Project Management Professional (PMP)® Articles - 10 of The Best Tools for Project Managers to Stay Organized

10 of The Best Tools for Project Managers to Stay Organized

Sometimes, we can underestimate how important organization is to our daily lives. Whether you are managing the development of a new website or facilitating the creation of a social media marketing plan, staying organized will help you meet your goals.

Did you know that the average office employee spends six weeks out of the year looking for things? Think about it. How many times has looking for passwords, or trying to find various documents slowed up your day? These small tasks can add up to take a big chunk of the time you need for projects, and these scenarios likely happen more than you realize.

Fortunately, we live in a world where technology can fill the gaps. Here are some of the best tools you can use to stay organized. Managing projects is hard enough, and having the right tools can eliminate activities that waste your time.

Desk Organizer/File Cabinets

Yes, this one is more of a traditional take on organization, but that doesn't make it any less valid. While most of your work might be online, you still likely have papers, forms, and other physical documents that you may need to have on hand. It seems like a simple solution, but taking the time to organize your physical workspace can work wonders for your day. Almost 50 percent of people anticipate that they would save 30 minutes or more a day at their work if their workspace was organized. A traditional desk organizer and file cabinet can help you save time by allowing you to organize documents or information that you need on hand.

Digital File Organizer - File Juggler and DropIt

It is true that cloud-based file storage systems like Google Drive and Microsoft Sharepoint make collaboration much more straightforward. However, you cannot collaborate on a project if you can't find the files. A digital file organizer can change this. These tools allow you to track the changes within folders, attach descriptions to files, or automate specific processes (for example, determining where a folder should be placed once saved). Both File Juggler and DropIt make it easy to organize files and make them searchable based on various factors. The last thing you want is to search for a file mentioned by a colleague that you saved over a year ago. A digital file organizer can cut down on the search time, so you can spend more time on the work that matters.

Password Manager - Dashlane and LastPass

We've all been there: searching through documents or Google's database of passwords to locate the password you need to log into a needed tool. This task can be a massive waste of time for yourself and your teams. One way to combat this is to invest in a tool like Dashlane or LastPass; both can securely store passwords. Dashlane stands out because of its mass replace feature, where you can change all passwords in one-click. Alternatively, in addition to increased security and encryption options, LastPass has multi-factor authentication options that include third-party Google and Microsoft authenticators. Both make it easy to organize your passwords while ensuring they are secure.

Task Organization - Trello and Asana

Having a way to monitor the progress of your team—as well as yourself—is crucial to your project. This reason is why selecting a task delegation or organization system is critical. Trello utilizes a Kanban-board approach to enable users to better visualize project steps. Project managers use "cards" to assign tasks, communicate with team members, and categorize projects based on their progress. Asana is a more traditional project management app, where you can create to-do lists in the form of checklists and assign tasks. You can view work assignments and projects in various ways within Asana, including calendars, lists, or Gantt charts. Trello and Asana are not the only options, Quip, Basecamp, and Airtable are other viable choices for organizing your team's approach to a project, and keeping track of your day-to-day tasks.

Contact Information/CRM - Nimble and HubSpot

Even if you are not a marketer, the chances are high that you interact with clients, vendors, and customers regularly. Whether through email, social media, or phone calls, you want to keep track of the communications you are having and the contact information of those you are speaking with. This reason is why it helps to have a robust CRM system to keep track of all of your communications. Nimble can unify all communications across a variety of apps, which includes email and social media. You can even segment audiences so you can send personalized messaging to specific groups. On the other hand, HubSpot is a great option for those looking for a free CRM service. While HubSpot may have a bit less to offer, it does allow for email client integration, email tracking, contact management, and other ideal features for smaller companies.

Link Saving - Pocket and Instapaper

If you are doing any research for a project, or just need to save interesting links for the work you do, it can be hard to keep everything organized. Searching through bookmarks can be a time-consuming process. Tools like Pocket and Instapaper can offer the help you need to keep track of links and stories you are finding online. Pocket makes it easy to save articles with one click, while Instapaper allows you to highlight text, quote, and even share articles. As a project manager, research, and surfing the web for resources is likely a huge part of your daily routine. You can decrease the amount of time you use to find resources by using a link saver tool.

Organization Doesn't Have to Be Hard

Organization can feel like a bad word. It can take time to get organized, time that you may think you don't have. Fortunately, technology and some practical physical organization choices can make life much more manageable. The right tools can make categorizing various resources, tools, and documents much more straightforward. Organization can ease your stress, increase your productivity, and enable you to lead your team effectively. You may even want to implement some of these tools on a larger scale to help your team members better organize their own workspaces and daily routine. Ultimately, tools like these can make it easier to manage your day so you can lead your team and meet your project goals.