How To Manage Your Design Projects To Streamline Operations

Do you often find yourself having many tabs open to access emails from a specific client, notes that you have taken on a feedback call, and project timelines at the same time? If this sounds like you, you need a project management tool where everything is hosted in one place.

How to Manager your Design Projects to Streamline Operations

You must be thinking. Isn’t Google Drive enough? While Google Drive is great, it’s not designed to manage projects. A specific project management platform helps you keep track of tasks holistically against the entire project. You and your client will be able to see better the bigger picture of the project, access to file sharing, improve productivity, and promote better collaboration. Not to mention, seeing all the dates in one view can really maximize coordination.

What Project Management Platform Should I Use?

I personally use Asana with my clients. Asana is a one-tab solution to optimize organization for projects, planning, sales and so much more. But today we will be focusing on how to easily manage projects and tasks with your clients on Asana. Make every project a success by staying organized AND connected with clients. Asana is versatile for every type of organizer, making the best plans for the most scatter-brained of us from viewing projects by lists, calendar, or boards. Best of all? There is a free plan that is beyond sufficient for all your design projects.

Here is how Asana can manage your next design project seamlessly:

Streamlined communication

I believe to truly do things well, they need to come from a state of inspiration, intention, and rest. To cultivate that, you must build boundaries in your process. Clear communication is necessary. Asana allows me to have conversations within the platform with my clients on a specific task itself. No more endlessly searching your emails on a specific topic since conversations are within a certain task. You can even tag a task in a conversation to refer to what was mentioned in a previous task thread so everything is streamlined. Speaking of tagging, you can tag people and they will receive an email and can even reply from their email inbox or they can choose to take them to the task board on Asana.

My favourite part of having conversations on Asana? I can set my do not disturb hours so no more getting distracted by an email notification while on my off hours because not everyone’s working time is the same time. These boundaries are important to prevent both you and your clients from working around the clock.

Simple User Interface For The Not-So Techy Clients

No matter how big or small the project is, Asana’s layout and easy navigation make it all feel less overwhelming than a piece of paper scribbled notes. From organized sections to parse out specific tasks, drag and drop tasks to move them to the right section, and tagging task priorities in the ever-so universal red, yellow, green. And even tabs to see different project views like lists, calendars, or boards (more views available in paid plans).  

Asana features a clean, crisp layout with appealing colours for colour coding not only your tasks but different client projects on your dashboard. A clean visual workspace is crucial to look at before you start on your tasks. The fun part? When you complete a task, it lights up and has either a flying unicorn, narwhal, seal, or bird to truly tell you did a job well done. 

Helpful Reminders

Even if you don’t use Asana to its fullest potential, you can’t go wrong with my personal favourite handy feature – the ‘Task Due Soon’ section. Once you log into your dashboard homepage your tasks and their due dates are the first thing you and your clients see and if you love that extra reminder, you will get notified by email too. But I completely understand not all clients love to be notified every day, adjusting notifications is a simple click away in the settings option.

I often get told by my clients they love how organized the ‘Task Due Soon’ section keeps them. It holds them accountable to give feedback in a timely manner to keep the project running along smoothly and not to mention they leave a raving testimonial of how organized you are.

Conclusion

Having a streamlined project management process doesn’t only keep your mind at bay but also protects you as a freelancer and ultimately raises your rates. Having transparency of each task throughout the project that was agreed upon in the scope of work prevents scope creep. And even if it’s asked, you will be empowered to respond with the following “I would love to help you out with that, I can draft you up a quote on that project or add it on the remaining invoice when this project is complete.” When having a top-notch project management process, you are no longer just providing design services but also client services. Clients pay you an amount that they perceive as valuable and can make a return on investment, with the notion that you’ll be able to produce a great finished result. And if that includes being a killer project organizer confidentially factor that into your pricing!

Curious about what my Asana project structure looks like? You can snag my template for free here.

Abigail Regucera

Abigail Regucera is a brand and web designer that creates marketing-informed designs, made human for modern business owners that want to create meaningful magic. You can follow along on Instagram or Pinterest, both @abigaaailr.

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