Best Part of #TCDisrupt: Producteev's Interactive Swag Contest!
TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2011 was so awesome, we had to make a Swag Contest out of it!
(If you’re not familiar with Disrupt, it’s 3 day convention and contest for startups, hosted by TechCrunch.)
Innovative products include:
If you’re a true geek you already know that the winner of the $50K and this Disrupt Battlefield competition was Shaker, an avatar-driven chatroom-styled app that mimics real life socializing. You get to freely converse with friends and others with whom you share mutual contacts. Unlike real life, before you approach them, you can learn what the two of you have in common. How’s that for conversation-starters? Congrats, Shaker, on a well-deserved win!
One of the finalists was CakeHealth (which has nothing to do with cake, but everything to do with health!) Give them your health insurance info, and they will guide you through your healthcare spending. In many ways, it’s comparable to Mint.com.
Bitcasa offers unlimited online data storage at $10/month. In the words of the founder, ”This folder is infinite. This desktop is infinite. Your desktop, your primary storage, is now the network. Your primary hard drive is now a cache.” So that means you can save all your videos. All of them. ;-)
And then there were apps like Amen, which (like our beloved Angry Birds) is a cute time-killer. Think of it as a universal game of Mad Libs, where you fill-in-the-blanks with the ‘best and worst’ of different things in different categories, and other users leave feedback.
Tell us in the comments below, how you feel Producteev could supplement any of the apps that made it to the final cut. One lucky winner will be selected and gifted a whole bag of Producteev swag! Make your explanations good, and look for the announcement of who won on Monday, September 19th at 11:30 a.m. EST.
How to slack, I mean COLLABORATE with fellow students #ProducteevEDU
Now that shared workspaces are free for students, class collaboration on Producteev may be used to lighten your load this semester!
Having never been in a fraternity or sorority, it’s safe for me to serve as an expert in terms of Greek organizations, and an well known joke/fact about them is that members are in cohorts to cheat on exams. ;) More specifically, and to my shock and naïveté, certain fraternity organizations, keep private libraries of all course examination materials - for every single course known to man, or at least registered in the directory of classes. In turn, these materials are lent to members for “studying” purposes.
The following is a powerful paradigm, and potentially controversial concept, to introduce. However it is possible and possibly more beneficial in the long-run.
Producteev accepts virtually all file attachments and is known to store documents.
In theory, Producteev can be used to divide group assignments, distribute coursework, store documents (notes), and share them. Thus, individual group members have more time to do other things, like facebook! :P
If there weren’t Cliff’s notes or internet resources at your disposal, couldn’t the above method of shared note-taking via *team assignment*, in collaboration with document storage and previewing/downloading/printing be used to minimize efforts on the individual? Granted, there will be more team efforts and awkwardness, or maybe even pain in having to figure out team processes. However, the skill and experience of teamwork is infinitely more valuable and applicable to the workforce for that matter - than any single gain from having worked alone.
Though we’re not saying that a distributive and collaborative system as previously described is appropriate for all situations, but we do challenge you to be aware and open to situations where it would be effective (and absurd not to)! Should you go this route, teams of 3-7 persons are recommended for accountability, as well as manageability, purposes. In addition, regularly scheduled checkins, i.e. weekly reports/assessments are encouraged!
So why not use existing google products to collaborate this way? Well, we’re better looking, for one!
More importantly, we make it our mission to push boundaries of multi-platform integration and close-knit collaboration.
Let there be no pressure to do as the Greeks do, but let there be encouragement to always be creative, to do good, and to work together. Especially in regards to the intelligent application of technology. :)
Two-Minute Tip: Separate Workspaces for Organizing Every Aspect of Your Life
Creating a separate workspace for each aspect of your life only takes a few secs, and helps out A LOT with organization & reducing clutter.
Why create extra workspaces? Why not list all tasks on one display?
If you plan to lightly use Producteev on one or two aspects of your life (shopping lists, errands) then placing all your tasks on one workspace would be okay. If you plan on using it for several aspects (which you know you should) it’s best you create separate workspaces early on.
Here is how to go about it:
On the upper left portion of your screen, click on the blue tab that reads ‘(your name)’s Workspace.’
A little dropdown menu will appear. Click on the white bar titled, “New Workspace.” Type in the name of the new workspace you would like to create, and click on the ‘+’ on that very same bar to save it.
That is it! Just repeat this simple procedure for additional workspaces. Plot your tasks accordingly onto each of the applicable workspaces, and you will neatly be on the road to productivity! To switch between workspaces, just click on the same blue tab, and select which workspace you would like to view. If you would like to change the order in which the workspaces appear on the blue panel, simply drag and drop!
Producteev for Instructors: All Work and YES Play!
The best thing about Producteev is that you can manage each of your course sections, as well as your personal life- all with one tool!
There is a delicate balance between juggling subjects, multiple students, and professional goals on top of personal matters. Summer is over, and it’s time to get back to the daily grind that is teaching. The workload seems to be ever-increasing with each passing semester, and the old-fashioned lesson planners and grade books can only go so far! Let Producteev for Education help you reclaim your life!
Simple Guide to the Path of Tranquility:
Using your .edu e-mail address, sign up to Producteev for Education. (Link below)
Once you’re in, assign a ‘workspace’ for each of your sections.
Under each workspace, plot the information highlighted on the syllabus.
Assign due dates and reminders as needed. These can be done via e-mail and IM.
Add some visual appeal! Assign colored labels to each category of assignment. For example: Response Papers = Red; Research Reports = Yellow; etc.
Observe the activity in all your sections with one glance through the ‘overview.’
As assignments get completed, mark them ‘done.’ Now onto the next project!
But wait there’s more! Producteev for Education adds another layer of awesome to what it has to offer.
Hold that Thought: Add notes to your tasks! Feel free to quickly jot down any ideas you may like to implement… before the thought gets lost in another rush of ideas!
Sharing is Caring: Collaborate with a colleague or superior on tasks!
Now of course we won’t just tell you about our amazing software, and leave you to fend for yourself! We offer videos that would help you get started with Producteev. Heck, whenever you’re ready, there are additional videos available to help guide you through the basics of each feature. Once you get into the swing of it all, you will soon find that you have… (get ready for this)… breathing room!
Whether you are a school teacher, college/adjunct professor, or even a private/after-school tutor- only you truly understand the workload that goes unnoticed with your occupation.
Unlock the door to your peace of mind, and let Producteev for Education be the key. Sign up now with your .edu e-mail address, for this free premium service by Producteev!
Getting Familiar with Producteev: FAQ List (Updated Sep 2011)
I. Login & Accounts
Open ID You can use facebook, google or yahoo connect to save time on your first, and subsequent, web app logins.
Be sure to set your account information password to access 3rd party applications (including the mac desktop app). The forgot password link is similar to resetting your password manually.
Forgot password Should you forget your password, you can generate a temporary password using the “forgot password” option in the login box. Go to the homepage at http://producteev.com and instead of logging in or registering, select “forgot password.”
Be sure to check spam folders for password instructions.
Close account If you created a duplicate account or wish to delete your account forever, you will need to email contact[at]producteev[dot]com with your request.
Currently, there is no way to delete an account on your own. The upcoming web app, however, will have this feature. Stay tuned over the next few weeks to learn more about this next iteration of Producteev.
II. Configuring Settings
Gcal Sync to google calendar in two clicks. Select an individual workspace to be synced and select the calendar icon from the task list. Next hit “send to google calendar.”
You will then be prompted to grant access to google, be sure to accept. Note: workspaces are synced on an individual basis.
Invitations Collaborating is easy on Producteev! Add a team member to your workspace from the People section, in the left side bar. Click “add a person,” enter his/her email address and hit enter.
If he/she hasn’t already, your team member will be prompted to register for a Producteev account in order to join your workspace. Should you have any issues, such as the email invitation getting put in the spam folder, you can share the unique invitation link in your Workspace Administration/People tab. Simply copy/paste the unique link and share with the corresponding invitee.
Notifications Default notifications are only for tasks with deadlines that are overdue. You can turn off these notifications from your Workspace Administration panel.
Select Workspace Administration in the left footer. Next select the Email/IM tab. Edit notifications and uncheck, or disconnect completely.
III. Basic Features
Hot tasks A task is “hot” if it has at least one star and is due today.
Email a task / IM a task Email tasks to task[at]producteev[dot]com to add them to your to-do list.
Your login email is already configured. To configure additional email addresses, select Workspace Administration in the left footer. Next select the Email/IM tab. Add and connect additional email/IM accounts.
