Tag Archives: tips

Summer Productivity Survival Kit

Summer is a challenging time for productivity in the office and in general!

You can’t deny that during summer the atmosphere at work is different: colleagues or clients go away on vacations, it’s warmer, and the office doesn’t seem to be the dream destination, but summer can be restorative and PRODUCTIVE following these few easy rules:


Plan in advance – Build a clear calendar as it will be important to organize yourself with a clear vision of when people go on vacations and make sure everyone in the teams also knows when others will be away.

Change priorities – Take advantage of this time with less people in the office to focus on projects that have been left behind and don’t require that many people. For example, business being slow might be a great opportunity to prioritize non-usual tasks: innovate, organize some brainstorming or team building sessions and get employees out of their comfort zones to do things that they wouldn’t do during the year.

Get ahead for September - Take advantage of the slower weeks to get ahead on tasks that will be difficult to schedule in the fall, for example, get the plans and schedules ready to have a clear vision of the strategy when fall starts.

Change the Schedule – Be realistic, summer is the key time to focus more on results that time spent in the office and generally it’s a good time to focus on high-energy time slots.  For some people it typically is better to get earlier to work during summer as they have more energy than later in the day when it gets warmer when the idea of getting out of work becomes overwhelming.

Summer Hours & “Summer Fridays”

To eradicate the long Friday afternoons when employees can’t focus and just can’t wait to get out of the office, some companies especially here in the US choose to shorten Fridays and find out that not only it increases employees’ satisfaction but it also increases productivity. Unless their workload is too heavy, employees can then manage their time during the week to be out early on Friday or finish their week on Thursday nights. Of course to be successful summer hours need to meet company’s goals and not distract teams from main task.

Avoid Distractions – It will be hard especially during this big Summer of Sports with events as Euro 2012 and the Olympics which might affect productivity on the workplace. The important part is to define time to focus and time for entertainment whether is to take some special breaks as a team or for individuals.

Take time off – It can be few days or a week but taking time to chill out and disconnect from work will make a difference when the workload is back to normal in September.



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Top 5 Ways to Turn Around a To-Do List From Being a Total #Fail

To-do lists are hard, we all struggle with them. Sometimes they seem to take over our lives. We can’t let that happen!

Below are the top five signs you need to change your to-do list and how to make that happen.

  1. A disheveled appearance that’s no longer hipster. Messy hair and ’80s clothes work for residents of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. But looking a hot mess 24/7 and outside of New York City often indicates a lack of personal care. Not looking your best and paying inadequate attention to personal appearance is a faux pas in France. Nobody would be caught dead in sweatpants or Crocs over there! If you’re constantly throwing on scrubs and not working in the medical field, you may need to rearrange your to-do list. Remove things, for instance, that don’t need to be there. You’ll be happier and more likely to score a hot date, which is a win-win in our opinion. ;)
  2. Inability to carry on coherent conversations. Have you become a space cadet? Earth to Jane/John! Do you sometimes get emails thrown back at you due to not thoroughly reading them and failing to respond to all questions and concerns? You probably need to take a short break, so that your focus becomes sharper. Try the Pomodoro Technique if you haven’t already.
  3. Desks and desktops that are utterly out of control. Similar to personal appearance, our workspaces should be cared for and attended. Taking moments to organize your files each day, and clearing your desk – even once a week if you don’t have time everyday – will have huge impacts on time saved in the long run. Don’t make your life harder. Keep your workspaces clean and orderly. You’ll be better at getting your work done, we guarantee.
  4. People avoiding your increasingly curmudgeony ways. If you’ve morphed into a cranky, angry person nobody wants to be around and all your co-workers dodge you in the hallways – now is the time to get serious about work-life balance. Here’s a great guest post on strategies for work-life balance. Our relationship to work affects our personal relationships. Americans especially need to be more mindful of when to put more energy on the human side and less on the money making side.
  5. Complete exhaustion and on the verge of system meltdown. OK, you’re way overdue for that work-life balance. Follow user Tony Morgan and delegate whenever possible. Go back to basics and priorities. We can’t always get everything done that we want to – but we can work intelligently to get things done that we need to. Learn about the Covey Method for prioritization, from student user Aaron Couch. Have an amazing method of your own? We want to hear it in the comments!

At Producteev, we believe you can master your to-do list. Often, it’s just a matter of re-figuring things out. Learn more about conquering your to-dos, including the famous Getting Things Done framework, from business analyst Karl Burkum.


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[HOWTO] Import Toodledo Tasks to Producteev (you need an Android device)

[Thanks A LOT to Lee Gooding for providing that excellent tutorial on our Support Center, let’s give him the stage!]

This isn’t so much an idea, as a way to import tasks from Toodledo. I have about 100 tasks in my Toodledo account and I wanted to move them over to Producteev. It took me about 15 minutes.

I have tested this with the Android version of Astrid.

