too, as well as setting various indicators to show how important or time sensitive it is.

But wait, did you just become the perpetrator for overloading somebody else’s inbox!?

Well, everyone has their own way of managing their time – and email is still a big part of that.  Don’t worry though, the recipient can use DropTask as well.  You can both work on projects together right inside a fun and productive workspace that’s sure to grab your team’s attention and inspire them to get more done.

So stop wasting time trying to manage the relentless flood of incoming emails, and have fun getting work done instead.  DropTask is the number one visual task management solution on the web, and to get started for free all you have to do is go to www.droptask.com. There’s also a great collection of support articles to get you up and running here, and our quick-response support team are always on hand to answer any questions you may have.

Remember, you may not be able to control the volume of email you receive each and every day, but injecting a bit of fun and efficiency into how you manage it can make all the difference. Got your own story to share? Leave it in the comments below and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

All the best,

Laurie Carey
DropTask CEO

Turn up the heat on your creativity & productivity

The nights are drawing in, the temperature’s dropping and everyone’s delving to the bottom of the cupboard to dig out last year’s winter warmers… Sounds gloomy, right?

Wrong! It’s almost time for bonfires to be lit, skies to come alive and Guy Fawkes effigies to be burnt…

Remember, Remember the 5th November!

Known as the ‘Gunpowder Plot’, it was on 5th November 1605 that Guy Fawkes was found in the cellar of the Houses of Parliament in London with 36 barrels of gunpowder. Had the cellar not have been stormed by authorities and Guy Fawkes caught, the plot may have succeeded and the King of England ruling at the time would have been set alight along with Parliament.

Since this day a tradition has been set and each year on November 5th, families and friends across Britain celebrate the King’s survival with a day of thanksgiving for the plot’s failure. Celebrations include burning bonfires and fireworks being set off into the night…

4 Steps to ensure your project isn’t a failure

Although some failures, like the one above, are definitely worth celebrating, most of the time we want to be celebrating our project’s success. Unfortunately, things don’t always go to plan and what may have worked well in the past no longer fits the bill. We need new ideas and solutions to succeed; two of the ways we can achieve this are through continued creativity and productivity in our work.

Below are 4 simple steps to follow if you would like to see your creativity and productivity sparkle:

1. Problem solving for your projects

Bonfire night may only come round once a year, but those problems that need solving and the decisions that need making are far more frequent than that when working on your projects.

 

problem

To be successful and enhance your business’ potential you need to be able to find creative solutions to your challenges.  Investing time to define your problem is crucial because how you define your problem will influence the direction of your solution finding efforts.

Instead of condensing your problem into one plain statement, you need to define it on a much wider scale. By using the questions Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How to define your problems, you will gain a much broader picture. You will have taken any recurring themes, weaknesses and strengths into consideration and your problems will have been looked at from every angle meaning you get a complete view of them.

2. Idea Generation

first_IdeasOnce you have your problems clearly defined, you need to consider creative ideas as solutions to your problems. Let sparks fly and release the bundle of ideas you may have built up inside by brainstorming.

When brainstorming it’s a good idea to collaborate with your team. By gathering a group of people together you are drawing on a wealth of knowledge, diverse experiences and perspectives of a range of individuals to develop new ideas and solutions to problems.

3. Evaluation

idea

Now you’ve spent time brainstorming with your team, you’re likely to be sat on an array of ideas and possible solutions to your problem. The question is, which one do you choose? The ‘3S Analysis system’ for evaluation allows you to direct your attention positively for constructive analysis of your ideas:

Sort – Your ideas need to be shortlisted to between 3 and 6 ideas. If you have too many you may find yourself rocketing out of control with endless possibilities.

Screen – The shortlisted ideas need to be evaluated. Using a scale of 1-10 rate each idea based on what your heart (emotions) and your head (logic) are saying. Similarly draw up a list of pros and cons for each idea.

Select – After evaluating your shortlisted ideas, you’ll notice that one or two of them shine brighter than the rest. You need to pick the idea that you believe is going to be the ‘best’ creative solution and you need to verify that it will help you achieve your goals.

