Project Management Tips and Productivity Hacks from 35 Online Entrepreneurs

PM roundup graphic 350Project management (PM) is an essential skill to have. If you think you aren’t using some project management skills already, think again. Even if you haven’t formally used project management, chances are that you have started and finished up a series of tasks that can be thought of as a project.

On a basic level, managing your tasks on a daily basis requires some very important PM’ing skills.

Let’s take a look at how some successful online entrepreneurs manage their projects and tasks.

What the Experts Use for

Project Management

I asked 35 online entrepreneurs, SEO specialists, and niche site experts two questions:

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

 Here is a summary of the most popular project management tools and apps.

Project Management Tools and Tips

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The majority of the people that responded use some form of spreadsheets, like Excel, Google Spreadsheets, etc… I primarily use spreadsheets, too, since they are easy to use. A more important benefit is that virtual assistants (VAs) can also use spreadsheets without being trained in most cases.

Trello was the second most used application. It is a free, web based app that is extremely flexible.

Asana and Evernote were tied for third. Asana is another free, web based app with a slightly more traditional project management flair. However, Asana is way more flexible, versatile, and useful than a traditional PM application like MS Project. Evernote is a super versatile and popular app for your computer, phone, or tablet. You can pretty much capture anything with Evernote and that’s part of the reason it’s so popular.

Basecamp was also mentioned a few times but I suspect it’s not as popular since it is a paid product.

Paper and pen made an appearance too. It doesn’t get more simple than that.

Doug Cunnington from Niche Site Project

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

I use a few different tools for various projects, from super basic (pen & paper) to some powerful collaborative PM/task management software. Here are the tools I use:

  1. Paper and Pen – Back to basics! This is as simple as it gets and there are no distractions from using software. On a daily basis, I use a post-it note to jot down the top couple tasks that I want to accomplish on that day. About every 4 – 6 weeks, my “panel of advisers” and I will take a high level overview of all of my projects and assess how various projects are doing. (The “panel of advisers”is really just my wife, plus our dog.) For those high level sessions, paper and pen makes it easy to brainstorm.
  2. Google Spreadsheets – Another basic tool, just slightly more advanced than paper and pen. Spreadsheets are the main tool that I use for project and task management. They offer a quick way to organize assignments for virtual assistants (VAs), plus they are easy to understand for the novice. The next two tools that I mention are great but people may not have ever used them so training is required. My wife manages all the content and we have developed a great workflow for working with up to 4+ writers at a time. It is really easy to share the spreadsheet, provide instructions, check the status of each assignments, and track payments.
  3. Trello – I use Trello for a couple of things like my mastermind group. It’s simple enough to use and is highly versatile. The set up there is perfect for Agile, Kanban-style projects. Lewis Ogden and I used Trello for developing the Private Blog Network Course.
  4. Asana – I use Asana for content management for Niche Site Project and some of my Amazon Niche Sites. Asana excels when you have a real or virtual team. It is really easy to create a task, assign a due date, and assign an owner. The learning curve is small. However, since there is some training involved I do not spend the time to train virtual assistants that will be working with me for a short time. Overall, Asana is really awesome if you find that you are managing your projects via email. Email works okay for smaller projects with few team members…but trust me, once you add a few more people to the team email will be a liability.

 What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

Effective planning is essential. You need to have a high level road map of where you are going, plus you need to know what to do on a daily basis. So, long term and short term planning is really important.

It is a matter of prioritizing the tasks so you know what to focus on each day. If you have to spend significant time each day trying to figure out what to work on, then you have an opportunity to improve.

Here is what I do:

Each day, I write a short list of 1 – 3 items to complete on a yellow sticky note. If those are the only things that I finish for the day, it would be a success. In project management speak, I complete the tasks that are in the critical path first. That is to say if those tasks are delayed in being completed then the entire project will be delays. Tasks in the critical path are a priority to complete.

As much as possible, I work solely on those tasks first thing in the morning before I get distracted with other things like email, phone calls, meetings, etc…

It is really similar to what Tim Ferriss describes in his blog post, “Productivity” Tricks for the Neurotic, Manic-Depressive, and Crazy (Like Me). I do not follow all the steps exactly but I have refined my process after reading that blog post. One thing to quote right here from Tim’s blog is this:

If I have 10 important things to do in a day, it’s 100% certain nothing important will get done that day. On the other hand, I can usually handle 1 must-do item and block out my lesser behaviors for 2-3 hours a day.

