Tag Archives: Productivity

4 ways Creative Agency, Draft Design House, stay on schedule with DropTask

Productivity tips for designers

Whether you’re a freelance graphic designer, a creative design agency or a print shop; you’ve probably become accustom to using images, space and color to communicate messages and solve problems for clients. But have you considered applying the use of visuals for handling your own work and productivity?

Aside from the fact that color and images add an element of fun and enjoyment to managing your tasks, they can also enhance memory, organization and creativity while you work. That’s why at DropTask we’re turning traditional task management systems on their heads by transforming a to-do ‘list’ into an engaging, colorful and shapely dashboard.

Last week, we spoke to Allie Larsen, Graphic Designer at creative agency Draft Design House, to learn more about how DropTask is used within the business and how you could get started with using DropTask for your own work…

1. Take DropTask with you

DropTask mobile phone app“What sold us the most when implementing DropTask as our tool of choice was the mobile phone apps. We are a very small agency that is always on the move, so we can’t be at the mercy of a program that is only accessible from the computers that are sitting on our desks at the office. Having the ability to access it everywhere we go takes DropTask to a whole new level.”

2. Establish what works for youDropTask Visual View

“Every personality in our office is different, and with that means different preferences and ways of learning. The fact that DropTask provides multiple ways to view tasks – whether it’s in a list for the analytical minds or in the visual view for the creative minds, helps us to be more productive and stay on schedule.”

3. Keep communicatingCommenting in DropTask

The @name feature in the comments section proves very handy. Having the ability to tag another individual within a project is extremely useful as you’re able to get your questions answered in a much more timely fashion. Not only that, but it lets that person know that something is being directed at them, which then provides a better opportunity of getting the task completed.

4. Make it fun

DropTask completed tasks“We almost think of DropTask as a game at times, where you need to ‘pop‘ all of the bubbles – which often gives us just enough of a boost to work faster to get the job done!”

Sign up for free today at www.droptask.com/signup, or learn more about going PRO. 

4 ways to make your next meeting more productive

Team meetingYou’re probably familiar with phrases such as “not enough hours in a day” or “too much to do and not enough time”. With the majority of us having up to 150 individual tasks, meetings and emails to take care of at any given time, it’s no surprise we find ourselves short of time when getting things done.

And for many, meetings are one of the action items that dominate business life. According to the National Statistics Council, 37% of employee time is spent in meetings. Other data indicates that 11 million business meetings take place each and every day.

However, the benefits of bringing people together to discuss a specific topic can be lost through disorganization and lack of structure – with people leaving meetings frustrated, confused or overwhelmed. That’s why we’ve got 4 ways to make your next meeting more efficient and productive

1. Plan ahead

Don't waste time - plan aheadTime can be wasted by setting out what will be discussed during a meeting – as part of the meeting itself! If you’ve got 6 people in a meeting and the first 10 minutes is spent discussing what will be covered, that’s 60 minutes of lost working time that you’ll never get back. Avoid this by compiling your agenda and sharing it with attendees prior to the meeting. Everyone will then understand the purpose of the meeting including the details of what will be covered.

2. Set priorities

Conversations can soon escalate and run off topic – leaving you short of time to discuss everything on the agenda. Avoid having to schedule additional meetings just to cover missed topics by prioritizing. It’s simple – just decide which topics are most important and cover these first so if you do run out of time, anything of low importance can be left until next time.

3. Take Action

Using DropTask for MeetingsAfter your meeting you’ll likely have a number of next steps and action items. However, with a lot of information to take on board, some smaller tasks may slip your mind. By having DropTask open during your meeting, you’ll be able to quickly create new tasks – ensuring all grounds are covered and nothing’s forgotten about. By keeping everything in DropTask, you’ll even save time by not having to record your minutes!

4. Ask yourself, “do I really need a meeting?”

Quite often, topics covered in a meeting don’t need to be communicated face-to-face. If you’re simply rolling off a list of to-dos or are after a quick status update, try not to interrupt your teams’ workflow and use DropTask instead. With a central place for your team to engage in conversation and monitor progress, you can withhold meetings for things which are easier to communicate in person, or for higher level discussions on strategy and business goals.

Make counter-productive meetings a thing of the past – sign up to DropTask for free today at www.droptask.com/signup.

Are you already using DropTask to manage your meetings? Leave us a comment below and let us know how you’re using it! 