Step 1:

Download and install TaskUnifier (http://www.taskunifier.com/)

Step 2:

Add the Toodledo sync plugin, and the Google Tasks publish plugin available for FREE for TaskUnifier.

Step 3: 

Sync TaskUnifier with your Toodledo account

Step 4:

Publish your newly synced tasks to your Google Tasks (using the TaskUnifier publish plugin)

Step 5:

Install Astrid for your mobile device (Android). Setup syncing with Astrid.com and Google Tasks. DO NOT SETUP PRODUCTEEV YET.

Step 6 (this may not be necessary):

Once your Google tasks have been synced to Astrid, you can go ahead and remove the connection to Google.

Sync with Astrid. Login to the web version Astrid and you should see all your Toodledo tasks now in Astrid.

Step 7:

Add your Producteev account to the Astrid mobile app.

NOTE: If you already had a producteev link then you must remove the connection to reset sync data, otherwise this will not work.

Once you have added your login info, it will sync automatically.

Step 8:

Check your Producteev account. All your Toodledo tasks should now be imported!

I really hope this helps some of you!

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How to Write a Mail to Task


Created by: Carolyn

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Multiple Monitors can Improve Productivity!



The University of Utah  did a study were they financed $50,000 worth of monitors by NEC Display to various companies. The study concluded that productivity was higher with two monitors than with one. In today’s society we have multiple windows and applications open at the same time including, e-mail, internet, I.M, etc. making it hard to keep track of them all at once. People save about “10 seconds in every 5 minutes of work” which adds up over time and does not break the flow of work.  On the contrary having too many monitors can feel like a boundary isolating you from your colleagues and can make you feel more over whelmed.

  With that said, you’re better off just having two monitors because you’re eyes don’t have to focus on too many things at once. Your eyes can just sweep over all the tasks without interruptions.  This way you will definitely have room for Producteev ;-) on your screen for maximum work productivity.


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#Productivity Tricks of Famous People: for writers, entrepreneurs, artists & thinkers

Famous visionaries often develop a reputation for having a few eccentricities. However, for many people, these small eccentricities are part of a larger group of daily rituals that help them to be at their most productive and prolific. While not all these tips, tricks, and rituals will work for you, they help to shed light on what some of our most beloved cultural icons and historical figures are willing to do in order to stay on top of their demanding workloads.


1. Addicted to Notecards: Vladimir Nabokov used 5- by 8-inch index cards to compose and order the scenes in his novels. This allowed him to experiment with the order of the chapters before transcribing the final manuscript.

2. Slow and Steady: Stephen King has explained that he always writes 10 pages a day, every day of the year (even holidays). His slow and steady approach to project management has ensured that he has a steady stream of new works entering the marketplace, and he is one of the most prolific modern authors working in America today.

3. Get Up Early: Writers like Mary Higgins Clark and Sylvia Plath started writing at 5 am and 4 am each day, respectively. Both women had small children, and those early moments in the day were the only time they had to pursue their writing careers. Writer Denison Hatch forced himself to write just 500 words per day before starting his day job, and ultimately sold three novels.

4. Get Centered With a Favorite Book Passage: Some writers need to go through the ritual of touching base with a favorite literary totem. For example, Somerset Maugham would read Voltaire’s “Candide” before starting work, while Willa Cather read the Bible.

Businessmen and Entrepreneurs

5. Be Impulsive: In business, if you have a good idea, you need to move quickly to keep ahead of your competition. In the words of Bill Gates, “When you find a good idea act on it right away.”

6. Get Ahead By Making It Personal: “Big businesses will always try to crush small upstarts. To beat big businesses, use the strengths of being small. Big corporations are impersonal; staff are often not treated well. At a small company, you can make sure your staff are proud of working for you and then they’ll work hard to be successful. And small companies are more nimble.” – Sir Richard Branson

7. Work Long Hours Now, Reap the Benefits Later: Ben Franklin knew the benefits of working long hours, as well as being known among his peers as being a person who worked long hours. This work ethic was essential for growing his printing business. He also had a routine of asking himself questions during the day. Ben Franklin asked himself each morning (at 5 am), “What good shall I do today?”; every night before bed (around 10 pm), “What good have I done to-day?”

Thinkers and Artists

8. Get Extreme: Architect Bernard Tschumi avoids procrastination by working at one of two extremes. “I work best either under pressure or by emptying my brain over the weekend,” he explains. “That blank state is helpful. It is like an athlete before a competition.”

9. Force Yourself to Stay Focused: Greek orator Demosthenes would force himself to stay focused on composing his orations by shaving off half of his hair, making him look so ridiculous that he wouldn’t be tempted to procrastinate by leaving his home. Victor Hugo would do something similar, forcing himself to meet his daily writing goals by having his valet hide his clothes. Yup, the guy who wrote “Les Miserables” liked to work in the nude.

