How Work Management Software Can Help Creatives Finish Their Projects

work management for creative projects

Work Management for Creative Projects – © Tartila Stock.Adobe.Com

Creative brains are restless processors of imaginative ideas. Our itchy fingers yearn to start creating the next fun project we dream up. Unfortunately, our next big idea rarely waits until after we’ve finished our current endeavor. Progress on our manuscripts, paintings, or screenplays falter. We lose momentum and begin missing deadlines.

Work management software can assist in planning our creative projects and help us stick with a firm schedule.

What is Work Management Software?

Work Management Software (aka task management or collaboration software) is a category of digital tools designed to plan projects and non-project tasks. Their applications can range from single users or small teams to large project management offices. Easy to use and readily available online, these tools are perfect for creative projects.

In other words, work management software is a project management tool for everyone.

Which Tool Should I Use?

I’ve been a project manager for over fifteen years and have used many complex project management tools to track my large enterprise level schedules. Mastering the platforms required extensive training and some technical knowledge. Many times, the tools were cumbersome and made managing the project unnecessarily complicated. It also limited project management tool access to companies who could afford the expense and resources to maintain them.

The new wave of work management digital tools has opened the door for individuals and small business owners who can’t afford the expense and don’t have time for extensive training. Larger businesses are adopting these easy to use tools as well, effectively reducing their setup and training times.

In researching for this post, I’ve discovered a smorgasbord of new tools. Most of them are unfamiliar, so I’m suggesting a few I know are free and reliable. Asana and Trello are both easy to use and have free basic plans.

A Sneak Peek at Trello

I use the free version of Trello. Why? One of my project teams used it in the past. It’s familiar. It’s free. And it’s fun.

Trill

Trello for Creative Projects

Simple Steps to Set Up Your Creative Project

Trello and YouTube have great “how to” videos to get you started setting up your new account and boards. In this post, I want to give you a few tips to help you plan effectively. You have some things to think through before jumping into the tool. What will it take to complete your project? How long will each task take? If I connect these tasks and their due dates correctly, then will I have my project completion date? Finally, who do I want to access my boards? Are there team members I’ve assigned to tasks and do they need to see those tasks?

Step One – Create your board

  • Give your board a meaningful and descriptive name, so you can quickly identify which project it represents
  • Set it to “Private” (setting located at the top of the board by the name) if you don’t want anyone to see your board
  • Invite your team (if applicable)

Step Two – Plan and create your cards

  • Think about the task categories your creative project must navigate:
    • Create – What steps must you take to create your book, video, etc.?
    • Edit – Do you or a team member need to review the work and quality check?
    • Publish – Are you sending this to a client? Or will you be producing/ publishing the work yourself?
    • Market – Do you need to create marketing tools and advertising?
  • Set Due Dates to hold yourself accountable
  • Plan carefully to calculate a reasonable and accurate project completion date

Step Three – Track your progress

  • Mark your finished items ‘complete’ to gauge where you are in the project
  • Review your splendid progress in ‘real time’ for a boost of self-confidence
  • Watch potential time slips and mitigate them before they happen

Work Management Tools can help you stay on track. Keep your designs easy and straight forward. You’ll soon see the value of organizing your work.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

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Cosplayers Assemble!

Denver Pop Culture Con – © Viacheslav stock.adobe.com

Denver Pop Culture Con is coming this weekend at the Colorado Convention Center! I’ll be there doing panels with awesome authors: Terry Brooks (Shannara Series), Cinda, Williams Chima (The Heir Chronicles) and many more!

Stop by the Author’s Booth during my signings for a chance to win free ebook copies of The Heart of the Warrior series books one and two!

Find my complete Denver Pop Culture Con Schedule at this link.

Book Baby Announcement

I finally have a firm release date!

Look for the latest book in the Heart of the Warrior series

October 18th, 2019!

Dark Fantasy Books

Book Three – COMING October 18th, 2019

Protect the Innocent. Punish the Guilty.

Seth the Ice Lion, now an Apprentice in the Jalora Legion, reluctantly travels aboard ship with his new battalion. Western Beta’s mission seems a dull assignment. Guarding miles of bogs and old ruins should be a simple task, but Seth soon learns nothing is easy for the Bearer of the Lion Ring. The Jalora is the embodiment of Good and the source of Seth’s power. It commands he search North Marsh for a relic capable of saving his homeland from the ravenous appetite of the Jackal invaders. Surrounded by deadly bogs and savage beasts, he must find the relic before the Lion Spirit inside of him takes control of their shared body.

Invaders from across the sea hold a firm grip on Valdeon, but their thirst for blood remains unsated. They lust for the riches of Andara. Using fear and greed as weapons, the Jackal enlist aid from the continent’s unscrupulous mercenaries to prepare for a larger invasion. They build a stronghold – Stone Fang Fortress – in the Blood Mountains of the north. It is here they prepare to conquer the free world.

