4 Simple Steps to Getting Organized

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This is a guest post by Lindsay Holloway, writer and editor of small business trends and technology. To read more from Lindsay, check out her articles on The Examiner

You may have missed National Get Organized Month in January or perhaps didn’t quite finish spring cleaning, but it’s never too late to get your home office or home-based business organized. And since we’re halfway into 2012, now is a great time to reorganize and cross a few items off your summer checklist.

Fortunately you don’t have to do it alone. You don’t have to ditch your cluttered filing “system” cold turkey. You don’t have to learn a new complex spreadsheet program. And you don’t have to hand over your paycheck to an assistant or professional organizer. There are myriad resources, tools and experts out there to help you, and we’ve put together four essential tips for getting your office or business organized this year:

1. Take control of your inbox. Small-business resource SCORE suggests creating e-mail folders to organize your messages. We all know what it’s like to have an inbox overflowing with both old and unread messages, so get ahold of the message madness from the get-go. Create working folders that make sense for your business, whether they’re based on urgency, task, contact group or department.

2. Stop clutter before it starts. To battle clutter, you must have systems and routines for dealing with it, says certified professional organizer Lorie Marrero. Aside from avoiding situations where “clutter cravings” can arise, she stresses the importance of dealing with things as they come and not letting clutter like mail, bills or filing stack up until it becomes a problem or wieldy task. For example, when you get the mail, immediately discard the junk mail; then organize and open the remaining pieces by importance.

3. Leverage free productivity tools. There’s an app for everything, right? Whether it’s on your smartphone, notebook or in the cloud, there are endless tools available to help you organize your schedule, documents, projects and more. Nowadays, it’s nearly impossible to mentally coordinate your daily tasks and appointments, so at times it’s necessary to let technology do the work for you. There are various calendar and scheduling apps, tools for conducting and tracking surveys, and project collaboration and management apps available.

​4. Organize your files and documents. While it may be essential to have physical copies of some documents, others are better made digital and others still could really be thrown out (safely, of course). And for these steps, there are convenient home-office and small-business gadgets. Consider a Xerox DocuMate scanner for taking those paper forms into the digital realm, or the handy yet robust Swingline Stack-and-Shred line of shredders for proper disposal of those dinosaur-aged files you’ve been too scared to throw away.

An organized space – and workflow – is necessary for maximum efficiency and productivity in the modern workplace. When work piles up, things get messy! So keep the above tips in mind this summer as you clean up your space and keep your productivity going. Happy working!

Email your files to Dropbox via Zoho Projects

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Last week we announced Dropbox integration in Zoho Projects. On this front today we’re listing out the possible ways to sync files in Dropbox via Zoho Projects.

Here’s how it works :

 

Email files and sync it with Dropbox
In Zoho Projects, every folder is associated with an email address. Just copy this email address compose a mail along with an attachment and click send.That’s it, your file is uploaded in Zoho Projects. And if this folder is configured for syncing with your Dropbox presto…your file is now available in your Dropbox account.

Push files from Zoho / Google Docs into Dropbox
Upload files from your Zoho or Google Docs into a folder that is already synced with your Dropbox account. This way your files are automatically pushed from Zoho or Google Docs into your Dropbox from anywhere.

Isn’t it cool ? Try and let us know your views.

Share from Dropbox and simplify your work in Zoho

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Zoho Projects 4.0 is keeping our developers busy working on some amazing stuff. While rest of us get to see the latest Projects News feed or the Task Details page interface shared with us in the team portal for feed backs.

The other day while working from home, I discovered few issues in Projects News feed interface and had to follow a sequence to share a feedback : Take a screenshot of the error, save it in a folder, login to Zoho Projects and upload the image files. In addition, syncing files with every machine be it a laptop or desktop was becoming very difficult across different computers.

That’s yesterday. Enter Dropbox integration in Zoho Projects, whether working from office or home all my files are now up-to-date and intact. I created a folder Projects 4.0 on Dropbox and synced this with Projects 4.0 folder of team portal. Now whenever I drop a file in my Dropbox account from home or work it is instantly shared through my Zoho Projects account with the team. I don’t have to manually upload files anymore and I am happy with the change.

