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Seven Seriously Hardcore Project Management Apps

Seven Seriously Hardcore Project Management Apps
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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 July 21, 2021

                The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

                The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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                No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

                Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

                Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

                A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

                Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

                In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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                From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

                A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

                For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

                This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

                The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

                That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

                Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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                The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

                Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

                But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

                The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

                The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

                A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

                For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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                But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

                If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

                For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

                These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

                For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

                How to Make a Reminder Works for You

                Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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                Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

                Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

                My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

                Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

                I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

                More on Building Habits

                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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                Reference

                [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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