Working from home has its own sets of pleasures and perks. You, dear reader, don’t know whether I am writing this very post in pajamas or a four piece suit for example – huge perk in my book. But in addition to flexible dress codes and the ability to do laundry between conference calls, working from home comes with some very real and potentially serious logistical challenges.
On top of forming a friendship that borders on inappropriate with their TV, cat, dog, or take out delivery guy, remote workers often find that responsibly managing their time and staying on top of various different to-do lists can be huge challenges. As fun as those Pinterest ideas of using post-its as wallpaper look, the concept lacks a bit in practicality. So what’s a remote worker to do when they find themselves drowning in a sea of lists, to-dos, and emails?
The obvious answer is to look for a project management tool that is a good fit for the kind of work you do. KS Life Hacks has highlighted various PM tools but most have focused on platforms that help more permanent teams collaborate with one other. There is a sizable minority of folks that run their startups solo and who are constantly trying to keep their head above water.
One very viable solution to this quandary is Trello – a project management app that enables users to make dynamic and intuitive lists so they can create and track projects at various stages of development.
Break it down before you have a breakdown
Trello’s main selling point is it’s organization capabilities. It breaks a complex task down into:
- An organization (the peeps working on the project)
- Boards (the project in question)
- Lists (which are actually more like stages of the projects development)
- Cards (specific tasks that can be dragged and dropped between “lists” as you move forward)
All of this is delivered with a functional layout that is both surprisingly upbeat looking while still being super efficient. Cards are simple to label which makes for easy searching and filtering. Cards are the real selling point for one-man (or woman) startup powerhouses because these “cards” can represent everything from a lead to a case study – in a way they empower users to be their own project managers. You can also utilize them for things like customer complaints and track progress as you go step by step to resolve the issue, which you know is cool too.
Cards have a front and back. The front has quick info like the name of a task while the back gives you more detailed information like due dates, who is involved, and notes you have written. Files (including photos) can be attached right onto individual cards so you don’t have to waste time looking for something you just know you uploaded. Speaking of time, cards turn yellow when it gets close to a due date for that particular project.
All of this management power comes backed up with some pretty legit security features and even has a few provisions that keep the frazzled startup founders in mind like how any board or card that is gotten rid of can be retrieved. So brain-farts become small annoyances instead of massive setbacks. Trello also goes where you go and can be used on your desktop, iOS, or Android device. It will look nice across all those devices too by automatically scaling so it shines on any screen.
Oh and the best part? Trello is FREE. They have an upgrade option called Gold with a few extra bells an whistles for $5 a month (or free if you help them get to your friends). They also have a beefed up version called Business Class for more organizations that have more hardcore needs, but the free version totally covers the lone startup ranger – which is kind of awesome considering the price.