July | Article Round Up

What you read, is what your interests are and I can clearly see from my reading list. 

I have tried to categorise them better this time around, so let me know if this is something that you guys are enjoying as well. 

  1. All about Goal Setting
  2. 10 Steps to Achieve any Goal
  3. 4 Tips to achieve your goals (Ted talks)
  4. Your career best effort ( again from one of my newly found blogger James Clear)

  1. Brene Brown's Digital Library
  2. Books to read if you are suffering from Imposter Syndrome

Overcoming Challenges:

  1. To know that you can actually do what you put your mind to, the writer tells it all how he photographed the Royal wedding.

  1. Spotify's health check model
  2. Levels of Agile Maturity 
  3. Success by being Agile

Working Moms:
  1. Kids of working moms turn into happy adults
  2. 6 Women share their return to work stories after maternity leave

I couldn't really find a category for it and I am generally interested in a lot of stuff when I read, here are some of the selected reads I thought might be interesting to this blogs audience.
  1. Why you can focus more in coffee shops than open plan offices
  2.  What the experiment of employees working 4 days a week found out
  3. open plan offices reduce face to face communications
  4. why liberal arts and humanities is as important as engineering
  5. New York Stock Exchange gets it first women chief 
  6. Only 25% of workforce is female in India 
  7. Lauren Powell and her story of inventing her brand
  8. 6 Pillars of Creativity
  9. When a stress expert and author battles mental illness 
  10. Surprising facts of why Women CEO's don't expect much support at home or work.
My favourite tweet for this month:

If you enjoyed this, you might want to look at the Article Round up for June.

Increase your Productivity- 3 Ways

We all have 24 hours in a day.

Some can work and use it like there's no tomorrow and some will procrastinate and be lazy and not get anything done. Which one is you?

The goal is to figure out how to maximise productivity. So, if you are someone who can't focus for 10 minutes straight without scrolling through your twitter or Instagram feed, here is some help for you.

Finding your Zone- athlete’s are known for getting into the zone, some visualise winning, some will pin their goals and re-affirm everyday and some will close their eyes and feel themselves winning. 

The “state of free flow” happens when you can replicate an emotion or the readiness by simply listening to the same music or reading your affirmations. One you are present in the zone you can do what you are best at without feeling the urge to browse or being distracted. Read more here about the state of free flow. 

The state of flow, will actually feel something like this for you:
  1. You are completely involved in what you’re doing
  2. There’s clarity:-you know what you have to do
  3. You know that the activity is doable, that you have the necessary skills to complete the task successfully.
  4. You lose your sense of self and all of your worries and concerns drift away.
  5. You lose track of time and you’re completely focused on the present moment.
  6. There’s an intrinsic motivation—whatever produces flow becomes it’s own reward. (Source)
Remove Stress- when you do what you love, you feel stress melting away. 

Work stress has been categorised into multiple stages:
1. Honeymoon stage
2. Full throttle stage
3. Chronic symptom stage
4. Hitting the wall stage
5. The opposite

Removing stress is a simple way to increase your productivity, no one tells you watch back back to episodes in Netflix, you can sustain it because you like watching it and to doesn’t stress you out. Only if you could replicate that feeling while working, you could easily work for hours. 

So, why are you stressed? Is it because you still have to found the right job or area of interest you would like to work in. 

Try these below points to try reducing the stress:

  • Take Breaks- take whenever you need it, to focus on yourself, for self care or just to find your sanity. Psychology Today talks about how “When we work, our prefrontal cortex makes every effort to help us execute our goals. But for a challenging task that requires our sustained attention, research shows briefly taking our minds off the goal can renew and strengthen motivation later on.” Read more here 
  • Exercise- changes your thinking skills  and comes with numerous benefits. Personally, I think my best when I go for walks and have seen the benefits first hand. I even walk when I feel stuck in situations. 
  • Plan your way to the ideal job- You should move if you don't like the mess you are in, you are not a tree. So, instead of being in a toxic environment, it's better to look for the next job. There are lots of platforms and ways to look for new jobs or find mentors who can help you. 
10,000 Hour Rule- efficiency is about how you have mastered the domain. This means hours of practice can not only make you efficient, it will also ensure you inspect and adapt your techniques or domains. 

To bring in more structure, the following strategy/tools usually bring in results:
  1. Pomodoro technique- this is one of my favorite tools right now, specially when I am trying to focus amidst a million more things to do. When I try to finish a task whether its the research behind the article or writing a post I mostly always wander. Using the timer, I know that I have a set time during which I have to finish the task I have assigned  and in most cases I have been able to get it done. So, if you have problem focussing, give this simple timer a go. 
  2. Breaking hours- a lot of people swear by their calendar and keep it every organised. The goal I think is very similar, when you break down the hours you are just increasing your focus because you time is limited and your work pin pointed. For me this simply translates to getting it done.
  3. Dividing your work - you eat one spoonful at a time, taking a project doesn't mean you have to get it done in a day. So, stop stressing. divine your work, break it down to simpler tasks, where you can't slice to down anymore. Then you prioritise it and thats how you start. consider the total number of tasks, time it will take you to get it done and how much the you have.  don't tress abut tomorrow, just switch on the tomato timer and work on the first task for now.

