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Why Most Team Project Management Software Doesn’t Work


Every day, frustrated people call me for help finding good team project management software. After weeks or months of research and testing, they’ve begun to wonder if any software actually meets their needs.

I tell them, yes and no. Yes, together we can find software to fill the needs, but no, they probably won’t find anything that works out of the box. In order to find a project management solution, you first have to understand why the software you’ve looked at doesn’t work for you.

Software Starts with Workflow


Workflow is the process by which your team acquires and completes work. A factory takes orders, produces goods on an assembly line, and ships them to customers. A car dealership advertises to the public, their salespeople talk to customers, and processors work out financing. Workflow processes involve many people collaborating to complete many interconnected tasks.

Searching for team project software, you are trying to manage a workflow process, not just put names on a list of tasks. This is true even if you’re just managing one team or one portion of your team’s work. It’s all an interconnected workflow, no matter where you are in the larger process.

Project Management Software is a Workflow Manager

Instead of focusing on project management, evaluate to-do apps for their workflow features. Does it give you visibility on incomplete tasks? Does it notify people of new tasks? Does it help you see which parts of the project are at risk of being late? Does it [Click title for more...]

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Filed under: Uncategorized — natecrenshaw @ 6:22 pm

Q: Which Tablet Do You Recommend for TRO?


Q: I want to buy a tablet before I start the TRO Online Training, since it customizes itself to give instructions for the tablet I pick. I read your blog article last week, How to Find the Perfect Tablet, but I can’t decide which tablet I want.  Can you give me your personal recommendations? ~O. M.

A:  Dear O. R.,

The right tablet for you is largely a matter of satisfying your particular preferences. Do you want something powerful? Is battery life essential? Do you need 3G coverage? Are you on a tight budget? Tablets come in myriad varieties for every need and budget, so something out there fits your needs.
But you’re asking for my personal favorites, which is an easy question:

Microsoft Surface Pro*

Microsoft Surface Tablet ReviewThis tablet is a technological masterpiece. It’s compact, powerful, and versatile. It looks and acts like a tablet, but it actually runs a full version of Windows 8. Grab a keyboard/cover accessory, and this instantly becomes a touch-screen laptop to rival anything you currently use at home or at work. This tablet is perfect for making your work portable–without compatibility issues.
Pros: Laptop power in tablet size. Powerful processor. Huge storage capacity. Great screen resolution. SD expansion slot and USB port.
With a full Intel i5 processor, this tablet can run any program you normally use on your desktop. With a spacious 10.1 inch full HD screen, you have plenty of room to work. Microsoft Office got an upgrade to work even [Click title for more...]
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Filed under: Mobile,Productivity — natecrenshaw @ 8:13 am

How to Choose the Perfect Tablet


People often ask my recommendation about which tablet they should buy. In a way, that’s like asking which shoe you should buy: You need to try a few on to find the one that fits you.

But just in time for Christmas, I do have the ultimate guide to finding the perfect tablet.

Apple, Android, or Windows?

The biggest choice you need to make is which type of device you want (Apple, Android or Windows).

Apple tightly controls everything about the iPad. They ensure consistency across all devices and fill their tablets with interesting–though not always useful–eye candy. Because Apple controls the OS, device manufacturing, and their app store, they ensure that the devices are consistently high quality, that the OS always works, and that apps in their store are quality. And you’ll pay for it. All of it.

Android is an open-source operating system, meaning that any manufacturer can make an Android tablet. Most manufacturers customize Android to enhance their devices, meaning the experience can change drastically (for good or ill) from one device to another. Intense competition between manufacturers means great prices, wide variety, and lots of options to choose from. The Android app store has millions of apps, most of them free. 

Windows Mobile is really just Windows 8, but on your tablet. Windows tablets tend to be the most powerful tablets on the market. The app store is limited, because Windows is relatively new in the tablet market, but the options are promising, especially for power [Click title for more...]

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Filed under: Uncategorized — natecrenshaw @ 6:01 pm

(Less) Time Tracking for (More) Productivity



Client Question: For best productivity, shouldn’t we measure all the time actually spent and compare to the time we planned to spend?

Answer: No. It works against you. Try this instead…

As a productivity coach with years of hands-on experience, here’s what I’ve learned about time monitoring and tracking:

Do NOT track and reconcile every minute of work—not with your team, not with yourself.

