How Better Task Management Could Overcome Procrastination

EProject Management Template for PowerPoint

The phenomenon of putting off any type of task that needs to be completed by a certain deadline is called procrastination. A commonly cited "culprit" causing this type of behavior is laziness, leading to the judgmental opinion that procrastinators are somehow morally faulty, disorganized, weak-willed or unmotivated.

However, more and more studies come to refute this misconception, claiming that procrastination is neither shameful, nor a character flaw, but a result of various situational constraints. To bolster this statement, many specialists have pointed out that procrastination is especially manifested when the task in question is meaningful to its undertaker (who cares about performing it well).

Social psychologist and professor at Loyola University Chicago’s School of Continuing & Professional Studies Devon Price is one of the supporters of the idea that procrastination is not a consequence of laziness, but a functioning problem stemming from two major causes:

  1. Anxiety about the final outcome not being good enough (perfectionism);
  2. Confusion and doubts about how to initiate the task (executive functioning challenge).

In other words, procrastination has nothing to do with moral conduct or motivation, but mostly with fear of failure or the uncertainty about how to begin a complex undertaking. Procrastinators would often will themselves to work for hours, but end up paralyzed in front of a blank Word document, piling on the guilt and worsening their level of stress.

The key solution to such instances, Devon Price suggests, is to identify which of the two above is the source of obstruction and:

  1. If anxiety is the impediment, you need to walk away from the task and engage in a relaxing activity. This should act like a restart button.
  2. If you don’t know how to begin the task, you should divide the main activity into a series of specific subtasks and organize them on a timeline to better track progress. It creates a psychological shift in the way you perceive the challenge at hand (an overall massive project vs. smaller, separate activities that you can tackle one by one).

Applying this strategy becomes even easier when using external structuring tools, such as the intuitive PowerPoint add-in called Office Timeline, which helps you turn your to-do list, schedule or activity plan into a beautiful and clear timeline. You can kick-start the process with our slide here (which is free to copy and share), and can add more milestones and tasks to the graphic using the Plus version of the tool.

Download the Project Management Template for PowerPoint or choose any other free templates from our gallery.



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Microsoft’s Insert Data from Picture Tool for Excel Users

Microsoft insert data from picture tool

Professionals who rely on Excel to organize and process data for various purposes have one more reason to enjoy using this platform as its developer, Microsoft, has launched a new tool for Android phones that allows users to turn a photo of data into an Excel spreadsheet. The Android app’s Insert Data from Picture feature lets you capture an image of data displayed in rows and columns on a piece of paper and automatically converts it into editable table data. Apart from numbers, one can also turn lists and recipes into the well-known tabular form.

The main process involves taking a photo of the data in question and sending it to Excel’s online image-recognition engine to process and change it into a table. During the import, you’re given the possibility to alter any detail before its conversion. Microsoft said that the iOS version of Excel would be soon available as well.

Here are the main few steps you need to take to turn phone photos into Excel table data:

1. Open the Android Excel app and tap the New button at the top. This will create a new file and you can choose to either format it as a blank workbook or start from one of the templates available.

2. Go to the bottom of the app and tap the Data from Picture button. As a first-time user, you will also need to tap Allow to give Microsoft permission to convert the image to data in order to proceed.

3. Place the red rectangle around the data you need and tap the Capture button. You might be prompted to repeat the process if the image is not very clear and the app cannot identify the data.

4. Once the image is captured, tap the red check button to commence the conversion process. If want to start again, tap the X.

5. In the preview section which appears, tap the red-highlighted cells and then Edit to start entering missing information; to make corrections or changes to the existing data, you need to tap un-highlighted cell. Tap Done after each edit.

6. When you’ve finished editing, tap Insert at the top to position the data in your workbook.

Part of Microsoft’s suite of Office apps for mobile devices, the Android Excel app can help users save time importing their data to other relevant tools that integrate with Excel, such as PowerPoint. As developers of an intuitive add-in that turns Excel data (and not only) into beautiful slides right inside PowerPoint, the Office Timeline team can only welcome this great addition to the range of data processing tools on the market.

How to Make Gantt Charts and Timelines on a Mac


There are many advantages to using a Mac. You may love it for its sleek look, its attention to user experience, the invulnerability of its systems, but also because it works so seamlessly with your iPhone and iPad.

But when it comes to creating important project visuals like Gantt charts or timelines, as a Mac user you may find yourself without many options or guidance. Most of the tools and tutorials available online today have been developed for Microsoft Windows because of the wide adoption of this operating systems, leaving Mac users out in the cold. And there's nothing more annoying than having to constantly switch back and forth to a Windows PC or a virtual machine just to use a professional timeline or Gantt chart maker when you have a tight deadline breathing down your neck.

That's why we've decided to show all of you Mac users around the world how you can make timelines and Gantt charts using Apple's iWork office suite of apps: Keynote, Numbers, and Pages. This new series of tutorials contains step-by-step instructions to help you get started and templates you can download to practice anytime.