Any tasks added via email/IM can be accessed using the Inbox filter in the left sidebar.
Inbox The inbox filter in the left sidebar displays tasks added via email/IM.
It is *not* a custom filter, as in David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) method.
Natural Language Processing Certain keyboard shortcuts are available on Producteev.
Free Producteev pricing is per workspace and workspace plans are free for individuals and small teams of two.
Any mention of the word “trial” will disappear from your account information after 14 days of use, it is merely a way to indicate that a workspace is new.
Free Premium Plans with Producteev for Education Click the following to learn more about this newly launched program for students and schools.
Discounts Producteev is proud to offer discounts for non-profit use. If interested in obtaining 20% off, email contact[at]producteev[dot]com for your promotion code.
Bundles Producteev pricing is per workspace and teams purchasing more than one workspace will receive discounts for purchasing a bundle of workspaces.
Standard bundle discounts are issued for 2, 5 and 10 workspaces. Email contact[at]producteev[dot]com for other workspace bundle needs.
V. Advanced Features
Privacy Tasks are viewable to your workspace members, unless otherwise specified. You can change privacy settings of individual tasks from the web app.
Select a task and click on the lock icon to open up a privacy window. Checked team members have viewing privileges, so uncheck names that should not have viewing rights.
Additional Workspaces Add a workspace to organize your projects, or by GTD context. Click on a workspace title and enable the workspace drop down menu. Add your new workspace at the bottom.
Note: Producteev pricing is per workspace and workspace plans are free for individuals and small teams of two. Although workspaces with 3 or more people do not qualify for a free plan, bundles and discounts (details above) help decrease the price.
Overview See all tasks, across all workspaces (projects/contexts) by selecting the Overview. Click on a workspace title and enable the workspace drop down menu to display the overview option.
Like many Producteev students, he applies proven methodologies to tackle his to-do list. The following post covers several aspects of Aaron’s busy life, all conveniently managed on Producteev.
As a college student, Producteev has really changed the way I manage my tasks and has greatly improved my time management skills. The thing I like the most about it is I can have all my tasks in one place, instead of Post-It notes and scattered loose sheets of paper with lists on them covering my desk—the list or task might start there, but it always ends up in Producteev.
Staying in Sync with Google Having a planner in class is nice, but adding it to Producteev is awesome. I usually already have Google Docs open and typing notes, so my second tab is the Producteev web app. When the instructor says “Next week we are having a quiz over chapters 4 and 5,” I am immediately ready to type it in my tasks since my hands are already at the keyboard. Each night I then go through my planner and add any additional tasks into Producteev that I wasn’t able to during that day.
Workspaces in Producteev is a college student’s dream organization tool. It’s like completely changing your desk in your dorm with one turn (or click in this case). As editor of my school’s newspaper, Parliamentarian of Student Senate, school event photographer, Veterinary Technology student and of course CEO of my life, I have a ton of tasks in some very different areas. I have found Workspaces really helps with this.
With each of my different responsibilities come tasks and, of course, with tasks, comes a schedule (otherwise you won’t get anything done on time). Producteev does have a calendar to see when your tasks are, but the most robust calendar client online is Google Calendar—I use it for everything! The best part is Producteev can sync with Gcal so you never need to add a task twice. Thought that was the best part? Wrong. Each Workspace gets their own calendar so you can really stay organized.
A fellow student once told me after class, “Aaron, I wish I was as organized as you are. You have everything so organized online with your class notes and schedule!” I realized then that I really wish more students would use these tools because it helps so much to stay on top of things and get them done on time!
Applying Stephen R. Covey’s Methods I’m currently using tags (labels) along with one of the principles from the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. I highly recommend the book to everyone: parent, teacher, employee, employer and especially students. It will not only change the way you manage your time or treat others, but it will completely redirect your life in the utmost positive direction.
A core concept is Time Management, in which Covey describes our “to-dos” in four quadrants. They are “Urgent and Important”, “Not Urgent, but Important”, “Not Important, but Urgent” and “Not Important or Urgent”. I’m not going to describe each one, but you can read them in the picture. So what do these have to do with tags? I recently redeveloped all my tags and thought I’d make them simple—starting with these four. I also have workspace-based tags (labels) like “Personal”, “School”, “Work”, and so on, but these four are the foundation.
Tagging, like Workspaces, is one of the fascinating features of Producteev. I love how you can adapt them to what best works for you. Some other great useful features are the filters and starring. They’re very useful if you take the time to organize them to your liking. Staring helps to prioritize your tasks from 1 to 5, five being the most urgent (and important). The “Hot!” filter is especially… hot! ;) With labels, filters, and starring combined, you can really take hold of “producteevity”. OK enough of the puns, but really, it’s amazing how a flexible task manager with powerful Google integration, coupled with a sound productivity method, enables me to get *everything* done!
If you’re a student looking to collaborate with friends and manage tasks for free, please visit Producteev for Education.
Student profile: @silversteelwolf MD/PhD candidate who gets things done
Michael Castello makes home-made pizza, does DIY projects around the house, camps in the great outdoors *and* is saving the world as an MD/PhD student. But don’t get too excited, ladies ;) This man’s taken - happily married to a beautiful wife and living the life in SoCal.
Lucky for us, Michael makes GTD and Producteev work for him. This post is about how he manages tasks in grad school as a med student.
For me, digital task management began with Microsoft Outlook somewhere in my “tween” years. By the time middle school came around, I was syncing it with a Windows Mobile PDA, awkwardly carrying it around wherever I could. Today, I find myself using Producteev to try and wrangle the myriad of to-do items that come with being a married MD/PhD student who has too many hobbies.
Producteev Everywhere I use a number of different devices, so I interact with Producteev in just all about of its forms in the course of my day. On my desktop PC, I use the web interface and try to process anything I woke up remembering that I needed to accomplish. At school or in the lab, I use a MacBook Pro, and have recently fallen in love with the desktop app. It allows me to break Producteev out of the browser, sorting it to its own space and minimizing the ability of the rest of the internet to distract me while I am processing my tasks. Finally, on the go I use my smartphone, running the superior Android OS. Until there is a native Android app for Producteev, I sync with Astrid - which is actually how I discovered Producteev in the first place.
Overcoming Smartphone Challenges One of the many things I like about Producteev is how easy it is to assign all of the relevant meta-information to a task as you are creating it. While my fingers are still on the keyboard, I can set priority, due date, workspace, and tags, so as soon as I press enter, the task is formatted exactly how it needs to be, no further processing required.
I’ve found, however, that adding that extra information is more than a little cumbersome on a soft keyboard smartphone, simply because the symbols take extra effort to access. When I’m on my phone I’m usually in the middle of doing something else and don’t have the time to carefully format a task. I deal with this by having Astrid set to put all new tasks into the brain dump workspace. If I think of something while mobile, I enter it as quickly as possible, saving the categorization and cleanup for when I have time at a full-size computer, such as at the beginning or end of the day.
Other Integrations & Experiments I’ve been playing around a bit with integrating Evernote with Producteev. If I take meeting notes in Evernote, I can not only search through them later, I can also email the entire note to Producteev as a task, with all the surrounding information attached. Be aware that if the note has a lot of images and other content (such as a clipped web page), it can generate a good deal of garbage notes as well.
For processing email-based tasks, I generally either still forward the email to Producteev with the appropriate syntax in the subject line or switch to the app and enter the task myself.
I’m hoping in the future to make more use of the shared workspaces, both at home between myself and my wife and between the members of my lab. I see this as being helpful for identifying tasks that require cooperation to complete and for sending others to-do items that they can prioritize as they see fit.
Adapting GTD I’m not a strict follower of Getting Things Done (GTD), but I am enamored with the idea of organizing and breaking down tasks into items with clear contexts and end points. Heavily inspired by this article, I set up a number of different context-related workspaces. Each one contains tasks that I must complete or remember in that specific context: Home, Lab, School, Errands, Computer, and Communication. I also have a workspace for projects, and a brain dump. Keep in mind that each new workspace will need to be separately configured to integrate with Google Calendar and other services.
With this many workspaces, the overview pane becomes quite valuable - I can quickly get an idea of what has be accomplished over the next few days regardless of context. I can also switch to a specific workspace to keep other types of tasks from looming and overwhelming me. I’ve found that this has helped me focus a great deal - I can concentrate on lab tasks while at lab, even as I think of and add things I’ll need to do later at home.
Projects I’ve found that having a separate workspace for projects and other “some day” items is helpful. This is where tags come in especially handy: A project often has a number of steps, which I try to break down into individual tasks. Tagging all of these with a project helps keep them together, and priorities can be used to assign them a kind of hierarchy so it’s obvious which one has to be tackled first.
