Project management software for you and maybe your lab

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It’s really easy to get caught in short-term minutia and lose focus on the big picture stuff that really matters.

I’ve been trying out some project management software, because I think I’m juggling enough short-term, medium-term, and long-term projects and goals that this might be the a better for me to stay on track. I’m hoping that this can help me align my time and effort in a manner that represents my priorities.

Up to now, I’ve just been using a Moleskine (and some notes on my computer/phone), and it’s done the job really well. No real complaints. My attempt at a switch isn’t being triggered by a particular time or project management crisis that I’m trying to avoid, it’s more about staying on track with my evolving priorities.

The one that I’ve heard the most about is Trello, which I know some bigger labs use to manage all kinds of operations, though this seems to be a rather weighty and designed for teams, and organizations with many teams. I’m more interested in just keeping track of stuff for myself, and maybe looping a few people in if they’re interested.

So, what to use? I asked this question on twitter, and the response thread has a lot of useful responses. Below is the upshot that I’m taking out of this.

There were four pieces of software that kept popping up. Here they are in alphabetical order: Airtable, Asana, Notion, and Todoist. I’m also interested in Smartsheet but I think this would involve outlaying more cash than I’m inclined to.

I played around with Asana and Notion some already, and as I didn’t fall in love with them, I’m going to give Todoist a go. (If you use a .edu address, then Notion gives you some more features for free, but also, Notion lacks and API so it doesn’t integrate as cleanly with email/calendar as some of the others.) I’m basically mostly looking for a big to-do list that I can build from email, and keep track of a variety of projects and goals that are both big-picture with many pieces but also smaller ones too, with help juggling them. I think the folks who start using this, if it works for them, integrate well with them and use it all the time. It seems like if it’s going to work for you, either you go all into it, or not at all. Hmmm. But let’s give it a go. Feel free to ask me about this months from now, to see if I stuck with it.

One thought on “Project management software for you and maybe your lab

  1. ? Didn’t Notion release an API about six months ago? Maybe you need an auxiliary service like Automate.io, but I’m pretty sure you can integrate with email.

    I like Notion, but I found it too project-oriented for my needs. Maybe give it another look? It might also be helpful to see what any of the zillion “Notion experts” do with it. It’s a little less obvious how to use it well than a lot of other systems.

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