Top 10 Swimlane Software for Project Management

Best Swimlane Software

What are swimlanes in project management?

Swimlane diagrams are an excellent tool for visually organizing a complex project. They achieve this by grouping specific tasks, milestones, business processes and other elements together into “lanes” divided by parallel lines, hence the association with the world of swimming competitions.

Generally, a swimlane diagram will define the employee or department handling certain tasks, the stage of the project when a task should be handled, etc. In the context of visuals illustrating a workflow or processes, you might also find them under the name of cross-functional flowcharts.

Types of swimlane diagrams

Swimlanes can be added to virtually any type of project visual, providing of course that the categories make sense to the PM and are useful in decluttering the layout of the graph. For the sake of simplicity, we have decided to split the applications in three major categories:

At the same time, this post is dedicated to tools that are primarily designed for the purpose of transforming data into visual representations. Find out how to create a timeline in Excel or if you want to learn how to make a Gantt chart in PowerPoint, check out our additional resources.

Related guides:

Let’s now take a closer look at some of the most popular project management solutions that can integrate swimlanes in their repertoire of visualization tools.


  Top 10 swimlane software for project management shortlist:

  Here are the best tools for creating swimlane diagrams:

  1. Kanbanize
  2. Planview
  3. Zenkit
  4. Office Timeline
  5. Monday
  6. Toggl Plan
  7. OnePager
  8. Visio
  9. Lucidchart
  10. Gliffy

Kanban boards

One of the best-known strategies in agile project management for limiting the number of simultaneous tasks and prioritizing them in order to maximize efficiency are Kanban boards. Swimlanes are inherent to their design. The system quickly earned adepts in software development and this helped it make the transition from physical to digital. Before we get started with the apps in this category, here’s a Kanban board example to better illustrate the concept:

Kanband board

Let’s find out who’s on our list!


1. Kanbanize

The company behind Kanbanize, Businessmap LTD, was founded back in 2008 and their vision is aligned with modern corporate values such as scalability, collaboration and automation. The flexibility of the application allows it to easily adapt to any industry’s requirements. This claim is supported by their diversified clientele that includes Bose, GoDaddy, Epic Games, Mozilla and Arsenal FC.

Swimlane made with Kanbanize

The agile project management software features comprehensive boards that can be updated at any point, permissions that can be defined and customized, event triggers, email integration, analytics and time-tracking capabilities. Kanbanize simplifies the job of PMs working with multiple teams via the Management Workspace, which permits distributing and tracking work across multiple projects from a single interface.

With respect to users’ feedback, Kanbanize could be improved by adding integration with external apps and better options for card finding, particularly in environments with numerous pages.


2. Planview Enterprise One

Planview’s mission is to make the transition from strategy to delivery across organizations as painless as possible. In other words, their application is designed to translate high-level objectives into very specific, achievable and actionable steps and deliver strategic initiatives. With tools like roadmaps, Planview bridges the gap between the resources and projects. Vertical swimlanes are used to categorize the cards in each sub-section of the Kanban board for more visibility.

Swimlane made with Planview

What’s more, it also includes analytics and enables you to create presumptive scenarios, then compare outcomes and determine the best course of action investment-wise.

For Planview Enterprise one, the complexity can also be perceived as a setback, because it steepens the learning curve. When the Kanban board grows, the numerous configurable columns on the swimlanes become a bit intimidating, particularly when users lack an extensive experience.


3. Zenkit

Synergy is the word of the day with this Kanban project management tool. Like the popular TV series character Dirk Gently, the team behind Zenkit believes that ‘everything is connected’, and they apply this principle in terms of tasks, client data, business documentation, etc. Their belief is best illustrated by their import feature, and API that seamlessly integrates with thousands of other apps to bring in external data, hassle free.

Swimlane made with Zenkit

Designed primarily as a Kanban board, Zenkit also has the ability to create Gantt charts and timelines, when this type of visualization would facilitate understanding the project’s next steps. Checklists and to-do lists with flexible labels, collaboration, formulas, offline mode and mobile versions are part of their arsenal as well.

