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Time Tracking Hack: Toggl

Posted on May 17 2017 | Author: Poonam Patel

Start timer.

Whether you are an entrepreneur with your own start-up, an employee of a small business, or the CEO of a multinational corporation, understanding how your time is being spent can help optimize your productivity at work.

Tracking your time can tell you exactly how many hours you spend sending emails, reading articles, working on specific projects, or writing a blog. By logging your hours, you have a record of what you are spending the most time on and where you need to put in a bit more work. Knowing how you are spending your time will assist in planning and managing your time for the future.

Toggl is one of my favourite apps to keep track of how I spend my time at work because of how simple and user-friendly it is. Here are some features of Toggl that have helped me track my time and make my days more efficient.

Interactive One-click Time Tracking.

Just download the Toggl desktop app and open up the logger. With just one click, you can input what you are currently working on and the timer automatically starts recording. When you move onto a different task, simply enter the title of the next project and the timer will begin again. All your tasks of the day are listed in the logger, that way if you decide to stop a project and go back to it later, all you have to do is start the timer for that task again and toggle will sum it up for you.

Tracking Reminders.
It’s easy to get consumed in your work and forget to enter your projects into the app. That’s why Toggl allows you to set timed reminders for when and how often you would like a notification to track your hours. You can set it for every 30 minutes from 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, to ensure that your entire workday gets recorded. This feature is especially helpful for new users who are just starting to use the app and have a hard time remembering to start the timer.

If you forget to start timer – that’s okay you can always manually add it in later.
 

Reports.
Toggl summarizes your time into a daily or weekly report with a detailed breakdown of time spent on each activity. This can be compared to previous weeks and be used to set realistic deadlines or allocate accurate time towards similar tasks in the future.


Pomodoro timer.

This is a feature that is based on a theory that people work best in 25-minute bursts with a 5-minute break in between. Toggl allows you to set your timers and schedule
your breaks to help maximize your productivity and efficiency throughout the day. The time intervals can also be customized to suit your personal workflow.

Unlimited projects.
Even with the free version of the app, you can log your hours for an unlimited number of projects or clients.

This app acts as a tool to keep track of how you are spending your time at work. It is important to keep a log of your hours but this is only useful if you analyze the data! Be sure to reflect on your time, compare your reports to previous logs, identify what time of day you are most productive, understand how long it takes to complete specific projects, and use all of this information to manage your time better in the future.
 

How Toggle has helped me.

1) Forces me to stay focused on the task at hand. Sometimes multi-tasking isn’t always the most productive way to work and time tracking allows me to focus my attention on a specific project without being distracted by my other tasks.

2) Helps me stay organized. Toggl allows me to keep track of all my on-going projects and clients to make sure none of them fall off the radar.

 3) Makes my to-do list more effective. I now add estimated times next to each of my tasks based on previously recorded Toggl times to plan my schedules and make my day more efficient.

End timer.

Blog – 1hour 56minutes added to timesheet.

Thank you Toggl!

* Toggl can be integrated directly into other productivity tools like Asana, Todoist, Trello (read our blog from last month) and many others!

 
Sources:
 
Poonam Patel
Analyst, Bioproducts 





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Outlook Hacks for Efficiency and Organization

Posted on May 08 2017 | Author: Laura Millson

As a project coordinator for many specialized tasks, managing and tracking emails is an interesting challenge, especially when coordinating multiple inboxes.  I receive emails with varying subject content from all facets of our organization and beyond. 

I would like to share a few functions that simplify my day. Give them a try to see if they work for you and share your feedback.

Often email conversations mask important references and attachments, but most importantly the “true subject” gets buried and is no longer part of the email subject line. Emails that you have been copied on, or forwarded can also become time wasters – having to open every email because the subject or focus is submerged.  It can all become confusing!

I routinely use a feature to edit subject lines.  This allows me to search more accurately and efficiently and makes filing precise and clear for others.

All emails with prefaces “ FW: or RE:” and all lengthy long subject lines do not add to the email …it becomes clutter.  In our busy days, we don’t have the time to read through multiple emails to find content.  You want the purpose…the point, the jist!

As a project coordinator, keeping track of emails can challenging, but there are a few tools I use that help me manage my “clutter”.  Let me begin by clarifying that my mouse is set up with a secondary click on the right side to give me quick access to features within Outlook 2011.

Here are my top Go-To’s….5 features to test out for yourself…

1. Edit the Subject Line.

Help manage your inbox and avoid inbox overload.

Click on an email and go to Message> Edit Message Edit Subject

Edit the subject line, close the window and it will update automatically in your inbox. This allows you to change the email subject line…try it once and you will use it every day!

 

2. Move Emails.

Store emails in folders directly from the inbox without dragging and dropping them in the wrong folder.

Click on an email and go to Message > Move

A list of recent folders or the option to choose a folder will appear. Alternatively, you could set up a rule for instant filing.

