Getting Things Done with Nozbe Productivity Blog

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Meet the Nozbe Team - people who make the productivity magic happen

Last week we were on the Nozbe Reunion where we spent a great week together. We had some fun and enjoyed each other's company which is very important for a team that most of the year spends time working remotely from our homes. In case you were wondering, Nozbe is not just me so in this post you'll get to know some of the people who help me get you more organized:

Nozbe team

So to get to know us better watch this short Periscope video session that we recorded on the last day of our reunion. Get to know the people behind your favorite productivity app:

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This was an amazing week and you'll see the results of it soon in the Nozbe apps! Stay tuned and in the comments feel free to ask questions to our team!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Nozbe? Because we want you to Be Naturally OrganiZed!

One of the questions I keep getting is why I named my productivity product “Nozbe”? It doesn’t mean anything in English… so why this name? Maybe it means something in some other language? Well, not really… so in this post let me share the story behind the Nozbe name with you…

Nozbe Name

Nozbe = To BE Naturally OrganiZed

When I was in college, back in 2000, me and my friend Wiktor were dreaming of running an Internet company some day and changing the world. We were brainstorming product ideas and names. And we had this idea for a productivity tool, but we wanted an original name for it. The product was about getting people organized. First off we came up with the phrase “To be organized” and started brainstorming… then we added some adjectives like “naturally”, “exceptionally”, etc….

We started with BE - we wanted this to be a part of our name. So we went with BEO, BEOD… but we didn’t get anywhere. As we were aiming at the american market, we wrote “organized” with Z and not with S (in British English you’d write “organised”).

So we went further: BEOZ, OZBE… and finally NOZBE.

5 letters, means nothing… and has a cool Z in the middle.

This is what convinced us to stay with NOZBE name. It was short, memorable, fairly easy to pronounce (not as easy as I hoped though) and had this cool Z in the middle. And back in 2000s with dot-com wave, cool names were the best.

I registered nozbe.com, launched it, shut it down… and I created a new Nozbe in 2007

That was the history - we eventually went with the name and launched a product back in 2001 - an email reminder. It was a complete flop, so we shut it down but I liked the name so much I asked Wiktor if I could keep it and keep paying for the .com domain. He agreed and I kept it.

And then in 2005 when I started creating what now is Nozbe, I was thinking about a name for my new project… and it wasn’t until late 2006 when I finally decided to really ship my own productivity app when I remembered I had that perfectly-fitting name waiting for me. So when I launched my productivity web app in February of 2007 I named it Nozbe. And the rest, as they say, is history.

So there’s the mystery behind the Nozbe name.

Nozbe - because we want you to be Naturally OrganiZed :-)

Pronunciation of Nozbe is more less like this: 👃🐝

(written by Michael Sliwinski, Nozbe founder)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Nozbe Reunion Fall 2015 - making your productivity app even more awesome

This week of September 21-25 we're on our semi-annual Nozbe team reunion where we all meet together in one place to work together, brainstorm ideas and basically make Nozbe more awesome. Unlike a "traditional" company we're all working remotely from our homes so these two times per year are the only moments that we all see each other. And we're 24-person strong team now. We're very excited. Here's what it also means to you, our Nozbe users:

nozbe Team

Support questions may be delayed...

First the bad news. As we want also our support team involved in the process, they will not have enough time to respond to your emails as fast as we normally do. We usually reply in just a few hours but this week only, you might even have to wait a few days for a response.

It's only this week and if there's anything urgent, we'll react quickly because our entire team is here.

Nozbe will be even better

Now the good news. We're not only here to bond as a team. We're here to make Nozbe better. To discuss feature requests you sent our way. To brainstorm ideas. To take your favorite productivity tool to a whole new level.

We've got great things in the pipeline

We're working on some amazing things here for you. And now that we're all at one location we're even more motivated to make it happen. And if there's any idea you'd want us to consider, post them in the comments below.

Thanks for your understanding and support. Thanks to you we get to have these meetings which help us make Nozbe great for all! Cheers!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

[Last Chance!] Our free video productivity training series - only available until midnight!

Last week we introduced you to our new video training series:

"Create Your Perfect Digital Productivity System"

In this 3-part video series I show you step-by-step how to build your productivity system:

(1) You start with "mind dump" to your inbox later you choose your priority tasks. Then (2) you start organizing everything into projects and getting these tasks done in categories. Finally you learn how to collaborate (3) with other people by sharing projects and delegating tasks.

