How many of you like the sound of this?! I imagine all of you so let me tell you my secret…..
If you work for yourself it’s human nature you are going to struggle with the following:
- Being the CEO of your company and having to do EVERYTHING!
- Ensuring you don’t miss a deadline
- Keeping yourself motivated
- Juggling projects at the same time
- Marketing yourself while actually doing your job
- Keeping track of projects
- Millions of emails stealing your time
In my role I not only have to do all of the above for my own business, but I have to help my clients with it all too, potentially creating a hideous logistical nightmare!
So what’s the secret? Using a project management tool – and best of all, it’s free!
If you haven’t used one before, let me tell you how they can revolutionise the way you work, whether you work on your own, or with other people.
There are various programmes on the market. I’ve used most of them (I’ll list them below) but the one that I find easiest to work with is Trello, which is what I’m going to focus on. It’s a very visual way of working which I find logical and intuitive. You can use all sorts of pretty colours too which always makes me happy!
To begin with you set up your boards – which in essence are your project. You can add a team to each board, so if you’re working with people on a project all of them can see the tasks (you can also keep them private).
My ‘Moore Time’ boards might be
- Social Media
- Personal admin
- Client A
- Client B
- Client C
Within each board you have lists. The list in my Networking board could have the following topics which are listed horizontally across the top (you can have as many as you want).
- Busy Women
- Business Buzz
Under each list you add cards which drop down vertically, so potentially there may be:
- The date of the next meeting
- The people I want to follow up with in that group
- A note of any referrals I’ve made
- What I’m going to ask for at the next meeting
- Anything else relating to that meeting
On each card you can add:
- Further comments
- Attachments / photos
- Tag people in your team
To put this into context, I might meet someone interesting at a networking event that I want a 1:1 with. However, they are on holiday for a couple of weeks, so I would add their name to the relevant list, add a date to be reminder to call them, I could take a picture of their business card and add it on so I had all of their details. Hey presto, in 2 weeks the reminder pops up, I have all of their details to hand and I organise the meeting in a matter of minutes and make a valuable connection.
Without this, in reality, I would probably forget to call them after two weeks and if I did remember, I would have lost their business card. I’d then get to the meeting the following month, apologise we hadn’t got a date in the diary and do the same again!
If you collaborate with other people you can also assign them a task. In my case my client may go to a networking meeting and have 5 people they want to follow up with. Instead of sending an email to me with everything on, they simply pop the person’s name and details on the 1:1 card, tag me and I know they need to be contacted. When I’ve arranged the meeting I simply move the person’s name to the ‘confirmed’ list and my client knows it’s been completed.
When you work in a team, it’s a great way for people to take ownership of a project or task and there is no need for micromanagement. It also means responsibilities are very clear.
It gives you a base to start from everyday and because it’s all written down in one places you can NEVER forget anything! You could even add daily to do lists if you don’t like using pen and paper.
You can combine it with personal projects, such as lists for birthdays, planning a party or a reminder to pay a bill.
I do not have a good memory, so it enables me to deal with very big workloads, without forgetting things and I don’t feel like I’m firefighting every day which can cause a lot of stress! The clients that I’ve introduced to it have all loved it as it’s not only meant we can work together more effectively, but that their way of managing their own workload has improved.
In a nutshell it makes your life easier, more straightforward and means you can be a productivity Ninja, gaining more hours in the day. Moore Time is not just our name but our philosophy!
Let me know if you like any other tools and if anyone would like a quick lesson on Trello please don’t hesitate to let me know.
Trello – trello.com
Asana – asana.com
Basecamp – basecamp.com