Integrate with iMindMap 9 for the complete creative experience…

iMindMap 9 - out nowBursting with new features and powerful functionality – this week we’re celebrating the latest version of Mind Mapping software, iMindMap.  Guiding you through each stage of the creative process, iMindMap 9 equips you with the power to fire your ideas in at lightening speed, so you can seamlessly think, plan and develop before getting to action in DropTask.

If you love what we’re doing here at DropTask, we highly recommend checking out iMindMap’s visual workspace – designed to inspire you while you work. Delivering nothing short of outstanding performance, functionality, and the flexibility to work in a way that suits you, the latest version offers the perfect creative package to make sure those great ideas don’t slip away.

Get started by downloading your free trial today, and take a tour of the highlights while you wait…Take a tour of iMindMap 9

Beat the back to school strains with DropTask

Back to school projects and activitiesFor many, the words “back to school” can be very daunting, and it’s not usually something you can escape. But if you, or someone you know, is heading back to high school, college, or university – we’re here to help you be the most organized student on campus. From keeping track of deadlines, managing group projects, and even planning student events…You can do it all in DropTask.


3 back to school stresses and how to avoid themTake note of our top tips and check out our example projects below to make this your most productive year yet…

1. Setting your Schedule

The Problem: From lectures and tutorials to extra-curricular and social activities, timetables start to rule your life – and staying on top of everything can become a balancing act!

The Solution: Create a group for each day of the week then drag and drop activities into the corresponding day to easily plan and track your schedule. When an activity has been finished, mark it as complete and set the task to repeat again for next time.

Check out our example project.


2. Working with Others

The Problem: Alarm bells ring when you’re asked to work on a group project – they get out of hand and there’s always confusion over who is responsible for what.

The Solution: Set up a dedicated project and invite all group members. Here, you’ll be able to clearly assign responsibilities, engage in conversation, and even add a reminder for that extra peace of mind to ensure your project is completed on time.

Check out our example project.


3. Planning an Event

The Problem: You’ve been asked to organize the next charity event on campus – but you have no idea what to do or where to begin.

The Solution: With a two-way integration, let your thoughts run wild and explore all corners of your mind by freely expressing your ideas in iMindMap Ultimate’s intuitive workspace. Once you’re ready, export to DropTask and put your ideas into action.

Check out our example project.


Examples of educational Institutes using DropTaskSign up today and become one of the many educational organizations using DropTask to boost their productivity.

Did you know we offer a special discount to all non-profit and educational organizations? Simply drop us an email at contact@droptask.com for more details.

Daydream your way to enhanced productivity

daydreaming is good for you

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

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

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

Newton and the apple

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

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

knighted

From recruitment to the monthly school newsletter, for HR Specialist Jeffrey Loosli, DropTask manages it all…

school-blog-headerJeffrey Loosli is a Human Resources Specialist for the Blaine County School District #61. With over 500 full-time employees and an additional 300 part-time volunteers and coaches, trying to keep track of everything that needs to be completed – from the recruitment process to the monthly payroll, is a huge undertaking.

loosli-head“Before we discovered DropTask, things were often missed or dropped because one person did not communicate what needed to be done with others. We therefore required a tool that would allow us to organize tasks and thoughts and share these with one another to keep everyone in the department working from the same page – so nothing was missed.

We considered some of the other top apps and read the reviews before coming back with two potentials to use – DropTask being one of them. After trialing the free version of DropTask with my colleagues, we instantly fell in love and purchased DropTask PRO for our department.school-ext

We now use DropTask to keep track of all of the daily and monthly tasks we need to get done. For example, we have a project called ‘Newsletter’ and we create a task for each topic that will feature in the newsletter on a specified month of the year.

“After trialing the free version of DropTask with my colleagues, we instantly fell in love…”

We also use the daily summary email DropTask sends out and each morning we are reminded of what tasks we need to work on next, and what’s coming up on the horizon – meaning no tasks are forgotten.

school-newsletter

“We now use DropTask to keep track of all of the daily and monthly tasks we need to get done.”

Using DropTask, we have successfully managed and completed the hiring process of 8 new coaches for the school. I effortlessly invited all of the colleagues from my department to the project, where I had created every task that needed to be completed and the deadlines for each one. Using drag and drop, I was able to delegate tasks to team members, and with the ability to add subtasks, it meant all aspects of a task were covered – from signing the contracts for the new coaches to printing the contracts out. I even took a day off, and with DropTask’s real-time collaboration, everyone in the department was able to see what had been done and what still had to be done, so there were no hold-ups in progressing with the project.