What do you think? Have some secrets you want to share that works for you, leave them in the comments or share over twitter

(Pic courtesy: Free stock Photography and google images)

Exciting News| Relaunching- Connect

Today, I want to share some exciting news with you all.

This goes long back, few years after I started the blog. I felt it was wonderful meeting amazing project management professionals from all over the world and learning from them and being mentored. 

I also knew that this is something that might be difficult for a lot of people to do, because you might not know whom to reach out to, or lot of times people are busy and perhaps don’t reply back to a mail of a newbie. I knew I felt very strongly about sharing the luck I had and how much I learnt just by talking to amazing people. And if I had the chance, so should so many others.  This is specially true for introverts, who might not be as comfortable meeting up people over coffee or cold calling them for a chance to be mentored or learning about the profession. 

Hence the “Connectwas born. It was free and the idea was to create an interactive design so you felt like you were at your work desk and had the freedom to be connected to newbies or experts from around the globe. 

The best part was you didn’t have to find them and figure out how to communicate with them, we did all that work for you. When the PMOT community signed up and amongst them lots of senior folks who were happy to mentor newbies. You could choose virtual mentorship or in your city mentorship, where you select from your domain of choice (media, IT, construction etc) and the city/country incase you want to have face to face conversations and not limit yourself to emails/skype calls. 

The site was launched because me and my two friends sat down and were super proud to get this done. It did well, lots of people signed up and it was still free. 

For me it was important that the purpose of creation stayed, for anyone to help themselves move forward in their career. You didn’t have to shell out on subscriptions or payments to get the opportunity.  

Paid completely with my own money, and encouraged and supported by many thats how it stayed, small tiny and humble. There was no marketing done except by word of mouth by people who used it or who wrote about it in there blogs. You could mentor here and probably claim PDU or SEU, saving you more money (if anyone had done it, can you please email us your story)

The site went down few months ago and honestly I didn’t even notice it initially and when I did, I had to take the time to decide if I wanted to bring the site back or let it go. There were people who had signed up (existing users),  communications happening and I just thought its really a good website, and even if it helps one student every month, one newbie every day to figure out their career I should bring it back. 

So, here it is- the site back and working. Yay!! The site stays as it is for now with new features coming soon. 

If you have ever used the site or benefitted from it, please don’t hesitate to tell your friends. If you or someone you know would like to collaborate or may be sponsor for the day or put ads in the site that would be wonderful because then we can bring in more amazing features to the site and keep on paying it forward. 

We are re-launching and yes it is still free. Thank you for your support. 

(Pic courtesy:https://burst.shopify.com) 

Interview the Co-Founder & COO of Wolf Flow

Jul 2, 2018 | 0 comments |
This is an interview with Jen, the Co-Founder & COO of Wolf Flow;  a Wisconsin based company. If you are like me and like productivity apps or hacks, this might be for you. To understand about the unique concept and why this software might be helpful, read the interview.

1. The concept looks wonderful, please tell us what was the inspiration behind creating the software

I’m so glad you see value in the idea! 

I previously worked as an Account Manager for an advertising-technology startup in Los Angeles. In my position, I managed 12 clients who I spoke to daily either through email, performance calls, or meetings. One afternoon in 2016, I was working on a global marketing campaign that I needed a handful of resources to complete (multiple browser tabs, and excel doc, and the client’s website).

Just when I had my desktop setup just how I needed, I got a call from another client with an issue I had to address immediately.  I began pulling open new windows on top of my perfectly organized desktop to put out the fire. When I was done fixing the issue, I realized my desktop was now full of chaos and I no longer had the resources open that I needed for my project. In this moment, I thought to myself, “Man.. If only I had something that allowed me to save groups of windows for each of my clients, I could easily save where I left off for each letting me jump between them easily.” That evening, I started to research what tools were out there to help me with this paint point, but came up empty handed. From there, I shared this frustration with Alex Coffin my co-founder, and he realized he experienced this same frustration as a technical sales engineer. 

Seeing as we both felt this frustration in our roles daily, we decided to do something about it! We are both so passionate about trying to make daily routines for professionals who work on their computers more effortless and help them to work smarter. A lot of people (including myself) have gotten into a mind state that we have to accept how things are sometimes, I just finally reached my tipping point.

2. The fact that you are saving time by using Wolf Flow seems amazing, did you always have time management in mind when developing the software?

