It’s December again and the year is coming to an end! How do you feel? Excited? Eager to see what’s in store for the new year?
For myself personally, I love Decembers because it’s the time when I take a breather, look back and see how the year has been. I just did my year end review yesterday, and I’m extremely excited to get started on year 2011. In this article, I’ll share with you 7 powerful questions to ask yourself as you close off your year. I recommend you to allocate at least 30 minutes with yourself and use that time to earnestly answer these questions. This will be one of the most important exercises you’ve ever done. Here they are:
On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with 2010?
This gives you a quick snapshot of how satisfied you are with this year. 10 is the highest, and 0 is the lowest. Interestingly, this number can give you a lot of insights.
Why did you score that way?
For the score you gave yourself in Q1, why did you assign that? I believe it’s more important to understand the underlying drivers of the situation, rather than harp on the assessment itself. For example, if you gave yourself a score of 3/10, why did you give a 3? Is it because you feel that you neglected your relationships and health in pursuit of your work? Is it because you didn’t go all the way in achieving your goals? Write them down.
What are your biggest accomplishments this year?
Accomplishments here refer to any results you are proud of. It can include business achievements, career, relationships, health & fitness, and more.
For some people this question can be confronting, especially if they have been living on auto-pilot. Yet it’s extremely important because it makes us take a cold, hard look at how we’ve been spending our time. Did we put it to good use? Have we been working on our Quadrant 2 tasks? It helps us sieve out the unimportant and zoom down to what matters.
When I first asked myself this question years ago, I had trouble coming up with meaningful answers. It made me realize that the bulk of my achievements that year were for my employer, whereas I had done nothing for myself. It gave me a wake up call, and from there I became a person on a mission. I became in tune with my personal dreams in life, and I was singly focused on bringing them to life. I knew in my heart of hearts that I want to help others grow and be their best selves, so I worked in that direction. In less than a year I had shed away my previous job and was pursuing my dream. By the next year, I had already turned it into a real, full time career. This year is my 2nd year and it’s my best performing year yet. This happened because this question made me conscious of what I wanted to achieve in my life.
What are the biggest lessons you learned this year?
Out of all the things that happened this year, what are the biggest things you’ve learned?
In life, we have countless experiences, and there are things to be learned in every experience. We can either let these incidences pass us by, or we can stop to understand, internalize them, and draw lessons from these experiences. When we do that, we literally become wiser than we were before. We can then use these important lessons and apply them to new situations we face.
Since 2006, I took to the habit of writing annual reflections. Writing them down helps us to stack our lessons through time, so we can build upon our wisdom, rather than relearn the same things. This way, we can advance our growth much faster.
What are your biggest goals that you want to achieve next year?
* “How can you make next year your best year ever?”
* “If it’s now Dec 31 of next year, what do you want to see in your life?” Then, set these as your goals.
What does it take to make you feel a 10/10 satisfaction level at the end of next year? What goals do you want to have achieved? What dreams do you want to see fulfilled? Write these goals down and set them as your key goals for the next year.
What new habits do you want to cultivate?
Successful goal achievement come from having the right habits. What new habits do you want to cultivate? The most popular ones for me every new year include meditating, exercising, waking early, sleeping early, drinking plenty of water a day and more. When you practice positive habits, you naturally become a better person.
What are your immediate next steps to achieve them?Here’s an important tip - get started right away. Get a head start even and do them before the new year comes! You’ll feel ahead of everyone. I’m now already planning out my February-March plans for my blog and it feels great knowing what’s ahead! Do that for your life and you’ll immediately see the positive difference it brings.
It’s not just about writing, but about doing. Now that you have written your intentions for the new year, what are the immediate next steps you’ve to take to achieve them? What do you have to do to get the ball rolling? Write down specific dates to the actions.
Share Your Reflections!
How are your year end reflections? How do you feel about this year? Why? What have you learned? What are your biggest goals for the next year? Share with everyone here in the comments.
We made two important updates with how you can organize your workspaces:
- General Settings
As requested on UserVoice, you can now change the order of your workspaces.
- Workspace Administration
We also wanted to make it easier to navigate within a workspace, so we improved workspace administration.
Follow the screenshots below for more information. We hope you enjoy these simple, but effective improvements!
Settings1. Go to Settings, near your avatar.
