Taking on new roles and responsibilities is very often a part of life. As you get older, there will be situations where you need to manage projects, people, and overall goals of an organization, or maybe even a company. Life can get pretty crazy, unless you learn real fast how to get organized and get serious about setting up a long-term vision, and then putting together plans to get there quickly.
Whether you’re heading up a single project at work, or you’re managing a small company, either role requires extreme organization and planning. This isn’t always possible with just a traditional scheduler or planner, and it can even get pretty chaotic trying to use an Excel spreadsheet, or even Google Calendar. Those tools are great for planning a list of small tasks, but once you start managing larger, multiple projects, it just doesn’t cut it.
Enter Wrike, an innovative online project management solution that turns projects into groups of categorized tasks in a way that compensates for a busy schedule. It does this by providing areas for tasks that are overdue or part of your backlog. In other words, it doesn’t try to keep annoying you to complete tasks — it simply manages the tasks that have slipped through the cracks, so that when you do have some extra time, you know exactly where to look to catch up.
Using Wrike to Take Control of Projects
We actually briefly mentioned Wrike here at MUO a couple of times. Aibek mentioned Wrike a while back, and Kaly also listed it as a great tool to manage groups. It is actually a great tool, but keep in mind that there’s both a free version and a paid version, and the paid version is the one you’ll need to have if there are more than 5 users using the system.
What’s especially powerful about either version of Wrike is how cleanly it organizes a chaotic schedule. It starts on the left with projects, which you add under the “My Folders” area. To the right is where all of your tasks are organized by due date, or whether you’ve passed the due date.
Creating a new task in any project is as simple as clicking the big plus button at the top of the dashboard. You can set the “project” by defining what project you want to put a task in. In Wrike, the folders are essentially your project areas.
The other nice thing about Wrike is that unlike many to-do lists out there, Wrike doesn’t just make you put a single due date. It lets you define when the task work should start, as well as when it should be completed.
It sounds like a small thing, but this is actually a really important method to better plan out your time. If you know what block of time you’ll need for a specific project, you won’t make the mistake of planning all sorts of other work during that same period of time.
Assigning and Organizing Tasks
Next, you can assign the task to someone on your team. In my case I’m using Wrike to organize my own task work, so I’ll just assign it to myself.
As you start shifting your work into folders, you’ll see just how amazing this tool is. Instead of a chaotic mess of tasks, you’ve got all similar tasks neatly organized not only into each individual folder, but also sorted into boxes on the dashboard by due date and status.
Adding and Editing Tasks in Folder View
Adding tasks in the folder view is as easy as clicking on “New Task” under your list of tasks. Use the quick checkboxes on the right to set the status or assign it to someone.
You can also click on the task within the folder view and edit anything about it in the edit field to the right. Everything in Wrike feels like it flows from left to right, making it intuitive and much easier to learn than most other project management apps out there.
Other task options in edit mode are on how to make any task a recurring one, request a status update from the person the task is assigned to (this will issue them an email reminder), or click on the “Follow” link to follow all of the activity associated with that task.
Inviting Users or Involving Collaborators
You can also invite users if you want, but in the free version you can only invite a maximum of five. The good news is that you can have unlimited “collaborators”. These are people outside of Wrike that can simply see tasks, discuss them with you and mark them as completed.
This means that you can use the collaboration feature to assign tasks to people without the need to have them sign up as users within your Wrike account. This way you can identify which tasks need outside work — maybe you need a contractor to do some work on your web page, or you need a writer to write up a newsletter for you. These tasks can be delegated out to other people, and they can complete those tasks without even having to become a Wrike user.
The features of Wrike make it powerful enough to help you organize over a dozen or more projects easily, and it’s simple enough so that the learning curve is not very steep at all. If you do decide to sign up for Premium, it’s about $49/month and you’ll get things like Gantt charts, reporting, time tracking and a few other useful features that could come in handy if you have larger projects to manage and some extra cash to spend.
Do you think Wrike has what you need to put order back into your life? Are you a manager or a project leader that needs something like this to make your life easier? Share your thoughts and feedback, and offer your own tips for tools that you like to use, in the comments section below.