Final Thoughts At this point I’ve been actively using Producteev for about nine months and it’s been extremely useful for helping me organize and remember everything I need to accomplish. It’s always a struggle to not get overwhelmed and to take decisive action to complete a task, but anything that helps lower the activation energy required is a boon - and Producteev makes for a wonderful catalyst.
#ProducteevEdu: Organize. Collaborate. Get more done. Enjoy college!
Awesome news: starting with the new school year today, we’re launching Producteev for Education and giving away our Premium plan to anyone with a .edu address.
Students are oneofthemost common demographics on Producteev. They use it for everything from managing their homework to keeping a simple shopping list. But, with Producteev’s freemium model, it’s been pricey for students to collaborate with others. Now it’s free!
With ProducteevEdu, you can now easily manage tasks for yourself or with your group, classmates, professors, and more - the possibilities are literally endless. And using our web, native, and mobileapps, you can take your tasks to go and manage them from anywhere!
Remember Producteev integrates with students’ favorite tools too, so you can sync with Google Calendar and email in a task! With our newest crowdsourcing feature, you can even keep a workspace completely private but get help on a specific task by sharing it on twitter, facebook, or over email in one click!
Producteev for Education is already being embraced by superusers and newbies. After doing a private demo at Columbia University (two team members’ Alma mater), student governments, developer groups, and labs on campus have contacted us about getting it implemented in their environment.
We’re really excited about how students will use Producteev! We hope you’re excited too, so don’t put off productivity a minute longer - sign up today!
Bonus: Anyone can use their unique sign up URL to refer peeps and have a chance to win a Kindle, iPod, or even access to the awesome Producteev3 beta! =)
Producteev for Students: Breeze Through that To-Do List!
Producteev (the ultimate to-do list application) makes it easy for you to schedule not only your coursework, but also a life outside of it!
What comes to mind at the mention of the word ‘school,’ or ‘college’? Ok, besides the parties! ;) It’s all the things you have to do, right? This is where the syllabus is your guide! Use it to get things scheduled and out of sight, out of mind. That way, you can enjoy other things (pssst, where’s the party Friday night?)How Producteev can help you lead an active social life ;)
Plan your complete syllabus. That’s right, plan ahead to have more time later. With each syllabus, scan through assignments, plot titles and due dates accordingly, on any Producteev application (web, mobile, desktop). Tip: set reminders to give yourself a little nudge. These are available via e-mail, IM.
Label to-dos. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. ;) Assign a ‘label’ to each class. This helps you file them and provides a good visual, in addition to our calendar view.
Add notes to anything. Now don’t get carried away, though you’re probably suspect for getting note-happy! The caveat is to make notes action-oriented so that you’re actually helping yourself move forward, instead of just collecting useless information. Tip: click on the number of notes (to the right of a task title) in your task list to expand the note window.
Free & collaborative. Study buddies? No problem! Sign up below for the completely free version for groups and individual students!
Procrastination just got easier! ;) Well, more like, you can move deadlines around with ease. Adjust dates, as your schedule sees fit. You can either change due dates in the SCHEDULE pop up, or from the Calendar View.
Bottom line for newbies:
Ridiculously easy interface. Not a tech-whiz? No problem! Just one look at the interface, and you will see that it is very basic and user-friendly. There are also video tutorials to help you get started, as well as additional videos to help you get moreso into the nitty-gritty.
You’ve recruited the individual members of your team. You’ve established your goal. You’ve developed a plan and a timeline. Now the trick is to get all those unique individuals working together toward the same goal. Given the varied personalities, communication skills and personal agendas individual members bring with them to the team, getting your team to work cooperatively can be a challenge.
In the most productive teams, members are individually and cooperatively focused on reaching the team’s goal. Members understand the interdependent nature of the team: that their individual work depends upon and affects the quality of others’ work and, ultimately, the ability of the team to reach its goal. Members respect, appreciate and recognize each person’s unique contribution to the team’s efforts, but place the greatest emphasis on cooperative achievement of the team goal.
Experiential team building was all the rage not long ago. The team would travel offsite for a “fun” day of rope games and unusual problem solving, typically at an outdoor education center. Unfortunately, too often there was little follow-up and any lessons learned never made it back into the workplace. Today, the emphasis has shifted to in-house team building exercises that can be accomplished at the beginning of a meeting.
Follow these key steps to plan a productive team building exercise:
1. Keep it simple. It should be quick and easy to set up in a typical meeting room.
2. It doesn’t need to be expensive. You can get a lot of mileage out of basic office supplies or a few items from your kitchen pantry.
3. The exercise should be geared for normal office clothing or team members should be told ahead of time to dress appropriately.
4. People have a hard time relating to large groups, so divide the team into small units of 2 to 4 or 6 people. By breaking down barriers and creating partnerships within these small groups, team members will be better able to relate to the larger team.
5. Instructions must be easy to understand, especially by any non-native English speakers in your group.
6. Limited instructions may be part of the team building exercise. Forcing people to figure out what to do or how to do something helps team members identify skills and abilities in themselves and their peers that can help them define their roles on the team: leader, facilitator, problem-solver, communicator, etc.
7. The exercise should engage all members quickly.
8. It should present a problem that has multiple solutions to allow for creativity, but that can only be solved through collaboration and cooperative action.
9. You can increase the difficulty level of any exercise by adding a complication such as “no talking,” or by speeding things up by asking, “How can you do it faster?”
10. At the completion of the exercise, it is crucial that a facilitator, often the team leader, lead the team in reflecting on what happened, the choices made, and how they interacted with each other. Team members should discuss what they would do differently next time. Reflection is critical to identifying and reinforcing learning.
Try these team building exercises to get your team off on the right foot.
1. Scrambled Jigsaw. Before the team arrives, place a jigsaw on each table. To manage the time element, use large-piece children’s puzzles of 100 pieces or so. Remove 5 pieces from each puzzle and move them to another table. As the team arrives, divide members among the tables. Instruct teams to fully complete their puzzle, by any means, in the shortest amount of time possible. As puzzles are completed and teams realize pieces are missing, they will be forced to negotiate with other teams to complete their puzzle. This exercise promotes flexibility, communication, negotiation and cooperation.
2. Creative Assembly. Purchase 3-D punch-out wood dinosaur puzzle kits. Divide the team into groups of 2 to 4. Without comment or instruction, give each group the unpunched puzzle pieces, one complete puzzle per group. Do not let the group see the boxes, pictures or instructions or in any way identify what you have given them. Instruct each group to assemble its project, telling them they can only use what is in front of them. You’ll get some interesting and creative constructions, a lot of laughter and some good natured frustration, particularly with the winged dinosaur kits. When time is up, ask each group to describe its construct. In this exercise, creative thinking, brainstorming, problem-solving, cooperation and consensus will certainly get a workout.
3. Slight of Hand. Divide team into groups of 4 to 6. Hand each group 4 tennis balls. Tell them each person must handle all 4 balls in the shortest time possible. Do this several times, each time asking, “How can you do it faster?” This exercise will progress from the obvious passing of the balls down a line, to around a circle, to some interesting ball drops and hand swiping. Your team will practice cooperation, quick thinking and creative problem solving in this exercise.
4. Going Up. Divide team into groups of 2 to 6. Give each person one 8 1/2” x 11” sheet of paper and one 5” strip of masking tape. Instruct each team to build the tallest possible free-standing structure. This exercise promotes cooperation, creative thinking, problem-solving, consensus, leadership and division of labor.
5. Gnome Dome. Divide the team into groups of 2. Give each group 20 gumdrops and 12 toothpicks. Instruct each group to build a dome. Problem-solving, creative thinking, cooperation (and possibly snacking) will be practiced during this exercise.
6. Poisonous Web. Stretch a piece of rope across a door frame, securing it to the frame or connecting wall with duct tape. You’ll need two pieces of rope, one 3 feet off the ground, the other 4 1/2 feet off the ground. You are creating a “window” 18 inches wide that you describe to the team as a “poisonous spider web.” The team must work together to get all members through the opening without touching the ropes. They must go through, not under or over the ropes. If a team member touches either rope, the entire team must go back to the beginning and try again. This exercise builds cooperation, leadership, creativity and problem-solving. It also forces team members to trust and depend on each other.
7. Hang Ups. Hand each person a wire coat hanger. Tell the group they may work individually or create their own groups. Instruct them to make something useful from their coat hanger. Set a time limit of 5 to 15 minutes. Ask each person/group to describe his “tool” and its use. This exercise will indicate which of your team members are natural leaders or born socialites as well as which are more shy and may need to be drawn out when working with the group.