4. Implementation

Now you’ve defined your problems, generated ideas and evaluated possibilities, it’s time to put your selected idea into action and bring it to life!

To get the most from your idea and implement it successfully you need to come up with a suitable action plan. This plan is a schedule of all the tasks you need to complete to reach your goal. It will act as a framework and will be useful for you to consider what needs to be done, where, when and by whom.

By developing an action plan you will have a guide and set of instructions which will help prevent you getting lost or confused and will help you progress with the work. If you do not follow a plan, then things are likely to take much longer and you may find yourself going back and reworking different sections.

results

 Using DropTask and iMindMap for your planning will help you to maximize on productivity and make efficient running of your life and work. You’ll be able to get a good grasp on what your priorities are, so you don’t waste time on trivial ‘to-dos’ or get stressed out by the sheer number of tasks ahead. DropTask will let you communicate your plan by sharing it with others and allows you to assign members to particular tasks so they know exactly what they’re doing…Along with a whole range of other productivity-boosting features that can be found here.

Now it’s time to explore your teams’ creativity and bring your ideas to life! By following these 4 simple steps in your work, your day-to-day actions will be in line with your goals and productivity can soar

See your plans come alight by signing up to DropTask today!

Turn up the heat on your creativity & productivity

The nights are drawing in, the temperature’s dropping and everyone’s delving to the bottom of the cupboard to dig out last year’s winter warmers… Sounds gloomy, right?

Wrong! It’s almost time for bonfires to be lit, skies to come alive and Guy Fawkes effigies to be burnt…

Remember, Remember the 5th November!

Known as the ‘Gunpowder Plot’, it was on 5th November 1605 that Guy Fawkes was found in the cellar of the Houses of Parliament in London with 36 barrels of gunpowder. Had the cellar not have been stormed by authorities and Guy Fawkes caught, the plot may have succeeded and the King of England ruling at the time would have been set alight along with Parliament.

Since this day a tradition has been set and each year on November 5th, families and friends across Britain celebrate the King’s survival with a day of thanksgiving for the plot’s failure. Celebrations include burning bonfires and fireworks being set off into the night…

4 Steps to ensure your project isn’t a failure

Although some failures, like the one above, are definitely worth celebrating, most of the time we want to be celebrating our project’s success. Unfortunately, things don’t always go to plan and what may have worked well in the past no longer fits the bill. We need new ideas and solutions to succeed; two of the ways we can achieve this are through continued creativity and productivity in our work.

Below are 4 simple steps to follow if you would like to see your creativity and productivity sparkle:

1. Problem solving for your projects

Bonfire night may only come round once a year, but those problems that need solving and the decisions that need making are far more frequent than that when working on your projects.

 

problem

To be successful and enhance your business’ potential you need to be able to find creative solutions to your challenges.  Investing time to define your problem is crucial because how you define your problem will influence the direction of your solution finding efforts.

Instead of condensing your problem into one plain statement, you need to define it on a much wider scale. By using the questions Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How to define your problems, you will gain a much broader picture. You will have taken any recurring themes, weaknesses and strengths into consideration and your problems will have been looked at from every angle meaning you get a complete view of them.

2. Idea Generation

first_IdeasOnce you have your problems clearly defined, you need to consider creative ideas as solutions to your problems. Let sparks fly and release the bundle of ideas you may have built up inside by brainstorming.

When brainstorming it’s a good idea to collaborate with your team. By gathering a group of people together you are drawing on a wealth of knowledge, diverse experiences and perspectives of a range of individuals to develop new ideas and solutions to problems.

3. Evaluation

idea

Now you’ve spent time brainstorming with your team, you’re likely to be sat on an array of ideas and possible solutions to your problem. The question is, which one do you choose? The ‘3S Analysis system’ for evaluation allows you to direct your attention positively for constructive analysis of your ideas:

Sort – Your ideas need to be shortlisted to between 3 and 6 ideas. If you have too many you may find yourself rocketing out of control with endless possibilities.

Screen – The shortlisted ideas need to be evaluated. Using a scale of 1-10 rate each idea based on what your heart (emotions) and your head (logic) are saying. Similarly draw up a list of pros and cons for each idea.