We'll show you different options and guide you through different ways to do them. Some may take you longer, and some may save you precious time. Take a look, choose which procedure suits you best and start making Gantt charts and timelines that wow your audience.


1. How to make professional timelines for Mac

Gantt Chart for Mac

Timelines are a great way to visualize a series of events that happen over time, making it easy to understand and remember essential data. If you're a Mac users who needs to create timeline for important presentations, you can use the iWorks suite, as all three apps have functions that can produce timelines one way or another. Check out the links below to read the tutorial for the app you want to use.

Learn how to make a timeline in Keynote for Mac

Learn how to make a timeline in Numbers for Mac

Learn how to make a timeline in Pages for Mac


2. How to make Gantt charts for Mac

Gantt Chart for Mac

Similar to timelines, Gantt charts are powerful planning tools as they show activities or tasks and their corresponding timeframes in a simple visual format, making it easy to see the big picture at a glance, coordinate work, and track progress. As a Mac user, you can use your iWork applications to create such visuals. Just choose which app you want to use and explore the tutorials below.

Learn how to make a Gantt chart in Keynote for Mac

Learn how to make a Gantt chart in Numbers for Mac

Learn how to make a Gantt chart in Pages for Mac


Depending on the software you use, making clear, impressive timelines and Gantt charts can become quite a chore on Mac OS – or any other operating system. That's why using an automation tool like Office Timeline Online may be a better solution for Mac users who need to regularly build Gantt charts, update and present project timelines or other visual plans.


Related content:

Office Timeline Online Quick Start Tips

See What Office Timeline Online Plus Offers

How to Instantly Turn Excel Data into a Gantt Chart


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Build stunning, uncomplicated timelines and Gantt charts right in your browser.

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How to Plan an Event: Tips and Tools for a Winning Event Plan


Event planners and professionals who have ever organized a conference or had to make an event proposal know how important it is to have a good plan in place – if they don’t want constant chaos and unnerving stress, that is. Whether it’s a product launch, a wedding or a convention, any event, regardless of size or complexity, can benefit from a clear, well-organized plan that will provide direction, clarify responsibilities, and ensure everything stays on track.

This article proposes a few simple steps and tips to help planners and coordinators create an effective event plan and manage it easily. It also discusses user-friendly event planning software and provides useful resources to get started faster and simplify the management and tracking process.

Event Plan


Best practices for successful event planning

Organizing an event can be an overwhelming process even for experienced event managers, and this is why they begin planning for it as soon as they possibly can – sometimes, this can be even a year or more in advance. The following steps will help professionals put together a coherent plan fast so that they can easily manage all of the moving parts involved in the event.


          1. Determine the basic event specifics

Before anything else, event planners usually ensure they have a good understanding of the event’s goal (what the client or organization wants to achieve through it) so that they can translate it into tangible, measurable objectives. Then they select an optimal date for the event, as well as a second-best as backup, taking into account the audience, religious or statutory holidays, and any other factors that may impact the event’s success.


          2. Make an event planning checklist

Once the goals are set and clear, managers can easily work backwards from them to create an event planning checklist that lists all key deliverables and activities involved in executing the event. These usually include - but are not limited to - details like:

  • Budget, logistics, catering and venue management
  • Volunteer management
  • Entertainment management
  • Sponsor management
  • Registration management
  • Marketing and PR activities

After mapping out all major activities, event planners can easily prioritize them, organize them into categories if needed, estimate the duration of each task, set deadlines, and assign responsibilities. This ensures that not only the manager, but everyone else on the team has a clear idea of what work is needed from them and when.

Event Planning Checklist


          3. Turn the checklist into a visual master plan

While a checklist can be a great start in event planning, it tends to be a more passive reminder of what needs to be done, and, in the case of large-scale events, it can get quite long and difficult to digest too. A plan that isn’t easily understood, checked on, shared and acted on by all parties involved defeats its own purpose because, for instance, team members may start to forget the original priorities as new opportunities come up or urgent matters approach.


To keep everyone on the same page and ensure the event stays on track, professionals may wish to turn their checklist into a simple, visual plan that clearly shows all the key aspects on a single page. One way to do this is to use a pre-formatted event planning template such as this one, which is a native PowerPoint timeline slide that users can download for free and manually edit with their plan’s data. More designs and ideas are available in this free timeline template collection.


Free Timeline Template Collection

Use an event planning app to easily manage your plan

No matter how carefully thought-out an event plan is, it is subject to change and it will need regular edits and revisions as the execution process progresses. While a PowerPoint template may provide a good starting point in building an event timeline, editing it manually to update the plan whenever changes occur will become a tedious, time-consuming task. This is why event managers often rely on automated tools to aid in their planning and tracking processes.


