Team Spotlight: Mark Hamilton- Developer, Musician, Fearless Martial Arts Warrior
- Multiple Workspaces
- Less Stress
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!