A secondary tip is that multitasking is a surefire way to lower your effectiveness. If someone tells me they are multitasking, that tells me that they are doing more than one thing poorly. So, don’t multitask.

I’m Doug Cunnington, the founder of this site, Niche Site Project. Read more about me here.

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Spencer Haws from Niche Pursuits

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

I’ve used a number of different project management tools: basecamp, Asana, Google docs, and others.  I currently use Asana the most and like it.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

Never forget about the big picture strategy of your projects.  Especially when you are involved in larger projects, its important to focus on important tasks rather than getting dragged into minute details that are relatively unimportant.  This should help improve overall effectiveness.

Read more from Spencer as he chronicles his latest business ventures at Niche Pursuits or check out his keyword tool, Long Tail Pro.
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Perrin Carrell from Niche Pursuits

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

Nothing fancy. Probably not what you wanted to hear. Just emails, spreadsheets and Word docs for me. I think project management tools are highly, highly overrated.

When Spencer and I sit down to talk about what we want to accomplish for the week, we have one phone call, and I record the to-dos in one email. It’s not detailed. It’s not fancy. It’s one email with 5-10 tasks that need to be completed for the week.

And it’s not like we haven’t tried tools. They’re just time sinks. I don’t need to spend an hour in Asana moving tasks around, adding details/comments, and checking to see when it got done. To me, that’s an hour wasted. One call. One email. And one concise list of 5-10 actionable items. In my view, that is a true results-oriented system.

The objection, of course, is: “But what if you have to stay on top of your people to make sure the work gets done correctly and on time?” To that, I’d say that you either have to (1) seriously evaluate how much your involvement is really necessary, or (2) you need find better people.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

I have three. The first is training. I spend a lot of time training my writers to do exactly what I need them to do. It’s a lot of work on my end. However, after they’ve got great training, they can work almost 100% autonomously, and that is a serious time saver. In my view, the most efficient possible project management process is one in which everyone is doing their job efficiently with very little supervision; that way, everyone is working. I train workers extensively, so I can do my own job while they do theirs.

The second is producing very, very detailed process documents. When my writers get trained, they leave with a step-by-step process document that they can refer to after they’ve been trained. It has literally every click of the mouse recorded — in both text and in screenshots.

Third, I make myself available and approachable. Ideally, my writers will be working 100% on their own, and things will be getting done without me worrying about it. However, if there is a question, I make sure (1) I’m super friendly when I answer it and (2) I answer it as fast as I can. And really, this plays into the same goal — keeping my workers working on their own without any micro-management. It just does it in an indirect way: letting them know hiccups aren’t a big deal, and the most important thing is to keep moving.

Follow Perrin’s story for “Niche Site Project 2”  and his ongoing entrepreneurial adventures at  Niche Pursuits.
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Justin Cooke from Empire Flippersjustin-cooke

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

Process is extremely important in our business, but we’ve found some of the traditional PM tools (Asana, Basecamp, etc.) just didn’t stick. Instead, we’ve hacked together some software and tools that help us stay on track.

Team Communication: Slack – We’d previously used Skype but we were looking for persistent chat with channels or rooms that team members could pop in and out of depending on what they’re working on. We looked at both Slack and HipChat, but Slack’s sexy UI and quick team integration won us over.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s): Sweet Process – We’d previously used Google Docs, but found it more cumbersome to make changes and keep up-to-date. SP’s object-based steps and easy-to-use images/video made this a team favorite. You can find a bit more about how we use SOP’s in our business here.

Time Tracking Software: Time Doctor – We’d used HiveDesk in the past, but found TD to be a more robust solution. Tracking your team is a bit controversial, but the real value is that in selecting the projects they’re working on and the time spent, we can see whether we’re really focusing our best hours towards the projects that matter to us.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

One of the best ways to manage multiple projects across a wide range of teams and skillsets is to make sure everyone’s on the same page and is properly trained and prepared from the start. A mentor of mine years ago clued me into the Skill Transfer Process. This is an effective way of handing off tasks and projects while minimizing loss in training/transfer of the skill.

This has made a huge difference in our company as we’ve grown. With practice, you’ll be able to implement these steps without even thinking about it.