Zoho Projects Dropbox Integration Zoho Projects Dropbox integration has made file sharing super simple for me. The best part is : once configured everything happens without any intervention, allowing me to focus on whatever I am working on. So now I can easily share files from anywhere and always have everything I need with total control. There is a structure, clarity and it’s uber cool.

Dropbox integration is available for all paid Enterprise and Premium customers of Zoho Projects. See Plans and Pricing. Also you can get to know more about this integration at Configure Dropbox in Zoho Projects

How about you? What are the benefits you find with the new Dropbox integration in Zoho Projects?

Let’s talk about it in the comments.

Zoho Projects in Your Pocket : Our Native App for iPhone

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A mobile phone is the first thing you pick up in the morning, and the last thing you put away while you’re going to sleep. You browse with it, connect with your family, friends and interact with those that matter most on it. But that’s not all, it stays with you and keeps up with you where ever you are.

On this front, we recently made an announcement of Zoho Projects Native App for iPhone at our Zoholics event. With this update, we’re making it easier than ever to connect from anywhere and get your work done faster so your productivity never skips a beat – even if you’re in an airplane.

For Example, you can quickly get to know who is working on what in a project, check off your tasks when they’re done and manage timesheets from anywhere. Need to share an important detail? No worries, just pick your mobile, tap and share it with the team and voilà… your update is posted even when you are away on a travel.


Here is a list of all the cool things you can do with your iPhone :

  • Create, assign and close tasks effortlessly right from within your mobile
  • Keep in touch more easily with latest project activities on the fly
  • Access your timesheets to log time in a few easy taps…it’s all at your fingertips
  • Knock off your tasks and task list when you’re done even outside your office
  • Use iPhone to record voice as task notes without breaking your train of thoughts

You’re just a few steps away from activating the iPhone Mobile App for Zoho Projects. Click to Activate iPhone Mobile App and learn more about this at iPhone User Guide.

In addition, visit the iTunes or App Store and download the Zoho Projects Native App for your mobile and start accessing Zoho Projects right away. Mobile edition is available for all paid plans and starts at $3 per user/month or $30 per user/year.

A quick note: When you install Zoho Projects on your iPhone, 15 days free trial is automatically enabled for your portal.

We’d love to hear a lot from you as comments below or share your views with our Zoho Mobile team at support@zohomobile.com

More Power to You ! Task duration in hours

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About a month ago, we added sub tasks functionality to the task management module to help teams better manage and complete their work much faster.

Fast forward to now, and we’re pretty excited with the uptake it has got among our customers. Along the same lines, we were bombarded with requests to have duration in hours for tasks / sub tasks. Hence we were forced to break ground on this due to the sheer volume of requests flooding our customer forums and tech support.
So we took these requests to heart and today we’re glad to launch THE much awaited duration in hours for tasks.

How to enable task duration for your portal ?

Just, go to Edit Profile under Portal Settings and select hours instead of days, save it and you’re done. Task duration in hours gets enabled for your project portal. It’s simple isn’t it?

Note: You must be the portal owner to enable this option for your. portal. And this feature is available only for Premium and Enterprise paid customers of Zoho Projects.

Let’s explore about task duration in hours in Zoho Projects

Giving you more power with duration in hours

Starting today, duration in hours is available for all tasks, sub tasks and dependency view of a project. With this, work is broken down, tasks are identified, and estimates are specified for each task in hours which helps in calculating the exact time spent to accomplish your work each day.

Furthermore, we do support the various format for time entry i,e you can enter hours as 2:30 or 2.5 which gets automatically interpreted has 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Add duration in hours

Maximize your productivity with task duration in hours

Task duration is now included in resource utilization as well as gantt charts. Typically, durations can depend on the experience of the person who performs the task. For example, In a team, a highly skilled and experienced person can complete certain tasks much more quickly than a less experienced person. The ability to deploy employees effectively against projects enables project managers to better utilize and maximize employee productivity.

In addition, task duration in hours comes with a hidden benefit i,e when you allocate a task for certain hours, how much time it actually took to complete? what challenges did you encounter? how would you do it differently if you had to do it all over again the next time but complete it in much faster pace.