8. In the Picture. This is another puzzle game. Divide the team into groups and give each one a jigsaw puzzle from which you have already removed one piece. Each team will complete a puzzle with one missing piece. Ask each team what this represents in terms of the team. You’re aiming for discovery of the importance of each individual to the successful accomplishment of the team’s goal, but you may get some interesting responses about proper planning, supply officers and quality control.
9. All Aboard. This is another physical game. Depending on the size of your team, place a 1-foot to 3-foot square of cardboard on the floor, or mark off a square with masking or duct tape. Draw numbers, one for each team member. In order of the numbers drawn, team members must stand in the square. As the number of people in the square increases, members will have to work together and get creative to get everyone aboard. This exercise practices cooperation, problem-solving and leadership.
10. Bridge the Gap. Divide the group into teams of 2 to 4. Give each group a small ball of modeling clay and 12 toothpicks. Instruct them to build the longest cantilever bridge they can. Award points for speed of construction, length of bridge, ability to stand without tipping over and ability to hold weight (to measure this, stack quarters until the bridge tips or breaks). Team members will practice creativity, problem-solving, consensus (and manual dexterity).
To be successful, teamwork must be more than a method of dividing up the work to get the job done. Teamwork must embrace a cooperative attitude of mutual respect, shared responsibility and open communication. Teamwork recognizes each team member’s individual contribution to the team in the context of the interdependency of those efforts in cooperative pursuit of the team’s goal.
It was geeks galore on our very first (and uber-successful) game night on 8/31/11! We all gathered ‘round in teams, and battled each other in a game of Celebrity, which is a cross-breed of Charades and Taboo. Oh, and food? Of course we got that covered! There was pizza, drinks, and prizes! The prizes given included Producteev t-shirts, and ThinkGeek gift certificates! Check out the slideshow!
We would like to thank all the attendees for making our game night a raging success. There will surely be more to follow! Would you like us to host a game night for geeks in your city? Let us know in the comments below, or heck, you can even tweet us!
I’ve been on the Produceev team for over 4 months now, but I first fell in love with the service over a year ago. The feature that first hooked me in was the ability to turn emails into tasks. I hate having a full inbox, but with just a few keystrokes in Gmail I can forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org and archive it for good. In around a minute I can clean out and tag around 15-20 emails. By assigning stars, labels and deadlines for all these tasks directly from my email client, (just add “##Follow Up 5* Tomorrow” to the subject,) I have effectively curated a task list that I can scan at a glance.
At the time of this writing I have 8 workspaces. Two of these are used for testing new features, one is for personal tasks, and the remaining five are for collaboration and other projects.
I keep between 2-3 of my workspaces open during my day at the office. I leave them in separate tabs and use the “pin tab” feature in Google Chrome to keep it tidy.
Neat Tip: Ctrl+1 in Chrome will display your first tab, Ctrl+2 will display the second, etc.
Having these always open eliminates any incentive for me to jot down my notes on paper. Besides—paper notes don’t have push notifications.
When I’m working on projects, I create new tasks as new issues arise and ideas pop up so I don’t forget about them. All the ##bugs that are introduced are prioritized and tracked, and all the ##issues that I have to bring up to the team are dealt with quickly.
At this point, I’m left in a very comfortable position. Since the software is handling all of the dates and priorities while I’m working, I don’t have to worry that I’ll forget about anything. If I sort by deadline or priority I can see exactly what needs to be done first without having to go through my email account, notes, and various other online services. Most importantly, throughout this whole process Producteev isn’t sucking up all my time dealing with project management since adding and editing tasks are quick processes.
My Personal Workspace gets a lot of traffic from me during the day, too. I drop in articles to read later, set reminders to catch up with friends, and add an occasional note to check out new technology or videos. I also use it for more the important things, like making sure I pick up my son’s records from school and getting my taxes done. Personal time is hard to find sometimes, so breaking things down into really small tasks is what makes this workspace feel less overwhelming.
Since the Producteev service is centralized on the web, it synchronizes with native applications, like the iPhone application. There’s also a light mobile web version that you will see automatically by going to Producteev.com from your phone. I’m using both. I love the notifications and offline features of the free iPhone app, but I also keep bookmarks directly to my most used dashboards on my home screen.
Lastly, I am still able to create milestones and a basecamp-eque workflow with my fluid style of working. For instance, in a major release cycle I can just create a new label (e.g., Version 1 Release) and assign it to all the tasks that fall under that milestone. If I need to see all the tasks within that milestone, I can just use that label’s filter. I find that Calendar view on the web app helps out a lot here by letting me drag tasks around for this.
Producteev is Indispensible
The burden of managing the tasks lies on the software. It rarely takes more than 15 minutes per day to manage my tasks, so I can focus on what I love doing (programming) rather than worrying about what I need to work on next. I automatically get reminders and notifications when I need to do something. I also don’t have to worry about sorting through notes, meeting minutes, emails, and a countless number of online services to remember what I need to get done. It’s all in one place.
If I have to meet a critical deadline, I can sort tasks by due date to make sure I hit my personal goals for the day, and if I’m running behind schedule, I can judge that quickly by looking at my list. On the other hand, if there’s no rush, I know I have some extra time to work on less critical, lighter tasks; this is stuff that normally get pushed around for ages. Additionally, the mobile and web apps are available virtually anywhere for a lot of platforms, so I can— and do— use it anywhere.
I’d like to go into more detail about my day here, but I’ll save that for another time. There’s just so much to get done!
For those of you that want to know what we’re all about This is 10% luck, 20% skill 15% concentrated power of will 5% pleasure, 50% pain And a 100% pure hardcore #hustlesesh baby!
Today I’m passing on the torch to the stunning Farhana Rahman, our new social media / community intern, but not without saying a few parting words. ;) I’ll leave her to fully introduce herself in a moment, but just to give a sneak peek there will be a lot more content on the Producteev blog.
“The pivot is arguably the most important part of a startup.”
Well, in this case, it was the most important aspect of my internship. I was primarily brought on for content creation, but Ilan and Judi recognized my talent at evangelizing our app, and thanks to them I was able to pivot and run with this in hopes of getting even more market recognition for our brand. I quickly started hustling and evangelizing Producteev to every living soul around me! Even your mother - is she liking Producteev, btw? ;)
I learned how to pitch our product in a casual conversation and give sales presentations (thanks Made to Stick!) This even eventually helped me turn a “no” hiring decision from Producteev into a “We’re sold! Let’s try out your crazy marketing plan and hire you again” (more on that in a future blog post).
I’ve done everything from co-founding a new meetup group for techies to helping with copy for our web redesign to going out and attending networking events almost every night, promoting our app like crazy (and having fun while at it!)
I’ve had 7 internships so far and I never get tired of them. In fact, I highly recommend them as they’re a great learning experience. When else do you get your own personal mentor for free?!
And because this time I was working from an office as Judi’s (Producteev’s community manager) apprentice - who was already ingrained within the world of social media and community management - I got access to a wealth of information. I thought I knew all there was to know about social media before starting at Producteev, but to my surprise there was still much to learn. More importantly though, I got to make amazing connections (and eat lunch at Googleplex East) through Judi’s network. I’ve lived the startup life nonstop for the past year, with humble beginnings at Social Bicycles. Working out of an established startup’s offices every day of the week, however, allowed me to bounce ideas off Judi and get invited to impromptu outings - the best part of my job.
As of today, I’m embracing a new role as a Community Developer and heading up a new, stealth project codenamed Krazy Kangaroo. If you’re a student (or one at heart) and would like to get a taste of the life mentioned above or be involved in helping a startup expand, you can do just that by working with me! Apply here: Krazy Kangaroo
This summer’s internship has been the most exhilarating, challenging, and awesome experience I’ve ever had… and now it’s your turn, Farhana :)
Hi! My name is Farhana, and I am the new interning Social Media Manager!
I was born and raised in New York, was a writing prodigy, and was quite the social butterfly growing up. I now enjoy all things tech and all people tech! What cooler way to combine these elements than a career in social media?
When not on social media platforms at work, you would find me engaging my wonderful like-minded buddies on Twitter. I have a reputation for being an ‘ego-booster,’ am adored for my self-depreciating humor, as well as my zany content on Twitter. I also work pretty hard to maintain a decent Klout score - my goal is 84.
Don’t be shy to drop me a line, and let me know how I may assist with your experience using Producteev!
Updated: Support's not moving, it's getting a makeover!