The app does struggle a bit with larger teams, particularly in the free version: there have been some reports of lag and general slowness in this respect.


Timeline and Gantt charts

Gantt charts and timelines are the ideal visualization tools for illustrating the tasks and milestones of a project against the backdrop of timeband, because they allow users to frame everything in context. Swimlanes are not native to them. In fact, here’s a Gantt chart example without swimlanes:

Gantt chart

However, much like adding chocolate sprinkles on icecream, swimlanes give Gantt charts and timelines extra flavour. A swimlane diagram is considerably easier to organize and understand the more tasks and milestones you have. Check out this swimlane diagram example:

Swimlane diagram

Gantt charts and roadmaps created as swimlane diagrams are quite popular in project management because they are extremely visual. Task, for instance are depicted as bars with lengths varying according to their individual duration, permitting you to figure out how all the puzzle pieces fit together. Whenever you’re fleshing out a project, these graphs make the planning and execution less convoluted. Let’s check out the contestants.


4. Office Timeline

A timeline and Gantt chart maker tool developed to synergize with PowerPoint and leverage the functionalities of the popular presentation software, Office Timeline is available as an add-in for it and a standalone, browser-based version. Ease of use, an extensive line of beautifully designed swimlane templates, an intuitive interface and the absence of any serious learning curve are the key points that recommend this application for non tech savvy users in the PM field.

Swimlane made with Office Timeline

Furthermore, the PowerPoint integration allows you to create the Gantt charts and roadmaps with the same software you will use to hold the presentation to your stakeholders, saving time and resources. Office Timeline is compatible with other frequently used project management apps like Excel, Smartsheet, Wrike and even MS Project, so you can import data and sync changes to the source file.

Office Timeline templates

Office Timeline currently only produces Gantt charts, timelines and roadmaps with swimlanes, but the application is in continuous development and extra features as well as new templates are being added all the time.


5. Monday

It may not be anyone’s favorite day of the week, but it’s definitely a cloud-based project management software worth checking out. Monday relies on a unique style of color and placement to organize and manage teams. Color coding isn’t by any means new or groundbreaking. However, Monday makes good use of it to convey information like who’s assigned to a task, due dates, statuses and progress in general.

Swimlane made with Monday

At its core, Monday is not exactly a Gantt chart maker, but it can become one by adding the Timeline widget to the dashboard. Monday also shines in terms of assigning specific tasks to team members, Then, via the Timeline view mode, you can access a comprehensive overview of all projects.

The main challenges of this project management software come from the per-user pricing limitations, limited mobile app capabilities and difficulties with expense and time tracking.


6. Toggl Plan

Similarly to Office Timeline, Toggl Plan is a PM tool designed with simplicity and ease of use in mind. New users will appreciate the fact that its interface doesn’t overwhelm you from the start with a plethora of complex features and settings. The philosophy behind this planner is that micro-management stifles creativity and should be avoided, which is why Toggle is geared towards creating swimlane diagrams as high level overviews, like the one below.

Swimlane made with Toggl Plan

However, this is where the similarities between the two Gantt chart makers end. Toggle Plan is not as design focused and the way visual elements are illustrated border on spartan minimalism, but it does include Kanban Board capabilities and to-do lists.

According to most users, more integrations with external apps and a simplification and the addition of an invoicing system are the main grow points for the Toggl app.


7. OnePager

This application also has something in common with Office Timeline: it is designed as an add-in for a popular Microsoft application, namely Microsoft Project. By taking the task-level data from Project, it can export multiple phases or a complete, simplified schedule as a Gantt chart or timeline, with or without the swimlanes.

Swimlane made with OnePager

Those of your who worked with Microsoft Project before are painfully aware of the tool’s complexity and the lack of simple visual customizations available. OnePager aims to change that by transforming the project schedules into swimlane diagrams focused on the audience, and that can be edited with ease, while preserving the integrity of the original data. Bonus, this project management app also allows exporting the results as Gantt charts with swimlanes in PowerPoint slides.

