How Task Tracking Software Makes Management Easier

Are you feeling overwhelmed? It's OK, take a big deep breath and repeat after me: "managing my resources and tasks can be easier". Feeling better? Nope? That's normal. Running a business, especially when you have a whole class of contractors to manage, keep up with and prioritize, is exhausting.

We know...why do you think we built Allocate anyway? Keep reading to find out how task-tracking software makes management easier.

In the Loop

Keeping your team and resources organized is one of the major reasons for using task-tracking software. If you had to constantly keep people in the loop, you'd be spending most of your day sending emails and obnoxiously CCing the whole team on every single one. That's what you call not getting anything done, and wasting the time of your hard-working team as well. Resource and task-tracking software lets your team know what's going without having to babysit anyone.

Missed Milestones

When deadlines are approaching, you have to be able to count on your team to hunker down and get the job done. If you weren't using resource and task-tracking software you'd be resorting to writings thing down in a notebook. This is totally cool if you're a company of one (have you seen that Evernote Moleskine?), but what if you're juggling eight contractors? How would they know what to do and in what priority they should do it?

Consider for a minute, the idea of setting milestones in the first place. You may not have thought to even create milestones for project. Having mini goals (aka milestones) spread throughout the project keeps your contractors focused and your customers happy.
Task management software can make you think about your projects in new ways -- like being able to see all your available business resources on one screen. Having this level of overview is empowering and can make tackling the next project easier.

Reminders to Remember

Does Pam have the latest copy of the report? You were supposed to have it ready for her by the end of day! Dang, now Pam's got to scramble around to get it before her big meeting. Having someone or something remind you can really save the day.

Reminders may seem trivial, but if you were able to capture all the things you'd like to be reminded of on a daily basis, your brain would be a whole lot less cluttered with mental post-it notes. Task-tracking software consolidates your to-dos so that you can focus on everything else.

Doing the Right Thing at the Right Time

You can't shop for groceries while you're at the home improvement store just like you can't assign Pamela new work if she's on vacation in Belize for the next two weeks. But you don't know what you can't do unless you have a grasp on the availability of your contractors, or anyone you delegate to.

Task-tracking and resource management software can give you the peace of mind and information to make better money making business decisions. What other ways has task-tracking software made managing your business easier? Let us know in the comments, that's something we're pretty darn interested in.

Motivation in the Workplace- Are Your Project Managers the Problem?

Motivation in the workplace is a big deal. If your team isn't motivated, projects get hacked together, customers get disappointed, and more things just seem to go wrong.

A motivated team that feels appreciated also performs better. They're more likely to speak up at meetings when they feel heard, and they're more likely to work longer and harder to make you happy.

If hiring project managers that are super-organized is the number one thing you hire them for, being able to motivate people should be second. Motivated workers work harder and will make you more money.

Unfortunately, some people are born motivators and some folks aren't. You can't fault one of your project managers if the ability doesn't come to them naturally. You can however, help them develop motivating habits by asking them to be mindful of the five things below:

A Positive Frame of Mind

Having a positive outlook for a project is key trait to instill in your project managers. When a PM trash-talks a client to his employees or contractors, he's basically saying, "don't take what the client wants seriously." At this point, you've put out the fire in their motivation and have subconsciously told them that the client is a joke and that they don't need to work as hard to please them. If you want the people who work for you to be happy, motivated and driven, your PM should display the same confidence and integrity. Keep frustration out of the communication loop.

Clear Communication

Clearly communicating tasks and directives can really help motivate your PM's team. You do not want a PM that is flippant with directions. Project Managers should also never assign tasks and then chastise their team for performing them. The importance of clarity in communication with contractors cannot be said enough. Project Managers should be the most accountable people on your team in terms of deadlines and milestones, but if contractors aren't keeping up to speed, there may be a communication breakdown.

The Right Environment

The environment your project managers establish for their teams directly correlates to how successful they are. Demand that your managers foster an open environment so that team members are given the freedom to question anything about a project without persecution. This can lead to new discoveries in efficiency and project heuristics. The goal of an open team environment is that everyone is working towards and thinking about the best way to finish the project. If your PM needs "sensitivity training" in terms of giving constructive criticism, work with them on it. No idea is a stupid idea, and nobody should be allowed to tell anyone they "don't think that's a good idea" without coming up with an alternative solution.

Daily Words of Encouragement

A quick daily word of encouragement can really boost motivation in the work place. Have your project managers shout people out for the good work, especially when they meet or come in ahead of deadlines. A group email is always nice, but it can be sent directly to the team member too. Make a point of thanking someone on your team for his or her hard work at least once a week.


All of these things start with you. Set the example for your managers by creating open environments where you communicate clearly, acknowledge hard work, and move forward in a positive manner. Teach by example and your project managers will follow suit.

As a bonus, give your managers the power to give their teams perks. Give them the ability to treat their team to gifts or a catered meal. Wantful is a neat gifting site that allows you to pick gifts your team might like and they get to choose what they want.

It's the little things that show your team that you care and that you're excited about working together in the future. Do you have an effective way of boosting motivation in the workplace? Let us know in the comments.

6 Ways to Prioritize Tasks Better in Any Project

In The Alloy of Law, Brandon Sanderson wrote,
"The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones."

Do you know the difference between your important and vital priorities? One might say that in the work/life balance, sleep is a pretty vital priority that often goes forgotten, especially in the start-up world!

