Tag Archives: Tips

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.

5 quick tips to keep calm in an instant

Keep Calm & Use DropTask Header

Studies suggest that job related stress is a major cause of concern for adults. These issues can stem from causes ranging from inefficient productivity techniques and gloomy workspaces, right through to stressful lifestyle choices. In acknowledgement of National Stress Awareness Day, we’ve got some top tips to help you stay calm and focused throughout the day. Plus, if you have any other methods that you use to stay stress free we’d love to hear them – so don’t forget to leave a comment below and share your advice with us.

Identify your worries

1. Identify everything that is weighing on your mind.

Setting out your worries can help you identify the true cause of your stress. You could write a list, or even better, you could put all of your concerns and tasks into an app like DropTask. Making a conscious effort to evaluate the priority of each task with importance and urgency labels can help you feel on top of your work rather than overwhelmed. This exercise will also help you get a good idea of where to begin and what you should work on next.

Add plants to your workspace

2. Get some plants.

Not only will plants help to purify the air in your office, they’re actually very soothing and will help to keep you calm. A study performed by Washington State University showed that the addition of plants to a working environment meant that people were more productive and less stressed. The results showed that subjects displayed 12% quicker reactions, a significant drop in blood pressure and reported feeling more attentive when the plants were present. So what are you waiting for? Get your gardening gloves on and combat stress by adding some shrubbery to your workspace!

Walking

3. Take a walk to clear your head.

Aside from giving you a great opportunity to reflect on what is worrying you, walking is a great way to help your body to release endorphins as a result of exercise. Endorphins are chemicals released by the brain that trigger positive feelings and can help to give you a better outlook on your worries – leaving you feeling optimistic and able to tackle your challenges.

Time to spare

4. Allow yourself time to spare.

Rushing from one thing to the next can contribute to feeling stressed out at work. Whether you’re going to a meeting or simply on your way to work, if you know it takes you 30 minutes, why not allow yourself 40 minutes to travel instead. Arriving at your destination relaxed and with time to spare will give you time to make yourself a coffee or check your emails before you begin.

Know your deadlines

5. Know your deadlines.

Time pressure can be a major cause of stress. Being aware of your deadlines can help you plan ahead and figure out what you need to do and when. By being familiar with your deadlines, you can ensure you don’t receive any nasty surprises or leave anything until the very last minute. Using DropTask you can take advantage of notifications, reminders and even email summaries to make sure you always know when your deliverables are due.


Transform your workflow into a stress free and productive way of working by signing up to DropTask for free today: www.droptask.com/signup

 

Time Management Tips for a Productive Week (Part 2)

Time Management Tips

On Friday, we looked at how you could get started with the free version of DropTask to get the most out of the working week. So today, we’re going to explore some practical tips for the advanced functionality that you can expect from DropTask PRO. If you missed last week’s post, click here to take a look.


1. Make things manageableBreak down large tasks into manageable sections

Many of us procrastinate when faced with a large responsibilities as it can sometimes be a struggle to work out where to begin. When faced with a challenge such as this, it helps if we break tasks down into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Whitson Gordon, productivity and technology expert from LifeHacker claims : “Once you’ve got it down into quick, simple steps, you might find you just start doing the task right then and there. The hardest part is laying out what you actually have to do to get it done. By thinking about it, you’ve already accomplished half of the task.”

With DropTask PRO, you’re able to create ‘subtasks’ for each of your tasks. When subtasks are added, a segmented ring will appear around the outer edge, and this allows you to visually track the progress of your task as each section will light up when a subtask is ticked off. This feature can be very useful as you can see how far a task is from completion with just a single glance.


2. Maintain accountabilityAssign tasks to establish responsibility

Steve Jobs famously created an efficient working environment at Apple. He introduced a methodology called the Directly Responsible Individual, where he would assign every task to a specific person, so that the team knew who had the lead on everything that was being done within the business. This meant that someone was always accountable and employees knew who to turn to for each and every task.

When solving a complex issue, individual task assignment helps team members to identify that someone is driving the task forward, and it can act as a really great motivator too. With DropTask PRO, simply drag and drop a co-worker’s profile picture onto a task and test out Jobs’ DRI system for yourself.