 

3. Flags and Reminders.

Flagging emails reminds me to check on action items by date – this creates a task list and is helpful for time sensitive reminders.

Your task list is generated as separate activity located under Calendar in your Outlook Navigation menu.

Click on an email and go to Message > Follow - Up

 

4. Forward an Email.

Quickly send an email as an attachment without the search, drag and drop delay.

Right click on the Message > Forward as an attachment

I use this in conjunction with ‘Editing the Subject Line’.

 

5. Create a Rule.

Set up a protocol for auto-delete of recurring emails or set unique criteria for filing, this is useful for subscription and industry references, newsletters or repetitive emails.

Click on an email and go to Message > Rules

At the end of the day, it’s about finding something helpful that works for you, makes your day productive, and gives you the confidence that everything is in its place. I hope you find value in my tried and true tricks for controlling, tracking and organizing.

 

Sources:

http://logonoid.com/images/outlook-logo.png

https://unsplash.com/collections/794479/do-more?photo=KE0nC8-58MQ

 

Laura Millson
Special Projects Coordinator






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Time Management and Communication Hack: Trello

Posted on April 28 2017 | Author: Sophie Wotten

In any organization, it is critical to optimize employee's time and skills. Organizations are continually looking for a way to streamline processes and improving communication within a team.

Trello is a solution that can simplify the way your team communicates. Whether you are working from home, another province or in the office, you are able to collaborate and organize projects from anywhere, anytime! Trello is a free project management tool that is easy to sign up for on your web browser. It provides a simple and sophisticated way to organize projects. As a visual learner myself, the project plans it creates are easy to follow and fun at the same time.

Trello makes it very easy to collaborate on various projects. The user is able to create a "board" which is known as the specific project. Once the board is created, the user can invite team members that are also working on the project. As an organization, you are able to create several boards for your staff, depending on the tasks at hand, and there is no limit!

Completing projects is more than just checking an item off your "to-do" list. Each project involves planning, development, revision and communication. It takes an entire team’s devotion to making a single project successful. Trello provides a platform to consolidate ideas and assist the best outcomes possible. It is a great tool that moves projects forward and can assist with keeping your staff on track.

Since using the Trello system, it has become a great system to use not only at work but also at home as well. Here are some of the features that make this system function for me.

Keyboard Shortcuts: Just like using your laptop, there are specific shortcuts designed to save you time and frustration. These functions are as easy as moving a board, creating a new list and pasting items.

Copy and Paste Multiple Items: Trello has the capability to copy and paste items from Excel and Word. It also can separate each line item into its own checklist – re-typing information no more!

Turn Emails into Action Items: Trello makes organizing your time and work tasks easy by transforming emails into board items – saving time from having to look for that "one" email.

Export to Excel: Exporting to Excel can generate a snapshot of a project or provide a status update.  is a fantastic way to take a snapshot of a specific project or the status of your workload. Before a meeting, you can easily download the information and a workflow chart.

Trello is a very user-friendly system with multiple capabilities. Once learning of this organizational tool, I have not used any other system. These few features have made using Trello stand out from its competitors. So why do I like using Trello more than any other project organizer?

 

  1. It is simple and very user-friendly.
  2. It's free! Once you sign up using your email address, you can start using Trello immediately. The system provides great tutorial videos making the learning process very simple.
  3. Trello can be used on any size of screen. It does not matter if you are using your cell phone, tablet or computer; the Trello site actually looks like an app!
  4. If you are working on a project in a team, you do not want to wait to review updates a day later. With Trello, it provides real time updates!
  5. Trello is compatible with other programs such as Excel and Word. Instead of typing in lists individually, you are able to import the list into Trello and it creates a new chart or checklist for you.

Trello is a great organizational tool that can assist with team communication and project management. Its user-friendly capabilities can allow for staff to learn the system easily. With numerous features that can assist with time management, Trello could benefit your team with their next project. If you are looking for an easy to use tool to help organize your workload, maybe Trello could work for you too!

 

Click below to Get Started:

https://trello.com

Sources:

https://trello.com

https://screen.cloud/app-store/trello

 

Sophie Wotten
Events & Marketing Coordinator






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Productivity Hack: Boomerang for Gmail and Outlook

Posted on April 04 2017 | Author: Kelly Laidlaw

In March, the Bioenterprise team launched our productivity hacks blog series. We are always on the lookout for innovative tips and tricks that we can share with our entrepreneurial network. In my blog, I will share one of my favourite productivity tools called Boomerang. Boomerang is a free email add-on that helps me manage emails and increase productivity. Not only can it assist in replying and following-up on messages, but it also helps to ensure that every email is perfectly crafted. Here are the main reasons why I use Boomerang:

Get reminders to follow up. Boomerang, which works with Gmail and Outlook, will send reminders if you have not received a reply to your email after a certain amount of time. You can then react by sending another email to follow-up. This can help ensure important conversations do not fall off your radar.