And on that note, there are important and vital priorities in your business too. Spending the time to decide what matters most can be as simple as the process of paying down debts one credit card at a time, paying off the lowest balances first.

Do you know which priorities have the lowest balance? Which ones will take the most time to complete, versus how mission-critical they are to holding up other wheels in the project?

Below are six ways to prioritize tasks better, smarter, and in a way that won't create a lengthy priority out of creating new priorities!

1. Time

The most basic way to prioritize a task is to ascertain how much time you have to complete it. Is it due today? Is it due in a month? Your answer may mean working on it right away or moving on to a more urgent task.

Another element of time is how much you estimate the task will take to complete. If it's only five minutes, does it make sense to move it to the top of the queue and off your list?

If You're unsure of which task to complete first, ask yourself this question: If you only had two hours to work on one thing today, what would it be? Does one task jump out? Now go and do it!

2. Context

Are you in the right place to perform the task in question? Context can mean that environmental and resource requirements need to be met in order to complete a task.

For example, perhaps you're traveling and your laptop doesn't have InDesign on it needed to complete the task of updating that brochure You're working on. If it can't be done right now, delegate it or move on to the next task.

3. Resource Availability

Much like prioritizing by context, you can prioritize by available resources. You can't pour concrete without a cement truck, so if your resource isn't available, move on to the next task. Or better yet, check in with your cement crew to see if things are still on schedule to pour in the afternoon. Then move on.

4. Task Review

Do you have a process for prioritizing project addendums? You know, those phone calls and emails that creep up throughout the project with new ideas and updates?

Those tasks need to be integrated into whatever priority list you've already created. Performing a task review every week, possibly with the client, can help you spot new tasks that may need to get done first.

This may seem like giving yourself more work, but if you get into the habit of reviewing the week ahead, you'll gain the advantage of spotting trouble, hiccups and holdups in advance.

5. Fortune Telling

Some people are professional fortune tellers and psychics. Your customers and clients can benefit when you play that role for them.

Projects have twists and turns that occur during their lifecycle. Foresee when these things are happening and quickly mitigate their impact. The sooner you're able to spot these hiccups, the more time you'll have to craft an action-plan to combat them. These unexpected tasks become less unexpected with a watchful eye and professional experience.

6. The Magic Hat Trick

Sometimes you have so many tasks that your brain gets overwhelmed and completely melts down when you look at your task list. This leads to procrastination and is where the magic hat trick task management system can help get things done.

Instructions are as followes:
  • Write down all tasks on strips of paper
  • Place strips of paper with tasks on them into a bucket, hat or whatever container you have on hand
  • Shake the container and mix up the strips
  • Select one strip of paper and remove it from the bucket
  • Read and perform the task on the strip of paper
  • Discard paper when finished
  • Repeat until all tasks are finished and your container is empty
This trick might sound a little juvenile, but when a task list is too overwhelming to look at, this little trick keeps your mind focused on one thing at a time. You're not worried about what's coming up next because you can't see it. Your only mission is to empty that container. Simple but powerful.

These are some of the many ways to prioritize tasks. Do you have a special way of prioritizing what you need to accomplish? Share them with us in the comments.

10 Ways Business Resource Management is Overlooked

The core problem in business resource management is not knowing who's doing what. No one's on the same page, time's being wasted and money is being spent to keep the whole charade going.

Wouldn't it be good to know where things may be overlooked so that you don't fall into the "time is money" cliche?

Below are 10 ways business resource management is overlooked.

1. Hiring

The entire hiring process can be filled with setbacks and useless meetings. Defining who's in charge of the hiring process puts the responsibility on a singular person.

2. Firing

The last thing you want is to have multiple people in charge of letting someone go. It's a topic that should be handled with care but as the saying goes, the only thing worse thing then firing someone is not firing.

3. Purchasing

Your company has multiple departments. Each may have its own purchasing power. Wouldn't it be great to know if another department has a piece of unused equipment that's needed by your department? It would! Simple resource management software can quickly gives you the entire scope of equipment you have at your disposal.

4. Project Management

It's always a best practice to assign different tasks to the team member with the right skillset. This introduces responsibility and accountability for the various tasks within a project. But how do you know who has the bandwidth for the new tasks? Do they have the right skill set required for the task? Resource management software give you this snapshot of team members at a moment's notice.

5. Equipment Management

If your company relies on equipment to get jobs done, it's easy to overlook which piece of equipment was checked out and when will it become available again. Do you have a system in place that can quickly see where everything is? Searching around for who has what is waste of time and money.

6. Sales Teams

Are your sales teams are constantly calling each other's leads? This a big problem that is aggravates potential clients and kills deals. Get everyone on the same page and to collaboratively make more money!

7. Client Management

What's going on with your current clients? At what stage are they into their project? This is information that is business critical and should be available to you at a moment's notice. Having this high level picture of how your clients are doing is a big deal.

8. Expenses

Keeping an eye on business expenses is one of the keys to success. Try reviewing your expenses during a weekly or monthly routine.

9. Workplace Efficiency

Are things getting done in the time you thought they would? Should you be billing for more hours? Keeping an eye on efficiency across the board (that includes you!) can make big a difference.

10. Business Intelligence

You've collected all of this data, but who's in charge of it? What methodologies, processes, and technologies are you using to process it? Are you spending money to collect this data? The data isn't good to anyone unless someone is responsible for to measure, organize and re-plan it.

These are just ten common areas that are often overlooked. What other places do you see resource management slipping? Let us know in the comments.