11 Productivity and Time Management Twitter Personae You Should Check Out

We can safely say that we’re a bit of time management & productivity freaks around here. Why would we even consider creating a piece of software that focuses on a timesheet system otherwise?

But as ordinary human beings, we also draw inspiration from other people focusing on what interests us. New angles to the delicate art of time management and productivity are always a nourishing meal for the mind. Here are 11 Twitter personae who are pretty educational when it comes to time management & productivity bits of insight.

Time management gurus to follow on Twitter.

#1 Craig Jarrow @TMNinja

Who: Obviously, Craig is a time management ninja who battles chaos, unmanaged tasks and shows the right path to time management. Straight to the point with his actionable advice, he’s a favorite of ours.

Why: We fell in love with his “5 ways a positive attitude makes you more productive” article. Especially the silver lining bit resonates especially well with us, as we’re natural born optimists.

#2 Christian Reber @christianreber

Who: Christian is the founder of the legendary productivity tool Wunderlist. We love it. Some of our clients love it too. It’s simply wunderful.

Why: Wunderlist is enough of a standalone reason for following Christian. Aside from that, he’s an important inspiration to us, as Wunderlist’s headquarters are in Berlin – the same as ours.

#3 Violeta Nedkova @VioletaNedkova

Who: Violeta  is a creative marketing guru with various bits of advice scattered along her website (and Twitter). We think her trademark is the enchanting way she talks on…well, just about anything that interests her.

Why: We already elaborated on the fact that we’re a bit of a control freaks. Violeta’s article on her specific calendar system is simply marvelous and we couldn’t help but fall in love with it.

#4 Paul Sohn @pauljsohn

Who: Paul Sohn ranks in the top 33 under 33 millenials and is a sheer inspiration to bloggers and entrepreneurs alike. While primarily focusing on leadership, his insight expands to many other areas.

Why: His extensive Must-read books list caught our attention, but what surprised us is that we have similar taste with Paul. Seth Godin and Cal Newport make for a killer combination.

#5 Erik Fisher @ErikJFisher

Who: Mixing social media management with productivity podcasts, Erik Fisher offers an extremely fresh perspective to both of these worlds.

Why: Erik’s podcast “Beyond the to do list” features established entrepreneurs and people who have many things to say about productivity and balancing personal life and careers.

#6 Asian Efficiency @asianefficiency

Who: We’re talking about a team here and what a team that is. Asian Effiency gives us tasty portions of tips and articles on the fine art of productivity.

Why: Sometimes people forget that productivity involves mistakes and we can easily slip into making them on a regular basis. Asian Efficiency’s article on productivity mistakes is a refreshing and educational read here.

#7 Dragos Roua @dragosroua

Who: Dragos offers a refreshing Romanian take on enterpreneurship, personal development and the world of motivation and productivity.

Why: Productivity might be a intangible concept to some, but it follows a certain pattern and you have to follow its rules. Dragos’ article on the 10 rules of productivity is a must-read in this regard.

#8 Think Productive @thinkproductive

Who: Gathering from scattered locations around the world, Think Productive’s ninjas help you out bring your inner productivity beast forth and get stuff done. The collective offers a fun take on what it means to get things done – and how you can do that.

Why: Distractions are deadly to productivity. We especially loved Think Productive’s article on Mindfulness and its positive effect amidst a “digitally distracted world”, as the collective puts it. Bonus points for meditation, as some members of our team practice it.

#9 Pomodoro Technique @PomodoroTech

Who: If you haven’t heard what the Pomodoro Technique is, we advise to take a trip to unleashing your productivity at this very moment. How? Just check out what the technique is on Pomodoro Tech’s official website.

Why: Isn’t such a genius method of boosting your productivity enough? We think it should be.

#10 Michael Sliwinski @Msliwinski

Who: Michael Sliwinski is founder of Nozbe and a real inspiration when it comes to productivity and entrepreneurship. Definitely a person you should check out.

Why: Cronforce focuses on remote teams with our set of features and Michael has a killer article on his remote team without any office present in the equation.

