Monday, December 29, 2014
This is a guest post by one of our Nozbe power users: Michael Hyatt, who is the author of the "New York Times" bestseller, "Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World." He is also the founder of Platform University and the massively popular course, 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever.
If you are going to achieve your goals in 2015, you must have a way to track your progress, so you actually achieve it. There are a variety of tools for doing this. However, Nozbe is a great choice.
I don’t know about you, but Nozbe is my personal “command center.” It is the place where I plan, track, and accomplish my most important taks. I couldn’t get along without it.
But did you know you can also use it to help you achieve your most important goals for 2015? There are three advantages of doing so:
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Christmas is coming and most of us think of giving and sharing (buying and spending, too... unfortunately). The end of the year is also the time of asking questions and evaluation. We approach the end of 2014 with satisfaction and joy. It was a fantastic year for us and we hope it was good for the Nozbe users too. We released the long-awaited new version of our app - Nozbe 2.0 for all the platforms and we introduced the new type of accounts - Nozbe PRO - which offers 2 accounts for the price of 1 as well as the full flexibility of adding and removing people from the team.
We even have the possibility to add a second person free to all the existing single-account users :-)
3 Christmas gifts for you:
1) Nozbe 2.1 with re-engineered printing
Now, we took up the next challenge - get you the new version of Nozbe for Christmas :) Our programmers worked really hard, we did a lot of testing and here it is - Nozbe 2.1 with new features and improvements.
2) Nozbe Magazine issue 2
The other thing we would like to offer is 2nd issue of Nozbe Magazine to read on iOS and Android devices. This is a collection of the crucial events, information and most of all - advice that we have offered you during the last several months. You will learn everything you need to know about:
- Nozbe 2.0 and the changes it came with
- Brand new PRO account
- Team management in Nozbe
- How Nozbe CEO uses the app for his everyday work
- Other interesting Nozbe use-cases
Please note that the magazine comes only in the English language version.
3) Productive! Magazine - new issues in English, Polish and... Dutch!
Yes, we have new issues for our productivity-oriented community both in English and in Polish and we're welcoming a Dutch edition of our magazine:
- Main magazine, issue 25 - with Andrea Feinberg
- Polish edition, issue 9 - with Sławek Muturi
- New! Dutch edition, issue 1 - with yours truly - Michael Sliwinski
What's new in Nozbe 2.1
Here is what new version of our app has to offer:
Redesigned printing feature - due to technological constraints printing feature in Nozbe 2.0 was not very efficient. Especially on Windows it didn't work well and on mobile you couldn't actually print at all. We were not proud of this, so we took our best effort to redesign the back-end mechanism from scratch: by using the "Print" button in Nozbe 2.1, you will generate a PDF. This is more flexible and works on every platform. You can print it now or share it with your co-workers using other tools (Evernote, Dropbox, Email, etc.)
New keyboard shortcuts for OS X - we listened to our Mac users feedback and added a native menu with keyboard shortcuts to our OS X App. You can see its specification on our Help Page. In the future releases we also plan to do the same for Windows platform, so stay tuned.
Small and not so small bug fixes and improvements (the full list can be found on our test blog.
Let us then wish you a beautiful holiday season, merry Christmas and a New Year of good health and productivity (meaning: peace, happiness and more time for your loved ones). Throughout the coming year, may your life be filled with good luck and prosperity. Don't be afraid to take time to slow down and enjoy the simple things in 2015. We hope that Nozbe will make it easier for you.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
People have been asking me how I use the application. Well, here goes.
First and foremost, we don't use e-mails in our company. Our team consists of 15 people and we all work remotely. We only use e-mail to communicate with the customers and other people sending us e-mails with questions or offers. Inside the company - we just share projects and delegate tasks.
We simply communicate through tasks and comments in Nozbe.
Let's start with my priority list. It is quite long - at the beginning of a day I have about 40-50 tasks on it. To get them done I go to the information panel (I tap on the "i" icon at the top of the Priority view) and filter my tasks. To speed things up, I filter them by categories and review the certain areas one by one. For example, I choose the one called "Finance". Usually, I have only several things to do here: some money transfers and payments which only I can make. The rest of tasks are delegated to our CFO. After I execute the tasks, I tick them as "done" and I disable the filter.
Then, I check all the tasks delegated to me by my assistant with whom I share a project called "CEO". I use the filter again - this time to view just the tasks coming from that particular project. I'm trying to get through them... What I usually do is click on a task and read what it is about. If it is a question awaiting my answer or confirmation, I reply within a comment and delegate the task back to the assistant.
Of course there are some tasks that require more of my time and involvement - if I don't have any meetings or other commitments scheduled, I work on them. This way, by the end of the day I manage to reduce the number of my Priorities to 10 or 15. I rarely zero it down unfortunately. Something is always left for tomorrow.