2. Select Workspaces, the second tab, and drag and drop workspace tabs in desired order.
1. Go to Workspace Administration. You can do this from the footer, or any gear icon in the left sidebar.
2. Click on the corresponding tab to adjust your primary workspace, people (released last month), e-mail/IM, filters, and labels.
Back: Judi Huck community manager, Julien Rousseau web designer, Stephane Kryzywoglowy product manager, Ilan Abehassera CEO & co-founder
Center (on computer monitor): Thomas Bonnin developer
Front: Ismael Henchi developer, Aric Lasry lead developer & co-founder
From our team to yours, Happy Holidays!
2010 was a great year for us. We hired four new team members, and in 2011 we’re looking to hire more! We’ll also be releasing features and languages that you requested in the coming year!
We hope you have an amazing holiday season with all of whom you love. Cheers, everyone!
The company also shares some of the same integration services as Producteev, like an iPhone and google marketplace app.
Nathaniel Robinson is VP of Marketing and a workspace admin. He and his team use Producteev to take their workflow to the next level.
Q: How do you use Producteev?
Nat: We have several workspaces. Today we use Producteev across marketing and business development and sales to ensure we’re all focused and working on a the right things at the right time. It also helps ensure that we’re not duplicating efforts and it helps us work as a team by getting what we need from other team members.
Mostly we use Producteev for tracking our own work, but we do use Producteev to sometimes assign to do’s to other people on the team. Our CMO uses it to assign tasks to us and keep track of our progress. When we want to see what someone is working on, we just click on their name.
I have also found the sort feature, in the footer, quite handy. I typically use it to sort by deadline and priority. It really helps me focus my energy.
Q: Describe your experience with Producteev.
Nat: Producteev really seems to be the only service that caters to our team needs. We needed an online application that would let us track assignments, document work history, let us be mobile and integrate with our other tools.
Many of us use the iPhone app. Also, SlideRocket is a SaaS solution and a Google Apps Marketplace partner and we like to adopt other Google SaaS solutions to manage all our apps in one place.
In addition, I connected my IM client and have used it a quite bit.
Producteev gives great visibility into what everyone is working on and keeps us on track!
Meetings are one of the #1 time wasters in the workplace.
Too often employees are locked in meeting rooms instead of allowed to get their job done.
They take up too much time. Cost too much money. Kill too much of employees’ morale. And result in too much loss of productivity.
Most companies would be better off with less meetings.
In fact, less meetings. Less time for meetings. Less people in meetings. And so on…
Does your workplace need “less of” meetings?
The Cost of Meetings
In today’s workplace, meetings are often used instead of doing work.
In fact, when dealing with ineffective teams, I often see them calling meetings instead of doing their work.
However, the cost of meetings goes beyond impacting simple workplace productivity.
Meetings cost your company is many areas:
- Money – Think meetings are free? Locking those 10 senior managers in a room for 3 hours just cost thousands of dollars. Was the work accomplished worth that price?
- Time – Managers think they are only calling a 1 hour meeting. But with 10 people in the room, it just cost 10 hours of work productivity. Probably more when you consider the interruption to the workday.
- Morale – Nothing sucks the life out of workers quicker than long, agenda less, expanding-to-fit-the-scheduled-time meetings. If you want to kill your team’s morale, long meetings are a good place to start.
Put Your Meetings on a Diet
The first thing that I recommend to companies that are suffering from too many meetings is to put their meetings on a diet.
They need “Less Of” Meetings. Cutting back can show immediate, tangible increases in team productivity.
Get your meetings out of your team’s way and they will often surprise you.
Here are “10 Ways to Put Your Meetings on a Diet”
- Less Meetings – Simply, hold fewer meetings. Cancel them. Let your people work instead of locking them in a room. Go through your calendar and eliminate any unnecessary or duplicate meetings. A good sign that meeting is not necessary is that it repeats every week no matter what is happening in your business.
- Less Lateness – Most meetings in the workplace start late. This means that they last longer than they need to. Start on time. End early or at least on time. Make it a hard a fast rule. Exclude those who are late.
- Less Required – If you must have meetings, do not make them required. Give your employees the “Right to Decline.” You will quickly find out which meetings are important and which employees should be there.
- Less Time – Keep meetings short. Try 30 minute meetings. No meetings over an hour. In fact, try cutting your meetings in half.