Now, on the downside, Microsoft Project is a pretty great application, but it’s not always the best option, especially if you’re going for a high-level overview. Therefore, OnePager’s limitation comes from the platform this Gantt chart maker was built on.


Flowchart makers

Flowchart diagrams can be used to represent an operation or a process visually, and rely on logical steps. This is why, in addition to project management and the development of business plans, another practical use for them is the design of mathematical algorithms. They can have just a few steps or can grow to be incredibly complex, which is when you can introduce swimlanes to organize them more easily. Here’s a swimlane diagram example of what a flowchart might look like:

Flowchart example

Now, onto the apps!


8. Microsoft Visio

Visio is often listed as the go-to application for flowchart design, thanks to the wide variety of diagrams it can produce. Featuring templates for networking, floor plans, data processes and much more, this Microsoft application is part of the Office 365 package. However, according to users, that can be a double-edged sword because you don’t always know what version you’re going to get; it really depends on the type O365 package you purchase.

Swimlane made with Visio

In addition to the templates, Visio also includes an extensive shape and stencil library, which make it a great interdisciplinary tool. Another plus for Visio is that it’s very easy to showcase the relationship between multiple elements on the flowchart without cluttering the visuals too much. Because it’s part of the Microsoft suite, it also boasts integration with other applications like Excel or Access, allowing you to pull data directly from the databases.

What most users struggle with are the publishing and sharing of the flowchart diagrams, and the lack of a browser-based or Mac/Linux version.


9. Lucidchart

According to some users, Lucidchart is a far superior flowchart maker compared to Visio from several standpoints, but the one most often noted is the ease of use. We have to agree here. From the first steps you’ll notice that the learning curve is virtually non-existent and the interface – in Lucidchart’s case a web app – is very intuitive. Bonus points for having an offline mode in spite of this.

Swimlane made with Lucidchart

Lucidchart can produce cross-functional flowchart diagrams to keep even complex plans nice and tidy. On the same note, it allows working on separate layers and containers, for easy categorization. Once you’re done, you can use the Presentation mode to showcase the work, but you can also publish it or share it as an URL.

There aren’t many complaints around Lucidchart as a whole. One of the things users would like to see in future updates are the ability to auto-expire links. Some tweaks around the snap-to-grid which is thrown out of balance when the canvas size changes would also be welcome.


10. Gliffy

Are you looking for a solution that allows you to quickly draw a swimlane flowchart without installing a single thing? There are moments when speed, ease of use and simplicity trump all other factors, and that’s exactly Gliffy’s time to shine. This application also seamlessly integrates with popular platforms such as Slack, Trello, Confluence, WordPress, G Suite and many others. Collaboration and templates for all the basic styles of flowchart diagrams are what Gliffy excels at.

Swimlane made with Gliffy

Speaking of basics, there’s only a handful of formats supported for exporting your newly drawn swimlane diagrams (JPG, PNG, SVG, and Gliffy), but on the other hand they are the most frequently used. Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that this flowchart creator is by far one of the most inexpensive alternatives around, although most users describe the available plans as slightly awkward.

There’s scope to grow for Gliffy, and it’s by no means as comprehensive as Lucidchart or Visio.


Conclusion

Before picking a project management software with swimlane capabilities, it’s advisable to determine what type of diagram would work best with your organizing style and context. The list here is by no means exhaustive; let us know what your favorite application is in the comments!

If you favor timelines and Gantt charts, check out this blog post for a list of the best Gantt chart apps on the market that are worth exploring.