But that’s not all. With this latest update, we’ve enhanced the recurrence interval to accommodate additional time span like fortnightly, quarterly, half-yearly and yearly for recurring tasks.

The following user guide summarizes the steps to follow. For more details, please refer Task duration in hours.

What’s next ?

We’re busy working on Projects 4.0 in providing the next generation user experience for you. You can get a sneak peek of this at https://forums.zoho.com/topic/what-s-keeping-us-busy-in-zoho-projects

Well, It’s up to you, give it a try and let us know how useful is duration in hours as comments here. We’re all ears… :)

 

Get your bugs off other bug trackers and into Zoho

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Here’s a piece of exciting news! Get your bugs off other bug trackers and into Zoho with the brand new Import Bugs option. We’d work hard to make your migration from other bug tracking services quick and hassle free into Zoho. While this is a great feature, we request you to take care of few things before you start the Import.

Few points to ponder :

  • Only CSV file format supported and must be UTF-8(Unicode) encoded
  • Supported date formats: DD/MMM/YYYY, DD/MM/YYYY, DD-MM-YYYY, MM/DD/YYYY, MM-DD-YYYY in CSV file
  • It is recommended that you test the import with a sample test file before your actual import.

Well, log into Zoho BugTracker, go to bug settings and import your bugs right from other bug trackers as a CSV file in quick steps. We’ve also put a user guide to help you get started at Import Bugs.

Bug Settings wears a new look and feel
Peep into the Bugs tab and you’ll spot a refreshing Bug Settings view along with an array of good looking icons. In addition to import bugs, we have also added couple of exciting new features like Fields and Email Settings.

What’s special about Fields ?
Previously we did not allow you to rename the fields like severity, module. But after this update, you can customize it as per your need for example – you can change the “Severity” name to “Priority“. Furthermore, we’ve consolidated the default and custom fields all in one place under Fields view.

Here’s a picture of the refreshing new Bug Settings view with Fields

Custom Fields

Configure mail forwarding with Email Settings
Configure and automatically fetch your emails from your custom domains mydomain/Gmail Mail as bugs in Zoho Bug Tracker with the new Email Settings.

For Example,  if you wish to track your mails from from zilluminc@gmail.com in BugTracker you must configure your email server to forward a copy of your Bug emails to this forwarding email address zillum_erp3@pop.zohoprojects.com in your Gmail.

The syntax followed is <portalname_projectstring>@pop.zohoprojects.com

Your Benefit : Before, only project members can submit bugs in Zoho BugTracker but now any user can file a bug by sending an email to your domain email issues@zilluminc.com

Learn more about how to configure mail forwarding in custom domains at Email Settings.

Note: Field Renaming and Bugs Import are available for all the plans. Email settings feature and Custom Fields are available for Enterprise ($599 yearly and $80 monthly) customers of both Zoho Projects and Zoho BugTracker. See Plans and Pricing

If you haven’t tried Zoho BugTracker yet, this is the best time to give it a try and we’re curious to hear your feedback on how the migration of your bugs went about as comments here.

Making it easier to edit tasks and move task list in Zoho

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Creating a task list is nothing but planning your day to make it a more productive one. What matters most is how well you can manage your task list and how much work you put in to make sure you finish your tasks that makes you feel delighted like, you’ve achieved something when you get done with your task list each day.

Today we’re introducing a couple of features to help you better manage your tasks as best as you can in Zoho Projects.

Inline editing enabled for your tasks
Editing tasks is super easy with the inline editing option. Previously, you can edit priority, owner and status, starting today we’ve extended this to edit the start, end date and percentage completed for a task.

Editing Tasks

Moving task lists across projects
Feedback comes in waves from customers. Moving a task list from one project to another is one of them. With this, you can instantly move a task list from project into another in quick time.

Last but not the least; move tasks in bulk
Now move bunch of tasks from one task lists to another that saves ample effort in repeated task entry. This is a great time saver for actually keeping on task and finishing it off which makes you feel happy about working towards your goal.

Hope these features are useful and helps everyone! Learn more about them at Move Tasks

Send us your feedback at support@zohoprojects.com or let us know what you think :)