DropTask has allowed us to manage things that were normally done on paper (that often got lost in the shuffle), or tasks that were left in limbo because the employee took the day off. Now we can see the progress and know exactly what needs to get done.

“DropTask is leaps and bounds above a simple to-do list that has colors on it.”

My team really enjoy using DropTask and are constantly amazed at what new ideas the DropTask team are coming up with. I have downloaded the app on my smart phone so I can continually monitor, change, and add to tasks even when I’m out of the office. DropTask works great in all types of situations and I even use it for personal items at home – from paying monthly bills, to changing furnaces filters and even watering the plants.

We simply love the visuals of DropTask because you can instantly see where things are in relation to each other. It’s so easy to group common things together, and it allows you to follow the same process each time. When trying to organize and manage tasks, DropTask is leaps and bounds above a simple to-do list that has colors on it.”

 Get your team started today by signing up for free at www.droptask.com/signup

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

Engage your team and bring value to your work through the power of visuals

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Have you ever felt that sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in a day to get things done? Do you feel the pressure as deadlines approach?boost-img1

Whether we’re completing tasks in the office, fulfilling responsibilities at home or even planning a vacation, without a clear method of planning and tracking tasks, time can easily go to waste. That’s why many of us turn to task management apps which allow us to manage our workloads effectively from creation through to completion.


Seeing is Believing 

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Here at DropTask, we’re doing things differently and have taken a unique approach to task management. We’ve moved away from the traditional linear and non-creative displays, and have transformed a simple list into a colorful, shapely dashboard that lets you visually categorize your tasks, designate priorities, and collaborate with your team. But we’re more than just a pretty face; DropTask combines powerful task management features with the benefits of visual thinking to give meaning and purpose to your work. Here are just some of the benefits of using visuals with respect to task management…

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1. Visuals make for easy processing

Our brain finds it much easier to process visuals than it does large amounts of text-based information. Words are based on a symbol system which must be decoded before they can be interpreted. Visuals on the other hand, require virtually no effort to process, meaning with just a glance we can quickly establish what needs to be done.

2. Images attract and engage

Too much text can very quickly overload our cognitive capacity, and when this happens information is likely to be lost and our productivity will go down the drain. Visual displays lessen the load; they are more concise, clear and interesting – which is just what we need to keep us fully focused on our to-dos.

3. We remember what we see

Our ability to remember images is far better than our memory for words. Unlike words, which are processed by our short-term memory, images are directed through our long-term memory and so become deeply etched – making our plans and action items unforgettable.

4. Color pumps up productivity

Color is exciting and stirs up a response in us. It alters the level of alpha brain wave activity, which triggers human alertness – just the trick for getting us fired up to tackle our tasks!


We know that there’s no single means of perfecting organization and productivity, but there’s undeniably a strong argument to suggest that a visual approach to task management has the edge over the traditional to-do list, spreadsheet or linear drop-down menu because of the power to convey, conceptualize, and communicate meaning in literally a flash.

Go beyond the traditional to-do list, and ‘see’ things get done when you sign up to DropTask for free today.

Marketing consultant Chris Coney has only one app open all day, and it isn’t email…

Chris Coney

Having been in business for almost 10 years, Chris Coney is a UK based Marketing Consultant who helps and advises other businesses to maximize the lifetime value of their customers by implementing a variety of marketing and sales techniques.  Passionate about delivering great value to his clients, Chris explains how he uses the best technology to create the most leverage in his productivity and efficiency.

“I’ve been using the iMindMap software from ThinkBuzan for many years, and discovered DropTask when ThinkBuzan invited me to join it during its launch. I’ve been using DropTask ever since. I was primed for this since I’ve switched from one project management system to another over the years but never felt they worked the way I worked. I always felt I was having to adapt my natural work style to fit the software, and that created extra friction in my day that I really would rather be without.”

 “Most importantly for me there was no learning curve with DropTask.”Chris Coney Marketing Consultant

“The brain’s ability to process information visually outweighs the other senses massively, and I have verified this in my own experience. For me, I need to be able to display, understand, process and retrieve as much information as possible from one screen, without clicking through lots of tabs etc.

Because project management is such a business-critical task, a 1% improvement in effectiveness is multiplied many-fold. Not an hour goes by that I don’t refer to DropTask, and it remembers everything for me so I don’t have to work in a stressful state.