Another useful feature of Boomerang is the ability to write and schedule a follow-up email concurrently as you compose the original email. If the recipient does not reply to your email, Boomerang will send the second pre-written email to follow-up for you. If you do receive a response, Boomerang will not send the follow-up email.

Schedule outgoing emails. Boomerang allows you to schedule messages to be sent at any time you choose. This means you are able to send emails when they are most likely to be opened. This is important since a well-timed email is 30% more likely to be read than a poorly timed email. For example, Boomerang generally recommends sending emails on Tuesday mornings since that is when emails tend to have the highest open rate. This feature is also handy for communicating with people in different time zones. Boomerang even understands language that is contained in the text such as “tomorrow morning” to suggest times to send your message, or you can select it yourself.

Pause incoming messages. There are times when we need to focus on the task at hand without being distracted by the constant flow of incoming emails. Boomerang offers a productivity solution that allows you to temporarily pause the flow of emails. You can even schedule emails to be delivered to you at certain times of the day. Attending to emails in blocks of time is more effective than constantly checking your inbox – it takes about 64 seconds to recover from each message that interrupts you and return to productive work.

Craft highly effective emails. Boomerang’s new Respondable feature uses artificial intelligence to help you write more actionable emails. Respondable sits in the lower corner of your browser and rates your message. This feature lets you know how likely you are to receive a response based on factors such as subject length, word count, politeness, and more.

This add-on has made my workday more efficient because I spend less time searching for messages to follow-up on and has significantly decreased the likelihood of important things falling through the cracks. If you are looking for a way to manage your emails more effectively, give Boomerang a try. It simplifies and improves my workday and it may help you, too!

 

 

 

 

 

Click below to download:

Boomerang for Gmail

Boomerang for Outlook

 

Sources:

http://www.boomeranggmail.com/

http://www.boomerangoutlook.com/

https://techcrunch.com/2014/03/06/newly-updated-inbox-pause-utility-lets-you-check-email-on-your-schedule-not-theirs/

http://www.inc.com/janine-popick/3-free-gmail-plug-ins-im-using-right-now.html

https://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/502106/inbox-zero-enlightenment/

 

Kelly Laidlaw

Program Manager, Corporate Relations






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Finding the Right App for Your Business

Posted on March 14 2017 | Author: Jessica Taylor

Time is money. Money sustains our businesses. So it is no surprise that, as business leaders, we are constantly trying to fit more into less time. We strive to be as productive as possible in both our personal and professional lives, and as our organizations grow, we quickly realize how important productivity is to team success as well.

Many tech companies, some new like Slack and Trello, and some household names, such as Google and Apple, have capitalized on our desire to be as efficient as possible by creating apps. A quick Google search of “productivity apps” lands you 41,700,000 results in a mere 0.60 seconds. I’m stating the obvious here, but that’s a LOT of options. So where do you start? How to you begin to narrow down your options and determine what is best for your organization’s specific needs? Start with these considerations:

1. Analyze your workflows.

Reflect on your current workflows and processes. Where are bottlenecks occurring? What issues have arisen? Don’t do this alone, talk to your team. Each of your team members has a different role than yours and, in turn, a different perspective.

2. Identify your needs.

Following your analysis create a list of your needs and prioritize them. Have your team do this too. An anonymous survey through a free site like Survey Monkey is a quick and effective way to capture honest feedback.

3. Research

With these prioritized needs front of mind – research! Do simple Google searches to identify apps. Read reviews – good and bad, from multiple sources. Research companies similar to yours and determine what apps (if any) they are using. Do primary research. Call people. Use the power of your network to get candid feedback – seek out differing opinions so that you end up with a well-rounded overview. This is particularly important for apps that you have short-listed.

4. Decide in haste repent at your leisure.

Just because a new app is trendy and “everyone” is using it doesn’t mean it’s right for your organization. Implementing new apps takes time and effort and it is much harder to get the support of your team to support a switch to a new app three months down the road when you realize your first choice wasn’t a good fit. 

5. Do NOT be cheap.

When used properly, many applications can have a significant impact on the productivity and culture of your company. While there are a number of free apps that can be incredibly effective, don’t automatically pass up options that have a price tag. If it is the right option you will make your money back in spades.

6. Ask for help.

You will quickly find that your network is happy to spread the word about their experience with apps they have tried – the good, the bad, the ugly. As well, don’t hesitate to reach out to the creators of the apps you are considering. They are often happy to provide insights including customization options – you don’t have to settle for the default settings!

Choosing what tools to work with on a daily basis is a process. Enjoy it. Work with your team, listen to their opinions – they are working at the front lines and can often identify needs and issues you hadn’t considered yet. While there is an upfront investment to get a new application up and running in your organization you will reap the benefits quickly.

Work smarter, not harder. 

 

Jessica Taylor

Senior Analyst, Bioenterprise BC






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