Select – After evaluating your shortlisted ideas, you’ll notice that one or two of them shine brighter than the rest. You need to pick the idea that you believe is going to be the ‘best’ creative solution and you need to verify that it will help you achieve your goals.

4. Implementation

Now you’ve defined your problems, generated ideas and evaluated possibilities, it’s time to put your selected idea into action and bring it to life!

To get the most from your idea and implement it successfully you need to come up with a suitable action plan. This plan is a schedule of all the tasks you need to complete to reach your goal. It will act as a framework and will be useful for you to consider what needs to be done, where, when and by whom.

By developing an action plan you will have a guide and set of instructions which will help prevent you getting lost or confused and will help you progress with the work. If you do not follow a plan, then things are likely to take much longer and you may find yourself going back and reworking different sections.

results

 Using DropTask and iMindMap for your planning will help you to maximize on productivity and make efficient running of your life and work. You’ll be able to get a good grasp on what your priorities are, so you don’t waste time on trivial ‘to-dos’ or get stressed out by the sheer number of tasks ahead. DropTask will let you communicate your plan by sharing it with others and allows you to assign members to particular tasks so they know exactly what they’re doing…Along with a whole range of other productivity-boosting features that can be found here.

Now it’s time to explore your teams’ creativity and bring your ideas to life! By following these 4 simple steps in your work, your day-to-day actions will be in line with your goals and productivity can soar

See your plans come alight by signing up to DropTask today!

Arrange an awesome last-minute Halloween using DropTask

Only a couple of days remain until the spookiest day of the year – Halloween, is upon us. A day when fear is the aim of the game and a fright or two is on the cards for most of us.

Even more terrifying than the holiday itself is the realization that it is only two days away and you’ve yet to make any plans or are still lacking a costume. To avoid the turmoil of sitting in with the lights off to deter trick or treaters from your treat-less house, we’ve got some advice on how to get organized at the last-minute this Halloween.

There’s no party like a collaborative DropTask party.

Halloween Party

With so little time to prepare you may think that all hopes of arranging that Halloween party you promised to your pals last year are dashed. However, with a bit of help from DropTask there’s still oodles of time to arrange a get-together. Create a project (perhaps called something imaginative like ‘Halloween Party’) and create task circles for everything that needs to be done. Categorize them in groups to make life easier, not forgetting the basics like food, music, and entertainment. Next, invite all your friends to the project. Hopefully they’ll accept the invite if they’re free) or perhaps they just prefer you to the host of the previous party they’d agreed to attend). Once you know who’s coming you can begin to delegate tasks, making the late organization a whole lot simpler. Start completing your individual responsibilities and chase that flaky friend by sending them update requests to find out if they’ve purchased those all-important pumpkins yet. Discuss any final details in the comments and voila – you have yourself a party!

We’ve even done the hard work for you and created a Halloween party project for you to use – click here to take a look! Remember, as this project is public, you’ll be able to view but not edit.

99 problems but a costume ain’t one.

Ghost

We’ve all seen it, the epic fail of a costume that is the bed sheet ghost. The last resort for those poor souls that didn’t get to the shops in time. Banish the bed-sheet by using DropTask to come up with a killer last-minute outfit. Make a project for your costume mission in order to get started. Add a group for websites and fill it with tasks that contain links to costume sites that provide express delivery. Check them all out and complete them when you’re done. Make another group with tasks for contact details of costume shops in your area and get in touch with them to find out what stock they have remaining. No luck with any of these? Dig out that dressing up box from wherever it’s lurking and go through everything. Note down the contents using tasks for each item you find and reflect on your options once you’re done. Go one step further and take a photo for each item, setting it as the cover image for the relevant task. You never know what outfit you may create when you look at everything you have within one simple visual.

More of the treat, less of the trick.