I use DropTask exclusively for work in my business. I have it open almost every moment I’m working and don’t even do this with my email anymore because it hinders my productivity. I also have it open during client meetings so that I can immediately create tasks as they crop up. This eliminates the need to take notes and spend valuable time picking out the action points later on.” 

Chris Coney with DropTask

“Having DropTask open all the time boosts my productivity.”

“One thing that Brian Tracy said – which I felt was so powerful, was that we need to stop asking “How can I catch up?” because no matter how much we get done, no matter how small our ‘to-do’ list gets, the next day it gets refilled. He said that we need to change the question to “Since I can only do a few things, what are the few things I can do that will make the most difference?” so what he’s ultimately talking about is priority. 

DropTask ultimately accomplishes what I mentioned about having one screen I can look at to see both the big picture and the detail, without clicking on anything. It’s incredible really.

I love cloud software because it minimizes risk of data loss and enables my virtual office. To that end I use Google Apps for Business to create word processor documents, spreadsheets, presentations etc. – all that run from my web browser. With DropTask I am able to link specific documents to specific tasks, open them from within DropTask in one click, and begin editing in seconds.”

DropTask and Google

 “…it feels like one big seamless flow”

“For me, DropTask’s integration with Google Drive is better than attaching a file because my Google documents are in the cloud and can be worked on by multiple people simultaneously. That means no downloading the file, editing it, and then uploading the latest version while wondering whether someone else has made a change in the meantime and thus created a version conflict.

The linking of cloud documents doesn’t stop there. Because I use Google Mail, each email message has its own URL and I often paste this URL into the task comment section as a mini audit trail for myself. And finally, because Google Apps integrates with other third party cloud applications, I am also able to link to my cloud based flow charts and website maps in DropTask via the Google Apps integration. This really blurs the lines between applications, as I feel less and less like I’m using multiple software systems, and instead it feels like one big seamless flow.

I’ve been in business for myself for almost 10 years now, and I’ve never worked for anyone as an employee. I don’t want a big business with huge offices and lots of staff to manage, I just want the big revenues that come from providing massive value to my clients. The only way to do that without the big business is to use the best technology to create the most leverage in my productivity, efficiency and effectiveness, and DropTask is my technology of choice. 

If someone reads this and they relate to anything I’ve said above, then they know they need to give DropTask a chance.”

Try today by signing up for free at www.droptask.com/signup

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

How the award-winning architectural practice, Hudson Architects, replaced to-do lists and note-taking with DropTask to inspire efficiency and transparency throughout the business.

Hudson Architects Team

The Hudson Architects Team

Philip Durban is the Director of Technology at Hudson Architects; a twenty-person award-winning architectural practice designing contemporary buildings throughout the UK and worldwide. Since signing up in the summer of 2013, DropTask has not only improved the day to day internal running of the business, but has added a level of enthusiasm and engagement amongst staff exceeding anything he could have ever hoped for…

 “In 2012 we found ourselves overwhelmed with new projects at the tail-end of the recession. It was in this context that we became frustrated with our old-task management system where every employee was keeping a manual “to-do” list in an effectively private notebook.

Until 2 years ago, our normal business practice was to have a full team meeting every Monday where we would go round the room allowing each person to announce what they needed to do most urgently. We would then try to assimilate this information – and within the same meeting, find the best way to achieve and resource the task. It wasn’t the most perfect way of doing things at all, and tended to be knee-jerk reactive rather than properly planned.

“Every employee was keeping a manual “to-do” list in an effectively private notebook…We would go round the room allowing each person to announce what they needed to do most urgently”

We realized we needed a tool that would make task management more transparent, auditable and accessible to all. But being architects we’re slightly obtuse, and we instinctively respond better to very visual organizational tools – rather than just very long lists!

We scoured Google for a system that would work well for our needs and in the process we tried out quite a few fairly conventional systems across the world, most of which left us very unconvinced. However, as Director of Technology, I then stumbled across something called DropTask and it instantly “rocked my boat” from a visual point of view. It seemed to have startlingly good reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. Soon afterwards, we projected DropTask onto our meeting room wall and demonstrated it to everyone in the company. DropTask’s visual style not only made it very easy to explain to everyone how it worked and why we should have it, but it also made all our staff enthusiastic to start entering their own projects.

