Throughout my schooling experience, I’ve never been that in depth with how I manage my assignments. My main strategy so far has been going into my notes app on my phone and writing down what I have to do and when. There was never much depth in it and could be a little cumbersome to make and check at times, but it often got the job done with how simple assignments often were. Obviously, as I currently am working my way through college, that has gotten much more difficult. Projects are now much more in depth than just simple papers and worksheets. There isn’t one overarching due date, but rather a multitude of weekly or bi-weekly check ins on the progress of a project. Due to this, I was plenty willing to try the large amount of online management tools to help improve my own project management ability.
What tools are available?
There’re many different project management tools, such as Asana, Podio, and Trello. I personally decided to use Trello. I’ve had experience with Trello before, my first internship used it, so I was already used to how the application worked. Trello itself is also a fairly simple tool to use in general. I feel anybody could understand it after just a few minutes with the application.
To start my Trello board, I began with my master’s course.
What I personally like best about Trello is the simplicity of the cards. I found it very easy to scan through from card to card and see what has to be done in each due to how responsive the application is. This made it easy for me to just click on the tab on my browser during down time and see what I have to do and when.
I also appreciated the checklist feature. I’ve always found checklist helpful, as it makes it easier to separate work into small, more feasible chunks. Trello’s checklist are very user friendly, as you can add, remove, and check off anything in a very efficient manner
After logging my first course, I decided to just log all of my class work on it. With how easy it is to browse through Trello, I thought having all my class work would be helpful. During this process is when I started getting an even better understanding of Trello. Having six different lists, each with a multitude of cards, can be somewhat overwhelming. This makes features such as changing background colors and labels stand out a lot more.
Being able to put a red label on projects with the most urgency instantly draws my attention to them as opposed to a calmer, blue label for when I have time. The fact that you can alter the background in many different ways is also nice. You can add a picture to show a little bit of personality or choose just a flat color if you appreciate the lack of noise. I personally chose a light blue background as I felt that it provides a nice, calming feeling when checking the board. Also, as a colorblind individual, having a color-blind friendly option is much appreciated.
What’s the best way to use it?
Surprisingly, at least for me, the most useful function for Trello I’ve found so far is the mobile app. I decided to download it after making my board wondering how it was. It turned out is was pretty good. One of the best parts about it for me was how quickly it loads
Almost immediately I can browse through all my work. It keeps all the same features of the desktop version, such as labels and checklists, but since I can check it at almost any time, it usability is heightened. The only part about the app compared to the desktop version I’m unsure about though is the notifications.
On one hand, it does often serve as a reminder for work that is due soon. On the other, notifications in general are just distracting, as has been shown by many studies. I’ve also thought of certain scenarios where I feel notification would result in a detriment. What if I was working on a project in a hectic time like finals week and then suddenly got a notification telling me another large project is due soon? Now instead focusing on the task at hand, my mind is now racing in regard to that other project as well as the one I’m working on. I also feel it builds a habit of relying on a notification to tell you when to work, rather than checking and deciding that for yourself. Plus, it not like it’s difficult to quickly check through.
The greatest aspect of project management is the freedom you have when doing it. You can choose through countless different apps and find what works best for you. In something like Trello, you can choose to have every little detail accounted for or just a basic run-through of what you need to do. You can also check and manage these lists anywhere you are with the technology we have today. There’s no wrong answer in project management, as long as what you’re doing makes sense and works for you.