True, time and money are similar:

  • Both get spent by people
  • Both need some form of budgeting

But what happens to a company when every dollar is tracked down to the penny, all the time?

What if every expenditure must be approved or justified to a manager? Does productivity improve? No—it almost always gets worse, because morale declines. [Exception: when cash is the key factor for short-term survival, you have to monitor it closely during turnaround.]

The same is true for individuals. The best personal budgets have both fixed and flexible components, for two reasons:

  1. People have feelings. Good psychology is an essential part of great productivity. Too much constraint kills morale.
  2. Agility and versatility are essential. You need room to respond intelligently, intuitively, to new opportuntities and threats as they arise.

But you don’t want either of those to get out of control. So how to balance them?

For Yourself…

Be as organized as necessary—no more, no less.

DO budget time appropriately and get excellent feedback on its use.

BUT a “natural feedback

[Click title for more...]

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Filed under: Productivity,Tips,TRO,Uncategorized — Kevin Crenshaw @ 1:13 pm

Multipurposing and Fuzzy Delegation: New Survival Skills for Managers


Posted via email from Strategy in Principle

Small and midsize business leaders have so much to do! How can you do it all, competing against the big guns, when there’s so much demand on your time and resources?

FAIL: Multitasking


“Multitasking” is NOT the answer.

  • Multitasking is a lie–you’re really “switch-tasking,” and switching costs you big time (see Dave Crenshaw, The Myth of Multitasking).
  • Proof: The Total, Relaxed Organization time management system (mine) works mostly because it naturally minimizes switching. (Results: an average of 600 hours per year reclaimed, 60% reduction in stress. See live stats here.)


WIN: Multipurposing (The New Multitasking 2.0)


Sure, an extra 600 hours/yr helps, but to really “get everything done” in the 21st century I believe business leaders need to master a new skill: “multipurposing.” It’s also known as “killing two birds with one stone,” solving more than one problem with a single action, or “integrative thinking.”

Lessons from 9th Grade P.E.


I learned this principle the hard way—in 9th grade P.E. class. I was an underage, scrawny kid playing football with the jocks. When they handed out offense assignments, my job was always the same: “go up front and block.” Yeah, right! With everyone else doing the “important” jobs, I was left facing two big guys at once. How could I possibly stop them? FAIL.

But then something wonderful happened. I discovered that one skiiny kid could block two big guys at the same time … by blocking or

[Click title for more...]

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Filed under: Productivity,Tips — Kevin Crenshaw @ 6:16 am

How to Find 600 Extra Hours Per Year


Harold Abrahams loses by two yards

“Another Two Yards”

In the great movie Chariots of Fire, sprinter Harold Abrahams was devastated after losing a 100-yard dash. Professional coach Sam Mussabini watched the race closely, and afterwards said: “I can find you another two yards.” Abrahams trusts Mussabini, engages him, and wins the gold medal in the 1924 Paris Olympics.

In Life and Work

Most of us run a race against time. Competing priorities vie for our attention. What will we do or not do? How can we possibly get everything done that’s important?

In life and work, what we really need is more hours, not yards.

Is it really possible to get more time? Yes! Although we all have exactly 168 hours per week, the real question is: how many hours are productive, and how productive?

[Click title for more...]

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Filed under: Productivity,Tips,TRO — Kevin Crenshaw @ 12:24 pm

Help! Outlook lost all my data!


Synchronizing Outlook tasks to your iPhone or Android is dangerous. If you don’t do it right, you could lose everything. Worse, the steps are different for each situation. When clients ask for my help, I usually steer them toward safer solutions.

Many attempt the sync anyway.

A client recently emailed me with this tragic tale:

“You were very kind to warn that trying to sync Outlook with my Android might prove challenging. I set up Exchange to connect Outlook 2007 with Touchdown, and MS encouraged me to add my own domain name which I almost did.

Reluctant to let MS host my account I tried to restore the original setup. In what turned out to be a colossal error, I deleted the email address which I had added to the MS365 (MS exchange) account.

Instantaneously, I lost all of my contacts, my calendar and my tasks. The real salt in my wound was losing all of customization I had made via your TRO online training.”

Recovering from that data loss took many hours of hard, stressful work.

Why Does Outlook Lose Data?

Outlook is old technology, more than a decade old. Back in the day, they pioneered the idea of synching between computers and mobile devices. Their solutions were sometimes clunky, awkward, and looked suspiciously like the 1980s, but they did it. Unfortunately, Outlook still uses that same infrastructure to sync with your iPhone, Blackberry, or Android.