Best Swimlane Software for Project Management Overview


Rank Type
Software Description
1 Kanban Board Kanbanize An agile project management tool with time tracking, email integration, automated events and analytics
2 Kanban board Planview Enterprise One A complex and comprehensive Kanban Board for designed for actionable plans capable of analytics and what-if scenarios.
3 Kanban board Zenkit A simple but powerful PM tool that leverages synergies and integrates with many external platforms.
4 Gantt chart & Timeline maker Office Timeline An intuitive and easy to use timeline, Gantt chart and roadmap maker that relies on beautiful, professionally designed templates, aimed at the less tech-savvy user groups in PM.
5 Gantt chart & Timeline maker Monday A more complex application that leverages color coding to simplify the project overview.
6 Gantt chart & Timeline maker Toggl Plan An easy to use timeline maker with minimalist graphics.
7 Gantt chart & Timeline maker OnePager A Microsoft Project add-in that can render easily editable Gantt charts based on the source file data.
8 Flowchart maker Visio Microsoft’s flowchart creator that boasts extensive templates, shapes and customization options.
9 Flowchart maker Lucidchart A simpler and easier to use alternative to Microsoft’s Visio.
10 Flowchart maker Gliffy Out-of-the box minimalistic flowchart maker with no installation required.


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Top free timeline templates for your business continuity planning

When a crisis or disaster threatens to flip your whole world upside down, it’s hard to know how to respond. Luckily, more and more organizations across the globe are discovering just how important it really is to have a business continuity management system that helps you adapt quickly and keep your business running in times of uncertainty.

If your organization doesn’t have any risk management or contingency plan, the good news is that it’s never too late to start. “Failing to plan is planning to fail,” Benjamin Franklin reportedly said, so any time is a good time to start planning your crisis response. On this page you’ll find guidelines, basic information, but also some useful resources and templates to help you build your organization’s resilience in the face of stress.

What is a business continuity plan and why you should have one

A business continuity plan is a document (or collection of documents) that explains what the organization and the employees are supposed to do in case of disruption. It identifies the major risks that can affect day-to-day operation and establishes clear procedures on how to keep the business running during an emergency – which can range from a global pandemic to more common incidents like flooding after a storm or an internet outage.

After being presented to upper management and other stakeholders to get their agreement, the business continuity plan is communicated to all the employees, but also regularly tested and improved. This continuous review process is part of what is called business continuity management system and, in case of emergency, it’s what makes the difference between a company’s survival and sudden death.

Every organization, big or small, public or private, should have at least a basic contingency plan. No company is completely safe from a disaster, so make sure you are always prepared. Business continuity planning is not a nice-to-have, it’s a must.

Benefits of including a timeline in your contingency plan

When it comes to presenting your business continuity plan to your executives, clients or team, efficiency is key. Nobody wants to be stuck in an endless meeting where you read off a bullet-heavy PowerPoint slide or browse dozens of pages. Time is essential, both in meetings and in disaster recovery. And when plans change, as they often do, you need a quick and easy way to update them.

That is why we recommend creating a timeline or Gantt chart for your presentation, to better illustrate the series of events and your planned response by minute, day or month. Here are three clear benefits of including a timeline when you present your business continuity plan to your stakeholders:

  1. Timelines – especially the ones that feature swimlanes – can effectively portray the different phases, tasks or milestones that make up a process. In the case of business continuity, it can show, on one slide, a snapshot of your plan, with just the right amount of detail.
  2. When you represent it visually, the information included on the timeline is better absorbed by the brain. You need all your stakeholders to understand and agree on the business continuity plan, and a timeline or Gantt chart can help you make your point clear.
  3. You can save hours of work preparing for your meeting, since you only need to create one good slide to present your plan. And if you use a timeline or Gantt chart template like the ones we’re about to show you, it will make your work significantly easier.

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Best PowerPoint timeline templates for business continuity management

Whether you want to create a timeline for your business continuity meeting or to review an incident with the upper management, using templates can give you a head start. So, we’ve made a list of the best PowerPoint templates for roadmaps and timelines to get your business continuity management system in shape:

  1. Business Continuity Plan
  2. Crisis Management Timeline
  3. Incident Response Timeline

1. Business Continuity Plan


  • Designed as a swimlane diagram that outlines the major components of a business continuity plan, from business impact analysis to disaster recovery.
  • It’s useful when you present your contingency plans to your stakeholders so they gain a better view of your risk management strategy.
  • This business continuity plan example is a PowerPoint file, so you easily include it as a slide in your presentation or save it as an image on your company portal.
  • You can download it for free and use the Office Timeline add-in to adjust the generic categories or include data that is specific to your organization.