Trick or Treat Route

If you’ve got children, the annual trick or treating outing can be a stressful affair. Knowing where to go and what (or who!) to avoid are crucial elements of making the night a success. Hurrying a crying child home early because Mrs Smith from number 54 slammed the door in his face is no fun for anyone. Create a trick or treat project, mapping out where you want to go in advance by creating tasks for the neighbors you definitely want to call on. Link these using dependencies so you know which order to visit them in. You’ll be able to tick these off as you go on the night using our iPhone app (and Android in the very near future!). Got older kids that you aren’t accompanying? Keep the process the same and share the project with them so they’ll be able to guide themselves. Super-savvy children could complete where they’ve been on route by using their smartphones, meaning you’ll be able to keep track of them in real-time, lessening the natural worrying parents inevitably do.

Turn baking fright into baking delight.

IMG_2598

Any holiday comes hand in hand with baking and Halloween is no different. Whether you need to rustle up some treats because all the stores around you have sold out of candy corn, or you promised Halloween cupcakes to the office, DropTask can help. Find your desired recipes then turn them into projects, making each step of the process a task. If you’re unsure of any measurements, convert them to ones you recognize in advance so that you won’t be confused when it comes to the baking itself. If you make sure to list everything you need in the project, you’ll be able to access this on the go and use it as your shopping list, avoiding a last minute dash to the shops for an extra bag of sugar. Once you’ve baked your Halloween delicacies, why not share a public project with those who asked for your recipe so they can recreate your tasty treats themselves?

I now hope the only things scaring you on the day are ghosts and ghouls, and not the prospect of last-minute organization. By using some of these tips you can be well on your way to a frightfully good Halloween (pun completely and utterly intended).

A happy Halloween to you all from the DropTask team!

Behind the scenes with Cover Images

As we’re sure you know by now, last month we updated the DropTask interface by giving it a beautiful makeover and added some exciting new features in the process. One of those was cover images, a refreshed way of differentiating and personalizing your tasks. A few months were spent developing and perfecting the feature, and today we thought we would give you a little preview of what takes place behind the scenes at DropTask HQ when we produce any new functionality, from planning through to release! Before we begin however, can we all just take a moment to appreciate how good food looks within tasks? Those sandwiches…

Header

Now we’ve taken that moment to drool over 2D food, let me take you back to the start of cover images. As with any new creation, the first step came from an initial idea. Not all of the ideas we have come to fruition however, as we first need to determine whether or not the additional feature will benefit yourselves as users. It is only after this process that we can move forward with planning. We thought that cover images would make tasks easier to locate, whilst adding an element of personalization. Using images to distinguish tasks would also enhance visualization and the ability to glean a project overview with one glance. With this in mind, we were sure the feature would add real value to your experience of DropTask and we got to work with the planning process.

Capture 5

From the marketing team’s perspective, we thought it would be as simple as placing images into the background of the default task shape. As you can see above, the devs soon proved us wrong and highlighted a number of issues with this process. It became apparent that images would obscure the text, and although we tried to work around this, it was clear something had to change. With most images being rectangular by nature, the circles just weren’t cutting it and we needed a larger surface area in order for the images and task attributes to render correctly. We started to dabble with straight edges and longer lines, and although the images certainly looked better and the information was clear – the tasks were no longer recognizable as part of DropTask!

Capture 3

It was then time to go back to the drawing board, quite literally, in order to think of something better.

whiteboard

It was at this point that the task began to take shape and we created the first version of the rounded square you’ll be familiar with today. With approval from Darren – our Head of Development, the devs began working on the functionality of cover images within DropTask itself. While our software developer Ben, handled the visual side of things, Mike, another one of our software developers, got started on the ‘cropper’ that would be used to fit the images into tasks. Once this development stage was complete, it was time for the fun part – testing! Not so fun for poor Ben and Mike however, who both spent this period fuelled by above-average coffee consumption in order to implement all the changes necessary based on the team’s feedback (sorry guys!). Once all of us were finally happy, we released cover images to a set of PRO users for further testing.

With all final edits complete and any glitches ironed out (cue a large sigh of relief from Ben and Mike), cover images were ready to go!
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Now we’ve been using cover images for a few weeks, we can’t imagine DropTask without them! We hope you’re all having fun with this new feature and, most importantly, that they’ve enhanced your user experience by making your tasks easier to locate thus saving you both time and effort.

