Tag Archives: BetterWayToWorkWednesday

4 Steps to Solving Your Meeting Problems

You’ve just finished a round of back-to-back video conferences, calls, and team meeting. It’s finally time to sit down and start your Excel reports for the day, only — oh snap — it’s 5PM.

Where did the day go? You take a step back to reflect on how you spent your last few hours. Here’s what you conclude:

  • You spent approximately 1 hour dealing with video conferencing software that didn’t work.
  • You spent 15 minutes apologizing to clients for your screen share not working.
  • You spent 30 minutes trying to find a new conference line after your company’s phone system kept dropping everyone’s calls.

You spent more time fumbling around than having real, impactful conversations, and now you’re stuck working late. And for what? A day’s worth of frustration, not face-time.

Technology empowers businesses infinite touch points to connect. But it’s also buggy. Broken phone lines, resource-hogging browser plug-ins, dropped calls, and crashing systems are a huge waste of time. Follow these three steps to make sure that your next meetings run like butter.

Step 1: Battle Test Your Systems

In high school (or college), your instructor probably taught you to prepare for your presentations and meetings ahead of time. The same holds true for the workforce. Give yourself a few minutes —before your next meeting — to make sure that everything is in working order. If not, you’ll have plenty of time to find a backup plan or get help from IT.

Whatever you do, don’t trust your systems to work. Fumble ahead of time so that everything runs smoothly when five more people are on the line (or in the room).

Step 2: Have a Backup Plan

If you’re giving a remote presentation with a sales deck (or giving a PowerPoint in person), make sure to have some PDFs (or printouts) handy. Nothing induces more stress than an unexpected push to totally ‘wing it.’

If your client’s browser crashes — no problem.

If the projector decides to unexpectedly die — it’s cool.

With five minutes of advanced planning, you’ll be prepared for any situation.

Step 3: Ask People to Come 10 Minutes Early

If you want a meeting to start on time, ask people to hop on the call (or swing by the conference room) early. You can always mute your lines or kill time on your smartphones to read e-mails. By telling people to join early, you’ll be able to have an on-time start. And the stragglers? They’ll be on-time too.

Step 4: Record Your Meetings

Are you trying to host a really big meeting with everyone at the same place at the same time? These types of meetings are necessary every once in a while, but they’re almost impossible to coordinate. Some people — inevitably — won’t be able to make it. Instead of rescheduling, trying to accommodate everyone, or playing catch-up, just record the meeting so that you keep moving —full speed—ahead.

Your Thoughts

How has your company solved its clunky meeting problems? Share your ideas in the comments below. Inspire your fellow readers with what you’ve learned the hard —or the easy—way.


Celebrate Freedom from Micromanagement

Freedom comes in all different forms, from independence of a country to independence at work. In the spirit of 4th of July this week, we wanted to highlight how Producteev can free you from micromanagement. Thanks to notification and tracking features, team members can work independently and (micro)managers can still oversee everything, but do so without bugging their team. Here’s how:

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Box + Producteev for Better Content and Task Management

We understand that it’s important to keep tasks and projects organized with the right content. That’s why we are excited to announce an integration with Box to help improve the way you view, share and collaborate around your content in the cloud.

File Preview

The new integration introduces some useful viewing functionality, including an option menu to download or preview a file from within Producteev’s web app. Powered by Box View, your Office documents, PDFs and images will be converted into HTML5 and rendered in high fidelity making them look better than ever. We’re proud to have been a launch partner for Box View at Box Dev and hope you are too.



Attach Files Directly from Box

For a more seamless experience, you can now attach files to tasks directly from your Box account without ever leaving the Producteev web app. Files can also be attached and shared with team members without having to write a note.


Login to learn more about the integration and give it a try.

Have a Producteev week!


Practical Productivity

You’ve got your to do list of tasks, priorities set, and are ready to start executing in a “Producteev” way. You start off on a roll but then you hit a task that’s a bit on the boring side. Here are some tips you won’t find in the Producteev feature section about how to be productive even when tasks are mundane.

1. Review your goals

  • Sometimes it’s important to remind ourselves of how tasks, however small and unexciting, help us achieve our larger goals and enable us to work on the “fun stuff.”

2. Read your mission statement

  • Whether it’s for your company, department, product, or something else, reading your mission statement is a great way to get re-energized about the work you’re doing, why, and the impact it’s making.

3. Browse your company’s social media pages

  • This is an easy resource to turn to for inspiration. Regardless of whether the content you find is good, bad or a mixed bag, it will be motivating.

4. Add subtasks

  • Adding subtasks to that mundane task you’re working on can help you feel a sense of progress (and that an end is in sight) and accomplishment when you get to cross items off your list.

