Power.ME Blog

Productivity News and Advice
Halloween is just around the corner! It’s that exciting time of year when kids and kids at heart alike dress up as creepy witches and monsters. Though you may not go out trick-or-treating as an adult, you can still enjoy all things creepy in other ways, and project management is no exception.

Read these Halloween tips for project management, and avoid turning your projects into ghost stories.

Fright. Expect the unexpected. Ghosts from the past can show up when you anticipate them the least. Always keep in mind that the same mistakes will happen repeatedly, so learning from every developed project is a must.

Danger. On Halloween, everyone ventures into the night with caution, watching out for freaks like zombies and witches. When planning a project, beware of threats from inaccurate goal definition to lousy planning. In project management, it pays to thoroughly check every step taken since each is important and determines the next one.

Team. We go out to Halloween parties with our friends; we also work in teams for certain projects. In both scenarios, each member plays a specific role to build the team. It is very important to build teams carefully, validating each member’s role and promoting team unity.

Environment. When trick-or-treating, you carefully plan a route to follow from house to house. In the same way, a project does not develop when it is quarantined. It can go the extra mile if you let your project out in the open. What you need is something that can help you constantly monitor it during the process.

Aim High. Getting the “Best Costume Award” or getting the most candy can be a fun prize for an awesome Halloween night. In project management, being able to satisfy a customer’s needs is the highest achievement a project manager can get. Setting up clear definitions of goals can aim the whole team towards success.

Were you able to think of any other similarities between project management and Halloween? Most of us have experienced anxiety when working on a project and will probably experience it again. But if you learn from the ghosts of the past, you are more likely to avoid problems in the future. Plan projects with caution, work well in your team, create a great project environment and aim high, and your projects will be successful. Have a happy Halloween!

As a professional, you should possess a high degree of belief in your ability to deliver – especially when caught in a high-pressure situation. The business world is not suitable for people who are feeble or faint of heart. Your competition will likely devour you in one piece if you face your business proposals, projects, and strategies with less than 100%  confidence.

When you hear constructive advice from a colleague, sometimes you may be thrown off guard and start defending yourself by shooting back meaningless and hurtful remarks. You may eliminate them from your friend list just to slash them away from your professional life. It’s nonsense and childish, but for sure, it happens.

It may be hard to cope with criticism at work. It definitely affects your productivity, but it is very important to know how to deal with criticism in a positive way.

Below are some tips on how to handle professional criticism:

  • Change Your Attitude

    You should learn not to respond immediately to criticism. These observations are unbiased and can be a way for you to improve your ways of doing things. After all, coworkers will not exert so much effort just to get their message across to you if it’s not valid and if you will not benefit from it. You should take some time to listen then decide when it is the right time to respond.

  • Embrace It with Enthusiasm

    Learn how to embrace criticism as your fuel for change. If someone highlights a problem in your work, view it as an opportunity to innovate and improve. Do not assume that you are right and everyone else is wrong. It never hurts to accept constructive, helpful advice; you just have to take it as it is.

  • Never Take It Personally

    It is always important to keep your cool when others criticize you. Keep in mind that they are not there to attack you personally – they are there to help you make your ideas better. Keep your mind focused on the project and not on your emotions.

  • Know Where It Is Coming From

    It might help to remember that some of the people who comment on your work have probably been where you are at the moment. Superiors would not be where they are right now if they always reacted negatively to criticisms. Look at the brighter side: take constructive suggestions with grace by learning from others’ examples.

  • You can be the most influential person in a project if you are an effective and confident employee. You are more likely to become a better person and leader than you were if you just know how to take feedback and corrective suggestions.

The Power.ME Web App is new and improved—check out the new updates we’ve implemented today!

We’ve optimized the experience: Features like Search load faster than ever. When opening drawers and folders, your content will display more quickly, giving you those precious extra seconds to increase your productivity.