Will Seth find this powerful relic before the Jackal swarm invades Andara? Or will his people be enslaved under the iron fist of the Jackal Lord? Seth’s answers hide in the deadly bogs of North Marsh…

Read the Dark Fantasy Epic from the beginning

Dark Fantasy Books

Book One of The Heart of The Warrior Series

Dark Fantasy Books

Book Two – Heart of the Warrior series

Can What You Eat Reduce Your Stress?

Culinary Medicine, Nutrition

Culinary Medicine © norikko – stock.adobe.com

One of our local news stations holds an annual health fair this time of year. During their morning broadcast, they dropped the term “Culinary Medicine.” I’ll confess, I hadn’t heard the phrase. As a Celiac on a strict gluten-free diet, I was intrigued. There is no cure for Celiac Sprue or gluten intolerance. My diet is used to counteract the symptoms of the disease as well as reduce my risk of developing certain types of cancer.

So, is western medicine moving away from a “pop this pill” philosophy and embracing a holistic approach? Answer: It depends on the doctor.

What is Culinary Medicine?

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, and I am no expert in Culinary Medicine either. However, I am living proof of how a healthy diet can improve your energy, reduce illness and help with depression.

The healthcare industry, to combat rising obesity rates, is increasing its efforts to counsel patients on nutrition. Nutritious cooking to reduce illness is at the forefront.

Food as medicine? It makes sense if we remember the saying, “you are what you eat.”

How Choosing the Right Food Can Help in Stress Management

Blueberry, Nutrition

The perfect berry! © pilipphoto – stock.adobe.com

  • Green Leafy Vegetables – Eat your spinach, because Popeye was right. Green leafy veggies produce dopamine – the feel-good chemical. They help to encourage calm and good moods
  • Oatmeal – This hearty breakfast food is good for you on several levels. It will help to manage your stress by keeping your blood sugar level stable
  • Yogurt – Take it from someone with food allergies. When your gut is sick, then your brain doesn’t work well either. We’ve seen the commercials about probiotics. Yogurt is a great way to increase these chemicals and calm brain functions which handle our emotions
  • Salmon – Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatories which assist in reducing harmful stress hormones. Salmon isn’t as “fishy” as other fish. It doesn’t have to be in fancy dishes. Try it in tacos for a yummy new take on an old favorite
  • Blueberries – “Calling Dr. Blueberry!” I eat these perfect little berries every day. They boost my mood and make me smile.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

 

Don’t Let Worry Waste Your Time

Worry, Stress, Anxiety

Worrying is a waste of your precious time
© pathdoc – Stock.adobe.com

I woke up at 2:30 in the morning with an email from my client stuck in my brain. The document I’d sent them was acting strangely. It was, for all intents and purposes, unusable. Confusion. Panic. Worry. They hit me like a bucket of ice water to the face. I couldn’t get back to sleep. What had happened to the document? Should I get out of bed and go into my office to fix it?

Life and Work Balance is vital for our health and happiness. Our society, however, is a demanding machine that never sleeps. We, as individuals, must schedule our personal time and stick with it. I broke this rule when I finally caved to my worry and worked Sunday morning (my prescheduled day off) to fix the problem. Lack of sleep, residual tension and no personal time left me feeling worn out. Did the client need my document on Sunday? No. They were content to wait until Monday morning. All my angst was a waste of time.

Avoid Worry with Healthy Choices:

Unplug from the Daily Grind– I had no business checking my email right before bedtime. Stop viewing work emails, texts, and social media at a set time each evening. A peaceful night’s sleep is essential. I need it and so do you. The work will be waiting in the morning

Set boundaries for your well-being– Stick to your personal plans. Don’t cancel fun activities with your friends, because you’re stressing over a work task. It’s tough when you run a business or are held accountable for a project. I get it. However, if you work too many weekends, your employer will come to expect it from you regularly. Then goodbye personal life!

Take care of YOU first! Approach the work or problem after you’ve rested and refreshed your mind. You’ll find the solution comes to you much faster.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

 

Top Five Ways to Reduce Your Stress

Stress, Stress Awareness

Stress Awareness Month © Kaspars Grinvalds – stock.adobe.com

April is Stress Awareness Month (not that we need a reminder).  Life can become overwhelming at times. We all feel the pressures from negative sources in our society. They are persistently vying for our attention, our emotion, our outrage, and our money. We, however, make the choice to listen or to ignore these messages.

Our brain is an amazing processor of information. It takes audio, visual and sensational (touch) data, figures out what it means to us and then transmits instructions to our body. Stress can induce our “fight or flight” reaction. We grow tense. Our adrenalin spikes as does our heart rate. This is perfect if you’re running from a charging bull. Staying stressed out for long periods, however, can do serious damage to your body.