- Less People – Bring the minimum number of people to the meeting. Do not allow squatters or extra invitees. Not only do meetings with more people cost more money, they take more time.
- Less Room – Don’t go for big conference rooms, where people hide out at the far end of the table and surf or do email. If there are 4 people in a meeting, get a small round table with 4 chairs.
- Less Interruptions – Defend your meetings against interruptions. Do not start them over when someone arrives late. Do not allow cell phone calls in the meeting.
- Less Work – No working on other items during meeting. If someone is busy working on something else on their laptop, then they should be excused. They obviously should be elsewhere working.
- Less Topics – No open ended “get-together meetings.” Ensure that each meeting has specific decisions to be made. No agenda? No meeting.
- Less Tech – No cell phones, laptops, etc. You are better off with a whiteboard and taking notes on paper. Does wonders for meeting productivity.
Try Less Meetings for More
Try cutting back on your meetings. Meetings are best in moderation.
Give you employees their time back. And they will give you back their productivity.
Put your meetings on a diet and watch your team’s productivity soar.
Does your workplace suffer from too many meetings? Do your meetings need a diet?
You may also like -
Our translating heroes are helping to make the world more productive, one language at a time. In case you haven’t heard, we had a recent launch in German.
Here’s a look at other languages and their statuses:
- Portuguese: done
- Japanese: done
- Spanish: editing phase
- French: final translations and edits
- Arabic: team is working
- Chinese: team is working
- Russian: started, recruiting translating heroes
- Dutch: started, recruiting translating heroes
- Polish: started, recruiting translating heroes
- Indonesian: started, recruiting translating heroes
- Greek: started, recruiting translating heroes
If you’d like to assist, please write to support at producteev.com. The developers are gradually deploying languages, stay tuned on our blog for release information!
We are so thankful for our heroes!
Photo credit: Lee and Mary
15 Cool Ways To Boost Your Creativity
Feeling burnt out or lacking creative ideas?
This article is especially for all you writers, artists, business owners or anyone looking for some new ways to get their creativity flowing.
Here are 15 ways to give your creativity a jump start:
Write Your Ideas Down
Get into the habit of writing your ideas down as soon as you get them. This way you train your brain to keep coming up with ideas, and as soon as you get them you write them down.
When they are written down you don’t have to worry about remembering them and this allows more room for new ideas to form in your mind.
Good ideas and creativity usually do not appear under stress. When you are relaxed and rejuvenated, creative ideas usually come rather naturally.
Take a walk on the beach, take a nap, go and play some sport or do whatever it is that relaxes you so that your brain can be more creative when you get back to work.
Have No Expectations
Similar to living with no stress, but specifically no stress from the outcome.
When you create with love and passion and no expectation of the outcome, the chances are much greater that you will create something remarkable!
Be Easy On Yourself
Stop criticizing yourself and stop being so harsh for yourself. Accept yourself the way you are and do things to the best of your ability.
You are enough and you are creative. Don’t let self-limiting beliefs block out your creativity! Remove the barriers and the ideas will begin to flow.
Reading stimulates the mind. The more you read, the more you open your mind up to new ways of thinking and thus the more creative you will become.
I know that reading can be a bore, especially if you have to force yourself to do it. Just start small.
Choose a book on a topic that you like (it can even be about your favorite sport or artist) and spend 30 minutes before you go to bed reading that book. This way you can read 1-2 new books every month without it being a lot of effort, and it will definitely contribute to you being more creative.
Listen to Mozart
Albert Einstein said he owes his creativity to listening to Mozart pieces. Certain songs and compositions allow the brain to be more creative and function better.
Albert Einstein did not know why this was the case, but he found Mozart compositions to help his thinking.
In the present age the concept of music enhancing your thinking has been scientifically researched and proven. Certain frequencies have a positive effect on increasing your brain’s performance and creativity. Today they are known as Binaural Beats and Isochronic Tones.
Basically, scientists have engineered sound-files (I canít really call them songs) with researched frequencies that have proven to increase brain performance. Simply buy purchasing some of these tracks and listening to them with stereo headphones, you can already notice an effect on your thinking and creativity.
There are certain techniques that allow your mind to find peace and that allow you to silence all the hundreds of thoughts that constantly run through your mind all day.