Business Continuity Plan

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2. Crisis Management Timeline


  • Created to help you get over the initial panic (which is natural) and guide you on your road to resuming your business activity.
  • Covers the entire crisis management process, from when the crisis occurs to response, business continuity process, recovery, and review.
  • It’s an effective, free PowerPoint tool to help you prepare for any crisis, regardless of nature, industry, or duration.
  • The crisis management timeline was made with the Office Timeline PowerPoint add-in and it’s easy to customize it to suit your business, industry or include your branding styles.

Crisis Management Timeline

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3. Incident Response Timeline


  • Built on a shorter timeframe (hours and minutes) to give you an example of how to react fast when an incident occurs so you can limit outage.
  • It’s suitable for IT security incidents as both a planning and review tool, but also for other industries as well.
  • This is a free PowerPoint file, which means you can download and modify the data right away – either by moving the shapes on your slide or automatically with the Office Timeline add-in with just a few clicks.

Incident Response Timeline

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To sum up

Disruptions, disasters and emergencies are the type of challenges every organization needs to prepare for; it’s not a matter of “if” they’re going to happened, but more like “when”. And when they do, the companies that stand most chances of survival are the ones than quickly respond to rapidly-changing conditions.

These templates can help you face the unknown with a plan and support you in building up resilience. They were created with the Office Timeline PowerPoint add-in, a professional timeline maker that turns complicated data into clear, crisp visuals with just a few clicks.

You can download them for free and customize them using either the add-in’s free version (with certain limitations) or the more advanced Pro Edition, which gives you all the power you need to take your planning to the next level. If you’re looking for more templates, you can find dozens of other models in the template gallery, so you’ve got plenty of ideas to explore.



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3 Best Free Templates for Pharmaceutical Timelines

Medical treatments have evolved a great deal since the time of Hippocrates and Paracelsus. Leeches, bloodletting and potions have given way to an industry strictly controlled by regulatory bodies where only the safest and most effective solutions are accepted.

Breaking ground on a new drug or device takes years of testing and collating immense quantities of data from numerous sources. Not only is planning ahead more important than ever, but the manner of presenting the data to your stakeholders can help you secure that critical funding necessary to keep your projects on track.

Why is a Pharmaceutical timeline useful?

One of the best ways you can organize ideas, measure progress and ensure compliance with regulations is by creating a roadmap. Managed correctly, a timeline for your Pharma project can help you:

  • Evaluate the recruitment of patients for the clinical trials to ensure the proper amount of testing meets the prerequisites of regulatory bodies or if efforts in this direction must be intensified.
  • Determine if the results are on track according to the originally planned research phases of the project.
  • Check deadlines for industry-mandated certifications and patent renewals that allow the legal manufacturing and distribution of medical devices and drugs.

Therefore, given the benefits of using visual representations in the lab and the boardroom, it’s definitely a planning solution worth considering. Start organizing your development process with these powerful and easy to use visuals and you’ll soon see all the pieces of the puzzle falling into place.


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Top 3 Free Templates to make Pharma Timelines

In this post, we have assembled three free templates that can really make a difference for anyone conducting clinical research or managing development of pharmaceutical drugs or medical devices:

  1. Clinical Trial Roadmap
  2. Medical Devices Timeline
  3. Pharmaceutical Product Discovery Timeline

1. Clinical Trial Roadmap


  • Created for professionals who need to observe and present the three stages of clinical trials and important milestones associated with them in a clear and concise manner.
  • Using this diagram, project managers can more easily evaluate the progress of the trials and estimate the best time to apply for an NDA, as well as the date when the drug could become available for production and distribution.
  • The clinical trial roadmap was made in PowerPoint, which makes it easy to integrate in the next boardroom meeting with your stakeholders.
  • Download it free of charge and update the default information manually with data relevant to your specific product or use the Office Timeline PowerPoint add-in to considerably simplify this task.