Hudson Architects

Hudson Architects

So for the last 2 years we’ve had a principle that if anything is being done in the company it needs to show up somewhere in a DropTask project. We divide our projects into fee-earning projects and overhead projects. Our overhead projects will be the same as everyone else’s (office management, PR, etc), but our fee-earning projects are all about designing buildings, large and small. DropTask has the flexibility to allow a project to be completely unique, or based on a well-refined template – but most of our projects are pretty much one-off. Having said that, we have fairly clear internal protocols for which DropTask “groups” will be used in building projects, although we’ve also found that these groups need to be dynamic over the course of a multi-year building contract. DropTask offers exactly that flexibility.

“…for the last 2 years we’ve had a principle that if anything is being done in the company, it needs to show up somewhere in a DropTask project.”

But apart from DropTask’s intuitive visual strengths, there are other essential features which make it very powerful, including the ability to very easily allocate a fully defined task to any person inside or outside of the organization.  As well as internal task delegation, we now require our IT contractor to respond to and update all our IT requests using DropTask. DropTask also makes it very easy to maintain a comprehensive audit trail for every event within the life of a task, and this audit trail semi-automatically tells us who did what, and when they did it.

DropTask has been powerful enough to inspire subtly new ways of working and has given us an intelligent overview of the totality of our workload – when that was otherwise very difficult to achieve!”

Get your team started today by signing up for free at www.droptask.com/signup

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

From team collaboration to sales acquisition: how DropTask made an impact for Kate Harthan

Kate Harthan works at a promotional products company specializing in personalized items for businesses, corporate awards and uniform programs with customers all over the United States. With general office management responsibilities and duties in marketing, before signing up to DropTask Kate found the lifecycle management of incoming projects to be challenging – especially when priorities were ever changing. For Kate, the use of spreadsheets to manage projects was insufficient as it lacked the ability for all users to edit it at once, and with employees having to keep track of smaller tasks on their own notepads and valuable time being spent ‘catching up’ in weekly office meetings, Kate’s company needed an alternative.

We needed a tool that would allow us to manage ongoing projects on a daily basis, one that would allow for all employees to view and change things at the same time. This way, my boss would be able to stay up-to-date with the status of individuals’ projects without stopping to ask them about it, and employees could keep track of all of their notes in one place. I read about DropTask in a magazine I received, and decided to try it out.

DropTask is used to manage all of our ongoing projects. Each employee has their own ‘bubble’, and the projects that they are working on are grouped within this. Employees are able to add notes to tasks, meaning projects are easily transferred to another employee to handle if someone is on vacation as they have access to everything regarding the project(s). We also have a ‘Projects not yet assigned’ bubble so when customers call in for quotes, whoever takes the call can create a task. Then, when an employee finishes their current project(s), they are able to see the tasks that have not yet been handled and can start working on them. Similarly, we have a ‘Projects Completed’ bubble, so when a task is completed (they have quoted the customer, prepared artwork, and taken an order) it can be moved into here.

At the end of every week, I print all of these ‘bubbles’ off; the Projects Completed, the Projects not yet assigned and each employee’s own. These printouts from DropTask are used as a guide in our office meetings.

Droptask printouts

We are currently using DropTask to manage every project in the company, regardless of size. DropTask allows us to create bubbles for each and every task to be done. For example, when someone calls in requesting a quote for 50 shirts, we can create a task and track it until completion when an order is placed.  We even use it for our sales rep – when he has deliveries to make, we create task bubbles for him so he knows where to go, who to see and what he is dropping off, all without asking.

“It is refreshing to have a visual representation of what is going on in the office that all employees are able to edit. It has helped reduce my boss’s time spent managing employee projects, and it has increased our response times and overall success of follow-up with customers.”

DropTask is extremely easy and convenient to work with. It is refreshing to have a visual representation of what is going on in the office that all employees are able to edit. It has helped reduce my boss’s time spent managing employee projects, and it has increased our response times and overall success of follow-up with customers. If we provide a quote, but the customer doesn’t make an immediate decision, the project bubble still exists. An employee could click on it, see the date of the last note that was made along with the customer contact information and they could then follow-up on the enquiry. If the customer tells us, for example, that they won’t be able to make a decision for 2 or 3 months, we can set that time as a due date to remind ourselves to follow up with this customer. It is a great system that keeps us from relying on individual employees’ post-it notes, emails, or memories, which makes it easier for employees to be away from work last minute and for closer monitoring of customer contact. I believe that this has led to higher sales numbers while reducing the amount of physical paper used weekly – all the information is available at a glance in DropTask.

Try it yourself – get started for free at www.droptask.com/signup

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