How to choose the right tool to organize your projects


This is an old post.

I have since created an entire course on setting up and using OmniFocus 3 to get stuff done. Check out the free preview:

Would you like to get a handle on your projects, but is it overwhelming to pick a specific tool? Are you using a project management app that you don’t like? Let me offer some suggestions to make it easier to choose one, or choose one that suits you better.

First, if you’re looking to get more organized, kudos! Organizing your projects can lower your stress and help you get more done. 🙂

But when you compare project management tools, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. App stores are full of seemingly promising apps. If you start reading what people say about them, you can quickly get lost in the weeds. So let’s narrow your set of choices.

Do you work with clients or do you manage a team? In that case, you might like a collaborative project management tool, in which you can assign tasks to others. For example, if you’re a freelance web designer, you might find it helpful to use a collaborative tool so you can assign some tasks to your client, such as “give me access to the FTP account” or “give feedback on logo draft #3”.

When you work with others, waiting for them can be a bottleneck. With a collaborative project management app, you can make it clear who needs to do what, when. Basecamp is a good all-in-one choice for teams or for working with clients. Many people rave about Asana too, although I haven’t tried Asana myself.

By contrast, if you work mostly by yourself, you’ll probably be better off choosing a solo project management app. The same applies if you have such limited interaction with your clients or your team that email or Slack is an efficient way to communicate.

In this case, I recommend using OmniFocus. If you set OmniFocus up right, you’ll usually know exactly what to work on next. And that alone can make a massive difference in your productivity.

(If you want to get organized and use a solo project management app, why not attend my webinar Get Organized with OmniFocus?)

Alternatives to OmniFocus that are quicker to get started with—not such a steep learning curve—are Things and Nozbe. The more complex your projects, and the more projects you’re running simultaneously, the more likely it is that OmniFocus is the right fit for you. If you only want to get your to-do list out of your head, go for Things or Nozbe.

Finally, if you’re a pen and paper person, check out the Bullet Journal. It’s sophisticated but easy to get started with. And you’ll get hipster points for having an analog system.


— Peter

P.S. Stuck on getting organized or choosing a productivity tool? Let me know and I’ll help you out.

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