Follow Empire Flippers to get actionable information, tools, and mindset to help you buy and sell online businesses, revenue streams and, “empires.”
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Diggy from Marketing, Inc

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

As for project management, the best services I like to use are:

These easily allow you to make notes, handle clients and communicate with your team effectively.

Diggy - photoWhat is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

As for effectively managing projects,I’m a huge fan of spreadsheets and to-do lists. Keeping everything organized and in one place is the best way to keep track of everything that is being done and still needs to be done. If you combine that with outsourcing as much as possible, it is in my experience the best way to manage your projects and grow your business as fast as possible.

Read more at  Marketing, Inc and learn how to turn your drive into a real business with real clients.
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Hayden Miyamoto from No Hat SEO

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

In one of my businesses which has about 15 people all working remotely from different parts of the globe, I use Asana for task and project management, and Slack for communications (Asana task updates also automatically show on Slack, and Slack has a ton of other great integrations).

I am also testing using Hipchat for communications in the internships we run, which train quite a few people in niche site domination each month.  Mainly because:

1) HipChat has voice capabilities like Skype, whereas Slack does not.

2) HipChat allows user creation through their API, whereas Slack does not.   This means I can automatically create groups for people based on location, date, ability, etc.

I am also testing out to act as a support desk triage.  This means that anyone who sends email to our support inbox will have their message delivered to FrontApp. FrontApp allows us to assign emails in a single inbox to specific people, which should help us triage incoming questions. We can get a VA to handle first level (easy) questions, and have them escalate to me or others if there are more difficult questions.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

I hire staff that will be completely accountable for the tasks I give them, so I never have to think about them again.  I try to clearly communicate this, and have them bug me if I am the bottleneck.   I will not work with anyone who is not capable of this, as I cannot function effectively with 10 million tasks in my head.  Every minute of my workday is based on creative decision-making and I need a clear mind to do this effectively.

Read more about SEO and making a living online by following Hayden’s blog at  No Hat SEO.
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Lewis Ogden from Cloud Income

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

My main tool of choice is Trello, followed by Google Drive and Dropbox

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

My #1 tip is to plan before you start. Have a goal and an idea of how you are going to get there.

Think “outside-of-the-box” with Lewis and learn what’s working in SEO and Internet Marketing at Cloud Income.
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Matthew Woodward from

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

I swear by system which uses Evernote.  It is 100% free to use and takes less than 10 minutes to setup.  Once you have done that you can have access to your GTD system across your laptop, desktop, tablet & mobile and everything syncs perfectly.  Then you can combine the system with IFTTT to be super efficient!

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

Managing your projects effectively is important, it will help you save time, money and get more things done in less time.  Once you have a GTD system setup like TheSecretWeapon make sure you spend time actually reviewing & managing the various tasks you have.  I review my tasks weekly and then create a list of what I want to achieve that week.  With that in hand I can then plan out each day of the week with very little downtime.

Follow Matthew’s award winning blog at and learn internet marketing over the shoulder of an established expert.
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Josh Escusa from Form Your FutureJosh-formyourfuture

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

Currently I’ve been using Google drive to manage many of my tasks. Specifically I’ve been making good use of the spreadsheets. Since I have a decent level of excel skills, I’m able to customize the spreadsheets to my liking. Google also allows me to give my virtual assistants access to the sheets so that we can all work in harmony.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

My best tip for managing projects would be to document, document, and document. Anytime you figure out a new way of doing something, document it. By building an organized list of “how to’s” you can reference it in the future and you can give it to a virtual assistant to take some work off your plate.

Track Josh’s progress as he continues to grow his business at Form Your Future and download his free ebook.
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Dave Schneider from Self Made Businessman

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?dave-selfmadebusinessman

For my mastermind groups I use Trello. For my projects I use Evernote. For my immediate to do list, I just use a post-it note that stays on my screen. Some people may laugh at the latter but I find it works great unless you’re crazy overloaded.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

If you can do it in two minutes or less, do it, don’t file it away – it will take more effort. Keep the important stuff you need to do out of your head and onto some list that you can access easily. I never feel overwhelmed by my to do list as long as it is not taking mental space.

Read more about Dave and how he redesigned his life at Self Made Businessman and download his free advanced blogging mini-course.
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Nick Loper from Side Hustle Nation

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

I primarily use a pad and paper and Google Docs.