A new Producteev help center with fewer but hopefully better organized and more helpful articles will soon be available.
In the spring, we thought it would be a good idea to relocate support. While that may be accomplished in the future, for now we’re making it our priority to:
respond in a timely fashion
decrease the amount of incoming requests with better documentation
The above are possible even without relocating, so although we had planned to move the support center (in order to combine it with the idea forum), it is instead staying right where it is at: http://support.producteev.com/. And like the envisioned relocation, the made-over Producteev Support will be “streamlined, simplified, and easily searched.”
Just aiming to make it leaner, meaner, and having it better serve you! Stay tuned via blog this month. :)
Early stage of makeover process
Thanks for your patience with our recent growth and new users, and sorry for lags with our back-to-back releases. Summer’s been busy with the launch of our mac desktop app, mobile web app, crowdsourced tasks, and email sync for outlook and google tasks. More improvements across the board — support, community, and especially product — to come!
We <3 # 5-8: Make Your Team Happy to Increase #Productivity
Are your employees happy and productive?
Or do they waste inordinate amounts of time complaining and procrastinating?
Employee productivity is a challenge that faces all companies.
Are your employees happy?
And more importantly, what are you doing about it?
Happy is Productive
When was the last time your company made an effort to keep its employees happy?
Too often companies neglect their employees’ well-being.
Many leaders think a touchy-feely issue like “employee happiness” is better handled by the HR department. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Employee happiness is not an HR issue. It is a leadership issue.
Good leaders know that happy employees are productive ones.
Yes, times are tough. And money is tight.
However, that doesn’t mean that you have to make your employees live a miserable existence. Good leaders know that taking care of their employees leads to increased worker performance.
Happy employees not only work harder but have higher feelings of company ownership.
Unhappy employees often will not go the extra step when it comes to work.
Happy employees have higher retention.
And despite what HR will tell you, unhappy employees will leave. Yes, even in this economy. (And the good ones leave first.)
So, when was the last time that you (or your company) did something to make employees happy?
Productive and Happy About It
There are some HR types who will argue that happiness does not equate to productiveness.
And it doesn’t by itself. It takes leadership, purpose, and drive.
However, in the same situation, who do you think will perform better? Happy employees or unhappy ones?
I guarantee that happy workers will out perform unhappy ones every day of the week. (Especially on Mondays)
Here are just a few tips to help “Keep Your Employees Happy and Productive:”
Recognize Them – Most companies are very poor at this. In fact, a large number of companies have no employee recognition. Publicly recognize your best employees and reward with something that is important to them. (Danger: Recognizing the wrong employees can be an explosive issue. But, that is a topic for a different leadership article.)
Thank Them – Sometimes you don’t even have to recognize them, how about just thanking them. Employee happiness is not tied to awards and rewards. Sometimes a well-placed and sincere “Thank You” is all it takes.
Listen to Them – Want your team to be happy and productive? Listen to them. Leaders sometimes think they have all the answers and fail to listen to the team. Not only does the team often have the “answer,” but sometimes they just want to be heard.
Be Straight With Them – Employees want the straight scoop and they feel respected when they get it. Don’t wrap announcements in legalese or HR speak. Any leader that thinks that employees can’t “read between the lines” on corporate memos shouldn’t be in charge. Instead, tell your employees the truth.
Give Them a Day Off – Rewards don’t have to be trips and monetary incentives. (Although those are nice!) Try rewarding hard work with time. Time off that is. A simple day off can be the difference between a happy recharged top performer and burnt out jaded one.
Pamper Them – As I have mentioned, rewards don’t have to be expensive or lavish. Sometimes it is the little things. Go for the small ones. Sometimes they make all the difference. I once worked with a call center and one day we replaced all the workers chairs with brand new rolling ones. People were literally “rolling” through their day and were on cloud nine.
Remove Obstacles – Want happy employees? Then don’t put silly rules and obstacles in the way of them doing their job. As a leader, your job is to remove the things in their way. Except when it comes to safety, problems are not solved by putting “rules” in place. Want increased happiness and productivity? Remove the red tape! (See: The Difference Between Blue Tape and Red Tape.)
Surprise Them, In a Good Way – Surprises can be a great motivator for employees. Just make sure you are in tune with your employees or else you risk surprising them with something that could backfire.
Happy and Productive
When your employees are not happy, they are not as productive as they could be.
Unhappy employees are unmotivated and uninspired to work at their potential. Even your best performers will leave when they are unhappy.
Many companies do not make the effort to keep employees happy because of the assumed costs. However, most employees are not looking for expensive perks to encourage them.
They will be driven with a little recognition, support, and thankfulness.
Oh, and don’t forget to listen to them.
When was the last time your company boosted productivity by making employees happy?
After launching Producteev for Mac just two weeks ago, we’ve gotten a lot of awesome feedback - thank you! Things like:
There’s been a surge of questions lately, so we wanted to address those while working on the next update.Producteev for Mac crashes at launch?Deleting ~/Library/Preferences/com.producteev.Producteev.plist should do the trickI signed up for Producteev with Facebook, Yahoo, Google / Google Apps and don’t know my password to login to the app?We wanted to have our apps out to you as soon as possible! =) As such, unfortunately, some of our apps don’t have single sign on integrated yet. If you originally signed up with facebook, yahoo, google/google apps, and try to use another app (like Mac, Astrid, iPhone, etc.), you’ll have to create a password in order to proceed. Select the ‘forgot password?’ link on the website homepage and enter your email login. Follow the email prompts to create your password. You will then be able to access all apps.I’m loving your Mac app. Is there an iPad app on the roadmap, and, if so, when is it planned for?An iPad app has been started, but there is no planned release date yet. Follow our twitter for updates. Some of us at the office are pushing just as hard as you are, though =)Are you going to update the iPhone app soon to coordinate with super cool desktop app?Yes, we have started working on an update to the iPhone app.
And there are many more exciting things to come down the road for Producteev. Stay connected for more information =)
Release of the highly anticipated, native Producteev Android app is again post-poned. Now before you go all Angry Birds on us, you should hear us out.
The latest version of a Producteev Android app was indeed beta tested by a select group of superusers. Their verdict? The app, in its current form, is not ready for public release.
Like the previous two 3rd party Android developers, the most recent 3rd party developer is also unable to continue the project and make the necessary changes to improve the app and bring it up to par. Which leaves us right back where we started a year ago – still without a native app to complete our Google suite.
Before making the difficult decision of whether to launch the app as is – since we had no other viable option with this 3rd party developer – the team thought long and hard. Ultimately, we could not put the app on the market as is. Sorry to repeat another delayed release and for your disappointment and frustration with us.
Below, however, is just one example of beta tester feedback which speaks to the condition of the current app. I think you have the basis of what could be a good app but I really don’t think you should consider releasing it at the moment as I think you will get negative feedback from the majority of users…. I hope you find this email constructive as this is how I mean it to be.
ING New York City Marathon 2010
Now the reason a native Android app was not initiated in-house in the first place was because no one on the Producteev team had the related experience and skill set. Starting this week, however, a fully-dedicated in-house developer has begun a native Android app from scratch. He, along with the rest of the team and beta testers, are determined to see this project through to completion. Or Ilan, CEO, will have his head! ;)
We know that we dropped the ball, perhaps we shouldn’t have made launch estimates based on an app that was not being built by our team. We know that our Android users deserve more and are not secondary to our iPhone users. A native Android app is Producteev’s top priority – not just in theory but in practice. We can only hope for the opportunity to make it right and keep the community updated with its future development.
We really do want to make an app that is awesome! In the meantime, the new mobile web app may help make your wait more bearable.
We just had a baby! Say hello to Producteev for Mac, currently available in the Mac App Store.
This was truly a labor of love, taking nearly nine months from start to completion. We’re so proud of our new addition to the Producteev app family that, like many beaming new parents, we’re sharing photos with the world!
Join us in welcoming the beautiful Producteev for Mac app, and download it now. And give us some love with a wonderful App Store review! :D
A special thanks goes out to all our beta testers — you really helped the last couple of weeks. We appreciate you!
You just unlocked the universal Producteev mobile web app
As previously mentioned, we left some things off of the public roadmap. Our new mobile web app is one of them! Now you can add, organize, assign and track your to-dos without any native or 3rd party mobile applications — all you need is a Wifi hotspot or 3G connection and you’re good!
Jon Steinberg of Buzzfeed, one of the earliest adopters, calls the app, “a work of art.” It’s pretty amazing, if we don’t say so ourselves ;) What once started as a side project in one dev’s spare time (talk, dedication!) has really taken off and become completely company-backed.