3. Improve teamwork
Collaborate with your team members

Whether you are working as part of a small team or remotely collaborating with colleagues from around the world, keeping everything together can be a chore. With an abundance of apps for collaboration, file sharing and notes, keeping track of your workload can be time consuming.

With DropTask PRO, you can keep your files, conversations and tasks together in one place. Working with others in real-time enables the whole team to be aware of what is going on at any given time, and this not only saves time by reducing the number of status report meetings, but it also allows team members to identify how they could be collaborating more efficiently. For example, you might see that a colleague is working on something that you have done before, and perhaps you have expertise in that particular area that you could share.

Combining these steps with the tips discussed on Friday will get you well on your way to a more productive and time-efficient way of working. Take the challenge and try implementing these tips this week – let us know how you get on in the comments below.

Get started by signing up to DropTask for free today.

Time Management Tips for a Productive Week (Part 1)

With Friday upon us, the wise look towards the week ahead. Forward planning almost always results in improved organization and performance. Whether this week went as planned or if there were a few hiccups along the way, looking at how we can improve the week ahead is a smart move.

Those who manage their time effectively are able to get more done and successfully take advantage of the hours that they have available to them. Although these people are often said to be “super-organized” or “naturally organized people”, many of them have a trick or two up their sleeves that the rest of us “ordinary folk” could learn from. In this two-part post we will take you through some top tips to guard you against an unproductive way of working – before we set you some small challenges to put your new-found knowledge into practice.


Keep everything in one place

1. Keep everything in one place

Whether you use pen and paper, your laptop or even your cellphone, when you have an ever increasing pile of things to do – put them all in one place. Jana Jasper, a New York-based productivity expert and author of Take Back Your Time, tells how we are plagued by the fear of forgetting our tasks – “We’re always in a rush. We start things and don’t finish them and are constantly nagged by the idea that we’ve forgotten to do something, but we’re not sure what it is.”

So, as soon as you realize a task needs to be completed, record it. That way, the next time you’re haunted by that nagging feeling you can simply look through your array of tasks and locate what you need in an instant – which is much easier than trying to rack your memory! Once you have all your tasks in one place, you’ll also need to develop a system whereby you can easily organize, locate and manage them in an effective way – without wasting time. We’ll address how to do this towards the end of this post.


Group tasks together

2. Group related tasks together

When recording your tasks it can be important to keep related tasks close by to enable us to be more efficient and complete groups of tasks all at once. For example, you may need to speak to an events company about organizing a local charity event but you know that you also need to organize a party in a weeks’ time. Two separate things that are on your radar of things to do, but by grouping them together you could make one phone call and inquire about both the charity event and the party at once.


Prioritize your tasks

3. Prioritize

Not all tasks are simultaneously urgent, important and need to be actioned immediately. By taking a moment to analyse which one of the following groups a task falls into, you’ll be helping yourself decide what to do next and what can be left until later. This is a widely accepted way of filtering out your tasks as devised by D. Eisenhower (former president of the US):

  • Urgent and important (action immediately)
  • Not urgent but important (action later)
  • Urgent but not important (consider dismissing/delegating)
  • Neither urgent nor important (consider dismissing)

By setting both the urgency and importance of a task, it will help you know what you should focus your attention on next and what can be left until later. It’s impossible to do everything at once, but prioritizing your workload can help you see where to start. You may even find that you reduce your workload by eliminating irrelevant tasks or those with low importance.

Now you know how to become one of the “super-organized”, I’d love to point you in the direction of DropTask as the place to go to put these steps into practice. In DropTask, you can use a simple drag and drop approach to create tasks based on your responsibilities, while easily organizing them into colorful groups to keep related items together. What’s more, you can do all this (plus much more) for free by signing up to DropTask here.


Coming Soon… In part 2 of this post we will show you how to take these concepts further by introducing person-specific task assignment, team collaboration, sub-tasks, plus more! In the meantime, why not let us know how you’re getting on when practising these time management tips? We’d love to hear from you, so leave your comments in the section below or if you would like some one-to-one advice email us at support@droptask.com.