5. Set a target and give yourself a deadline

  • Most of us work faster and more efficiently when we know we need to finish x by x time (in the near future). So why not use this quality to your advantage? Set an achievable but still aggressive goal and go, go, go!

6. Reward yourself

  • You gotta mix things up sometimes and give yourself a break. If you employ tip #5, reward yourself for hitting your goal by allowing yourself to work on a pet project for 30 minutes.

7. Go for a quick walk

  • It’s been proven that walking gives you energy, makes you happy and increases creativity (among other benefits) so when you’re starting to feel sluggish and your productivity is dipping, get up for a quick lap around the office at the very least.

8. Listen to upbeat music

  • If all else fails, pump yourself up with some upbeat tunes!

That’s all for now,

The Producteev Team


The Producteev Team’s Best Practices

While every team has their own way of doing things, there are some standard best practices to keep in mind:

 1. Establish naming conventions

To help keep things organized and easy to quickly find, we suggest you and your team establish and follow naming conventions for:


  • TIP: If you work cross-functionally, it might be helpful to name projects starting with the department abbreviation.


  • TIP: Use a short descriptive title, provide needed context in the notes section, and tag with a label(s) so that the task is associated to the appropriate category or workflow stage.


  • TIP: To keep the number of labels under control and searches simple and comprehensive, we suggest team leads own label creation and encourage team members to use pre-existing ones whenever possible.

2. Agree upon use cases

Who on your team should change due dates, move or delete tasks, revise assignees, etc. – or should this be up to each team member’s discretion? Figuring out and agreeing upon the usage of the following things could save everyone a headache down the road…

  • Creating/editing/deleting/moving:
    • Projects
    • Permissions
    • Tasks
    • Priority level
    • Assignees
    • Due dates
    • Reminders
    • Labels
    • Followers
    • Subtasks
    • Notes

*Helpful hint: action taken on all of these features will be tracked in the project’s activity feed and task’s audit trail.

3. Create processes

What types of tasks warrant high priority vs. high, medium, etc.? How should tasks move through workflow stages? When should projects be private vs. open? All of these questions + more are things we recommend teams work out as they get ramped up on Producteev. This will allow everyone to be their most organized, efficient, collaborative, productive, and GET WORK DONE TOGETHER – the better way.


How to Boost Morale When Your Team Is Around the World

Geo-dispersed teams have their perks — especially at technology companies, where it’s possible to get your work done from anywhere. The value proposition is a win-win. Leadership teams have access to top talent from anywhere in the world, and employees can even work poolside if they want.

The problem with geo-dispersed teams, however, is that the experience can feel lonely. No matter how you spin it, you’re all alone — you may have never met your colleagues, and you’re probably confined to your home office.

If you’re running (or managing) a geo-diverse teams, it’s absolutely crucial to boost employee morale by forging interpersonal relationships. Here are 5 tips for getting started.

Step 1: Incorporate plenty of face-time

Don’t do your calls on the phone — do them on video. On a high-definition screen, it’s almost like you’re talking face to face. Phone conversations can be awkward and clunky, especially if you and your team have never met in person.

The more that you can make eye contact and read one another’s facial expressions, the more of a human bond you’ll be able to build.

Step 2: Meet up in person

Plan a fun trip somewhere as a team. Even if you’re budget-strapped, it’s extremely important that you spend time together as a group. You don’t need to do this monthly or even quarterly — once or twice a year will suffice.

Step 3: Emulate coffee breaks

Force each other to take breaks. Talk about what’s happening in your lives beyond work. At the office, coffee breaks are powerful for getting to know one another. When you’re part of a virtual team, you don’t have the luxury of running into your office mates in the hall or kitchen. You need to force these moments.

Step 4: Bring your dog (or kids) to work

Seriously — bring your baby, puppy, or kitten to your next video meeting. ‘Cuteness’ always lightens the mood and functions as a powerful reminder that you all have awesome personal lives.

At some point in your life, you’ve probably bonded with a stranger on Reddit over a cat video. Imagine what real-life ‘cute overload’ will do for your next team meeting.

Step 5: Ask how people are feeling

Wondering whether your team members are feeling lonely? Don’t be afraid to ask. Regular 1:1 check-ins are an absolute must. In addition to talking about work, make sure to get a handle over how your team members are doing personally.

Encourage your team members to be completely open and honest. Make it known that each and every person is valued and won’t be penalized for giving constructive feedback.

Final Thoughts: Identify Gaps and Pain Points

Happiness doesn’t happen by accident. Your team needs to work towards it. Pinpoint specific things that your employees want to fix — and fix them.

What lessons have you learned from being a part of, managing, or leading a geo-diverse team? Share your thoughts as a comment below.