When you try to set up the sync, you’ll see strange [Click title for more...]

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Filed under: Blackberry,iPhone,Mobile,Palm,PPC,Productivity,Software,TRO — Coach Nate @ 6:27 am

Announcing TRO for Nozbe



You asked, and so we’ve delivered. Today we are excited to announce that the Nozbe version of the Total, Relaxed Organization training (TRO) is complete and online. You can now choose Nozbe as your task manager and get full setup and training instructions for organizing your work and email through Nozbe, one of the rising stars in task management.

What is Nozbe?

Nozbe is an online (“cloud”) task manager specifically designed around David Allen’s Getting Things Done philosophy. More than any other online task program we’ve reviewed, Nozbe helps train the casual user to implement the GTD method quickly and easily. With an aesthetic, easy-to-use interface, Nozbe will have you organizing tasks in minutes. Android, iPhone, and tablet apps will keep you in sync with your tasks anywhere you go. For those who also want offline access, Nozbe is beta testing a desktop application for Mac and PC.

Nozbe has been acclaimed on, ZDNet, and the blogs of productivity aficionados the world over. Nozbe’s multiple language translations (including Japanese, Spanish, and German) make it a good option for teams working internationally.

Why do TRO with Nozbe?

Total, Relaxed Organization (TRO) is a more powerful time management system, designed for team leaders, business owners, and executives–who have heavier workloads. TRO is designed to help you organize more work in less time while keeping you focused on profit-producing (or career-enhancing) objectives.

TRO with Nozbe

TRO integrates the principles behind GTD and Covey–principles such as clearing your mind, collection points, urgent vs. important, prioritization, and [Click title for more...]

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Filed under: Uncategorized — Coach Nate @ 1:21 pm

Coach’s Review of Evernote


A lot of people ask me about Evernote. Should they use it for tasks? Should they use it to go paperless? Should they use it for everything? How will it help them? Here’s what you need to know.

What is Evernote?

Evernote is a virtual filing cabinet that lets you see your files on any computer, your phone, or your tablet. It can also take screen captures and remember web sites you’d like to revisit. Everything is searchable, making retrieval easy, even if you have a lot of information. It is also a great file-sharing tool. (More about Evernote.)

Evernote for Tasks

In a word, don’t. Yes, it’s possible to creates lists of tasks or do GTD with Evernote, but you have to do it inside of documents. You risk losing your tasks somewhere in all the files and notes. In order to make sure you haven’t missed anything, you have to check every document every day. That’s too much work.

Hundreds of existing applications can help you manage, prioritize, and even collaborate on tasks. The best of these will save you more time than Evernote, and some even link up with your Evernote files. Use the right tool for the job. Evernote’s job is file management, not tasks.

When to use Evernote

Use Evernote as a repository for information, especially anything already electronic or for things you might need away from the office. For people who travel, collaborate with a team, work from multiple offices, or who [Click title for more...]

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Filed under: Uncategorized — Coach Nate @ 3:30 pm

Five Keys to Successful New Year’s Resolutions


In a few days, millions of people will start down the path of a new year’s resolution, determined to be better, smarter, trimmer, or more organized in 2012. But a year is a very long road to walk. By next January, only a handful will even remember their resolutions for the year. But a few will succeed.

As a time management coach, I’ve seen the successful ones, and I know how they do it. They have five simple keys that anybody (including you) can use:

  1. Simple but meaningful goals.
  2. Start right.
  3. Plan ahead.
  4. Connect with habits daily.
  5. Fail without giving up.

Simple but Meaningful

People who succeed with their resolutions for change work on a few simple goals. They are more interested in success than they are in the thrill of contemplating success. They aren’t looking to become perfect overnight and aren’t charmed into the thrill of perfect living for two weeks. They choose a simple, believable goal, leaving other goals for a later date. Knowing they can succeed, they also know that they will have more opportunities to meet goals. Simple.

Meaningful resolutions are also important. Half of America will exercise on January 1st (or 2nd), but the soon-to-be bride will still be exercising in March. Why? Most people resolve to exercise, because they know they should. In contrast, the bride is thinking, “I’ll fit in my wedding dress if it kills me.” When our goals are meaningful, we look beyond the goal to something we want more than [Click title for more...]

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Filed under: Goals,Tips — Coach Nate @ 11:19 am
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