For example, with my latest book project, I just made a checklist in Google Docs of everything that needed to be done pre-launch, and worked my way down the list. My VA had access to the same list and would work on the areas I asked her to.

For giving instructions, I record a lot of screen-capture videos with Screencastomatic and share via Private or Unlisted YouTube videos, and we communicate via Skype or Google Hangouts.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

Since I have several projects in the works at any given time, the real key for me is to have an organizational system that fits the needs of each project. It doesn’t have to be overly complex or high-tech; in fact in most cases the pad and paper outline is sufficient because it gives me a clear picture of the steps I need to get done before completion.

Read more about Nick at Side Hustle Nation and download his free report, “The Five Fastest Ways to Make More Money.”
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Reggie Paquette from

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

The one thing that has helped me manage my niche sites and clients effectively is Basecamp. It’s inexpensive, nice to look at and easy to use. Without it, I wouldn’t know what needs to be done when or if I missed any key activities or deliverables for the month.

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

My number one tip though is hiring a VA, if you haven’t already. I get burned out very easily doing the same things over and over, which often leads me to not getting some important tasks done. My VA works with me on Basecamp and I’ve given them a detailed SOP for every task they do, which it makes it really easy to integrate them in the flow of my business.

Learn more about Reggie’s case studies and get marketing strategies to grow your business at
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Jon Haver from Authority Website Income

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

I use a system of Google Documents which include a project control document and then it references other specific standard operating documents. I have dabbled in other tools and systems including Primevera at my day job (MS Project on steroids) but for my online business it is far easier to say nimble with everyone in my team with a well built task list in a Google Document.

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

The tools can be great but it all comes down to covering the basics….who is doing what by when. Any system/tool can work and any system/tool can fail if it doesn’t cover the fundamentals. Whatever tool is being used as long as people involved in the project can clearly see the overall objective of the project and then a list of who is doing what by when the project owners job is 90% complete.

Visit Authority Website Income to follow Jon’s progress and download his free Ultimate Expired Domain Guide.
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Steve Rendell from Tex Fly

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

I’m not a big user of project management tools, but in the past I have used Basecamp from the guys at 37signals for a software project that I ran.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

To effectively manage the project, quoting an old cliche “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” it rings very true. To effectively manage your project, you need a clear plan of milestones and dates when these are going to be completed. This not only gives you targets to aim for, but it allows you to see up front which parts of the project can be done in parallel. The more time (up to a point) that you invest in the beginning of the project, making sure the targets are clearly defined and realistic, the higher the chance of a successful project.

That said, no matter how much planning you put up front, there is usually unexpected problems that crop up, so there needs to be slippage, or contingency built into your plan somewhere along the line.

Visit Tex Fly for tutorials, “5 minute guides,” and keyword research packages to help you build successful websites.
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Larry Dean from Side Income Blogging

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

While not project management or task management specific software.  I use Evernote to keep track of all project related work and tasks including tasks performed by others.  Simple, easy and gets the job done.  If I need to project out dates based on duration, I’ll use a spreadsheet, then put the spreadsheet along with the calculated dates back into EverNote.

Now, with that said, I don’t have any really complicated projects with lots of resources.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

Keep it simple.  I’ve used a number of tools over the years, and while tools can be nice, they tend to over complicate things and sometimes even make the management overhead larger than it should be.

Receive the free ebook “Be a Better Blogger” when you sign up for Larry’s newsletter at Side Income Blogging.
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Tung Tran from Cloud Living

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

I’m currently using 2 tools:

Google Spreadsheet: For overall project management. I tried Asana before but it was way more complicated for me. You create a task list pretty easily with pre-made templates using Vertex42 Template Gallery add-on.

Trello: For to-do list management. Check out this article.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

That’d be breaking down a project into small actionable steps, then follow them.

Read more about how to build an amazon affiliate website and turn it into a thriving online business from Tung at Cloud Living.
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Jason from Real Online Income Reports

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

I keep it simple with Google Docs and Google Sheets. Both are free and built for online collaboration.

For every task to complete, write a detailed set of instructions in Google Docs for a VA. If your VAs don’t understand a task or have questions, edit and improve your Google Doc to address the parts that need clarification.

