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Last Updated on January 2, 2020

5 Project Management Tools to Get Your Team on Track

5 Project Management Tools to Get Your Team on Track

We talk a lot about project management tools here at Lifehack, but mostly on how to setup your own personal project management systems. As project teams are becoming more and more distributed and our work becomes more and more digital, it’s important that we have good team-based project managment tools to augment our personal productivity systems.

Here are 5 project management tools that will ensure your team stays on track:

1. Asana

    Asana is a great, fast project management solution for teams and can even work for personal use.

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    You can use tags, projects, due dates, assign tasks to coworkers, and comment on each task. One of my favorite things about Asana is how fast and responsive the web app is and how the use of the TAB key gives you some very useful ‘hot keys’ to make your task processing even faster.

    Check out Asana here.

    2. Basecamp

      Basecamp is sort of the “grandad” of all team project management apps online.

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      With that comes task and project creation, discussions, due dates, tags, and more. Also, Basecamp SSL data encryption and daily data backups for all plans.

      Check out Basecamp here.

      3. Orchestra

        Orchestra gives you the ability to create tasks, create lists of tasks (sort of like projects), assign due dates (but no due times), share tasks with people and of course comment on each task. Using Orchestra is a treat and is pretty neat to see real time updating of tasks as you are working with others.

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        Check out Orchestra here.

        4. Flow

          One of the prettiest project management tools around, Flow, helps you plan and execute projects with teammates. Flow lets you create tasks, comment on them, add tasks to lists, tag tasks, assign tasks to others, and even has a cool Flow Concierge service for lucky beta testers where you can assign “simple” tasks to a personal assistant. Amazing.

          Flow also has a great iPhone app that is updated regularly as well as a Mac companion app for easily adding tasks and viewing updates.

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          Check out Flow here.

          5. Google Docs

            Google Docs is one of the best team project management tools because almost everyone that does anything on the web has a Google account. And with a free account, you get shared spreadsheets, documents, presentations, email, and storage (that is if you consider access to your information so you can be marketed to, free).

            I can’t even explain how many times I have used Google Docs in a project setting whether it be for school or work. Even with all of its small bugs that I have found from time to time, the time and energy that Google Docs has saved me and the many teams I have worked with is priceless.

            Check out Google Docs here.

            Featured photo credit: Kobu Agency via unsplash.com

            More by this author

            CM Smith

            A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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            Last Updated on March 25, 2020

            How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

            How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

            Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

            However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

            Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

            Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

            Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

            In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

            What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

            To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

            The Biology

            Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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            Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

            The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

            A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

            Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

            So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

            Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

            Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

            Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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            Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

            The Psychology

            Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

            Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

            Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

            Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

            What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

            Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

            Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

            1. Identify Your Habits

            As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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            2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

            Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

            It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

            3. Apply Logic

            You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

            Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

            4. Choose an Alternative

            As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

            Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

            5. Remove Triggers

            Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

            Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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            6. Visualize Change

            Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

            For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

            7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

            Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

            Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

            Final Thoughts

            Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

            Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

            More About Changing Habits

            Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

            Reference

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