Let’s Get Productive
At MavroCreative, it’s not uncommon for us to be juggling several different website and graphic design projects simultaneously. And while Molly and I like to think that we have insane superpowers, there’s only so much that we can keep organized in our heads before things get crazy. That’s why we love to use tools that keep us on track that make our lives so much easier. Here are our productivity tips that we use every day at MavroCreative. (P.S. We don’t have an affiliation with any of these products; we just ♥ them very much!)
Oh, Asana, you make our life so. much. easier. Seriously, when we first found Asana two years ago, we weren’t sure if we were going to actually take the time to use it. Asana is an online platform that is FREE for up to 15 team members. And it is pretty freakin amazing! We set up projects by client name, and then within each project we have subprojects (like website design, ad creation, etc.) From there, we can create tasks and assign them to team members with DUE DATES! We love having deadlines that keep us accountable.
When you have something scheduled with a due date, you will receive an email from Asana that reminds you that you have “x tasks due today”. Within Asana, you can communicate with team members on each aspect of the project, which keeps conversations nice and organized on a project by project basis. You can upload and share files and so much more.
Seriously, we couldn’t manage the number of projects that we do without the help of Asana.
Here’s a behind the scenes screen grab of our recent Asana dashboard:
You can check out Asana for free here.
This past year, Molly & I met with a business coach to talk about ways to streamline our business. One of the questions she asked was, “How much time do you spend on each project?” Molly & I sheepishly looked at each other and then said, “A lot!” The truth is, we had no idea how long projects were taking us because we weren’t tracking our time.
So we did some research and found toggl.com. Much like Asana, Toggl has rocked our world when it comes to being able to track our time effectively. And it’s been an eye opener to see how quickly the hours can pass in a day. With toggl, you download the app to your desktop, phone, tablet…anywhere you want to have access to it. It shows up as an icon at the bottom of your screen:
Whenever we start on a new project, we click the toggl icon and it starts the timer. We can assign a client name, project name, and description. The toggl icon will go from gray to red when we are tracking time (which is a great visual because we can easily glance down at our screen to see if we are tracking the time or not). When we are done, we simply click the timer off.
The best part about toggl is that we can run reports. This is where the real power comes into play. We can break things down by client, by project, by day, month, year…you name it. And if it’s a project that we are doing on an hourly basis, we can assign a billable amount to it and generate a report that we use for invoicing the client. Our clients love it because they get to see a detailed report of exactly how much time we spent and when. They feel comfortable knowing that we are billing them only for the time we actually spent on their project.
It’s ah-mazing and it’s also FREE for up to 5 users. You can check out toggl here.
Okay, so I’m not even remotely kidding when I tell you that Molly & couldn’t function without Dropbox in our lives. The awesome thing about what we do is that we can work virtually from pretty much anywhere that we have an internet connection. But because we share so many files and have literally hundreds of different projects, we need to have a place to store all of our files that we can access remotely. Plus, our poor little Macbooks would never be able to store the sheer volume of graphic files that we have.
Enter Dropbox. It’s a file storage and file sharing platform that keeps our documents in the cloud but that also syncs them with our laptops, desktops, and even our phones. So when I’m in Florida on vacation (like I happen to be at the moment I’m writing this!) and a client emails me and needs their logo sent as an .eps file to their sign guy (true story…just happened yesterday!), I can go to Dropbox, get the file, and send it to them. No more worrying about whether or not I have the file on my laptop with me.
And since we build websites for a living and need to have our clients send us pictures and logos and documents to use on their website design, we can send them a link to our Dropbox where they can upload everything we need. No more worrying about whether the files are too large to email or receiving them painstakingly one at a time.
Within Dropbox, we can share links with clients and anyone else who is collaborating on the project with us.
I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record here….but Dropbox is FREE! You can check it out here.
There you have it. Our top three productivity tips that we can’t live without. If you try any of these for your business, we’d love to hear how you like it. Pop us a note in the comments below. And if you have a productivity tip of your own that you’d like to share, by all means please do so! Sharing is caring!
Wait…before you go, have you joined our private Facebook group yet? If not, head on over and join the fun. It’s a great place to ask questions about WordPress, graphic design, favorite ice cream flavors and more! Just click here to be added!
Until next time!