#11 A Life of Productivity @ALOProductivity

Who: A life of Productivity is the project of Crhis Bailey who is infatuated with both mondfulness and productivity. Aside from his valuable tips, the design of ALOP’s website is simply fantastic.

Why: Have you ever thought what does your time really cost? Chris offers us a very interesting perspective to the exact value your time has and we tend to agree. An absolute must-read in our opinion.

The Cronforce.com team.

3 steps for proper workforce planning in businesses

Proper workforce shapes lucrative businesses. Taking care of employees, identifying their personal goals and aligning them with the expectations you have for your business is what constitutes success. Ever pondered on the fact why do so many businesses start, only to fail within a certain timeframe? Why many companies have abysmal employee levels?

Or, let’s dig to the core. Why, according to various statistics, only 25 to 30% of employees feel connected with their business? Or satisfied with their role as a part of the workforce?

The answer lies within bad workforce planning in businesses, spreading its effect on the whole infrastructure of a company. Glancing over that important factor will ensure your employees won’t:

  • Feel connected to what you do: your business objectives (short and long-term), overall mission, day-to-day operations.

  • Feel motivated as a part of the workforce because they don’t receive the appropriate acknowledgement of their efforts and overall performance. As a result, their skills deteriorate and decrease your output and competitive side.

  • Properly help maintain a beneficial team environment, with clear responsibilities for every employee and proper intercommunication between team members.

A failure in workforce planning in businesses, every of these factors can sink your company to the bottom. Let’s see how you can avoid stepping in a workforce planning quicksand.

Step 1: Gauging the environment

Workforce planning in businesses starts with taking a close look at events unfolding on both the macro level of the whole industry and the micro level of your company. Remember: your employees are the backbone of your business, but it is you, the owner, who should lead them. In order for them to know what can they actually do, you need to present them with some objectives. And objectives come after you have gauged the environment properly.

Workforce planning in businesses and the frustration its lack can cause.

Skip on employee frustration by gauging the environment. Image: Ambro, Freedigitalphotos.

There are two types of environment that matter for proper workforce planning in businesses: external and internal.

The external environment is the macro level we spoke of. You’re looking at the big picture here. What are the current challenges, trends, shifts in your industry? What can you see at a local or national level, or at a global one? Depending on the type of your business, the external environment will be different. However, you absolutely need to present your workforce with a coherent, extensive rundown on what the external circumstances surrounding your business are.

The internal environment might be a bit easier for you to gauge, as you’re looking at the inside details of your business. You need a proper assessment of the goals of your company and the business planning you have set in motion. How does your vision tie to the specifics of the external environment? Can you tackle delivering services (or products) on par with the current market trends? In case of any open initiatives or sources (in your country or on a global scale) of funding for your business, which of these can you secure? How does your workforce capability fare if you give it a shot, do you risk overstretching your output potential?

After gauging the two separate types of environment in workforce planning in businesses, you need to place them next to each other. Analyze what “clicks” together, so you have a good basis for moving on to the next step of intelligent workforce planning. That would be…

Step 2: Assessing your actual workforce

Nailing down the true profile of your workforce is the single most important things in workforce planning for businesses. If you underestimate or overestimate your team’s skills and output, you’re putting your projects and clients at risk – and through that, your company too. Assessing the actual potential of your workforce stems from a thorough evaluation of the workforce you have now and the workforce you want to have in the future. The link between these two is what you actually want to achieve with your services or products.

Take a look at your current day workforce, every single team member in your company. What are their current skills? How do they complement each other? What challenges do they face – on an individual plane, or as a team? Is there a new competency that might help them and boost your performance among your competitors? Do they need additional trainings or certifications in order to reach that competency?

Skills matter in workforce planning in businesses.

The skills of your workforce are your company’s future. Nurture them and cultivate them so your team has an edge against the competition.

Then, make an attempt to branch out to the future. What is the profile of your future workforce? What services or products do you plan on dishing out – short-term or long-term? Any significant projects, initiatives or clients you look forward to landing? Think of the external enviroment here too: what is the future of your industry? What will the up-and-coming trends require of your employees? How should your workforce’s skills evolve to meet industry demands – will they devaluate with time and how can you escape that?

