Episode 18, Season 2

Systems and Tools: Project Management

How to Organize and Schedule Your Publishing Projects

Struggling to manage all your writing, publishing, and promotion deadlines? Here are the systems and tools I recommend for project management!

Albert Einstein famously said, “Everything must be made as simple as possible. But not simpler.” When I think about that quote, I visualize stripping away aspects of  my life and business until everything is clear and straightforward, stopping before I strip away the things that make my life and business great.

This, is systematizing.

Much of what we do in our daily lives, whether it’s responding to emails, creating content, or meal-prepping, can be simplified and streamlined using systems. 

This is particularly true of your writing career.

You may think that plotting a novel, writing your newsletter, or appearing at online events are all nuanced, individual propositions that cannot be duplicated or systematized. I’m here to show you that you can.

Your project management system serves as the foundation for all your other systems and tools.

When I speak about project management, I’m speaking to the systems and tools that help you plan your projects, schedule your projects, and complete your projects. A project can be something big like writing a novel or something small like updating your website. When I think of a project, I think of something that has multiple steps and parts. A project isn’t a quick to-do that you can scratch off your list in 5-10 minutes.

To successfully manage your projects you need a system for listing out all the tasks associated with a project and assigning due dates to each. Ideally, you could duplicate projects and see how your various projects relate to each other. For example, in your Novel project, you may have edits due on Friday. That means you’ll be working most of the week on those edits, so you probably shouldn’t schedule any other big deliverables that week.

When it comes to project management, there is no shortage of software. At Kaye Publicity, we’ve worked with several over the years. I’m going to introduce you to a few of, what I feel, are the best ones and provide some insight into which one may be best for you.

Asana

Asana is more text-based and less visual than other project management platforms. If your brain thinks in to-do lists, then this may be the best option for you. Asana supports calendar views, so you can see how many tasks you have on any given day, as well as a Kanban view if you’d prefer to see your tasks as cards on a board. You can set up recurring tasks to save time and reduce the likelihood of something slipping through the cracks.

You’re also able to share projects and workspaces with other people, which can be helpful if you have team members or contractors working on the projects.

Best of all: the free version offers plenty of features, so you won’t need to upgrade anytime soon!

Trello

Trello is a more visual platform that uses the Kanban method.

If you’re not familiar with Kanban, check out this article!

Like Asana, you can share your workspaces with team members, and there are plenty of features on the free version that you shouldn’t need to upgrade. For me, Trello had more of a learning curve, but luckily, they have plenty of free templates to help you get started!

Notion

Notion feels like a hybrid of all these platforms; supporting lists and calendars, as well as files, emojis, and other visual elements. Those that use it, use it for everything, not just project management. It’s a place where they incorporate editorial calendars, create Wikis, etc. If you’re using spreadsheets for your marketing calendars and want to have everything in one platform, Notion is a good option.

Two downsides:

  1. There’s no free version
  2. Has a steeper learning curve than other platforms

Airtable

I’ve mentioned how much I love Airtable several times, and while I don’t use it for project management, there are many who do and love it. If your brain thinks in spreadsheets, I highly recommend Airtable for project management. 

It can be a bit more time consuming on the front end, since everything has to be customized, but Airtable also has plenty of templates to get you started. Like Asana, Airtable supports multiple views, including Kanban, Calendar, and even a Gandt view. Some of the features and views are require upgrading to the premium version, but the most important features are available in the free account.

Tips for selecting a project management software:

  • Pick one to try, use it until it no longer works for you
  • Watch some tutorials to ensure you’re getting the most of it
  • Get the most out of the free version, but don’t be afraid to pay
  • Use it! Systems won’t work if you don’t use them!

As you step fully into your author career, it’s no longer enough to sit and write when the muse calls on you. You have writing deadlines, events, marketing responsibilities, and so on. A project management system will ensure you stay organized, on track and are highly efficient.

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