Stress Triggers You Can Change

  1. Fear of Failure
  2. Fear of Being Judged
  3. Fear of Being Rejected

You’ll notice “FEAR” is in all three of the triggers. Hmmm. And aren’t they really all the same thing? Let me give you some advice about dealing with these triggers. Know that everybody fails. It’s how we learn. If you’re worried about people laughing at you for failing, then understand those people aren’t worth having in your life. Seek out people you will lift you up rather than tear you down. Remember: You had the courage to try!

Topsy-turvy Nonsense You Can’t Control

  1. Politics
  2. Natural Disasters
  3. Aging
  4. Death
  5. OTHER PEOPLE

I think the most profound advice I’ve ever been given was “Live your life.” Nobody can really control any of these stress triggers. Worrying about them is counterproductive. Focus on what makes you happy, because we are all headed to the grave. I’d prefer to go after having enjoyed a full life being who I am and doing what I want.

Reduce Stress, Meditate

Manage stress to stay healthy. © Romolo Tavani – stock.adobe.com

Five Daily Practices to Reduce Your Stress

  1. Meditation – I know I harp on this quite a bit in my posts. Sitting in a quiet place and taking a few minutes to just breathe does help. Take it a bit further by letting your mind explore what lays beyond the space of your body. You will begin to understand your problems are merely a temporary blip in a grander Universal scheme
  2. Exercise – Sometimes, you’ve just gotta sweat it out. Daily exercise can boost your mood, give you more energy and help you to sleep better. Speaking of which…
  3. Get More Sleep – Your body and your mind need a good night’s sleep. Worrying about what’s happening during your waking hours leads to insomnia. Insomnia leads to more stress. It’s a nasty cycle you must break. Try taking a hot bath before bed to relax
  4. Aromatherapy – Your nose knows best. Healing herbs have been used for centuries to treat illness and “dis-ease.” Nature is the best healer and provides hundreds of plant-based solutions to our body’s health problems. Lavender, for instance, is very calming. I sprinkle a few drops of Lavender oil under my pillow or put it on my wrists each night before bed. It knocks me right out. I also grow a big barrel of it beside my front door to instill a sense of peace as visitors enter my home.
  5. Take Care of Your Temple – Software developers have a saying, “Garbage in, garbage out” meaning put junk food in your body and get lousy performance. Next time you eat a greasy hamburger, observe how it makes you feel. Maybe you’re satisfied at first, but don’t you feel a bit heavy a few hours later? Try a healthy meal of grilled fish and steamed veggies. I’ll be honest. It isn’t going to give you the same temporary rush, but it will make you feel lighter and more energetic throughout the day

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Are You Stuck Inside Your Box?

Individual, Motivation, Inspire

© Michael Flippo – stock.adobe.com

Society loves boxes. Large, small, blue or yellow – every item must fit in its designated container. It’s an efficient method for organizing inanimate objects quickly. Hundreds of books line the shelves in our local bookstore. Each claim to have the best solution for stuffing items in the various boxes.

People, however, are not inanimate objects. We are individuals with multiple facets to our personalities. Society’s cold logic can be lazy and sometimes cruel. We put individuals in boxes because it makes our judgment of them much easier. Sadder still, we as individuals begin to believe we are stuck inside the box society has assigned us.

Big Personalities Can’t Be Trapped in A Box

My Aunt Della was one of the first women to help me understand big personalities cannot be locked in a single box. Several years ago, my sister and I were spending a summer in Anchorage, Alaska. Before the days of cellphones and the internet, a phone call from the lower forty-eight was the best communication you could manage. Our family asked us to visit our seventy-six-year-old aunt who’d just moved to a condo in the city. Alaska was a challenging place to live back then, especially for an elderly woman. Many thought she was crazy to pack up and move there on her own. We had placed her in the “Age Box.”

I come from a long line of strong women. My grandmother, Agnes, spent her youth in an untamed area of the West. She could break horses and strip down a rifle double quick. Aunt Della was a true daughter of Agnes. Despite her age, she’d purchased a cozy multi-level condo in a city she was determined to explore. The condo had steep stairs enclosed by high walls. I took one look and knew they were a death trap.

Aunt Della, as if sensing what I was thinking, ran up and down the staircase at a surprising pace for anyone over forty. She grinned at my sister and me.

“Seventy-Six Years Old and I can still climb stairs,” She said with a laugh.

We later discovered her daily exercise included a brisk walk to and from her local pub. Aunt Della had chosen to live her remaining life full of fun and friends. She refused to be stuffed in Society’s “Age” or “Widow” boxes.

What about you? Are you living life according to someone else’s category?

 

Individual, Motivation, Inspiration

© anitasstudio – stock.adobe.com

“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.” Buddha

 

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.