I would loose shit all the time - especially when I got really busy with multiple projects. Managing my digital life and taking project management seriously has made my life easier and less stressful. Now with two software programs i'm an organizational freak ... let me show you how I did it.
Keep in mind this isn't a review of Dropbox and Trello. This is simply how I use them and the benefit they have on my freelance clients. Don't worry though, if you are looking for reviews I linked them below.
Alright so Imagine this ...
You have a not-so-reliable hard rive that disconnects every time you move your computer an inch and whenever you want to go somewhere or work remotely you have to lug around your hard drive in addition to your laptop and charging cord. PLUS your hard drive cord ugh. If you share this first world problem with me then read on because it’s exactly what I was going through and why I was determined to find a cloud based alternative to my digital life.
Here are the facts. I work primarily with a MacBook Air that has limited storage space (yes, I was that cheapskate that went for the 250gb option) so I immediately thought of iCloud for all my files but the amount of file space that literally any creative uses is crazy and I found out that it eats up your computer disk space in the long run anyways. NEXT!
Then I tried Adobe creative cloud, simple right, I use Adobe products so why not cut out the middle man and use their file storage integration. Turns out there’s a limit to the type of files you can have on there and the organization of them is a bit wonky anyways … and it still ate up my disk space. NEXT!
Then I landed on Dropbox. I had my doubts but I figured I would give it a shot … and so far it's working great!
How I use it and why
Dropbox is free but as a creative I recommend purchasing the 2TB plan starting at $11.99. The ability for all my files to be in the cloud and then ‘pull them down’ when I need them is super awesome. That keeps my computer’s disk space free from my junk and allows me to focus on the elements of the project that I am working on. I never connected any dropbox software through my computer because it ate up my disk space and then I’m back to square one. The only drawback then is that I have to be online to get items off my dropbox. This is 2020 though ... if you can't find wifi, you have bigger issues. It might sound laborious but it was the solution that I was looking for.
Listen. We can’t all afford huge disk space on our computers or massive external hard drives that keep us anchored to our desk. I wanted to be lightweight, simple and mobile and dropbox solved that. Now I can do work on the couch without having the worry corrupting my files!
Tip: Turn any shared folder into a space and customize it to better benefit your client - then pin the folder to your main screen so it can be accessed quicker.
Benefit Dropbox has to clients
I love when software makes my life easy. Dropbox’s file sharing and file requesting feature is my favorite. I work with many different clients so I set up a folder that is shared for each one. By doing this I eliminate the constant emailing of assets back and forth and getting confused which is the new one and which is the older one. A lot of the times I will create a checklist and update It above each folder so that they know that new content has arrived.
Requesting files is another feature that makes the client-designer relationship simpler. If I need files from a client then I will create a folder where they can upload all of their content and share it with me!
Still with me?
Now imagine this ...
You are working and getting projects left and right with no way to organize them. You try to keep them in your head and try to remember the deadlines of all of them - heck you’re even doing a good job at remembering them. But you could be doing better, and your waisting brain space remembering all that information. Once again this is what I was going through. My goal was to simplify the way I tracked my project intake and stay on top of my process.
In comes Trello!
How I use it and why
A project management tool for the every day person. Creating projects or tasks quickly and being able to track them is very beneficial and helps keep my mind free for things like The Masked Signer Facts or Star Wars Trivia. You know, all the important stuff. Trello really has changed the way I track projects and has allowed me to take on more assignments without forgetting the ones that I am currently working on.
Trello is a kanban based service. Kanban uses boards, lists, and cards instead of the timeline-based structure seen in other project management apps. This makes it a lot more visual and less data-y. Plus its free for users like you and me. If you are interested or have a larger team here is the full pricing list and power ups available. Power-ups are plugins that enhance the experience, you get one free one but have to pay to get more *shocker*. I have found thought that after choosing one, they aren't super essential. So don't sweat it.
Tip: Write all of your creative brief notes in the kanban card. Then use the dropbox power-up to link all of your creative assets!
Benefit Trello has to clients
It’s as simple as sharing your progress with your clients so that they know the steps that a simple “make me a logo” request entails. Trello also allows you to share notifications when you are done with a certain step or done with the project completely - keeping your clients informed of your progress.
What do you use?
In the design industry or not, Im curious what you are using to track your projects and keep your files organized. Are you a dropbox or Trello lover? Feel free to share any tips or tricks you have below in the comments! Don't forget to share on the socials! 👇👇