Clinical Trial Roadmap

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2. Medical Devices Timeline


  • Made for pharmaceutical companies developing MDR and IVDR technologies that must respect the deadlines imposed by the EU Parliament.
  • Using the template allows keeping track of upcoming dates when changes to the business practices or the documentation of medical diagnostic and in-vitro diagnostic devices become mandatory.
  • The timeline was created in PowerPoint and supports the customization of dates formats and elements using the native controls.
  • You can download it free of charge and modify it with Office Timeline, and you can save it as a slide or an image format that can be shared in other documentation or meetings.

Medical Devices Timeline

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3. Pharmaceutical Product Discovery Timeline


  • Designed for manufacturing companies that handle end-to-end discovery, development, licensing and production of pharmaceutical drugs.
  • This template helps project managers in the Pharma industry to optimize the selection process for the most promising substances and to improve the rate at which brand new treatments hit the markets.
  • It is a free native PowerPoint template which means you can customize it easily and replace the default data with your own, either manually or with the Office Timeline add-in.

Pharmaceutical Product Discovery Timeline

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Summary

A graphical representation of your progress not only helps you figure out how efficient your current practices are, but also confers you a powerful tool to convey complex data in a simple and comprehensible manner to stakeholders without a technical background. In a highly competitive line of work, it is an edge to help fast-track your projects, so you can focus on making the world a healthier, safer place. These templates are built in Office Timeline, a powerful tool that integrates with the PowerPoint environment to generate stunning visuals at the touch of a button.

Download any of these templates now and edit them with the free version or take advantage of the Pro Edition’s extra features to really make your next project planning and presentation come to life. There are also numerous other templates we offer free of charge in our template gallery so the possibilities are endless.


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

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How to spend your day when you Work From Home

Among the numerous side effects of the coronavirus outbreak is a change in the way we work, with many of us being required to shift from an office setup to a work-from-home lifestyle. While some companies may use this state of affairs as an opportunity to start building a culture that nurtures more work flexibility, the regular nine-to-five workers might encounter difficulties in getting accustomed to the new circumstances.

Although the idea of remote work seems attractive (performing your tasks in a cozy makeshift quarantine bunker, sweatpants on), the lack of stimulation caused by human interactions can take a toll on our productivity and creativity. So, we created this blog post, which provides a series of recommendations on how to spend a day when working from home to get the best results; you’ll also find a practical work planner to help you transform them into a daily routine. Bonus: at the end, we’ve included insights from the leadership team at Office Timeline, who have been working from home for years and gained some valuable experience they’d like to share.


Tips and tricks for a more effective work-at-home day

1. Start early

Researchers have shown that our brains are most active and ready to get into gears right after we wake up. Furthermore, psychologist specializing in human motivation Rod Friedman argues that the first three hours of our day are the most valuable for maximized productivity. Hence, don’t snooze that alarm clock and don’t prolong your breakfast unnecessarily as that morning sluggishness will seep into your day. Instead, wake up first thing in the morning, put on that pot of coffee and dive into your to-do list (that you prepared the day before) as soon as possible so you can make the best out of those three golden hours. It will fuel your motivation and ensure a steady progress throughout the day.


2. Get prepped as if you’re going to the office

Since you’re working from home, you might be tempted to skip the showering-getting dressed routine (yes, we know, sweatpants are really comfortable). However, that precise routine helps make the transition from your pillow to your computer less jarring and puts you into a more energized state of mind. Plus, practicing this habit will make it easier for you when things return to normal (assuming that life will ever be the same after this lockdown). So, do all the things you would do to prepare for a day at the office because it activates a mental association with the idea of work and can make you more productive.


3. Schedule calls and meetings in the afternoon

Most of us are groggy in the morning and need a bit of time to adjust to the new day ahead. Having recommended that you get ready and started as early as you can, it only makes sense that you shouldn’t distract yourself from focused work with calls that might last longer than expected. So, start with the “solo” tasks in the morning and save the collaborative ones for later – when you’ve officially woken up, your voice is not croaky, and you’re all dressed up for “the official” meetings.