Access the mobile web app on your device by going to: producteev.com or m.producteev.com. It works on works on iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android phones and tablets, Windows Phone 7, Blackberry….you name it!
Below’s another attractive screenshot. Happy Hand-held Tasking!
Did you know that there are 48 million tourists that visit NYC every year? We <3 NY and thought of a neat way to bring NY to you! Even if you can’t be one of the 48 million this year. ;)
This season kicks off the Producteev Summer Tour! We’ve been planning a unique way to highlight local attractions for some time. Today, with the arrival of our official foursquare cling (sticker letting visitors know they can check into a particular venue), we’re getting the party started!
We’re leaving tips all around NYC from our brand new foursquare account. Most of them will be secrets that only native New Yorkers usually know! Some of them will make fun of tourists from a local’s perspective. Either way, we hope they’ll be engaging and humorous. So, whatcha waiting for!? Add the Producteev Beaver as a friend and find out more about the city that never sleeps (or challenge yourself to complete to-dos should you decide to visit!)
Your Wellbeing in Mind Valuing productivity means creating a healthy balance between work and rest. This summer is as appropriate a time as any, to remember to enjoy your surroundings and soak up some rejuvenating relaxation. Cheers & don’t work too hard! ;)
We’re constantly improving the product, and here’s the short list of current projects:
mac desktop app: done; pending app store availability
native Android app: beta
surprise apps & features*: preparing for launch
website redesign: started
*If we told you everything, it would kinda take all the fun out of it. ;)
The above list is in order of status, with the top projects being the most complete. Since we’re adding a few new pages to our website, the suggested Product Roadmap is under consideration as well.
More importantly :D we are open to empowering a small team of power users/brand ambassadors to take the lead with roadmap updates and become our Product Super Heroes. What this involves:
working closely with the Producteev team
serving as Features & Product liasons between the team and all users
maintaining roadmap estimates on a monthly/bi-weekly basis (method & frequency to be determined)
The approximate time commitment is 1-2 hours/month. Piece of cake, right!? If this volunteer opportunity excites you, drop us a line at: email@example.com. Perks include product exclusives, handwritten thank you cards with smileys & hearts on them, swag, and other cool things.
You know what's better than one Producteev intern?...
The bosses are out buying new desks today. The reason? Another new face at headquarters. Meet a second summer intern, Florian!
I’m Florian Auban, and I just joined the Producteev team for a six-month web developer internship.
I didn’t hesitate one second to leave the cozy French riviera and discover the City That Never Sleeps! I’m in my fourth year of engineering school in Nice after the 3 first years in Paris (following my high school in Carcassonne, in the south of France). In Télécom ParisTech, my engineering school, I specialize in Information and Web Technologies, Networks and Multimedia.
I have been passionate about web social technologies for the past 5 years. I even developed a social cooking website for a school project! Cooking is another passion of mine :)
When not coding, I love playing soccer. And even if it’s not America’s favorite sport, I hope to find other French and American players while here in NYC!
At Producteev, I already find inspiration from such a dynamic team, and being set in an exciting city is a bonus! Follow me on twitter @pioupioup.
Cheers to 3 years of Producteev - your fave task management app
Thanks to everyone who came out to our 3 year anniversary party last night. We had a blast celebrating with Producteev users and friends! As Ilan Abehassera, CEO, said in a short appreciation speech, “We wouldn’t have made it without the support of investors, our loved ones and families, and you — our customers!” See you next year!
‘Work smarter not harder’ is one of the most popular catchphrases fueling the information age. Yet most of us frequently overlook the fact that time is the only true luxury we have in life. Being more productive doesn’t make you stronger, cooler, or wealthier. It allows you to get more done in less time so you can use the time you save to get more enjoyment out of life.
Here are 50 ideas to help you do just that:
Do what you don’t want to do first. – If you handle the toughest tasks first when your mind is fresh, you’ll get done quicker and make the rest of the day more enjoyable.
Focus on high impact tasks. – Figure out what will have the greatest impact today, and make sure you address the most important stuff first. Don’t get caught up in odd jobs, even those that seem urgent, unless they are also important.
Don’t confuse being busy with being productive. – Stop and ask yourself if what you’re working on is worth the effort. Is it bringing you in the same direction as your goals? (Read The Success Principles
Accept imperfections. – Perfectionism is the enemy of completion. Don’t ignore the forest for the sake of one lonely tree. Most of the time small imperfections aren’t even noticed, so don’t waste all your time on them.
Create and refer to a TO-DON’T list. – A to-don’t is a list of things not to do. It might sound funny, but it’s useful for keeping track of unproductive habits, like playing online flash games, checking Facebook, etc.
Use productive shortcuts. – There are productive shortcuts for almost everything you do. Finding and using them can save you a few minutes here and there on a daily basis. If you use a computer, learn the keyboard shortcuts for the programs you use most often. If you can permanently delegate one of your regular tasks to someone else, do it. Is there a route to work with less traffic? Where can you hit two birds with one stone?
Narrow the number of ventures you’re involved in. – Productivity is not usually my challenge, narrowing the number of ventures to be productive in is. Even when you have the knowledge and ability to access super-productive states, you get to a point where being simultaneously super-productive on too many fronts at once causes all activities to slow down, stand still and sometimes even slide backwards.
Pick-up the phone. – We’ve become so accustomed to communicating digitally, sending emails, IMs and texts, etc. that we forget we can get some tasks accomplished in a fraction of the time with one or two quick phone calls.
Use technology to automate tasks. – From creating email filters, to automatically backing-up your hard drive, to automatic bill paying. The more you automate, the more you can get done without with the same level of effort.
Learn to search Google effectively. – If Google is the portal to the information superhighway, Google’s advanced search operators are the most efficient vehicles on the road. Once you learn them, you will find what you seek in half the time, every time. For example, with Google, you could search for “life lessons” site:www.marcandangel.com to find all of the life lessons posted on our blog. Spending less time looking for information means that you can get more done.
Group similar tasks back-to-back. – Switching gears between different types of tasks can be tough. It takes most people several minutes to get into a productive mental groove geared for a specific type of task. Therefore, it makes sense to group similar tasks in an effort to minimize the number of rough patches, and thus wasted time, between task orders.
Pay attention and get it right the first time. – The better listener you are, the more you will learn. The more you learn now, the fewer questions you will have later, and the less time you will spend searching for answers. And obviously, doing things right the first time eliminates future delays.
Eliminate all distractions for a set time. – Distractions are everywhere. They arrive via email, cell phone, coworker inquiry, etc. I’ve found that cutting out all distractions for a set time is one of the most effective ways to get things done in less time. You can’t remain in hiding forever, but you can be nearly four times as productive while you are.
Plan ahead and start early. – 10 minutes of dedicated time planning each evening will save you from 30 minutes of ad-hoc preparation each morning. Likewise, starting your morning on purpose 30 minutes early will likely inject at least 60 additional productive minutes into your day. Think about it.
Organize your space. – How much time do you think the average person wastefully spends searching for items they’ve misplaced? Keeping both your living and working spaces organized will undoubtedly allow you to get thing done more efficiently.
Choose a dedicated spot. – Don’t put your car keys, cell phone, etc. in a different spot each evening after work. Choose a dedicated spot and make it a habit. There is nothing more frustrating in the morning than looking for the stuff you need. Morning scavenger hunts are a huge waste of time.
Productively use waiting time. – Waiting time does not have to be wasted time. When you are waiting at the doctor’s office, the post office, or on hold for the next available representative, what simple tasks could you complete while you wait? How about sorting through your snail mail or email, writing those thank you notes you’ve been putting off, reading the book you keep meaning to read, reviewing/editing your to-do lists, etc.
Stop over-analyzing things. – There comes a time when you have to stop evaluating something and just bite the bullet and do it. Contemplating taking action isn’t taking action. It gets nothing accomplished.
Handle 2-minute tasks immediately. – “The 2 Minute Rule” is single greatest tip I picked up from David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done
. If you roughly estimate that a task is going to take you less than two minutes to accomplish, do it right now. It’s a waste of time and energy to keep small tasks like this on your to-do list on in the back of your mind.
Make reservations. – When a one minute phone call now can save one hour of waiting later.
Ask more questions. – The trial and error process can be a huge waste of time. Often people view asking questions and relying on others as a weakness, but they are sadly mistaken. Asking legitimate questions will bring you closer to the people around you and likely save you a huge chunk of time. Win-win.