Now, let's move to my Inbox. I keep all my loose ideas there. Every time I have a few items there, I try to clear it out. After all, the rule says to zero your Inbox regularly!
While working in my Inbox, I try to follow the 2-minute rule. Some of the ideas and tasks I have in there are closely related to already existing projects. In that case, of course, I move them from the Inbox directly to that Project. In order to do this, I enter the details section of a task on top of its view, I tap on the "Inbox" button to see the dropdown list of all my projects and, then, I choose the one I want the task to go to.
This can be also done in the new Nozbe 2.0's "Edit mode", which I frequently use. I tap on the "Edit" button in the bottom-left corner of the Inbox view and choose several tasks to be moved to a certain project at once. After I am done, I tap on the "Done" button at the top of the window to exit the "Edit mode".
After I complete the most important and the easiest (quickest to do) tasks, I hurry to the "Comments" view to see what my team is up to. This is a very important place where we all actually communicate. I read all the comments that have been posted since I last viewed it. For example now, in the afternoon, I have 32 unread comments.
Here, the priority goes to the conversation in the tasks that haven't been done yet. I go one by one and read them carefully. Sometimes, I put my two cents in. This way I participate in my team, I make sure my colleagues know I am there for them.
If I still have some time left, I read through (or "scan") the comments from the tasks marked as completed. Once I am done, I go to the "info bar" (by choosing the "i" icon) and mark all comments as read to clear this section.
Let me emphasize once again that for me this is one of the most important panels in Nozbe. My team communicates here - we exchange our views, questions and answers. I can give my input to many tasks; also the ones that are not actually delegated to me but which may require my contribution and attention.
When I have some extra time, which doesn't happen too often, I tap on the "i" and go to "info bar". Then choose the Activity section where I can see what has happened in Nozbe, what people have been up to today.
Generally, the comments section is where I "live" in Nozbe throughout the day.
... I have a few :) The list is really quite big. In order to organize them and not get lost I use Labels extensively. Let's take an example of "OneNozbe" label. The name comes from the working title of Nozbe 2.0 app. And so, when I need to find a specific task or comment, or just feel in the mood for working on Nozbe 2.0, I filter all my projects by this label. I go to the projects view and then click a label icon at the top of it. I choose the label I want and Nozbe shows me only the project marked with this particular "sticker".
I also have a "Private" label for my private projects and "Marketing" label for the marketing and promo stuff. This way I can focus on certain areas of interest.
To make the viewing and working in general easier, I use colors a lot. I mark different projects with colors to have them stand out from the list and to be able to find them quicker. For example, my CEO project I share with my assistant is purple and my main marketing project is blue, Nozbe payments are green and accounting project is red etc.
Let's get back to the "Private" project I mentioned earlier. Actually, this is a place for the loose tasks related to my private life that don't fit in to any other project. I treat it as a list of private tasks. I have a similar project for the company-related tasks that won't match any other projects.
I don't use it that much although it is very practical to view the overdue tasks and the coming deadlines. In the week view I can see what exactly is going to happen within the next days.
Personally I don't have many templates as most of them are created by my team members. One of mine own templates is a "Triathlon" one. Whenever I do the triathlon, I create a project out of it to have a checklist of the stuff I need to do in order to be 100% prepared.
Then, there is a team view where I can see all the tasks delegated to me as well as to other people from my team. These are the tasks from the projects that we share, not from their private projects though!
This is also where I add additional people to my team and invite the new guys to the projects on which I want to work with them. We have just hired three new people, so I created three new accounts for them and shared some projects with them here.
To wrap things up
Nozbe is my "control center". Here I manage my business and complete everyday commitments and tasks. I also use Nozbe to communicate with my team. To optimize all the processes I use Evernote and Dropbox when working in Nozbe - all the reference materials and documents I attach to my tasks and projects come from these two apps.
I spend much of my time in the Priority list. There, I use filters a lot to make my life easier and be able to focus on the matters I want.
I put all the ideas and incoming stuff in the Inbox.
I read all the comments and communicate with my team in the "Comments" section (that's why we don't use e-mail at all in Nozbe :))
Bonus: this is me explaining the whole process on video:
Friday, December 5, 2014
Nozbe users come from all professions and backgrounds. So far, we have presented you with solutions for doctors, real-estate agents, lawyers and students. This article is intended for elementary and high school teachers.
My experience has lead me to believe that planning by teachers can be difficult. It is a very complex issue, as it depends greatly on many factors. That's one of the reasons why I have decided to divide the post into consecutive two: teachers and professors.
Teachers in pre-schools, elementary or even high-schools have essentially the same student body to deal with, the same mixture of those who want and those who don't, the same level of stress and the same same amount of paper work, though the composition thereof changes as one moves from one end of the scale to the other.
