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The Tools We Use - Evernote - A Little Bit of Everything

Jenn

Written by Jenn on July 15, 2014

Posted in: project management tools

Next on our list of tools we use to get things done at Codesly is Evernote. Evernote seems to be one of those tools that we are always learning something new about. We dig it because it makes us feel like there are endless possibilities when it comes to better ways of organizing all of our diabolical plots to take over the world.

How We Use Evernote

Evernote

How don’t we attempt to use this tool? - That’s more like it. From client contacts, to the office supply list, ideas for world peace… We use it so we don’t lose it. Evernote even comes in handy for jotting down notes on how we can use Evernote. Don’t judge.

As a basic client contact card, it works great for storing contact info and previous communication with clients. You can copy it right in or add images and file attachments. We can even add a picture of our client so that we have a face to a name. This is a great way to keep information like this in an easily accessible place for current staff and any newbies that may come aboard.

Contact Card

Client folders also can be a great way to use this tool. We create a folder of each client and store all kinds of stuff. In each client folder we have added a project outline. This project outline gives a streamlined view of all of the basics and then some. We include things like the date of inquiry, project start date, and projected hours for completion of the project. Remember those client contact cards I spoke of earlier? We just plop the contact card links associated to that client right into the project outline along with links for any other relevant files linked to the client. Easy peasy.

We also love using Evernote as a bank of blog ideas and cool links that we may run across throughout the week. Evernote’s Web Clipper is a super convenient way to plop those web pages and link likes right into an Evernote folder.

Enough with the serious work stuff! We like to break away from the week full of post haste with a movie every Friday in the office. Our Codesly Movie Friday ideas and picks get jotted down in Evernote. Here we keep inventory of the movies we would like to see and the ones we’ve watched. This helps to make sure we don’t watch The Princess Bride more than once (in a month). Plus, we can use it as a bragging tool for all of the poor suckers that haven’t been blessed with Movie Friday in their office.

Well… there ya’ go. These are just a few things we’ve learned to use Evernote for. Like I said, we are still fresh on the Evernote scene and are always learning new ways to harness its power. With the ever growing list of things to remember, this is a nice tool to help clear some space in your brain.

If you like the ideas that we’ve had for using Evernote, but you’ll likely forget about them right after you’ve read this- We recommend that you copy this text into Evernote right away!

The Tools We Use - Asana - Project Management

Kelly Sims

Written by Kelly Sims on June 12, 2014

Posted in: project management tools

Part of a series of posts where we cover the tools we use here at Codesly.

Back when I came on board with Codesly, we were using ActiveCollab for project management. It was a bit of a pain point for me coming from Apollo, but we made it work. Mostly.

One reason we used it, and one that most agencies use it and things like Basecamp for, is client interaction. Having a tool for clients to take part in discussions and task management seems like a win for both client and agency.

But eventually, we discovered that most clients just don’t use them. This meant the PM tool was really just for us. For us, we didn’t need discussions, notebooks, and most everything else ActiveCollab (or Basecamp for that matter) offered. We needed task management.

Hello Asana!

I’m a tool junky. If left alone, I will spend an inordinate amount of time researching the best tool for everything I do. It’s borderline obsession. But it has it’s good side. When it came time to find something new, I already had a short-list of things to try, and Asana was on top of that list. As it turns out, it was a perfect fit for us.

How we us Asana

Asana has a learning curve, somewhat steeper than other simple task systems. It’s not overly complicated, but it’s really flexible. Which means you can use it a number of different ways, and that means it can be hard to fit into at first. The team behind Asana has done a really great job of setting up videos and help on it though.

For us, everything start with projects. We have one team here so using multiple teams is unnecessary. Everything we do gets a project. New Codesly website, new client project, new internal project, all get a project in Asana. We also have a Client Support project that lumps a number of clients together for support tasks. More on that later.

For our work to excel, we need to make sure everything is covered in tasks. Each of us needs to know what needs to be done and by when. So every task in Asana gets assigned to a person. No open tasks allowed. If we’re unsure who might need to do the work, I take the task and decide later. We also diligently assign (most) everything due dates. This helps us get a big picture view of all work inside the calendar view of Asana.

Every day we take time in the morning to set up our tasks for the day. Asana let’s you set a task to either Today, Upcoming or Later. This is my favorite part of Asana. I look through Upcoming and move things to my Today list every day. Everyone else does this as well. During the day, I can open anyone’s task list and see what they have on their plate for the day.

Asana is also very keyboard-friendly. Almost the entire system is manageable from just the keyboard. Makes getting around in it a breeze once you get your bearings.

Due dates on tasks automatically bubble up tasks when they are due. So if you have something set for today and it’s hidden in Later, it will show up in your Today. Very nice!

Client support with Asana

We have a growing number of clients, and they often need assistance or small bits of help on things. For this we created the Client Support project. Since each project gets it’s own email address, this makes it easy to forward in client emails to start a task. That keeps the whole message and any attachments included in the task. We can then pop into Asana and assign it a person and due date. We use comments and sub-tasks as needed for these.

To keep them organized better, we use tags to distinguish clients. Each client gets a tag, so at a glance we can see which clients have work needing done. Clicking a tag shows all tasks for just that client, all over Asana.

Asana integrates with a number of 3rd party systems, like Harvest. We use Harvest for time tracking and invoicing our clients. Once the client support task has been emailed in, we can start a Harvest timer right from the task itself. I can see the task timer show up in my desktop Harvest app within seconds, and then I’m off to make the client happy! We love the integration with Harvest. It was one of the big selling points for us.

Client work in Asana

I mentioned above that we don’t do much collaborative task work with clients anymore. Most of our clients just never use it. We do have clients once in awhile though that do, and Asana works well in those situations too. We just share a project with whoever we need to by email address, and they get to access just that. They never see anything else within Asana that we don’t need them seeing. They get email updates and get to email tasks in just like we do. It works great.

Other tools

This is one of a series will be doing. Other tools we use that we’ll be writing about include Evernote, Dropbox, Foundation, InVision, Beanstalk and Harvest.

Getting Grunt Up and Running with ExpressionEngine

Kelly Sims

Written by Kelly Sims on April 17, 2014

Posted in: grunt tools web-dev

We’ve recently switched over to using Grunt on our projects. Since so many other blog posts out there got me started on this, it only seemed fair that I write one up myself. This isn’t a full Grunt post, but rather a small glimpse into how we use it here at Codesly to work with our ExpressionEngine projects.

As a Sass user, I’d been compiling my sass with the Codekit app. It was simple enough to run and for the most part did fantastic. But since we’re a growing team, relying on an app seemed like a bad idea. So in came Grunt, and after using it for a few days, I’m loving it.

  • Anto Shirt
  • Boomphones
  • Lifefactory
  • Growersbox
  • Cake
  • RIFSoCal

Just a few of the amazing companies we have worked with. Find out how Codesly can help your business grow.

Codesly is proudly based in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, CA. We provide website design and development solutions to companies in and around Torrance, Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, and Palos Verdes as well as globally.