If you haven’t already, head to DropTask and check out cover images right now. Even if you have, why not go and admire them again in all their glory. And if you like them, let us know – your lovely feedback is what keeps the devs going during those dark, caffeine driven times just before a new update is released…

Project Challenge Expo 2014

This week DropTask had its first public outing, with myself, Yogi, and Darren packing our bags and travelling from Cardiff to London to attend the Project Challenge Expo 2014. The event was held over two days at the Olympia, playing host to a variety of project management related solutions.

The event was a huge success, and we took part in many great conversations with some of the industry’s finest. Although there are some tired eyes in the office today, a fantastic time was had by all and we can’t wait to take DropTask out on the road again! Here’s an idea of what we got up to along the way…

 Day One: Packing, Travelling and Build Up

After final preparations in the office, the three of us squeezed into our jam-packed 7 seater car and set off for London. Three hours later we arrived at the Olympia, ready to unload and build our stand. It took some impressive lifting skills on Darren and Yogi’s part, along with multiple trips in the lift, but we eventually managed to get all our equipment to stand 120 ready to start building! During this process we learnt that escapee helium balloons can pose major problems, and that I’m really rather terrible at DIY.

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Finally at 7.30pm the stand was looking lovely and all set for the next day. We then jumped into a black cab to check in at the hotel that would be our home for the next couple of days. After a quick pit stop to unpack, we ventured out to a nearby Italian restaurant. Luckily, we all managed to refrain from falling asleep in our pasta after a long day travelling and setting up. With that it was time to head back to the hotel for some much needed rest – ready for our early start the following day.

Day Two: The Exhibition Opening

The snooze button was strictly prohibited the next morning, as we were all up and ready to leave by 7.00am. Once we arrived at the Olympia the quest for breakfast began, with each of us doing our best to eat yogurts with forks whilst simultaneously experiencing bottled cereal for the first time. Don’t ask. Somewhat satisfied by our makeshift breakfast, we began blowing up balloons and setting up our equipment. Once finished, we took a brief moment to pose for a team photo.

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At 9.30am the show was officially opened and we awaited our first delegates. DropTask soon began to attract attention and we started discussing all things visual task management – introducing DropTask for the first time to many of the people we spoke to. It was exciting to hear such great feedback about DropTask, with many welcoming a fresh and engaging way to manage projects and people. We were rushed off our feet as the crowds gathered for live demos and it was fantastic to chat to each and every person.

The bright colours and unfamiliar look were what first attracted delegates to our stand, but once they saw DropTask in action most people fell in love with the intuitive design and ease of use. Many were pleasantly surprised by the amount of powerful features packed into something so simple and pleasurable to use.

As the exhibition drew to a close at 5pm, we packed away and headed to the official networking event where we met some of our fellow exhibitors. With a short rest before dinner, we prepared for day 3.

Day Three: Exhibiting, Stand Breakdown and Going Home!

Learning from our breakfast experience the day before, we got up a little earlier than necessary in order to go further afield in search of sustenance. Cups of tea and eggs were a welcome relief after the yogurt and fork incident of the previous day. We then jumped in a cab and made our way to the Olympia for the final time, having to maneuver some lively protests taking place next door to the exhibition centre in the process!

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The day was once again packed full of great conversations and delegates excited about getting their teams started with DropTask PRO. The unique look of DropTask was really popular, and delegates were delighted to have found a tool that their teams would not only understand, but enjoy using. The ability to have everything within a project stored in one place, such as discussions, file attachments and progress was also a welcome feature. The day flew by, and before we knew it the exhibition had come to a close and it was time for the hard bit – stand break down!

Surrounded by boxes, bags and tools we got to work dismantling our stand and boxing up equipment. With a kind helping hand from the exhibition staff, we loaded our belongings into the car, ready for the return back to Cardiff, Wales.

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We had a truly wonderful time at the event and thoroughly enjoyed every second. It was great to demo DropTask face to face and hear people’s thoughts on what we’re doing. The response was overwhelmingly positive and all feedback extremely thought provoking. As well as having a great time we also learnt a lot along the way – like after a whole day exhibiting, deciding not to get a chair probably wasn’t a great idea…

A big thank you to everyone who came to see us at Project Challenge – we hope you enjoyed the event!