Teacher's life in a pill
As a teacher your ultimate goal is to pass your knowledge using different type of materials to your students. You will usually have a given from above outline of what your classes should include and what is expected of your students at the end of semester/year.
So, though you might be very creative within the limits of this plan, you still need to stick to it and make your best to help students grasp it to the best of their capabilities. In lower grades you are free to play with them, but it is highly advisable the playing is educative. The higher you go, the less of the play, but educative part stays on (but none says you can't still teach them by play, it is a question of what kind of games are used).
Projects and labels
I imagine most effective use of labels in the lower pre-school and early elementary would be the subjects one has to teach, as in most systems of schooling - for grades 1-3 one teacher teaches all the subjects.
Such teacher needs to collect handsome collection of interactive and creative ideas to develop the young minds under his/her care, thus I would definitely add "tests", "creative ideas", "games/activities" as some extra labels.
Now for projects, I think specific chunks of material would do well, as I could plan each lesson as an action with materials attached directly to it. This structure would make things easy and fast to find.
On the other hand the higher grades, from 4th onto 12th, are divided per classroom and teacher. Most often there is one teacher who teaches just one subject, less often - two. He or she has many groups of students of different age.
Though some labels from the above descriptions would still be useful, like: "tests", "creative ideas" or "activities", most would be replaced by the specific group of students.
Here-again projects would be specific areas of material that needs to be explained to pupils e.g. if I were a math teachers I would perhaps have "geometry", "algebra", "functions" or some similar aspects on my plate. Those would serve well as my projects. The explaining thereof is never a one-hour class that one could tick off and forget about it. It usually takes several meetings, and it requires some practice afterwards.
What possible use would categories be of to teachers?
Simple. They can come in really handy if we want to get some extra material for particular student, or via specific tool such as "Internet", "computer" or even "phone". This way they also can speed up and help organize your day. You can also use them to help you out in administrative tasks you might have as buying materials or doing reports for the principal.
Some food for thoughts? I certainly hope so. This article is as usual just a spring-board. The possibilities are pretty close to limitless and I hope that some of you will be kind to share them here for benefit of others.
Did you know? Teachers and school leaders can use Nozbe in classrooms for free starting from November 1, 2014!
In Nozbe we always believed everyone needed to get organized and learn good productivity habits. That's why we built Nozbe in the first place and that's why we keep improving it and bringing it to all of the most popular platforms people use (Web, Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, iPad and iPhone).
Teachers are teaching the next generation. They are helping the young ones grow up to become responsible adults. For the new generation to succeed we need them to be prepared for the real world by being well organized and having mastered the productivity principles.
Thanks to a free Nozbe account and free productivity training teachers, principals and other members of school staff can help the new generation succeed.
Starting November 1, 2014 - Nozbe is going to be free for teachers if they want to use Nozbe with their students to get projects done together.
Written by Delfina (Nozbe Support - CHO - Chief Happiness Officer)
Thursday, November 6, 2014
We use labels in Nozbe to organize projects by tying together the ones that are similar or have something in common. This way projects can be grouped together. What's really useful, every project can be tagged with more than one Label.
Labels allow you not only to separate your private projects from business ones but also to tag the projects with customer names, the names of your family members, countries in which your company operates, etc.
How to add a label to a project
Let's suppose you have a project that you wish to label. Select it on your project list, go to its infobar (click the "i" icon) to see its properties and go to "Change labels" section.
If you are new to labeling and haven't created any yet, use the "New" button to set up your first label:
Once you've added a new label, select it and use the "Confirm" button to add it to the project. It's easy!
Grouping projects with labels
If you have at least one label set up, you can group projects by labels in your project list. Just click on the label icon and choose a label you need. What's the effect? Your project list will now only consist of the projects with that chosen label.
You can go back to a general view anytime by clicking "x" on the yellow stripe you will see at the top of the filtered projects list.
To edit or remove labels, just go to the labels properties of a project in its infobar (click "i" icon). There, you'll see three dots "..." next to your labels. When you click/tap on the dots next to a particular label, you'll be able to edit or delete it.
Assigning labels to several projects at a time
In Nozbe, you can easily add a label to several projects from your list. Just use the project multi-edit mode. Go to your project list and click the "Edit" button at the bottom. The edit mode is now on - there is a little box to tick next to each project and several other options are available. Tick the project you wish to label and click/tap the "Change" button at the bottom. Two new options will appear: "Labels" and "Colors". Click "Labels" and choose desired label or create a new one. Now you just need to "Confirm" your action and you're done.
Keep getting things done with Nozbe!
How many projects do you have in Nozbe? How do you manage them? Let us know how you use labels!