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Tools I Use – Task Management

I work on many different projects at once. Some are internal to my company and many are for clients. Up until earlier this year I used a custom system I’d developed by customizing Outlook and linking with Google Tasks, because well, I used to work a lot as an Outlook and Exchange custom applications developer. However, when I upgraded my computer I decided to do things a bit differently.

After some evaluation I settled on Teamwork Projects. I have been using it for about six months. Here are the features I use most:

  • It integrates with my billing software, Harvest.
  • It allows me to forward emails from clients to an email address for that clients specific project or task list.
  • It has Gantt charts – I love Gantt charts. Gantt charts allow you to visualize whether a project is on track to meet deadlines, by chaining up tasks that are dependent on one another.
  • It allows me to make tasks contingent on one another, so I can screen out the tasks that I can’t do yet, because I haven’t done their antecedents yet. This reduces the amount of brainspace I need to decide what to do in a day, allowing me to devote it to more important things.

Harvest Integration

When I open a task in Teamwork, with the integration set up, I can click on a Harvest button to track billable time. This brings up a Harvest window, pre-populated with the task name in the notes, which I can edit if desired. I select the client and task category I’m wanting to bill this task under and click start. When the task is complete, I stop the timer and my billable time is logged, ready to invoice. Now, most of this is handled by Harvest, but I love that it transfers the information about the task over. This gives detail that some clients really appreciate, especially if I do small amounts of work for them periodically.

Email to Task Pipeline

I have the email addresses for various projects listed in my email software contacts, and as I get emails in requesting additional tasks, I can forward those emails to Teamwork. If I modify the subject line with the name of the task list in brackets, my own name with an @ symbol before it, and the date I’d like that task to be due in square brackets, then it creates files the task accordingly. This is a great thing to do if a task comes in while I’m working on something else and I need to quickly defer it, but don’t want to forget it.

Dependent tasks

There are two ways to make dependent tasks – you can make tasks into sub-tasks of one another. The parent task can’t be completed until all the sub tasks are complete. You can nest these tasks several layers deep if necessary and entering them is simple. You can also manually link the beginning of one task to the ending of another in case the tasks aren’t in the same task list, or the tasks need to be chained in more complex ways. Then when I am looking at my task list for the day, I can hide any blocked tasks to show only those tasks I can actually complete. This saves a lot of attention.

I recommend this tool because:

Since I have started using Teamwork, I get more done, more easily. The dependent tasks blocking alone was worth it for me. My invoicing gets done in a more timely manner because my time tracking doesn’t have to be transferred into an invoice manually, and as a result I get paid faster.

Disclaimer: I have put a referral code into the links above, which means in the off chance someone clicks a link and buys something, I get a small commission (why not?).  I would not recommend something I didn’t use and like, though, and it’s all true.  

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