Career Hacks

Project Management Software to Organize Your Tasks

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As a small business owner, I try to avoid being a flaky service provider at all costs. I need to get things done. I have deadlines to meet, multiple projects to keep track of and a small team to manage. I need to see pending tasks, keep track of files from clients and keep an eye on deadlines.

At any given time I’m working on 5 – 7 client projects, wrangling personal projects, managing my household and trying to maintain a social life. My life gets busy. I’m sure it’s the same for you.

I really am a pencil and paper kinda girl. I love making lists. However as my business grows, I find that it’s counter-productive to write and rewrite repetitive tasks. Also I can’t share my personal list of tasks with anyone and setting deadlines and milestones is challenging.
I’m all about productivity so I’m always on the lookout for ways to streamline, organize and simplify my business. So in an effort to take control of my business (and my pen + paper addiction) I’m looking into project management tools. Project management software is created to help manage all the tasks, files, to-dos, deadlines and people that are required to get a project complete.

I asked around for recommendations and the three I heard most often were Asana, Basecamp and Wrike.

Each app has its own, look and feel. Some of the features are the same and some are unique to the system you choose. For me simplicity was key. I also had a short list of must-have features for my ideal project management software. I needed it to:

Be accessible from anywhere, not just on my computer
Have the ability to share certain projects while keeping others private
Easily and securely store multimedia files with a specific project
Have a shared calendar for assigning deadlines and scheduling milestones

I figured the best way to decide between the three was to give them a try. Basecamp has a free 60 day trial, Asana is free with up to 15 team members and unlimited projects, and Wrike also has a free plan that includes up to 5 users. So I signed up for each one and took them for a test drive.

I found each app to be fairly intuitive, and learned my way around quickly. I created a project, set deadlines and milestones, added a team member and invited a client. I’m still playing around with each one and noticing which tool works best for me.

Here’s how to select a project management app for your needs:
Create your short list – What features do you absolutely need?
Next, sign up for a free trial so you can get a feel for the software. You may find that you have a natural proclivity to one app over the others.
Commit to one and really begin to use it. Your project management system will not help you streamline and simplify if you never actually use it.

By day Melodye Hunter is a website stylist + strategist to empire-building women entrepreneurs. She adores all things marketing, branding and design and is also a closet interior decorator and office supply addict. By night she's a devoted wife and mother of 3. When she isn't sketching sitemaps and building her own own empire you can find her loving on my 3 cutie pie kiddies and the love of her life with her fat lil English bulldog, Yogi, somewhere close. Check her out at MelodyeHunter.com