Buy in bulk and cook in bulk. – Buying stuff and cooking food are two of the most common unplanned consumptions of time. Most people buy replacements in small amounts only when they need them and think about food only when they’re hungry. The problem is these issues will often arise at inopportune times. The most efficient way I’ve found to counteract this is by doing bulk loads of both. I know I’ll always need gas in my vehicle. So instead of putting in $25 here and $25 there, I top off my tank every time I’m at the station regardless of the sticker shock. Likewise, I know I’m going to be hungry at lunch time every day this week. So on Sundays I’ll grill up five extra chicken breasts and make a chicken wrap or sandwich for every day of the week.
Standardize common tasks. – If you find yourself performing the same set of tasks on a regular basis then it makes sense to establish an efficient, standardized way of accomplishing them. Are certain tasks easier to perform in the morning? Are there additional resources that can be utilized only at a certain time? It’s up to you to find an efficient pattern, standardize it and follow it.
Stop consuming the headline news every day. – Most news has no long term value. Mainstream media primarily focuses on ‘what’s hot now’ instead of ‘what will be useful tomorrow.’
Stop mindlessly browsing online ad infinitum. – Web browsing is one of the immense black holes in time spending. Before you realize it, you may have spent hours browsing while generating very little value.
Turn off the TV. – Nuff said.
Make better usage of commute times. – Listen to audio books, make calls, do some proactive time planning, etc. I use Evernote on my iPad and capture tons of ideas and thoughts when I’m commuting and traveling on business.
Write things down. – Nobody’s memory is perfect. If you don’t take notes and setup to-do lists for yourself you will end up wasting time several minutes of time every day trying to remember things that would have taken you seconds to write down.
Consolidate all daily errands into one trip. – Consolidate all of your errands into one trip instead of driving back and forth several times from home to the store to home to the bank to home, etc.
Exercise daily. – I know it sounds counter-intuitive. You have to spend time exercising. But exercise boosts cognitive function, creativity, problem solving and productivity. In fact a NASA study showed employees who exercised daily worked at 100% efficiency after seven hours, while those who didn’t saw a 50% drop, meaning it took them twice as long to accomplish the same thing. (Read The 4-Hour Body
Use a timer. – I use a timer to limit the amount of time I spend on daily tasks such as email, returning calls, cranking through my to-do lists, etc. This keeps me from getting overly distracted from the truly important tasks I must accomplish during the day.
Harness the power of teamwork. – I heard a story once about some horses that were in a competition to see which could pull the most weight. One horse pulled 3,000 lbs and another one pulled 4,000 lbs. Someone suggested the horses team together to see how much they could pull. Most guesses were in the 7,000 lb to 10,000 lb range but when those two horses worked together, they pulled an amazing 20,000 lbs. That’s the power of teamwork. Good teamwork can get a large project completed in an amazingly short amount of time.
Just say NO! – While saying yes can take us down some wonderful roads, there’s also a ton of value in saying “no.” We’re only given a certain amount of hours in our lives; do you really want to give yours away so easily? If you don’t have to time to commit to a new project, complete a favor, or serve on another committee, it’s a good idea to just say “no.”
Focus your attention on one thing at a time. – Cutting out multitasking (or “multi-slacking” as I call it) leaves you to focus more intently on one task and finish it to completion, rather than having many tasks started and nothing finished.
Create productivity triggers for yourself. – If you’re fighting yourself every step of the way, forming diligent habits is hard. You need to create triggers to help you out. A simple example would be packing your gym bag the night before to keep you from having an excuse not to go to the gym. Or put the books you need to take back to the library in front of the door, so you can’t leave the house without seeing them and remembering they need to be returned.
Touch inbox items only once. – This one is difficult for most people (myself included), but it really makes a difference. For new email or other communications, look over it and decide what to do with it right away: archive, respond, flag for follow-up, etc. Regardless of how you process communications, just make sure you deal with them once rather than wasting time by looking at them without taking decisive action.
Clean up your inbox. – Your inbox (email and otherwise) should only be for priority communication; otherwise it just wastes your time. Set-up email filters to keep things organized and filter spam in your email inbox (here’s how in Gmail).
Use time multipliers. – Effective delegation of lower priority tasks is a time multiplier. Eliminating time wasting activities is a time multiplier. Screening phone calls is a time multiplier. By practicing creative procrastination on anything that doesn’t propel you toward your goals, you can multiply the amount of time you have to achieve those goals.
Relocate closer to your place of employment. – In every major city in the world there are people traveling over an hour to reach their work destination from home. This is a huge chunk of time that could be used far more productively.
Avoid meetings. – Not all meetings are a waste of time, but many are. If you frequently spend time in meetings, but would rather be doing your actual work instead of listening to other people talk about things they could have sent you in an email, see if you can get out of some of those meetings. You’ll get a lot more done.
Let your mouse do the walking. – Shop online, rent movies online, pay bills online, etc. It’s so much more efficient.
Keep it simple. – Keep your to-do lists and planning simple, and don’t waste time playing with new tools. There’s always going to be shiny programs that promise to make your day faster and more efficient. Stick with one, and learn to rely on it.
Tell other people and hold yourself accountable. – It’s always a smart thing to tell people what you’re working on. If you tell your colleagues or friends that you’re going to get something done, it motivates you to see it through to completion. People who have a support system almost always find it easier to make things happen.
Hire someone. – Sometimes it makes more sense to hire someone to do something, especially if your time is worth more money than you’re paying that person. For example, if I have a large yard that would take me five hours to maintain (it’s pretty big), it makes more sense for me to pay someone as I can earn more during those 5 hours by working. Other things you might pay someone for: other home maintenance projects, washing your car, doing errands or laundry, doing your taxes … just about anything where doing it yourself isn’t cost-effective.
Spend minutes now to save hours later. – During happy hour last Friday I spent some time listening to one of my colleagues confess her utter distaste for the Windows 7 Start menu. “The system is organized all wrong. The programs I need are buried and the ones I never use are right at my finger tips. I waste so much time digging through menus,” she said. “But you can easily rearrange that,” I replied. She looked down with a despondent expression on her face. “I know,” she said. “Someone else told me that too, but I haven’t taken the time to figure it out.” Bottom line: Sometimes you have to spend a few minutes now to save hours of grief in the future.
Practice the 80/20 rule. – Generally speaking, the 80/20 Rule states that 80% of our results come from 20% our actual work, and conversely, that we spend most of our energy doing things that aren’t important. Figure out what that 20% is comprised of and focus as much of your energy as you can on it. (Read The 4-Hour Workweek
Time box. – Assign a set amount of time per day to work on a specific task or project. Focus entirely on that one thing during that timeframe. Don’t worry about finishing it, just worry about giving it your undivided attention for the set timeframe. (This is the opposite of having fixed goals. For example, you don’t get up until you’ve written a thousand words, or processed 25 orders, or whatever.)
Remove information sources containing little value. – Unsubscribe from RSS feeds and newsletters that give no bang for their buck, and set up quick email filters to delete or de-prioritize the junk mail that isn’t easy to unsubscribe from.
Don’t underestimate the time it takes to do something. – Know the opportunity cost of your actions and how long something will truly take to do. All things being equal, the best solution is the one that takes the least amount of total time (including maintenance time for fixing and support). What might have been a great idea with an hour of projected work would likely be a horrible idea if it took all day.
Start now. – In the end, all the tips in the world won’t make as productive as you could be if you simply started to get things done right now. Don’t waste another minute! START!
Crowdsourcing a task on Producteev: online collaboration without limits
People no longer have to register for Producteev to collaborate together. This is good news for EVERYONE!
For Producteev users: Any created task can be made public in one click. Simply select the facebook or twitter icon in the task details. A short URL for the public task will appear, indicating crowdsourcing was successful.Your public task can then be broadcasted in your networks (facebook, twitter, email). To broadcast the public task via facebook or twitter, enter your facebook/twitter credentials to share the task on your wall or in your timeline. You will have the option to comment on the crowdsourced task, just as you would with any other link that you share via facebook and twitter. Instantly access your crowdsourced task by clicking View from the task details. Once a task is complete (yay!), or you’d like to remove access for any reason, it can just as easily be closed with the Make Private option in the task details.
For collaborators: Any person with a link to the public task can participate. Comments and feedback are easily added: using Producteev — or for non-users — facebook or twitter credentials. A collaborator also has the option of email-subscribing to public task updates in one click.All comments and public tasks will match on both the crowdsourced link, as well as a Producteev user’s workspace (dashboard). Users can answer any collaborators’ questions, or simply add additional commentary, from within their workspace. Simply post a note to the public task from the Task List or Task Details page. It’s that easy! Your collaborators will see feedback immediately!