Time management is a bit of an additional benefit to using Wolf Flow.

For us, the main problem we were trying to tackle with Wolf Flow was alleviating the digital and cognitive chaos professionals experience when trying to juggle so many different tasks, clients or projects. 

Companies continue to pile work on employees, a lot of times more than we really can handle. Unfortunately, I don’t think this will be changing. We wanted to create a solution that decreases the mundane busy-work of having to minimize and shuffle through windows and tabs when trying to switch between priorities, helping professionals have the resources they need for any project, client or task at their fingertips with the click of a button.  With these smoother and quicker transitions is when we begin seeing time being saved.

This time then can be used to either tackle another project, learn a new skill, or even get home on time to have dinner with one’s family. Wolf Flow also helps workers to be more productive by being able to focus on one task at a time, instead of accidentally clicking on the wrong tab and having their attention pulled away from what they were trying to do in the first place.  Wolf Flow’s Sessions ensures that you only have the resources (windows and tabs) open for that task you are trying to focus on, minimizing distractions.

3. Tell us the top 3 advantages of using Wolf Flow?
1.    Minimizes the chaos
o Going back to my story - the biggest benefit to using Wolf Flow for professionals is not having to deal with the chaos of having lots of tabs and windows open at once (all for different tasks).  Wolf Flow helps to organize resources to minimize the chaos.
2.    Task-Switch Efficiently
o With all of our shifting priorities and different hats we need to wear at work these days, Wolf Flow helps people transition between these shifting priorities efficiently. People no longer need to search for that window they are look for, but instead can find what they need, when they need it.
3.    Recover More Quickly
o Interruptions are inevitable in the workplace (externally and internally).  By being able to save the state you were in for a client, project or task to a Session, ensures that you can easily pick back up right where you left off. That way if a client calls and you have to switch gears quickly, you can easily save the resources you were working on into a Session and click into that client’s Session (who just called) to tackle the new issue.  Resources are always saved even if you close out a session, allowing you to jump back into your project or task days, weeks or months later right where you left off.

4. Can users who the Opt the free version, always have it free? or is it limited time offer?

Our free tier will remain free!

Our mission is to help the average professional, and with that we don’t want to have cost get in the way. Our free version allows you to use the software indefinitely (with free updates), just with limited features. The biggest limitation for the Free tier is being limited to 2 Active (open) Sessions at a time. 

 However, people can still create and save an unlimited amount of Sessions.

From there we have our Power Tier $4.99/month that adds in hotkeys for more control and Silent Mode to help your focus.

And our top Pro Tier at $14.99/month has Automated Time Tracking and Analytics. We are super excited about this feature as its the first of its kind. You don’t have to start or stop anything like you do with other time tracking tools. All you have to do is work within your Sessions and we automatically track for you. 

You can also pull reports for customized time frames by day, week or month that show you how much time you spent in each Session.

I will also mention that our Power and Pro tiers have a 30-day trial and we also offer enterprise discounts.

If you would like to know more details about the software, I suggest you give this link a read 

Side Note: If you liked the interview, you might like these too 

If you would like to be interviewed or showcase a product, please write to steppingintopm (at) gmail.com with the subject line- Product/Software/Book review request. 

(Pic courtesy: https://wolfflow.io/ website)

Product Round Up for June

Jul 1, 2018 | | 0 comments |
This month I thought I would share my love of reading and few of my all time 7 fav books with you. Let me know if you like the list and share  some of yours. 
The mentioned books are all from my personal collection (hardcopy and kindle versions) and not sponsored or gifted by the Author or the Publishing House. However, some of the links used here are affiliate links which means if you buy anything using the links, I make a little bit of money at no extra cost to you. this helps me run the blog and bring amazing content to you.

You are a Bad Ass  - First Impression of the book can be found here

Tools of the Titans  - Tim Ferris is another of my favourites and I try to read all of his books, to read a brief review click here 

The Checklist - I am a big fan of Atul Gawande and have read a lot of his books, this one is the first of his that I read and loved it. The review is right here.

Code of the Extraordinary Mind  - to know more about the book, click here.

The Sleep Revolution- An impulsive airport buy on my way to Goa, this book taught me a lot about sleeping and a lot that comes with it. If you are way busy with your life and think sleep is the thing I can manipulate and few cups of extra coffee will work, think again and read this 

When Life becomes Breath- the book left me sleepless for a week, if you need. reason to be grateful for your own life and stop complaining read this . This is not fiction, its real life.  

Holocracy  - If you are into Agile and new findings and case studies, this one will get you for sure. The book is about creating an organisation without managers. Zappos is one of the few companies that adopted this model and there have been numerous writings about it on the web. Read the blogpost about it here. 

Thank you for reading and supporting the site.

(Pic: Soma Bhattacharya)