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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Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán Timeline

El Chapo Guzmán Timeline

On July 17, the Mexican drug kingpin and former leader of the Sinaloa cartel Joaquín Guzmán, known as “El Chapo”, was sentenced to life behind bars in a U.S. prison. The sentence was handed down by a federal judge in Brooklyn, within a 11-week trial that followed Guzmán’s conviction five months ago. The 62-year-old drug lord was also ordered to pay $12.6 billion in ill-gotten proceeds acquired through the massive distribution of cocaine and other drugs in and around the United States.

The Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Timeline gives a visual summary of the illegal activities that made him one of the most powerful and most-wanted drug traffickers in the world.

Known as “El Chapo” (meaning “Shorty” in Spanish) due to his 5 ft 6 in (1.68 metres) stature, Guzmán was born on 4th of April 1957 in Sinaloa, Mexico. Raised in a poor family and subjected to physical abuse by his father, the young Guzmán was introduced to drug trade by the very same person. Starting to work for a local drug lord in the early 1970s, he soon learned the ins and outs of the industry and gradually received increasingly important responsibilities within the drug cartel. By the start of the 90s, he was already a well-established leader of the Sinaloa faction due to his (in)famous and fierce ways of doing business.

Not only did this propel him at the top of Mexican drug traffic hierarchy, but also made him the target of countless attempts of assassination plotted by his rivals and wide-range manhunts organized by the Mexican government. He was captured and sent behind the bars by the national authorities twice, but managed to break out of prison each time only to return to leading his drug empire with renewed, more violent strength.

Overseeing operations whereby a wide range of drugs was produced, smuggled, and distributed in the U.S., Europe and Asia, he gained notoriety for pioneering the use of tunnels to move drugs, which enabled him to export more narcotics in the U.S. than any other trafficker ever.

The Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Timeline was created with the intuitive PowerPoint add-in called Office Timeline, which allows the fast creation of stylish timelines, Gantt charts and other types of similar visuals. You can copy and share the slide for free, and further edit it with the tool’s Plus version.

Download the El Chapo Guzmán Timeline for PowerPoint here.



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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.

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The Chernobyl Disaster Timeline

The Chernobyl Disaster Timeline.png

Sometimes, it takes years or months for certain events to unfold and reveal their full-scale magnitude and long-term effects. However, others take just only a day to make a major impact on humankind and the course of history. So it goes for the accident that took place at the Chernobyl nuclear power station on the 26th of April 1986, permanently altering that region and making the area around the former plant uninhabitable for an estimated 20,000 years. Initially denied as having happened by the Soviet authorities, the disaster is now considered the worst of its kind in history.

To illustrate how the Chernobyl nuclear accident escalated to a historic calamity, we created The Chernobyl Disaster Timeline, which gives a blow-by-blow narrative of the missteps that triggered this tragic meltdown.

Background Facts

  • The nuclear accident occurred at the V.I Lenin Nuclear Power Station, near the city of Chernobyl (65 miles north of Kiev, Ukraine), in the former URSS.
  • The Chernobyl nuclear power plant was considered a model of Soviet engineering, using four RBMK nuclear reactors to produce electricity for about 30 million homes and businesses.
  • The power plant’s newest reactor (the fourth one) was the scene of the tragedy. It contained 1,600 radioactive uranium-235 fuel rods. Due to the unstable nature of U-235, its atoms are capable of releasing neutrons that hit other U-235 nuclei, which in turn release new neutrons. All this causes a chain reaction, the byproduct of which is the release of huge quantities of heat and energy which are used to turn water into steams. The steam then drives a turbine, thus generating electricity.
  • To contain the chain reaction within limits, control rods made of a neutron-absorbing substance need to be inserted between fuel rods. For Reactor No. 4’s control rods (a total of 211), the element boron was used. Raising the control rods leads to the acceleration of the chain reaction, while the lowering of the control rods causes the chain reaction to slow down.
  • Ironically, it was a safety test that brought about the destruction. Coinciding with a routine downtime for maintenance, the test was scheduled to determine whether the reactor could still be cooled in case of a power failure. In preparation for this process, Chernobyl’s operators initiated power reduction on the 25th of April (1:00 pm) and, after twelve hours, Reactor No. 4 reached 50% power. According to the standard procedures of the safety test, the required threshold was of 30%. However, due to an apparent need for electricity in the region, the Soviet authorities called for the reactor to remain at 50% for another 9 hours. Meanwhile, the emergency core cooling system was switched off...
  • With power plummeting far below the level at which the reactor would be stable, operators were asked to remove almost all control rods against safety guidelines. The violation of these protocols led to a sudden power surge inside the plant. Despite the attempt to shut down the reactor altogether, control rods jammed upon entering the core, causing a series of explosions inside and then the final one, that literally blew apart the reactor and the 1,000-ton roof above it, spewing radioactive material into the atmosphere.