Edit Nav Menu

Power.ME Web will save the last section you visited on the Home Menu; the next time you open the app, you’ll be automatically returned to this section.

You can customize your experience with Power.ME Web so the sections you access most on the Home Menu are the most accessible.

To hide less-needed items from the Home Menu:

  1. Click the gray bar at the bottom of the Home Menu.
  2. Click the check boxes to specify which sections you would like displayed when you open the web app.
  3. Click the Done button when you’re finished.

Give the updates a try, and let us know what you think.

So you work hard every day, but do you work smart? Do you know if you are meeting the goals set by both you and your company? Do you know if your hard work is appreciated? It shouldn’t be hard to find out. Getting feedback on your work isn’t just for the low guy on the totem pole; everyone needs some positive and negative feedback to help them improve at what they do.

Why You Should Want It

You don’t need to be afraid of receiving feedback; it’s how you continue to develop your skill set. Asking for it shows others that you want to improve, and when you show you want to improve, others’ respect for you grows. You can benefit from both positive and negative feedback. Not only will you have the chance to make changes in your work, but you’ll be viewed as a conscientious worker, an asset to any company.

Read the rest of this entry »

You know those days where everything seems to be going wrong? Or those days when you can’t seem to get on top of things? Or those days when you just want a break? Those days need some kind of reboot, or a way to let go of everything else and get back to the basics: the tasks that need to get done and the things that make you happy.

I recently came across a new principle on another blog. This principle is a way to deal with your day when it has become too much, gotten off track, or lost its sense of purpose. Ellen of Handmade Recess has embraced a philosophy (learned from her friend Jessie) that says when your day gets beyond you and you feel like you’re losing your grip, start your Second Day.

Your Second Day is more than a do-over. It’s a chance to let go and reboot. You back up, do some of the tasks that you need to do to get on top of things, and then do something to make you enjoy your day again. It allows you to finish the hard day right now and start the next “day” without waiting until morning.

Step 1: Decide to Start Your Second Day

Ellen says, “At the very moment when you are just about to give out but your day calls for you to give more, make a shift. Start your Second Day.” Take a deep breath. End the hard day and start a new, fresh day.

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Some say that listening to music at work is an epidemic that is creating a more segregated, individualistic office atmosphere. However, if used properly, music can boost your productivity, ease your mind, and help you get through your day with a positive attitude. We’ve come up with six reasons to listen to music at work. Do you have any other reasons? Leave them in the comments.

1. To minimize distractions

With a set of headphones securely penetrating your ear canals, external sounds are diminished and even eliminated. This means no more gossip distracting you from your work, no more rumors about what projects are being axed, and no more slamming doors jolting you to attention. Headphones can also deter people from bothering you needlessly, meaning they will only ask you for something if they really need it. So block out all external sound and settle in to get some real work done.

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Are you the superhero your company relies on to get things done? With the release of the new Marvel comic-based Avengers blockbuster, people are enthralled with the idea of superheroes. Which Avenger do you most identified with?

The Hulk

Known for his angry disposition and brute strength, the Hulk is basically unstoppable. As Dr. Banner, he is quite intelligent, but to get things done, he takes on his other persona. If you identify with the Hulk, you like to power through any project. You don’t let anyone or anything distract you from your goal. There is no task or project you can’t tackle.

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Power.ME’s new feature makes adding tasks and files a snap. You can add tasks and files to your Power.ME account by sending an email to your own Power.ME email address, which is unique to your account. You can find this email address on the Power.ME Web App in the drop down menu under your account name.

Create a Task

To create a task from an email, draft or forward an email with no attachments. The subject line of the email will become the name of the task, and any text within the email will be added to the notes section of the task. You’ll find your new task in your Power.ME Inbox.

Add a File

To add a document or other file type, attach the file to the email. The title of the attachment will become the title of the new file in your account. Any text within the body of the email will be added to the file’s notes section in Power.ME. You’ll find the file in the No Project section in the Documents view.