4. Create a work schedule to structure your day

Since we’ve suggested above that you group solitary tasks in the morning and the collaborative work for later, structuring your whole workday will provide further clarity and efficiency in managing your time. Creating a plan of what to do and when to do it over the course of your day will help you stay on track and keep focus. Use online calendars, personal reminders and events or a visual timeline to break up your work and pace yourself in cranking through it.

To help you get started, we’ve used the Office Timeline PowerPoint add-in to design a template for a Work from Home day planner that you can download for free. Seamlessly integrated into PowerPoint, Office Timeline is a lightweight yet powerful timeline maker which lets you easily generate and update accurate schedules. Choose from dozens of smart templates and use the tool’s various functionalities (timeband scale in hours and minutes, task duration, swimlanes) to create customized plans that you can update on the fly when things change. You can build your own work planner with the free version of the app, or explore the Pro edition to produce more complex visuals with swimlanes like this WFH daily schedule:

Work from Home daily schedule

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5. Plan your work around the times when you’re most productive

Speaking of well-defined work schedules, an important aspect to consider when planning your to-do list is your productivity pace. It’s natural for your motivation to fluctuate throughout the day, nobody can sprint through their tasks from morning to evening. Thus, pay attention to yourself and identify the ebb and flow of your efficiency so you can capitalize on it and better organize your work timeline around it. Keep the more difficult tasks for your productivity peak and use the slower moments of your day to take care of the easier ones.


6. Use a dedicated workspace

Just because you’re away from your regular office, it doesn’t mean you can’t have one at home. Instead of slouching on the couch or in your bedroom (spaces associated with leisure time), choose a specific area in your home to work. It will help your brain better demarcate the type of activity you carry out, and it’s also beneficial for your posture.


7. Minimize distractions

In most cases, social media is the main culprit that diverts attention from the task at hand. It’s designed to be easily accessed, but that quick browse might turn into half an hour (if not longer) of wandering aimlessly online. When working from home, in a relaxing environment, with no one watching, you might forget about duties and let yourself sucked in. To reduce this risk, log out from all your social media accounts and remove their shortcuts from your browser. Another option would be for you to work primarily in a private browser window. With no autofill convenience whenever you perform a web search, it’s less likely that you’d take social breaks too often.


8. Take clear breaks

To avoid getting distracted from what needs to be done, you might think that not taking breaks at all is a good idea. But just as it goes for working in an office, taking five to relax is recommended for remote workers as well. However, rather than spending those breaks in front of your laptop/PC, use this time to get away from your desk, stretch or have a quick talk with a close one.


9. Set a definitive finish time

While some might struggle to keep going through their to-do list, others might get immersed into their work so much as to lose track of time. At the office, your colleagues’ preparations to leave at the end of business hours remind you that it’s time for you to do the same, whereas at home there’s no such “trigger”. To avoid getting so caught up in your activities that you forget to “clock out”, set an alarm to mark the end of your business day. This way, you start saving your work and allow yourself to enjoy the evening. After all, you have a work-life balance to keep.


10. Plan out on what you’ll be working ahead of time

With your workday over, take a couple of minutes to plan the activities for the upcoming one(s). Of course, it’s possible for things to change, however having a general overview of what is next on your to-do list saves you time and effort in figuring out what you need to be doing in that future moment. Committing to an agenda that outlines your assignments before you begin will make it more “official” when you actually get started on it.


Insights from our CEO


Here at Office Timeline, we take working from home seriously – and we’ve been doing it for years. We work in distributed teams across the US and Europe and could recognize our voices even in a bar full of people playing beer pong. I'd be more than happy to share some of the lessons we’ve learned over the years, hoping you can avoid our mistakes:

  • Control your chattiness. Because you spend a lot of time with no one to talk to, that really makes you want to have an in-depth conversation with basically anyone: the delivery guy, the cashier at the store, the pharmacist. Observe this urge, contain yourself and let these poor people get on with their jobs.
  • Cover your webcam. It’s easy to forget you have an electronic eye that watches everything you do and everything you wear (or don’t), so do yourself a favor and put a piece of dark tape over it. Better safe than sorry.
  • Don’t eat into your microphone. We all get a little hungry sometimes, especially during the afternoons when most conference calls tend to happen. But nobody wants to hear you constantly snacking while they’re trying to have a conversation. It’s too distracting for them and probably not very healthy for you.
  • Get a pet to keep you company. If being alone is driving you crazy, consider adopting a pet; just make sure you understand this is a long-term commitment. Our team members have a variety of companions – mostly cats and dogs, but also fish, parrots or even squirrels – who are more than welcomed to join our team meetings.

