Self organising

One of the benefits I genuinely adore in remote working is the ability to organise my time efficiently.

Amongst the many commitments of being a project manager, I prepare plans of action, organise logistics and communicate with all team members in a variety of ways.

I’ll share a couple of notes which I found useful for myself, alongside with several examples and the tools that have proved to be handy in our work environment.

1. Less is more

Keeping your tools to the minimum, will help you follow up on tasks much easier and build a structured work flow.

- One of the heavy lifters we’ve been using lately is called Trello and it represents a virtual board with lists and cards within them. The scheme for organizing tasks in Trello could be structured in a variety of ways. For example, each list could represent the project’s development phase, different categories of a project’s breakdown or a day of the week and each of these lists would include a number of cards.

Trello lets you invite team members to your board, assign cards and due dates, comment on cards and much more. It keeps proper history records and acts as a file repository for each card.

- Another useful tool we’ve recently started using is the collaborative Dropbox Paper documents service.

It has a clean work flow, all the functionalities we need and easy text formatting. We’ve used it with a variety of purposes, from sharing internally simple lists of tasks, to heavy documents with listed project breakdown in tasks and sub tasks. Some of my favorite features are commenting on different lines of text and its sharing options. Even people without an account can preview the documents, with the limitation of not being able to edit.

Since I tend to organize my personal life in a similar way I’ve adopted some of the tools we use at work in order to simplify things even further. It’s important to draw a clear line between your personal and work tasks, so you don’t mix things and to easily follow up on them. For example I rarely use notifications for my personal tasks, which is partially because I don’t need them as much but also because I want to reduce the notifications to the bare minimum.

2. Plan ahead

Planning ahead in a structured way, helps you get a better overview. Circumstances change and so do our plans, however, by having planned in advance makes it so much easier to reorder things on the go. Depending on the size of your team, things might get heavier, but a proper structure of the information flow can beat that.

I’ve setup a Trello board for myself, with all day-to-day tasks for the upcoming week, sometimes even two weeks ahead, but not more. I prefer to have this board in a short burst, so I visit it regularly and update with whatever I’ve managed to cover during the day.

Towards the end of the work week or even on Sunday’s I revisit the board and move around all cards which are scheduled for the upcoming week.

Trello

Boards could also cover a wider time frame. We’ve setup a management board, with a range of projects, covering months ahead. This broader perspective gives a clear view of the company’s activity rate and simultaneously an easy to manage backlog of projects.

With Dropbox Paper, I’ve been preparing lists of researches, planned and organised team buildings, such as our recent visit to Chepelare in early February, and what not. It helps me with my daily agenda and has done a marvelous job for the team.

Dropbox Paper

There are plenty of management tools out there, but not all work for each scenario. Both services listed here, have alternative solutions, but they’ve fitted perfectly in our current remote working environment.

At Evermore, we are constantly pushing to streamline our processes. What tools have you found useful? Is there anything you would include in the list? Let me know in the comments section.