To set clear expectations with each VA, I use a simple, four-column Google Sheet with:

  • Task
  • Task Instructions(link to your Google Doc!)
  • Due Date
  • Completion Status (marked either Complete or left blank)

After completing a task, your VA just needs to mark off “Complete” in the last column. You’ll always know what’s been done and what’s still in progress.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

My biggest problem is that I never get to cross off everything on my own, personal To-Do list. Some tasks would stay incomplete on my list for weeks!

To overcome this, I made a simple rule- if an important task hasn’t been crossed off the To-Do list after one week, I outsource it. Otherwise, it will never get done!

Subscribe to Jason’s email at Real Online Income Reports to follow his progress towards his goal of earning $7000/month online.
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Adam Roseland from Niche Site U

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

Can I say “all of the above”? 🙂  Actually, I use a couple different things.  Feel free to edit as you see fit:

For my businesses, I use Asana for working with my VA’s. This is a nice tool that anyone can work with.  It helps when you are a little bit more detail oriented, but can help anyone in my opinion.  Another tool I use is Basecamp. I use this tool more directly with my business partner and is part of a Hubspot package we use.

On the personal side of things, I tend to use a hybrid of excel spreadsheets, my google calendar and reminders app on my ipad.  My life basically runs on my google calendar, which syncs up my work calendar, my biz partners calendar, my family calendar, etc.  I often just set up 30 minute appointments on the calendar when I need to handle simple tasks like “Call Prospect X”, or “Run SEO Report for Client Y”.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

I think the most important thing you can do to manage projects effectively is find a tool that works best for “you”!!  There are a ton of tools out there, and I use a bunch of them… but at the end of the day, if you feel like it is a chore to manage your projects, you just won’t do it.  I run my google calendar like a to-do list and it works very well for me.  It doesn’t allow me to share docs or anything cool like some of the other tools I mentioned before, but it works well for “me”… and so it has become part of my daily life.  I keep a calendar tab open at all times… because I find it to be a very easy way to manage my day/projects/tasks.  Find a tool that works best with how you want to work… and that way you will actually use the tool.  That is the most important first step!!

Visit Niche Site U, where the goal is to provide a simple and easy to follow user guide about how to build niche sites from scratch with very little cost, and to make passive income from those sites.

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Derek Bingham from The Passive Podcastderek-the-passive-podcast

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

By far, it is Evernote. There is a web based and Mac based version depending on what system you use. However, it is so easy to organize my notes and notebooks, along with content. Some of the great features are the unlimited amount of notebooks that you can make, stacking of the notebooks that can be grouped under one category, as well as the tags that are so valuable to organizing.

When you are running several projects and your notes continue to grow this is the software for you. It helps keep me and my opportunities in order and all in one spot. By using the search feature to my advantage it allows me to search through thousands of notes to find exactly what I was seeking in the first place. Once I find the particular notes I was looking for, I can share it! Share it with colleagues, friends, and business partners quick and easy.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

Most definitely it would be staying positive. Having a positive attitude towards life, self, and work makes all the difference in the world. There are a few things that I do in order to make sure I start off on the right foot in the morning and stay there throughout the day no matter how busy some of my projects make me.

Eat a good breakfast; after all it is the most important meal of the day. I make it a point to talk to my colleagues; open dialogue is good for the mind. Tricking myself into thinking I am happier than I am, this is easier than you may think. Just smile, even when you don’t feel like it. I take mental breaks, to break up the monotony of the day. Believe it or not, staying hydrated is important. Did you know that taking small sips of water throughout the day about 20-30 apart will actually help revive your brain cells!

Allow Derek to help you “Discover Your Inner Genius & Change your Life” by following him at The Passive Podcast.
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Dan Thompson from Domain ColosseumHeadshot Dan

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

I still live in the stone age. I was using Trello, however i’ve recently reverted back to google docs. This has been my experience – if you’re just working on a project with one other person a complicated system isn’t necessarily required and in fact I found it slows me down.

My “team” is slowly growing I know have a VA that gives me 5-10hrs a week and we recently hired a gal to write 6-8 articles a month for us. I really admire Jon Haver’s systems and the way he manages his team and as my team grows I know I’ll have to put better systems in place.

 What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

My #1 tip for managing any SEO project is keep track of all of your links and anchor text in a spreadsheet. It’s a pain but when you’re trying to compare why this site is ranking and this one isn’t it usually comes down to links and anchor text.