There’s a very important factor in workforce planning in businesses: forget about counting the number of your employees. Instead, start counting the valuable skills your team has – and what can you do to cultivate them to meet future market challenges.

Step 3: Closing it all

You have connected both external and internal environment; thrown the bridge between your workforce’s now and its future. In both of these steps, you have found gaps that need to be addressed. Then do so: address them. But do so in a calculated, methodical manner. Ensuring proper workforce planning in businesses means that after you have done your analysis, you prioritize the important things and come up with a plan.

This plan might shape up as being a nightmare, we guarantee that. You need to think of how your company fits in the future of the industry and how every single one of your employees does so too. Plan different scenarios. Theoretize and gauge what steps will take you to the maximum outcome in every single variation. Pinpoint your businesses aspirations and what would it take to turn them into reality. Work closely with your HR department and your team while doing so: you all are a part of the organism of your business.

Workforce planning in businesses comes features a lot of challenges. In a way, it’s very similar to tackling contemporary project management challenges – a topic we’ve covered before. We’re currently working hard on providing you with a Workforce Planning module to help you out on your way to nailing down these 3 steps of managing you workforce. Until then, you can check out Cronforce with a free trial and see the other ways we can improve the output of your team members – and empower your business along with that.

The Cronforce.com Team

Your 5 minute Guide to track Vacations and Absences

Good news – it will actually take less than a minute. The reason being that when you register for a free trial Cronforce comes preconfigured with several timeoff projects.

In order to try it out you just have to go to Timeoffs > Submit Timeoff and press the Book button. You are then given several options with the most notable being Vacations and Absences. Select what you want to book and you will be presented with a simple popup window that asks you to select what type of vacation or absence you want to book. We allow you to pick your project because you can have one vacation project per year and also several type of absences like medical, legal, family and others.

We noticed that people ask us quite similar things so we have compiled a list of common questions and answers.

Why am I presented with less timeoff days available that actually configured in the system?

Because we booked some timeoffs in order to exemplify how Cronforce works, you may notice that the timeoff counter shows less days available than the days configured in Settings > Time. You can delete these demo entries at any time.

What if I want to create my own timeoff project?

You just have to go to Timeoffs > Timeoffs List and press on create. Once presented with the timeoff project creation screen do mark the project as timeoff project. Then you have to select the timeoffs types. These are created in Settings > Time and could be your Vacations2015 and Vacations2016 types or the absences type you want to have assigned in a timeoff project. These are the timeoff types you can choose from when booking timeoffs.

What if employees should have different vacation days?

Well, just go to their profile in Settings > Users and set the vacation days they are allowed to book. It is this easy.

Is there a way for a supervisor to approve vacations and absences?

Of course, just select a timeoff project and on the project overview click Team Supervisors Management (at the bottom of the page). Then pick the supervisor for an employee and this is all. When an employee that has a supervisor submits a timeoff the supervisor will be notified and should take action. You can also switch off timeoff approvals by enabling automatic approvals. For this you need to go to Settings > Time and select if you want to allow automatic approvals. If enabled timeoffs automatically get marked as approved.

And please do not forget – you are always welcome to contact us at support@cronforce.com if you need any help.

The Cronforce.com Team

Frequently Asked Questions

1. General

1.1 What is Cronforce?

Cronforce is a unique blend of business critical tools for small and medium sized businesses with powerful analytics. A one of a kind fusion of dashboards and business modules it provides you and your clients with real-time overview and reports of business and project developments. Time has never been so easy to capture be it working time or vacations and absences. Workforce planning and budget controlling save valuable manager time that was used before for cumbersome number crunching and project costing.

The platform is running in the cloud so you can access data easily, anywhere and any time. Cronforce’s genuine dashboards display real-time company critical information so that C-level execs, line managers and project managers can make educated decisions. There is no need to re-enter time, rates and project tasks from other software you already use. Cronforce integrates with your existing project management system, ERP and HR tools e.g. Jira, Basecamp, MS Navision, Peoplesoft. Our UIX experts take great care to optimize the product so that we crush the notion that enterprise software is old fashion, cluttered and hard to use. Effectively we facilitate day-to-day business and increase efficiency!

