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Let’s chat about the one tool I’ve implemented in any business I’m working within that has made a huge impact on productivity. It’s a tool I think everyone should have in their business, and that’s a project management tool.

Now I know you’re probably thinking that the LAST thing you need is another thing to do every day, and I understand because I had that thought, but hear me out here.  

We only have so much time in the day. Time is finite, we can’t create more of it, so we have to be really mindful of how we use the time we have.  Especially for the moms out there, you know that those little pockets of 15-30 minutes can boost your business when you use them intentionally.

As a marketing strategist, I’m all about being intentional in our actions; whether it be in how we’re curating our content to how we’re using our time. A project management tool is going to help you be more intentional with your time. 

SAVE TIME.

That means saving time because you’re NOT going to constantly thinking about what to do next. Instead you’re only going to think about a project once, have it outlined in your PM tool and be ready to take action.  

You’re going to save time because you’ll be laser focused, knowing exactly what to do next. If you’ve ever sat down to get something done in a short amount of time, just to realize you spent 10 of the 15 minutes you have, trying to figure out WHAT to do, having a PM tool will definitely benefit you!

GET READY TO OUTSOURCE.

If you’re like so many entrepreneurs I’ve talked to, you are working hard to grow your business so you can hire out for the tasks outside of your genius zone; that zone of what you’re really great at and what is at the core of your business. Having a tool like this in your business BEFORE you go to hire out will help you immensely.  Rather than spending time trying to figure out what to give your virtual assistant, and typing up instructions on what you want them to do, you’ll have it all ready to go already in a system and you can literally spend 5 minutes assigning them tasks in. Not only will it save you time on providing instruction of what you want them to help you with, you’ll be able to see what’s being completed as they check items off the list.

Are you sold yet on the idea of having a project management tool in your business? I hope so! Trust me, friend, if you commit and dive into a system like this, you’ll look back a few weeks or a month from now and be so happy you did!

GETTING STARTED.

First, you need to find a tool that works for your business. There are a lot of freemium tools out there, meaning there is a free plan with the option for paid upgrades.  Some of the best ones I’ve seen in this category are Asana and ClickUp.  I know lots of entrepreneurs like AirTable and Trello.  AirTable is more spreadsheet based, so if spreadsheets are your jam – that may be for you. People that seem to prefer Trello are more visual creatives.  Asana and ClickUp are definitely more list-based.

Personally, I prefer ClickUp and use it in my own business. I used to be a hard-core Asana fan, but ClickUp has more viewing options, more free features and I just really have enjoyed the interface a bit more. 

There are more premium paid tools out there, but I’d recommend starting with a free option. This will allow you to get a feel for what you like, and don’t like, in a tool. As your business grows you can always upgrade.

COMMIT TO USING IT.

Once you’ve selected the project management tool you want to use, it’s important to set some ground rules for yourself to keep you on track.  Using a project management tool is a lot like social media posting. It’s best to do it consistently or not at all. If you’re not going to show up in your project management tool every day, don’t do it.  It will only work to save you time if you commit to it.

So take a moment now and decide to commit to saving time. Commit to keeping yourself focused. Commit to holding yourself accountable for the plans you have to drive your business forward.

LOAD UP YOUR TASKS.

You’re going to want to put everything in the project management system.  All the tasks you have to do, put it in there. You can start with project by project, but ultimately you’re goal is to have your business tasks all live in this one space. This will help you more quickly prioritize what needs to be done, pivot when something unexpected happens, and outsource your tasks when you need to.

For each task you put in, be sure to assign it to a person, even if that’s yourself, and give it a due date.  Every project management system I’ve worked with needs those three things: task, person, due date; to function at its best. This ensures all tasks land on a to-do list and calendar within the system.  Without these components, a task will certainly get lost. Avoid the frustration of missing something by getting in the habit of assigning a person and date to everything.

MAKE TEMPLATES.

For things you do repeatedly in your business, most tools are going to have a templating feature. This allows you to set the structure and just reuse it over and over, saving you time on getting those tasks documented.

Probably my favorite thing about ClickUp is that I can create a process flow for each project. Like reoccuring things I do in my business, such as this podcast. It allows me to create one task and push it through phases, rather than creating a template for individual tasks for each phase. For example, I can have the podcast as a project. Each episode can be a task, and they can be grouped by phases like scripting, recording, editing and publishing. This works particularly well as I like to batch tasks, meaning record a few episodes at once, then edit them all, then schedule them to publish automatically.  I’ve found time savings by grouping like-tasks together, or batching, them so I don’t have to shift my focus as I’m getting things done.

USE THE “GETTING STARTED” GUIDES.

Every tool I’ve used has had pretty good getting started guides. Go through the getting started training available for the system you’re using to learn more about how it’s designed to work.  By using it in the intended fashion you’re likely to see far better results. So before you dive into setting up a project, be sure to do even a quick 15 minute tutorial of the system you’re using. This will save you time by knowing how to work within it better, rather than wasting time stumbling to figure it out.

DOWNLOAD THE APP.

Most systems have an app. If you’re like me and like to make the most of every bit of downtime, get the app.  I have gotten more things done in the supermarket checkout line than you’d probably believe, but it’s because I can use the small pockets of time for taking action rather than thinking about what needs to be done.

If you’re tracking with me and thinking this could really help you boost productivity within your business, virtual high five!  You may still be wondering what you’d put into a project management system though.

Some examples of projects are:

  • Content Calendar for weekly blog posts or podcast episodes, weekly emails, and your daily social media posts
  • Administrative tasks like documenting your financials
  • Projects like new course build-out plan or a project for each client so you can track prep work and follow-up tasks.

You can even look at the integrations and see what else you can streamline, such as connecting your customer service tools so a task is automatically created for each customer service inquiry, or time tracking tools so you can appropriately track your billable hours.

I believe all of the tools I mentioned have templates you can use to start with, making it easier to learn how their system works and saving you time uploading tasks in.

Which project management tool did you pick? Let me know in an Instagram DM @KristinMillerMarketing. I’d love to hear what you chose and how it’s working for you!