If you want to learn all this, you have your last chance today.

I'm taking this course down at midnight California time - we received lots of feedback and need to see if/how we'll use this course in the future.

You'll get bonus points if you post your comment on the training page and let me know if this course was helpful to you. Thanks!

- Michael Sliwinski - Nozbe founder and CEO

Friday, September 11, 2015

Psst! Here's my productivity secret: see how I get things done with my assistant

As you know, every Nozbe PRO account is actually "2 in 1", meaning, you get 2 accounts for the price of 1. Yes, you can use Nozbe on your own, but you can also go to the "Team" section and put the email address of your partner and create an additional account for them, completely free.

Do you want to know how I work with my assistant?

I can't do everything alone. I need my Nozbe team. Above all, I really need my assistant to help me get things done. Are you in a similar situation?

If so, I recorded this short screencast for you:

In this video you'll learn how we share projects, delegate tasks, convert emails to tasks... and never miss deadlines. And more!

"Nozbe has really increased the communication for our team and helps us know where we are at on things without needing to talk all the time. I also appreciate how I can use it to keep my email from being overloaded." - Wade

Thursday, September 10, 2015

[New Video] How to get started with a digital productivity system?

Recently we've received many emails from people about Nozbe and productivity. Most of them can be boiled down to this:

So I have a Nozbe app. Now what? Where do I start?

I decided to answer these questions and help design your first ideal week with a system like Nozbe. Together with my team I've prepared a new and short video series called:

"Create Your Perfect Digital Productivity System"

This is a series of 3 videos where I walk you step by step through your first days in Nozbe - each video includes a screencast where you can see Mary from our trainig team walk you through each exercise:

Video 1 - Inbox and Priority list - when you go to our training page and log in with your Nozbe account, you'll get the first video. In this first part, you'll learn to start small - with your Nozbe Inbox. You'll learn NOT to store things in your head but "dump them" in a digital Inbox. That's all. You need to get the basics right.

Video 2 - Projects and Categories - in the second video we'll get more advanced. After you've learned how to clear your mind, you can start organizing things into projects and categories. This is where you'll take your productivity to a whole new level!

Video 3 - Collaboration + more productivity tricks - this time you'll see how I work with my assistant. How we share projects, work on deadlines and get things done together. So you'll be able to do it as well!

Each video is less than 10-minute-long, contains a practical screencast with a practical exercise.

Start watching video 1 right away and let me know what you think!

(Sidenote: You need to log in with your Nozbe account to see this video series, or if you don't have an active Nozbe account anymore, you'll be able to easily sign up on this page for a 30-day Nozbe trial. This is required so that you can fully participate and do the practical exercises from the videos. The video series is completely free. What you learn stays with you!)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Nozbe.club - our re-designed affiliate/referral program - earn 20%, give 10% discount!

We wrote about our affiliate program on the Nozbe blog before and we have some fantastic people promoting Nozbe, including one of my personal productivity and success gurus, Michael Hyatt. Nozbe has grown to more than 300,000 users thanks to people referring Nozbe to other people. So we decied to take our program to a whole new level and created a separate web site for it, nozbe.club, where we explain it through a very cool promo video:

Nozbe.club

Basically the idea is simple:

  • When you refer people to Nozbe using your link: nozbe.com/a-YOU
  • ... and they sign up and later decide to buy, they get a 10% discount from us... and you receive 20% of their purchase price.
  • ... which means, if they buy a yearly membership, they get 3rd month free... and you earn some money on the side.
  • ... and later we can either use this money to extend or upgrade your Nozbe PRO plan... or pay you out as cash.

More details on our new Nozbe.club site

P.S. And please let us know in the comments how you like our new video? Did it resonate with you? Did it make its point?

Again, thanks for being fantastic Nozbe users and for referring people to Nozbe! We love you all!

- Michael, CEO and founder

Friday, August 28, 2015

Nozbe use: The logic and secrets between sharing team and projects

Sharing projects and teams is one of the most confusing matters to our users.

team - project

Definitions

For safety please allow me to start with definitions. For some users this is not a secret as it can be read about on Nozbe Help Page. The matter, in fact, is so simple that it seems confusing to many and is related to Nozbe's history.

Inviting someone to your Nozbe team DOES NOT mean inviting them to your projects. Statement seems logical enough, right? Well, it is like inviting a friend to a party. You invite him over, yet that does not mean automatically he will or should get involved in all conversations and activities going on at it.

So what's the deal?