1.2 First steps with Cronforce: A quick How-to guide

We have put together a brief tutorial to walk you through the first essential steps on how to use Cronforce.

1.3 Configure your company

Read our dedicated article: How to configure your company account.

1.4 Create departments, clients and projects

Check out our video tutorial about departments, clients and projects.

1.5 Understand project structures

Read our dedicated article: Project structures explained.

1.6 Create powerful reports

One of the most highly regarded section of Cronforce is the Reports area. Please read our dedicated article How to create powerful reports and master data export in just a couple of minutes.

2. Timesheets module

2.1 Ultimate guide to time tracking

Read our dedicated article about how to get timesheets running in no time.

2.2 Timesheets video tutorial

Shortly after the release of our first tutorials follows another burst of videos. This time we deep dive into how to use the Cronforce Timesheets module. Enjoy!

2.3 Set limits to workers time
2.4 Timer clock tool explained

Read our dedicated article about our time clock tool.

2.5 Clock-in/out tool explained

Read our dedicated article about how to use Clock-in/out tool.

3. Timeoffs module

3.1 Ultimate guide to tracking vacations and absences

Read our dedicated article about how to get timeoffs running in no time.

3.2 Timeoffs video tutorial

This time we deep dive into how to use the Cronforce Timeoffs module. Enjoy!

4. Finance module

4.1 Ultimate guide to track budgets and control costs

Read our dedicated article about how to get your budgets and costs in control.

4.2 Finance video tutorial

The Finance module is undoubtedly the cherry on top of the cake. Set first billable rate and budget in no time, then control your spend. Enjoy our latest showcase!

4.3 Set up monthly budgets

Read our dedicated article: Set up monthly budgets.

5. Integrations and more

5.1 Integration with PM, ERP, HR and Payroll tools

Check out our Product Integrations list.

5.2 Integration with Jira
5.3 Integration with Google Chrome

Since last year, our Google integration has helped thousands of Cronforce users track time seamlessly within their organisations. For more information read our dedicated article Introducing the new Cronforce Chrome Extension.

5.4 Project structures explained

Read our dedicated article: Project structures explained

6. Misc

6.1 What happens after I sign up?

We will give you immediate access to the system and our onboarding tooltips will give you a quick overview. We will also send you an e-mail to confirm your password.

6.2 Do you ask for payment information when registering for a free trial?

No, never.

6.3 Will I be charged when the free trial is over?

No. We never ask for payment information when registering for a free trial. We also send several warnings when your 30 day trial is about to expire and eventually remove the account. This means that your data will not be kept on our systems and there is no need to request deletion.

6.4 Will the data from the Free trial be carried over to the paid account?

Yes. All data is migrated to your paid account. All Clients, Projects, and Employee lists are carried over to your paid account together with the logged work, time off and budgets.

6.5 Is there a limit for the number of users during the Free Trial?

Yes. We allow up to 10 users to be onboarded during the free trial. If you need more just write to our friendly support team.

6.6 Will you extend my free trial if I do not have enough time to try Cronforce?

Gladly. We understand that you are busy and time flies. Just send us an email and we will add 30 extra days.

6.7 How do I pay for Cronforce if I decide to use it?

We accept all major credit cards, paypal and wire transfer. You would be billed on a monthly or yearly basis (20% off) for the number of active users.

6.8 Can I cancel my paid account anytime?

Yes. Even with the paid account, there is absolutely no obligation. Simply send us an email and we will close the account.

6.9 If I stop paying for my account, can I resume paying at a later date and continue using Cronforce?

Yes. Cronforce will let you do that. We will work with you whatever your temporary situation might be. We will keep your inactive data for free, for a maximum of 1 month (or more if explicitly requested) after the account becomes overdue or inactive.

6.9.10 Can I downgrade from a paid account to the Free plan at any time?

Yes. However, as the free plan allows only two active users, you will need to deactivate all other users. You will still be able to access past time sheets, time off and reports of all users.

6.9.11 Can someone from Cronforce assist me with the setup during the free trial?

Absolutely! Just drop us an email at support@cronforce.com. We love helping our customers!