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Seven Seriously Hardcore Project Management Apps

Seven Seriously Hardcore Project Management Apps

Running your own business can be hard — there’s time-tracking, invoicing, and contacts to keep track of, plus knowing what your entire team is doing (especially important if you manage a team remotely). If you’re trying to use a different solution for each one of these problems, things can easily get overwhelming (and the bill can get high!). These apps can help you stay on top of it all at once, in one spot.

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    Subernova

    Price: $19/month or $199/year for an unlimited account

    Features: Project management, invoicing features (including built-in estimates and invoices, payment via PayPal, automatic late payment reminders, and recurring invoices), email scheduling to clients, the ability to easily store links related to a client or project, iPhone and iPad apps, iCal synchronization.

    Ideal for: Someone who wants a tool with a pretty user interface, but that’s also got a lot of features. Subernova specializes in features that help creative teams stay on priority (which can be a struggle!), with “days left” being easy to view for milestones and projects, and the ability to receive a daily report with progress updates on all projects and their milestones.

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    project-overview

      Skylight

      Price: Plans range from $15/month (freelancer plan, limited to 3 team members) to $125/month (unlimited members, storage, and projects)

      Features: Light CRM features, integrates with Google Docs and PayPal, visual progress bars for projects, stages, and milestones, ability to create quotes and invoices (including generating quotes from scheduled time and resources for a project), discussions and comments at every level, time tracking.

      Ideal for: I see Skylight being useful for teams that need the ability to both see things from the “mile high” view and still be able to drill down to a delicate level of detail for projects, while being able to discuss things at each level. The visual progress bars play especially well into that need.

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        ProjectBubble

        Price: Plans range from $24/month (10 projects) to $99/month (unlimited projects and other perks)

        Features: Drag and drop prioritization of tasks, time tracking, visual views for milestones, file sharing.

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        Ideal for: Someone who has a lot of projects and invoicing to handle, but who also wants a simple, streamlined interface that’s easy to use. Possibly great for those working with online teams that consist of people not necessarily skilled in the usual project management tools (that we all know can be hard to pick up on the fly!)

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          CreativePro Office

          Price: Plans range from solo ($9/month for 3 team members) to team ($49/month for unlimited team members)

          Features: Project and task management, timesheets and job timers, invoicing, file management, desktop and mobile apps available, finance and productivity reporting.

          Ideal for: A team of five or more handling multiple projects, probably best suited for those in a service-based industry (because of the built-in financial tools and reporting). Especially useful if you want to see where your team members are spending most of their time and effort at a glance (because of the job timers).

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            Podio

            Price: Free for up to five years, $9/user/month

            Features: Podio’s main feature is its customizability — you can customize everything about Podio by adding or removing apps, modifying apps, and changing the appearance of your workspace. Using that feature, you can make Podio an all-in-one business management tool at a fraction of the cost of many other similar solutions.

            Ideal for: The team that needs a lot of flexibility with features — Podio’s app market has you covered with everything from project management add-ons, to sales and lead tracking, to job applicant tracking. The user interface is also clean and well-organized, making it easy to use.

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              LiquidPlanner

              Price: $29/user/month

              Features: Priority-based task and project scheduling, best case/worst case estimates, project analytics and reporting, iOS and Android apps, commenting on tasks and projects, time tracking and timesheet submission/approval.

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              Ideal for: Tech-savvy teams and businesses that can make the most of its features and need a robust tool to help them manage complex projects — especially projects with dependencies or the potential to get out of scope quickly.

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                WorkETC

                Price: Plans range from $195/month (for up to three users, $39/month for each extra user, no social media or accounting integration) to $595/month (for up to three users with $89/month for each additional user)

                Features: Triggers and dependencies for projects, help desk software, billing features (capturing of billable events, recurring invoices, and ability to handle tax and discounting rules), project templates, lead capturing tools.

                Ideal for: WorkETC is more expensive than many of the other options here, so it’s clearly meant for a business that’s running successfully with high profit margins, and that’s ready to work on systematization and streamlining behind the scenes, starting with its business management tools.

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                Last Updated on March 23, 2021

                Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

                Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

                One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

                The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

                You need more than time management. You need energy management

                1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

                How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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                I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

                I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

                2. Determine your “peak hours”

                Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

                Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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                My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

                In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

                Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

                3. Block those high-energy hours

                Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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                Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

                If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

                That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

                There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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                Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

                Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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