After putting on WordCamp in March, we were very busy here at New Tricks. We had to play a little catch up after the conference, and then a lot of people decided the time was right to have their new websites designed by the end of April.
The New Tricks team can handle working on multiple projects simultaneously because projects typically come in at different times and, therefore, are in different stages as we work on them.
When I am working on sites, I like to block out a group of hours and work on one project at a time. Normally, with a couple of projects at the same design stage, my mind is like a highway with a couple of cars on it, and the traffic moves along well. But, once there are more than a few projects, it is like a lot of traffic on the road trying to get to the same place and it grinds to a crawl.
As a team, we have tried many ways to manage multiple projects from Basecamp to Google Drive. But these methods only work if everyone is religious about using them. Apparently neither I nor my people are particularly religious.
I like making to do lists and crossing off the tasks, but when I make them on paper they are hard to share and they get lost. When I was in Orlando a few months ago I walked passed an interesting looking co-working space, and from the window I saw a big, 4×8 foot, 2-sided, white board on casters, with a metal panel with punched out circles as a stabilizing bar. I had a small white board in the office but it was too small to be effective for project management. Every time I tried to write in a scrunchy little way to fit a sentence on the board, I would think about that white board.
One day when the traffic in my head was getting particularly heavy, I looked online and found it, the white board of my dreams. I went ahead and ordered it and two days later it showed up, along with a package of multicolored marker pens and a new eraser.
After unpacking it and wheeling it into my office, I created three rows of five 15″ squares. I added a client’s name to the top of each square and we wrote the next steps and important deadlines for each client. When I finished, my mind settled down and I could get to work without all those clients in my head fighting for my attention. Ah Peace.
I also added New Tricks to one of the squares with its own to-dos, which felt great. Although hard to do, it is very important to give our own businesses the same level of attention that we give to our clients. I am loving having this new white board!
How about you? What methods do you find effective in managing the traffic in your work?