Once you invite someone to join your team... what happens?

  1. You see them on your "team members list"

  2. You pay for their access to the service BUT 3. you neither give them access to all your projects, nor you get access to all of their projects.

Once you share a project... what happens?

You grant them access to all data within that project but nothing else.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A sneak peek into iOS 9

A few months ago, we’ve decided to double down our efforts on Apple platforms. Many of us at Nozbe are happy users of Macs and iOS devices, and so we wanted to bring more features, improvements and refinements to our apps there.

You might have noticed the results over the last few versions. We released one of the first apps for Apple Watch, then redesigned it just two months later. And in the lastest version, Mac users got a Today widget (just like the one we have on iOS).

But we’re just getting started. We have a ton of improvements in the pipeline. Here’s just a few examples of what we’re working on for the iOS 9 release in September:

Multi-tasking on iPad

If you’re on an iPad, you’ll love this one. In iOS 9, you can swipe your finger from the right edge of the screen to see your tasks in Nozbe. You don’t have to leave the app you’re using, go to home screen or double-tap the home button. Just swipe from the right and you can slide Nozbe over other apps. This is useful when you just want a quick glance at your priority tasks, or when you want to quickly add a task to your inbox.

It gets even better if you’re using iPad Air 2. After sliding Nozbe over, you can drag the separator to enable split view. This way, you can use Nozbe side-by-side with another app. For example, you can compose an email while looking at your notes in Nozbe.

Monday, August 17, 2015

How to learn a foreign language with Nozbe

Did you know that Nozbe can help you build a new habit? Let's take learning a foreign language as an example. Who wouldn't like to speak an extra one, huh? Say... French...

learning languages with Nozbe

Before you start

Scientific researches have found certain mechanisms that rule the process of creating a habit. Based on that, we can formulate a couple of tips that will help you take off.

  1. Set a big goal - have your vision of what you want to achieve and why. Talk to yourself for a while and make sure that learning a new language is something you really want and need.

  2. Make it so easy you can’t say no.Leo Babauta - start approaching your big goal with tiny steps. Try setting the tasks easy enough so that you can get it done without motivation (that is kind of moody and differs depending on a day, weather and other circumstances.)

  3. Building sticky habits is a lot easier if you make use of the routines you already have rather than try to fight or modify them. It's good to build your plan around triggers that will let you know that it’s time to work on your habit, e.g.: after I get up and have a glass of water I learn French.

  4. When you fail, get back on track as quickly as possible. Don't worry! Missing your habit once or twice, no matter at what stage it occurs, has no serious impact on your long-term progress. Instead of trying to be perfect, be good and compassionate to yourself. You're doing a great job!

OK. Once you know the rules, let's get to work :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How to workaround lack of chain tasks - Nozbe tip

Chain tasks workaround

Chain tasks... what are they?

Quite often we come across a very particular set of tasks. I like to call them chain tasks, as they act as if they were a silver chain, one following the other.

To put it in simple terms, chain tasks are a group of consecutive tasks that need to be done in certain order and most often task B, C, D can't be done without having A completed.

Chain tasks

What can be done with them in Nozbe?

It is true that Nozbe does not have a direct/to-the-point option for them. Having been asked about them frequently, and having tried my best to work around that lack, I came up with and idea, that although not ideal, seems to work well.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Podcast - a geeky productivity podcast with Nozbe team members: Michael and Radek

In case you missed it, me, Michael Sliwinski, Nozbe's founder and CEO together with Radek, our VP of Apple Technologies (and the guy responsible for our Apple Watch app) started an audio podcast called "The Podcast" because we wanted to chat about things we care about: gadgets, technology, business and productivity.

The Podcast

Now, after 8 episodes I think we started getting into the grove and making it a better show with each new episode, and in time we started talking a lot more about productivity than we previously anticipated. So if you listen to our first episodes, we'd talk more about technology and Apple Watch... but starting from episode 5, we'd also throw in a lot more productivity into the mix, which you might find interesting. As an example, we discussed and extensively tested my Uschedule + Pomodoro Technique using Nozbe templates.

8 Episodes to date, every Wednesday a new one (that's tomorrow!)

We also settled on a regular recording time - we're recoring every Friday and publishing every Wednesday, so please subscribe through iTunes if you want to get the newest one tomorrow.