Pretty nice to be able to collaborate without the extra steps of registering, right? We think so. You’ll have some great tasks to crowdsource now, and we’d love to hear all about them. :)
Should you need ideas to help you get started, below are 10 examples: Personal Productivity
plan a trip
raise donations for a cause
ask for assistance doing term paper research
plan a night out with your friends
hunt for an apartment
Productivity for your Business
get help with hiring
collect small-scale feedback on a new feature, product, or prototype
In a recent study (see infographic from Master Degree Online below) of 125 students those that used Twitter for educational purposes in the classroom outperformed students using traditional learning methods. Aside from higher GPA’s the Twitter enable students were also 2x more engaged in the classroom.
thanks to every developer that entered our API contest!
Thanks for participating in our developer throwdown! The deadline has arrived, so we’ve now closed the floodgates. Tasky, the beaver, is busy taking a look at the apps, but we’ll make sure that he posts them next week when you’ll be able to vote on them. Thanks again for participating and we hope that you’ll keep developing on top of our API even though the contest is over - there’s a lot of community-requested apps we could use your help with!
Have no fear, @tushark is here - the social/community sidekick
Hello community, Judi, your CM of one year here :)
In economics, we learned about something called the Division of Labor. It may sound fancy, but all it really means is people get better at what they do when they specialize.
Wearing lots of hats as community manager is a challenge I’ve enjoyed meeting; however, starting today, with the addition of a Social Media-Community intern I’ll be able to specialize and give customers — like you — better support.
This is something we can all be thankful for! Without further ado, meet Tushar Khandelwal, the latest and greatest add to the team.
I’m Tushar, a recent engineering grad, who joined the team as the new Social Media intern! I was born in India, but grew up in Tokyo, and came to New York to get a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia. I’m a self-proclaimed tech geek, read lifehacker and techcrunch, and have even served as an early adopter for everything from Producteev and Gmail to foursquare and other smaller startups.
I’ve been hardware hacking (with a little programming) for most of my life and besides serving as tech support for my family + friends, I also built an automatic wall painting robot! In the past couple of years, I’ve come to love the NYC tech and social media scene; as such, I’m excited for my internship at Producteev, helping people discover our apps and manage their tasks online.
When I’m not at my desk, you can find me biking the streets of New York or discovering new events and areas the city has to offer. My favorite productivity killers are Roll a D6 and a video I directed of my previous bosses madly running all over NYC. Feel free to keep in touch / follow me on twitter (@tushark) or stop by my blog at http://blog.tushark.com.
OneTask - a new app to help you focus on one task at a time (thinkPomodoro technique) - now syncs with Producteev. Put an end to the misleading myth of multi-tasking! Start one-tasking with OneTask & Producteev, to help you focus and get things done one priority at a time. ;)
E-commerce #productivity with @Mathilde, #French CEO
"No need to spend time writing long emails or follow up with colleagues on a specific task, Producteev takes care of it all! In the end, the collaboration tool makes work relationships seamless :)" - Mathilde Le Rouzic, CEO, epicurean, geek around the edges.
management of multiple websites, from development to marketing
greater team communication, greater actionable activity
Quaelead is an e-commerce suggestion engine. Mathilde le Rouzic is the founder, and she and her team make recommendations on gifts, decor, jewelry and other products. Created in 2009, the company manages 3 sites: UnCadeau.com (founded October 2009), jeveuxdesBijoux.com (founded November 2010), Bijouxpascher.com (founded January 2011).
Although Producteev is multi-platform, they mainly use the web application, with a workspace tab always open on each team member’s browser. “It’s part of the productivity trio: Gmail, Skype, Producteev,” Mathilde insists. As a busy and often on-the-go CEO, she regularly uses the iPhone app, especially while commuting to and from the office. “I use my down time productively,” she reveals, “to review my upcoming tasks, as well as my team’s tasks.”
Her team is also a fan of Calendar View and the drag-and-drop interface. It helps them shift tasks around on any given day. From a team standpoint, they claim that Producteev has drastically reduced the number of emails they used to send to each other. Instead, they rely on the task manager for full online collaboration, including adding notes and files. They add that they use Skype for quick communication, anytime they’re missing elements to complete specific tasks.
Their single most used label is titled “DEVELOPMENT,” and all the technical aspects of all 3 websites are managed through Producteev. Being able to modify details, like assigning a task, priority level, deadline and so on, breaks down project management into simple task management for them. Each one of them freely rearranges their tasks through out the week.
In addition, Mathilde harnesses the power of Producteev for our a lot of Quaelead’s marketing campaigns, from newsletters, to coupons, to strategic partnerships…
According to her, Producteev has improved their business by making everything super efficient, as well as centralized in one common location. In fact, she’s going to launch a couple of other e-commerce websites, and once again Producteev will remain the central communication and productivity piece. “We’re just so satisfied with it,” Mathilde concludes, “and the more our team grows, the more we need it to manage our work!”
Bonus: What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs, especially in e-commerce, about productivity? "Through the years, I got used to capturing a lot of notes, in the very moment that I thoguht of them. I continually take time off from answering emails and taking calls every day, in order to process my most important tasks. I also force myself to spend at least an hour a day on less important tasks. It’s not as interesting, but way less annoying than letting them pile up!"
Life After College, a new book by Jenny Blake, has been full of productive inspiration for me. In fact, I had the pleasure of attending the book launch in New York City, where I got to meet Jenny. I was truly blown away by her charisma.
The major themes of Life After College are: seizing the day, as well as the counterpart to that, which is instilling balance. The race to success, especially wealth and prestige, are so ingrained in the American lifestyle that it’s sometimes hard to remember to pause and recharge for your longterm wellbeing.
However, Jenny’s book helps with that and offers practical advice, workbook-like exercises and even recommended reading. The format also includes quotes from both famous people and everyday people on twitter. Divided into several sections, Life After College delves into: an overview on life, work, finances, the home, organization, friends & family, relationships, health, fun, and my favorite: personal growth.
To paraphrase the chapter on personal growth, the takeaways include: embracing the moment, as well as choosing when not to work, and instead doing the things that make you happy.
Often underestimated, they’re actually fundamental to personal productivity.
According to Jenny, personal growth also entails treating yourself well — on a psychological level. She gives advice on friending your inner voice.
The most valuable lesson from Life After College is the inspirational aspect and somehow mustering the courage and audacity to dream. After reading, the work has prompted me to write my major life goals, a sort of bucket list, if you will. Though somewhere in my mental repository, I had procrastinated writing them down out of fear.
Change starts now.
In her book launch speech, Jenny told the story of how her book was turned down numerous times by the publisher, but she refused to give up on a project she believed in. Any book, whether about life after college, a different period of life or other self-help issue, that encourages grand actions and provides tools for achieving them, is a book you won’t want to miss. Consider it my summer reading recommendation for you, regardless if you’re a part of the recent grad demographic!
Savory or sweet? Help us plan our 3-year anniversary party!
Thanks to Dave Weinber, of Silver Spring, MD for participating in our twitter contest yesterday. Producteev’s three-year anniversary is just around the corner and we’re throwing a little get-together!
Save the date for Tuesday, July 5, 2011 (the technical date of incorporation was July, 8, 2008). We’re planning a party here in New York City. So even if you can’t come, you can still help organize.
go a tad formal and do wine & cheese, or
make it a bit exotic with sushi!?
Beavers eat fish, right? You can count on there being birthday cupcakes. We’ll send more info and the link to RSVP in an upcoming newsletter. Keep your eyes peeled and your creative juices flowing. Cheers!
Joining the team: @askmarkhamilton Windows developer & kitten rescuer
We’ve kept quiet about Mark Hamilton, our new Windows dev. He’s been chucking away at over 4,000 lines of code. If you’re interested in beta testing what he’s developing (it’s going to kick A$#, by the way) drop us a comment below!
In Mark’s own words: Hello everyone, I’m Mark, a 24-year-old developer that just joined the Producteev team. I’ve been programming for most of my life, starting from the day my dad taught when I was a little kid. My focus has changed a lot over the years as I drifted from project to project, but it’s given me the opportunity to work on everything from palmtop computers and desktop applications to websites and video games. I’ve arrived here at these offices by happenstance, but my goal is very clear; I’m helping create a solid product that people use around the world.
When I’m not at the office, walking the streets of New York, or spending time with my family on Long Island, my rock star alter ego likes to come out and jam on the bass guitar. If you’d like to keep in touch, you can follow me on Twitter at @askmarkhamilton or stop by my blog at http://www.markhamilton.info.