Sign up for a membership at Domain Colosseum and see the high quality, high authority domains that Dan’s service provides to help you rank your sites.
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Goran Gligorin from Niche Cove

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

As far as my productivity management goes, I’m still experimenting a lot, so my answer will reflect what I’m currently doing.

I’ve just started using a to-do app called Todoist. It’s a simple app that kind of looks like the Gmail inbox. The way I use is to put everything I have to do in it as soon as I think of it. This isn’t just my business task, but everything from that daily workout to articles I have to read. What I end up with is a flat list of things I have to do, read, watch or simply dedicate a few minutes to. The most important thing, though, is that I don’t have to keep these tasks in my mind. This lets me focus my undivided attention to the thing I have to do next.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

This also brings me to my #1 tip (at the moment): Focus on as few things at once as possible, preferably one. This applies to any level of detail you choose. As few businesses at a time, as few projects, tasks, even articles you’re reading. Don’t read 3 articles at a time, read them one after another. Do the same with projects. When you take one up, focus on it and finish it. Then focus on the next one.

This is my current way of doing things. I’ve been using it for about 2 weeks now, but it’s working nicely so far. Todoist is a good tool for this, as it’s app is available on a lot of platforms, from Android an iOS, to Web, and even a dedicated Windows and Mac OS apps. That means I can enter a task I want to do as soon as I come up with it, before the thought of remembering it take my focus away from what I’m doing at the moment. I’d also like to mention its Chrome extension, which lets me add a website I’m currently on directly to my todo list.

Visit Niche Cove to track Goran’s progress and maybe learn a thing or two about Slovenia in the process.
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Matt Allen from Dumb Passive Income

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

I use Google Drive to manage almost everything I do online. I create a separate folder for each project or website. Within that folder I usually create a main spreadsheet which includes several tabs for different aspects of each project or website. I give my writers and VA’s access to respective folders, spreadsheets or documents that are pertinent to what they are working on for me. The easy share-ability of everything on Google Drive and the internal search function are what makes it my #1 resource for managing my different projects and tasks.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

Since many of my projects these days involve managing a team of writers and virtual assistants – I’ll give my number one tip for that aspect of what I do. I start a brand new email thread every single Monday morning for each freelancer that will be working for me during that week. The subject line reads “Assignments for week beginning MM/DD/YEAR.” I send them the tasks that I would like them to work on for the week in the first email and all communication for the rest of that week is done via replies within that email thread. This makes it easy to track and keep track of who is doing what and also makes it easy to find past communications if need be.

Follow Matt’s blog about simplifying ways to create passive income at Dumb Passive Income.
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Quinn Askeland from Cubicle Free

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

Getting off the ground is the critical part for anyone doing something meaningful online. To achieve this I use spreadsheets that enable me to see the most important things that need to happen next.

I use your spreadsheet for an Amazon site I am building. I have found your spreadsheet works really well to keep on track and moving forward. Thanks for your contribution in this – I know for sure there are others you are helping as well.

For more complex projects, I use my own simplified version for sites where the initial phases of growth are less well defined. I find this is the best way to accommodate my way of making good things happen online mostly because I am not an excel guru by any stretch.

Apart from this, I think Trello is the most powerful tool I use daily for managing my team.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

Progressively build a killer team of awesome virtual assistants around you and get them onto Trello so you can manage their weekly contributions to the needs you are trying to solve online.

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Cesar Zabala from Domain Peeldomainpeel

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

I have been using MS Excel to keep tabs on all my niche sites and login info.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

Avoiding distractions, and keeping with a set schedule seems to work the best for me. I also use a this paid tool called “Window Blocker” (from clevergizmo), this tool really cuts down on the procrastination and reminds me when to move on to the next project.