Using lightweight event planning software such as Office Timeline Add-in or Office Timeline Online will help professionals manage, track and update their event plan more easily and in less time. The tools were designed to be simple, familiar, and intuitive so that busy managers can get started right away, without having to learn complex functions and processes. Both event planning apps allow users to quickly enter or import their data and instantly turn it into a timeline similar to the templates presented above. Once created, the visual can be fully customized and updated with just a few clicks, as fast and as often as needed.

Event Planning Software

Although the two tools are quite similar in what they deliver, there is a major difference between them:


  • Office Timeline Add-in is a feature-rich desktop app that works on Windows and plugs into PowerPoint, allowing users to build, revise and share their plan right from within the familiar presentation tool. The plug-in integrates with management tools such as Excel, Project or Smartsheet, allowing for automatic timeline updates and data synchronization.

    Download and try the Plus version of the add-in for free.


  • Office Timeline Online is a flexible web-based event planner that works on any operating system, including Mac. It lets professionals build their timeline directly in their browser, access it quickly wherever they are, and update it on the fly using drag & drop. Once ready, the visual can be saved as an image or as a native PowerPoint slide to be used in important presentations.

    Make event timelines online now.


Event planning is considered as one of the most stressful jobs, but it doesn’t have to be. With a coherent plan in place and the right tools to manage it easily, coordinators and their teams can stay on top of their event and ensure its success.


Useful Resources:

Make Gantt charts online

Office Timeline Online Quick Start Tips

Office Timeline Add-in Quick Start Tutorial


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What's Changed in Office Timeline

Thanks to valuable customer feedback and after months of hard work from our development team, we are excited to announce that Office Timeline has undergone a major redesign. The latest version of the add-in (3.14.00) comes with an improved interface and new features to help professionals create and customize timelines faster, smarter, and with greater control over their work.

Here’s what’s new in Office Timeline:

          Simplified the Office Timeline ribbon

The first major change users will notice after downloading the latest version of the add-in is that the Office Timeline ribbon has been simplified dramatically. In the past, the ribbon featured a variety of functions and customization options, as seen below:

hours and minutes example

In the latest version of the add-in, you will see that many of those options have been removed to reduce crowding:

hours and minutes example

However, they have not disappeared. Preceding versions of Office Timeline featured the Style Wizard on the ribbon. Now all Style Wizard functionality has now been moved into the new Style Pane, which enables faster timeline customization and provides simpler user experience.

          3-Step Timeline Creation

Before the latest update, users would build new timelines in 4 simple steps, using the Timeline Creation Wizard.

hours and minutes example

The new version introduces even faster, 3-step timeline creation, removing the Style page from the Wizard and transferring its functionality to the Style pane.

hours and minutes example

          The Style Pane

The Style Pane enables professionals to fully customize any item on a timeline in one single place, with just a few clicks.

  • 1. First, make sure the Style Pane button is activated.
hours and minutes example

  • 2. To start customizing your timeline, simply click on a milestone, task, title or any other object you wish to style, and all customization options will appear in the Style Pane on the right.
hours and minutes example

          Changes in Styling Options

The latest version of Office Timeline also comes with new styling features and functionality improvements, including:

  • 1. Task shape outline

Now, users can not only tweak task colors, sizes and spacing, but also add outlines to emphasize important tasks. To do so, simply select a task bar, click Outline, and choose the desired width and color.

hours and minutes example

  • 2. Task % complete highlight options

Another new styling option brought by the latest update is the ability to highlight the percent complete indicator in any color, allowing users to add even more variety to their timelines:

hours and minutes example

  • 3. Apply to all

By default, the Style Pane customizes individual timeline objects. If users wish to apply the same styling options to all similar objects on the timeline, they can do so in an instant by clicking Apply to all.

hours and minutes example

It is important to note, however, that the function will impact all variables in the same styling group. For instance, when changing a task’s size and hitting Apply to all, the function will apply not only to the size of the selected item but to all the other tasks affecting their spacing, shape and color as well.

hours and minutes example

The development team is constantly working to enhance Office Timeline and improve user experience. While the current release comes with many exciting changes, it is only the beginning: more updates will be coming soon and will bring even more enhancements, from improved Apply to all functionality to multi-select customization. Meanwhile, we are eager to hear your thoughts on the latest developments.

About Office Timeline Plus

Professionals spend a lot of time creating timelines, Gantt charts and other visuals to communicate their data more effectively at important meetings. Office Timeline makes the process faster and simpler, allowing users to:

  • work right inside PowerPoint, providing an easy, familiar and seamless experience
  • create simple, elegant visuals that are easy for audiences to understand and remember
  • instantly update timelines when their milestone or task data changes
  • scale from years and decades down to hours and minutes
  • easily print and share the PowerPoint timelines for improved collaboration.

Quickly turn project data into professional timelines

Build stunning, uncomplicated timelines and Gantt charts that are easy to make and simple to communicate. Get the advanced features of Office Timeline Plus free for 14 days.

GET FREE TRIAL