Here's the list of our episodes to date (in descending order):

I think our best episode to date is number 5, so if you're new to our podcast and are interested in productivity, I'd suggest you listen to the first episode to get to know us better and then directly go to fifth and pick it up from there. Of course if you do listen to each of our episodes, we'd really appreciate it :-) Each one is around 45 minutes.

You can subscribe through RSS or iTunes or just go to our podcast site and play direcly in your browser.

Please let us know in the comments below if you like this podcast idea (and if you do, please share it with friends!)

Please give us your most honest feedback, what you like, what you don't, what you want more of, less of... we're still new to this and apart from just chatting, we'd love to provide you with as much value as possible.

Thanks for listening!

(written by Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Nozbe 2.2 with Google Drive and Mac widget

Last week we updated Nozbe to version 2.2. It brought some cool new features. With Nozbe 2.2 productivity level of our users who use Google Drive or Mac will be even higher ;) Want to know why? Keep reading!

Google drive integration

Nozbe users love our integrations with Evernote, Dropbox and Box. It gives a great way to attach notes or files from your cloud to tasks and work on them together with your team in Nozbe. With the newest version to our integrations we added, as many of you asked for, Google Drive. It works the exact same way as Dropbox and Box integration. So now you can be productive with Nozbe and your Google Drive files. Enjoy!

Mac Widget

Last year we introduced iOS Nozbe widget, last month Android Widget. Thanks to them our users can quickly add and complete tasks from Priority list. With Nozbe 2.2 for Mac we bring the same productivity boost on OS X platform. It works very similar as iOS widget. You have a shortcut to add task to Inbox, you can complete tasks from your Priority list without having to open the main app.

More improvements

We also added some more features like:

  • Links in checklists - You can now add links to checklists
  • A ton of small improvements for the Apple Watch app
  • News section - Looking for some inspiration? You can now see our blogposts in the app.
  • Affiliate panel - now everyone can spread the word about Nozbe and earn some money in the process!

We also fixed a lot of bugs. For full Release Notes please go to our test blog.

P.S. Please rate us!

If you love Nozbe we kindly ask you to leave us review in App Store, Mac App Store or Google Play Store :)

P.S. 2: Join our @nozbe community

written by Rafal (VP Product)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

How I work with my assistant, using Nozbe, Gmail and Dropbox

Hi, here's Michael, Nozbe founder. I hired Magda two years ago for a position of an editor in the Productive! Magazine. As this wasn’t a full time job really, I also asked her if she could temporarily become my assistant. I’ve never had an assistant before and I wanted to learn to work with one. She said yes, and two years later she’s still helping me get things done. In this post I want to share how we work together. I hope this might be helpful to anyone thinking about working with an assistant or searching for ways to improve their collaboration. We’re actually thinking about recording a short video about it, soon. Here’s how we work together with Magda:

photo of me and Magda

Magda manages my email

Although we said farewell to email in Nozbe long time ago, we can't prevent the whole world from using it :-) I receive hundreds of emails every week and it is Magda who takes care of them.

How?

At the beginning of our cooperation, I set up all my Gmail accounts so that every single new message is being forwarded to one email address that we call "CEO". I've also given Magda an access to the "CEO" account - in Gmail, it is called "delegated account". This way we both have access to my emails and we both can receive and send emails from the "CEO" address.

There are various emails coming to that shared Gmail inbox:

  • personal
  • business - individual
  • personalized business emails sent by companies to multiple receivers
  • automated invoices, billings, account statements and other finance-related notifications
  • etc.

Magda archives the emails that don't require any reply or are just advertising; she sends regular finance-related messages to a dedicated notebook in my Evernote. If an email is not too personal and Magda's competence is enough to reply to it accurately, she does it.

Now, the most important: messages that require my reaction, reply, confirmation or simply advice. Here's how we deal with them through Nozbe:

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Leaving shared project - important questions

Leaving shared project

Although the contrary situation is way more frequent, once in a while it is time to leave some shared project. When that time comes, questions arise.

  1. Who can leave?
  2. How can you leave a project?
  3. What information will be retained on the leaving account?

This post will answer those for you.

Who can leave a project?

Essentially, anyone can. However, if your are the one who created the project the only way you can do so is by first requesting the ownership thereof to be transfered to someone else. You can of course simply complete it or delete... but that's not the answer in some cases, such as leaving one company for another.

So, the owner can't simply leave.

Anyone else can leave a project they have been invited to without any problem. To do so, go to given project, use the "i" icon at the top bar, click on the list of people in the project, pick yourself and use the "..." icon next to your name. Then "leave the project".

leaving