Killing 31 people directly (28 workers and firefighters dying of acute radiation poisoning), the Chernobyl calamity is considered responsible for thousands of premature cancer deaths as well. Encased in a massive steel structure deployed in 2016, the remains of the reactor still require containment and monitoring efforts, with its cleanup expected to last until at least 2065.

The Chernobyl Disaster Timeline was built with Office Timeline, a user-friendly add-in that helps you easily produce clear and beautiful timelines and other types of visuals right inside PowerPoint. The slide is free to share and copy, and can be edited and updated using the Plus version of the tool.

Download the Chernobyl Disaster Timeline for PowerPoint here.



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A History of Software Updates for All iPhone Models to Date

IOS History Timeline

Apple is one of the top brands within the global smartphone industry, its high status being owed to a series of qualities such as sleek design, cutting-edge functionalities and vigorous marketing. However, another factor that has contributed to its popularity among smartphone users resides in the company’s constant software updates.

To illustrate how long Apple supports older iPhone models, we have created a simple visual summary of the software updates the technology giant has offered for all major iPhone models to date.

With the introduction of every new iPhone model, Apple guarantees upwards of four years of major iOS updates to the customers that buy the newly-launched device. According to data sourced by Statista, this interval has only gone up for the latest released iPhones.

Looking at Apple’s ‘genealogy’, one can confirm and trace this trend back to the iPhone 4s. Starting with its release, every major subsequent model has received at least five important iOS updates before being cut off. So it’s the case with the iPhone 6, the most recent Apple smartphone to be deprived of the yearly updates with iOS 13.

If we compare the number of updates iOS and Android devices get during their lifetime, the former have a clear upper hand over the latter, which have reached three updates at most. This ascendancy is noticeable even in the distribution numbers, with Android’s latest version being installed in only 10.4% of devices as opposed to a crushing 87% of iPhones with the last major iOS software upgrade.

Not only do these constant updates enable the older models to benefit from the latest features Apple offers to the newer devices, but they also add to the product’s value retention. This is why many owners hold on to iPhones for so long. Let’s take iPhone 6s users, for instance, who got to enjoy Apple’s 2019 extension for the iOS13 update all the way back to devices released in 2015. In other words, they were granted an “extra lease” and they don’t care much if they are cut off next year. After 5 years of upgrades, it is acceptable to move on to a new smartphone which is likely to see a similar lengthy lifespan of updates.

Of course software upgrade frequency is not the only criterion to be considered before buying a smartphone. However, for those prospects who care for this aspect, Apple has definitely got an ace up its sleeve.

The History of Software Updates for All iPhone Models to Date was built with the intuitive PowerPoint add-in called Office Timeline. It is designed to enable the creation of simple yet stylish timelines, Gantt charts and other types of chronology graphics in a hassle-free manner. The slide is free to copy and share, and can be updated and further styled using the Plus version of the tool.

Download the History of Software Updates for All iPhone Models to Date here.



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.

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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.