When you achieve this inner calm, it has all sorts of benefits like being more creative and having better ideas.
The effects of exercise and physical movement on the mind and creativity have been studied for centuries.
There is no doubt that you feel much better after exercise. This is because after you exercise, endorphins (feel-good hormones) are released into your bloodstream.
Ask For Help
Don’t be scared to ask someone for help or for their opinion. The input from a friend or stranger could be enough to jump-start a whole series of ideas and new creativity.
Expand Your Horizons
Do something you have never ever done before in your life. Go sky-diving or bungee-jumping. Sign up for hip-hop classes.
The experience of it may be enough to boost your creativity tenfold and give you many new ideas.
Blueberries are said to be the richest in anti-oxidants and good for your brain an thinking abilities. Eat a handful a day, and even if you donít get extra creativity, enjoy the taste and the health benefits.
Stop Doing Drugs
I’m talking about sugars, processed foods, alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes.
(I shouldn’t have to tell you not to do hard drugs!)
Not only will your health benefit, but you will feel much more energetic. The chances are huge that you will find all sorts of new inspiration that comes with your new energy levels once you start eating healthy and stop consuming junk.
Puzzles stimulate your brain to look at a problem from different angles. The easier you are able to open up your mind to new ideas and new approaches, the more likely it will be that you become more creative.
I personally like playing piano. It is relaxing and it allows me to experiment with new tones, melodies and ideas. Often while playing an instrument and making music I get very creative ideas for my own projects.
If you’ve never played an instrument, why not start with something simple like piano, guitar or the drums?
Practice makes perfect.
Yeah it’s cliche, but it’s true. Do you want to be a great writer? Then write ever single day, even if it’s just about your dog.
Do you want to be a good designer? Then design something new every day, even if it’s just a logo for your favorite food.
Type your ideas in Producteev, it’s just as effective as #1: writing things down ;)
Northland, A Church Distributed (www.northlandchurch.net) is a pioneering congregation focused on building an international community of worshipers. The church connects thousands of believers worldwide, bringing live, interactive streaming of its weekly services to the Web, Facebook, iPhone and Android mobile devices, Roku and other environments. Northland has several sites throughout Central Florida, as well many house churches and partner ministries around the globe. Northland’s worship services are a blend of foundational and modern worship and incorporate the latest in lighting, audio and video technology.
Rob Andrescik is the director of public relations.
Q: How do you use Producteev?
Rob: Northland’s media design team [with around 20 people] plays a key role in helping to create an environment where congregants connect. We never suffer from a lack of ideas, but we have often struggled with how to capture the best ideas and take action on them. As the creative team that serves all of the other departments in the church, we also needed a way to keep track of the many requests that we receive and the progress of those requests.
At any given time, there are about 75-100 active projects going on. Everything goes on a team calendar, which we review in a weekly meeting.
Over the years, we researched many different types of project management and tasking tools. We ultimately opted for Producteev because it helps our team to get things done and makes project management simple and convenient. It allows us to quickly make and receive assignments and helps us stay accountable to one another throughout the creative process.
The ability to add attachments to our tasks has provided a much-needed centralized system for our creative collateral.
The creative process doesn’t work on a schedule—inspiration comes at any and all times of the day. Producteev provides us with many ways to capture these ideas and assign them to people who can help make them happen—via iPhone, the Web, email…even instant messaging. It’s a great tool.
Describe your experience with Producteev.
Rob:Our team loves Producteev. I tell everyone about it.
The ability to turn emails into tasks has miraculously transformed the way we work. Most of our team members have iPhones, and the free Producteev app is great. The dashboard online is really helpful, too—showing you what other team members are working on, without getting in the way of your own tasks.
Personally, I am also a fan of the notes feature, google calendar sync, and natural language processing. I noticed that you are adding reports to Producteev, I’m eager to see how that works!
All in all, Producteev has been an extremely valuable tool for our team collaboration. I thoroughly recommend Producteev to anyone, because it’s easy and accessible.
Here at headquarters, we’ve worked hard to improve the general speed of the website, as well as the load time for workspaces. You should see those changes now and be able to get things done in a flash!
Where there’s a will, there’s a way! We’ll work on yet another performance update in the near future. In the meantime, get more productive with a super speed website today.
Photo credit [Flash super hero]: Jason Adams