10. Never Take Your Eyes Off Your Competition: Playwright Henrik Ibsen would work at a desk decorated with a portrait of arch-rival playwright August Strindberg. Try keeping a picture of your competitors face or company logo on your desk to spur you to new heights.

11. Use Caffeine (But Don’t Abuse It): Mathematician Paul Erdös used the last 25 years of his life to devote 19 hour days to the pursuit of higher math. To stay alert, he amped himself up with 10 to 20 milligrams of Benzedrine or Ritalin (along with strong espresso and caffeine tablets.) “A mathematician,” he said, “is a machine for turning coffee into theorems.”

12. Blow Off Some Steam: King Otto, ruler of Bavaria from 1886 to 1913, shot a peasant every morning to start his day. Thankfully, his two advisors were kind-hearted: one gave the king a rifle filled with blanks, and the other dressed as a “peasant”, acting out death throes when he was “shot”. While shooting people is absolutely NOT okay, never underestimate the stress relief you can get from a few rounds of Call of Duty.


These examples of the daily routines and productivity tricks of famous people may not be ideally suited for your busy lifestyle, but they are certainly worth keeping in mind the next time you are stuck on a project and need help powering through. And seriously, don’t pull a “King Otto”. That would not be cool.

Resources and References







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6 Tricks for Good Sleep & Getting Things Done Like a Productivity Rockstar


Like it or not, a good night’s rest — like a solid break from work — increases productivity in the long run. In a new blog section nicknamed Producteevity, we recently wrote about 3 Ways to Boost Brainpower and you guessed it — sleep is one of them.

In our epic quest to share the latest about getting the most out of work while still having a life, we found an interesting resource and related question on Quora: What methods can I use to clear my mind to help me concetrate in the day and sleep at night?

Below is an answer summary we crafted, with some useful takeways.

  1. During the day, be mindful of the foods you eat, as well as your caffeine intake.
  2. Exercise, but not too late at night.
  3. Maintain a cozy sleeping environment, paying attention to light especially.
  4. Prepare for bed with warm things — a warm shower, a warm drink.
  5. Before going to bed, write down what’s on your mind. A journal may be helpful.
  6. Don’t remain restless in bed for prolonged periods of time. If having difficulty falling asleep, train your mind with a mantra, recall a positive memory, or simply breathe deeply.

We’d love to hear what you think! Feel free to comment on this post, or better yet add to the accumulating body of wisdom being amassed on Quora.

And don’t forget: Sleep well. Work better.

Photo credit: Chrisin Plymouth

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3 Ways to Boost Brain Power & Enhance Productivity


Fact: your brain is a super computer. As such, proper maintanance is required to ensure success and productivity. Like a computer needs electricity to function, your brain is energy-dependent. It relies on chemicals, primarily oxygen and sugar, to transmit information.

To reach complete potential and greater productivity, be mindful of the following factors:

  • Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Stress

Each stems from Brain Rules by John Medina.

Exercise boosts brain power.
You’ve probably heard that exercise is good for your heart. What you may not have known, is that exercise is good for your brain, too. Although the human brain comprises 2% of total body mass, on average it accounts for 20% of the body’s oxygen consumption. Exercise is one way of providing food for the brain.

Miss recess as a child? Take a ten minute exercise break to invigorate your workflow. Get things done at home as a freelancer? Spend a few minutes completing a household chore. You’ll return to your desk more energized and have one less item on your personal to-do list.

Sleep well, think well.
Medina explains,

“The bottom line is that sleep loss means mind loss. Sleep loss cripples thinking in just about every way you can measure thinking. Sleep loss hurts attention, executive function, immediate memory, working memory, mood, quantitative skills, logical reasoning ability, general math knowledge.

Eventually, sleep loss affects manual dexterity, including fine motor control and even gross motor movements…”

Aside from making non-morning people cranky, not getting enough sleep can hurt the quality of their work and the ability to do their job well. If nap time is no longer an option, going to bed that extra fifteen minutes early is a sacrifice worth making.

Stressed brains don’t learn the same way.
Many of us are already familiar with the concept of stress comprimising the immune system. High levels of stress lead to more doctors visits and missed work. In the brain, stress severely impacts the hippocampus. Essentially, the hippocampus is located in the center of the brain, and its key function with regards to productivity relates to memory – particularly in the storage and processsing of new information. In short, stress hinders performance by blocking ideas from being committed to memory.

As an individual, techniques like meditation and therapeutic massage are known to decrease stress. In addition, many find aromatherapy to be beneficial for combatting stress.

For an organization, on the other hand, Medina recommends that managers equip workplaces with the following anti-stressors:

  1. Greater freedom with employee responsibilities
  2. A certain level of variety in assigned tasks

Check out these awesome Chapter Summaries (PDF) to learn about all eight principles covered in Medina’s book. The more you know about how the brain works and what its needs are, the better equipped you’ll be to do amazing things with it.

Photo credit: Zachary Veach

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