Create a New Project/Drawer

To create a new project/drawer through email complete with content, attach more than one file to the email. A drawer will be added to the root level of your Power.ME account containing each of the attachments you sent. The drawer’s title will come from the subject line of your email, and any text in the body of the email will be added to the drawer’s notes section. The titles of the attachments in your email will become the titles of the files in your new project/drawer.

It may take up to two minutes for an email to be processed and added to your account depending on the size and quantity of attachments.

Do not expose your Power.ME email address to other email recipients by including them in the emails you send to your Power.ME account, or by publishing the address on the Internet.

If you feel this email address has been compromised (you’ve been getting spam in your account, for example), you can opt to generate a new one as a security measure.

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, a time to reflect on our mothers and all that they have done for us. Don’t forget to recognize your mother this weekend! I’ve compiled a list of notable lessons we’ve all learned before—likely taught to you by your mother in an effort to make you a productive member of society.

  1. Eat your veggies: Take care of your body, eat good foods, exercise, this is the only body you get!
  2. Clean up after yourself: As you get older, you can see why it’s such a good idea to keep a clean home—it helps with your mental state as well as your productivity levels.
  3. Do unto others what you would have them do unto you: Ahh, the Golden Rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
  4. Read the rest of this entry »

“Slow and steady wins the race.”

I had the chance to watch a friend complete her first half marathon last weekend. While I was waiting at mile 10 to cheer her on to the finish, I couldn’t help but notice the running styles of those that went past. At the very front of the pack, there were a few sprinters—you could tell that running was their lifestyle, and they could sprint longer than I would ever hope to be able to jog. For the most part, though, the runners kept a steady pace as they passed me. They weren’t trying to get the race over with, they were trying to pace themselves to be sure their bodies could handle running for that long. After my friend went past (with a cheery “Never do this!” piece of advice), I drove to the finish line to congratulate her when she got there (sounds lazy, I know). Because I drove, though, I was able to see many of the same people cross the finish line that I had watched back at mile 10. And what do you know, they were all still maintaining their steady pace, even across the finish line.

What did I learn from this experience?

Find a pace that works for you

There is a difference between training for a marathon and training for a 100-yard dash. If you are running a 100-yard dash, you’re planning to give your all for a short period of time. A marathon requires more planning, more discipline to train your muscles to handle a long, strenuous effort. Let’s be honest—life is more like a marathon. You never really reach the finish line, because there is always more to do beyond one completed goal. This is why you need to pace yourself. If you try to sprint through life, even through projects, you’ll run out of energy and get burnt out. You need to find a pace that works for you. Sometimes this means starting slow and building up to a faster pace, and sometimes you’re already at a fast pace, and you just need to keep it steady.

Steady rhythm yields higher productivity

Maintaining a life-rhythm over an extended period of time increases your productivity levels. We’ve discussed several methods for burst-based productivity on this blog, and setting a steady life-rhythm should not discount those tried-and-true methods. What I mean is that keeping a steady, productive rhythm in your life will help you reach your goals while minimizing stress levels and avoiding that all-too-feared burnout. If you think “I’ll just work 60 hours this week to get ahead,” it’s likely you’ll either continue working too much or you’ll end up not working much the next week. If you maintain a regular schedule and system for completing tasks and projects, you’ll be able to maintain healthy lifestyle and relationships outside of the office.

Maintaining a healthy pace keeps it fun

If you’re allowing your life to gain momentum and move faster and faster, you may lose sight of why you’re doing what you do, and you’ll likely start focusing on the pain and frustration of moving faster than you have strength or ability. When you stop listening to what your body and mind needs, you won’t have fun. And if you don’t have fun, you won’t want to continue doing what you do. Marathon runners don’t sprint for a mile and walk for three, they maintain a steady pace for the whole 26.2 miles. And because they don’t push themselves beyond their capacity at any point along the trail, they know they can finish the race, and they have fun doing it.

Image by digitalart via FreeDigitalPhotos.net