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10 Must-Have Personal Project Management Tools

10 Must-Have Personal Project Management Tools

Project managers are aware of the difficulty in keeping track of various tasks, resources, timelines and risks associated in maintaining a project. But project management is not just applicable for office-related projects but you also require it for personal projects such as planning a vacation, family reunion, birthday party etc.

What it comes down is a simple differentiation – either you are organized or you are not! With so much lying on proper project management, it becomes essential for you to stay at the top of your game.

There are many personal project management tools that can help you to remain organized and prepared at all instances.

To help you with your tasks, we have rounded up on 10 must-have personal project management tools.

1. Asana

A hybrid task and project manager, Asana is available for both iOS and Android devices. It has become quite a tool for helping with individual and organization projects. Through it, you can add multiple projects and track each of them with a sidebar on the left.

Want to know how much you’ve achieved? Structure your project’s goals and milestones as a checklist from start to finish.

You can order tasks by date or when they need to done. You can even create dependencies between tasks so that one task cannot be completed without completing another. Add details for any task such as notes, links, tags and comments.

If you have a combined project, these can be helpful in referencing a task. You can even upload attachments and set due-dates. Cool isn’t it?

Asana

    Asana is free; all you need to do is pay once to get up to 15 or more people working on same project. It’s awesome for corporate projects or tasks and used by even major companies such as Dropbox, Pinterest and Uber for organizing their projects.

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    2. Smartsheet

    Want to manage a sales pipeline, a production schedule, or a team task list, etc.? Try Smartsheet that directly works on the web via Google Apps and with Salesforce.com. The tool helps in recording and organizing data with an unlimited number of free collaborators such as Amazon Mechanical Turk and Livework.

    Smartsheet provides notifications and alerts for any tasks updated/created through the tool.You can also generate Gantt charts and reports to view the progress of the project.

    Smartsheet allows file sharing and Crowdsourcing management at an affordable rate. You can also have a free 30-day trial with no credit card and then can continue the tool at $15.95/month.

    new-smartsheet- Project-Management-Tool

      3. Trello

      Do you like to use cards or post-it notes arranged in categories to help you figure out your thoughts and tasks? If yes, then try Trello.

      This tool is a fast and flexible way of organizing all your project components into various columns and cards by easily dragging and dropping, adding supporting details and comments as well as assigning to various persons in your team.

      Use different boards for each project and set due dates or times for each card. Most of all, Trello is available for both iOS and Android devices with its drag and drop functionality available on phones too.

      Trello- Project-Management-Tool

        Use Trello as your very own personal GTD task management tool. It’s fun and free-of-cost. However, Trello Gold, the premium version would cost you a bit to enjoy larger file attachments, stickers and custom backgrounds.

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        4. OneNote

        The name tells everything – but don’t consider OneNote as another note-taking tool. Instead it can be a powerful personal planner depending on your requirements. But OneNote isn’t for everyone; especially if you are a person who is fond of having top-down view of everything that’s going on at once. However, you can build that type of view for yourself with plugs-in such as OneTastic and keep your files in SkyDrive.

        The only downside with OneNote is that it’s part of Microsoft Office and costs nothing if you buy it with the suite. However, on its own, its price is $70.

        OneNote- Project-Management-Tool

          5. Do

          Previously known as Manymoon and just recently acquired by Salesforce.com, Do is a social productivity tool that helps in sharing seamlessly with other team members. Adding tasks or planning events or even a person to the team can be done by simply with an email.

          Do tool has a very simple layout comprising of a dashboard that helps you in initiating a project, entering its tasks and inviting colleagues to work for the project. To work with Do, all you need to have is a Google account, if you’re already a Google Apps user or just login from the web.

          The best thing is that it’s totally free.

          DO- Project-Management-Tool

            6. Evernote

            Currently, everyone’s favorite seems to be Evernote and here’s why: this powerful project management app is there to help you organize your thoughts not just in form of a series of notes; but it helps you in making sense of a lot of information in the best possible presentation.

            Eventually, you are able to become organized in your tasks and plans. Use Evernote to digitize your pen and paper notes, documents and other files so that you can toss them into respective project notebooks or save them as you like.

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            The best part about Evernote is that it’s supported by a lot of other apps from both iOS and Android platforms.

            Evernote- Project-Management-Tool

              Evernote is free but the premium version costs $45/year. Pricey? Not really, as it offers features such as offline access to your notebooks, collaboration tools, more storage space and improved search.

              7. AgileZen

              Although commonly perceived as a software developer’s tool, Agilezen is not just related for management of software development. It’s also useful for many other office-related tasks.

              HR can use this took for recruiting while the customer services personnel can track issues and response times through it. An ideal way to manage assorted type of tasks in any organization, AgileZen is based on the Kanban concept to help you see the progress of your projects in columns.

              After a free 30-day trial, the app offers free plans for open source projects or it costs $9/month.

              AgileZen- Project-Management-Tool

                8. Azendoo

                Particularly used for hybrid task and project management, Azendoo can also be used for managing your personal projects and tasks. You can even plug it into some popular services such as Evernote, Google Drive, Dropbox and Box for storage.

                Azendoo provides a little free storage with the services so that you can upload files directly to your projects. You can also assign to-do lists to other people, check their status, make comments on individual tasks, track changes and even have a top-down view of the on-going projects – all with a simple easy-to-use interface.

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                Need we say more? Despite of Azendoo being a web-app, you can take your project on your iOS and Android device with its existing mobile-app version.

                Azendoo- Project-Management-Tool

                  This handy yet powerful tool is free along with a paid premium version. However, what’s important to note is that many people are just happy using the free version with so many functionalities and even 10GB storage alongside the option to connect to all of Azendoo’s supported third-party apps.

                  9. Teambox

                  Marketed with the slogan ”for fun you have a Facebook, for work you need a Teambox”, this is a powerful personal project management tool with the capabilities of combining social networking in your project.

                  You can integrate social networking utilities into a project management dashboard and see activity streams, threaded conversations, comments etc. Manage your inbox, your emails and any other details about your project communication.

                  Free for short teams (from 1-5 members), and adding any more users can cost $5 a month per user.

                  Teambox- Project-Management-Tool

                    10. Basecamp

                    When you talk about project management on the Web, Basecamp’s name suddenly arises as they are the pioneers in inventing the concept of online project management.

                    Basecamp has the competitive advantage of knowing their customers and prospects extremely well. You will be provided impeccable personal project management through this tool that offers a 45-day free trial and a plan that starts at $20/month.

                    Base-Camp- Project-Management-Tool

                      This wraps up our list of 10 must-have personal project management tools. If you are constantly lagging behind in managing your tasks, resources and timelines; then it’s probably time you pick out on a tool that helps you keep all your tasks aligned with the agreed due-dates.

                      Think there is a project management tool that the list has missed out on? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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                      The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

                      The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

                      It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

                      Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

                      “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

                      In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

                      New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

                      There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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                      So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

                      What is the productivity paradox?

                      There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

                      In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

                      He wrote in his conclusion:

                      “Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

                      Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

                      How do we measure productivity anyway?

                      And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

                      In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

                      But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

                      In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

                      But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

                      Possible causes of the productivity paradox

                      Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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                      • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
                      • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
                      • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
                      • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

                      There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

                      According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

                      Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

                      The paradox and the recession

                      The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

                      “Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

                      This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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                      According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

                      Looking forward

                      A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

                      “Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

                      Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

                      “Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

                      On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

                      Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

                      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                      Reference

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