Tim Stumbles

Tim Stumbles
CEO and Co-Founder
Office Timeline

Conclusion

How we spend our days is how we spend our life, it is said. During uncertain times that are marked by a sense of instability and chaos, adding structure to our workdays may seem insignificant, but it can actually go a long way. Working from home turns us into managers of our own time and, with a bit of discipline and a clear timeline of what needs to be done, we can make the most of it.



Quickly turn project data into professional timelines

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

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How to update your project plan with Office Timeline

We know that even the most carefully laid out plans can change in the blink of an eye. Business dealings can fall through the roof, instrumental partners can drop out at the worst possible moment, and let’s not even talk about natural disasters or health crises.

It may sound difficult to emerge unscathed from such challenges, but it’s definitely not impossible; the key is adaptability. In the words of Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change”.

Thankfully, Office Timeline has got you covered. Instead of spending hours every week on your visuals only to redo them again when the plans change, these features help you update your project timeline in minutes. We have compiled a list of the best ones for you below.



1. Importing data from other project management software

Do you normally use a PM tool like Excel, MS Project, Smartsheet or Wrike for tracking your project? The import feature allows you to bring in all the data and turn it into a smart and stylish visual with just a couple of clicks.

Transform even the most complex Microsoft Project plans into eloquent graphics that paint a comprehensive picture of the situation by importing directly into timeline templates. Here’s an example:

Import from MS Project

Perhaps you’re partial to Excel instead? No worries, this handy data table-making software from Microsoft is also on the list of supported integrations, as you can see here:

Import from Excel

The good news for Excel users is that you don’t even need to follow the import route. You can simply copy and paste the cells directly into Office Timeline and let our add-in do the work for you:

Copy and paste from Excel


Download the Office Timeline Pro free trial today and see for yourself just how easy it is to import data from PM tools like Excel, Project, Smartsheet or Wrike in a jiffy.

Office Timeline free trial

2. Sync your data file to bring in your latest changes

Are you already taking advantage of the import features? Then allow us to show you how to go one step further: you can now sync Office Timeline graphs with any changes made to the source file. Basically, there’s no need to reimport the data for every little modification made.

Simply hit the Sync button afterwards and the interface will allow you to tick which ones to mirror on your Gantt chart or timeline. Here's how to update timelines in PowerPoint faster than you can say 'impending deadlines':

Sync with Excel


3. Use templates to get started quickly

When designing your own graphic, your first impulse would be to start from scratch: you’d have full control over the colors, style or size of the elements. However, this approach can take hours of work and unless you’re a designer, the results will probably not be exactly what you expected. So why not check out the custom-built templates we’ve created for almost any occasion?

Select new template

Once you have a starting point, you can continue to improve upon it as much as you like, with no limit but your imagination. You can even change the template if the original one doesn’t cut it, or in case you decide to go in a different direction.

Change template

Worked hard to tailor it with your company’s branding and color scheme? Then why not save this as a customized template and reuse it for further presentations down the line, instead of starting fresh every time? There’s really nothing to it!

Save timeline as a template


Try Office Timeline Pro for free for 14 days and check out the many templates that are built-in to make your work easier.

Office Timeline free trial

Conclusion

As stressful as it can be, change also an integral part of the world around and the best thing we can do is be ready for it. With these features you don’t need to stress out about preparing for your next project update meeting.

See how much time you can save by taking advantage of a wide range of Office Timeline’s fully automated features designed to simplify your work without skimping on quality or aesthetics. Check out the free version of the tool or discover the Pro Edition to translate sophisticated project data into a visual form that comes to life before your eyes.



Quickly turn project data into professional timelines

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

GET FREE TRIAL