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Evgeniy Garkaviy – Internet Marketer –

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

  1. Google Spreadsheets. previously I was using Microsoft Word but Google Spreadsheets is more useful and became one of the most important online tools for me. Why? Because it is very easy to edit not ready file for me and for my partner. We do not need to save updated document and each time send it to each other. Everything is easy and much faster.
  2. Time Doctor. It is time tracking software that is very popular worldwide. I’m not using this very much at the moment but some time ago it was a very necessary tool for me. My Ukrainian friends even created their own version of this tool:
  3. Trello. I’m currently using it to monitor what tasks have been already done and what are not finished yet. Previously I was using Basecamp project management but it does not have the option to add deadlines and task priority. So Trello is better for me.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

For me it is important to concentrate on the most important tasks at first and do not be distracted by other less important tasks. So every morning I’m starting my working day with a prioritization. Once one task is complete – I can review my Gmail to see what new messages I received. Then I can go on to the next high priority task.
So effective planning is playing a big role in my working life. Trello allows me to spread my daily tasks by priority:

  • High level of priority receives red label
  • Medium level of priority – yellow label
  • Low level of priority – blue label

So once I was not able to finish everything I planned on a particular day, next morning I can easily see what need to be done immediately and what can wait.

Follow Evgeniy’s progress at

Dominic Wells from Human Proof Designs

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

I use Trello for large projects, particularly ones that involve other people. The fact that you can create different boards such as “To Do” and “Completed” then write notes on those boards and drag the notes between them is really useful. You can also assign different people to different tasks and boards, then get notified when somebody has updated something. All of this is for free as well.

I’ll sometimes supplement Trello with Google Drive. It really depends who I’m working with.

When it comes to small individual tasks or to-do lists, I’m kind of “old skool” and will use a whiteboard next to my desk, a piece of paper, or a note app on my phone. I’m always writing bullet-pointed lists out. There’s nothing more satisfying than putting a line through a task when it’s completed.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

Break down projects into as many tasks as possible, figure out how long each one will take (this takes a bit of experience), and what you’ll need to do for them. You also need to have a good understanding of how you work. Sometimes the next thing on my list might be something that I know will take an hour of intense focus, and I’m feeling distracted or I need to head out in 30 minutes.

In those situations, I really benefit from having all these small things I need to do written down and listed out; I can just pick a smaller one up and roll with it, so the project keeps moving bit by bit.

I think everybody works differently and there are dozens of different theories going round about the best way to work, but it really comes down to knowing yourself and your style..and planning around that.

Learn how Human Proof Designs simplifies the process of starting your online business by visiting Dominic’s website and following the blog.
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Tom Martin from FAQ TUBE

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

For me Evernote is absolutely essential. I can house a number of different projects in separate notebooks and have a master list to keep track of my most important priorities. I have it synced between my Mac, my iPhone and iPad so I can get at my projects and to-do lists wherever I am and even on the rare occasions that I don’t have those devices with me I can access them from the web interface. Also the free account works seamlessly and I still haven’t had the need to upgrade in the few years I’ve used it.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

My number 1 project management tip is to make sure you are held accountable because as is if by magic tasks seem to get complete. I have a mentor who holds me accountable to bigger picture plans but for everyday tasks (mainly content creation) I have a posting schedule that I stick to religiously. For example, I have a weekly newsletter that I write myself that goes out at the same time every Friday and it has gone out on time every week since I started it 20 weeks ago.

Achieve better YouTube results by following the insights and advice from Tom at FAQ Tube.
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Jeff Fruhwirth from Online Side Income

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

The task management system that I use is a combination of Asana for tasks, and google drive to manage other things, like keywords for posts and post titles. I have found that of everything that I’ve tried, the free version of asana works best for me and helps my workflow the most. There are so many features, and sharing the tasks cuts down on the email between me and my writers

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

My number one tip is to track everything, every time. Get process control documents set up so that you can track inbound links you’ve built, and so that you can track who is writing posts for you, about what and how much. The more data you can get about processes when you’re making a site, the easier it will be for you to replicate that process – and then step away from it slowly and move on to higher leverage work.

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Neale Goldingay from Living In Thailand

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

Excel: I use excel in pretty much everything it is my go to program for anything I need some type of organization.

Smart Phone: for reminders and the egg timer functions to keep me focused for short periods.

Whiteboard: This normally gets some use.

Chrome Extensions:

Momentum – Replaces home page with a to do list and other motivating titbits.

StrictWorkFlow – Kinda like the egg timer Enforces a 25min/5min workflow: 25 minutes of distraction-free work, followed by 5 minutes of break.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

Give yourself deadlines.  Applies to everything from the smallest part of the project to the whole. Works on the principle that 90% perfect is ok.  Or the theory that if you set a deadline for a task say 4 hrs the result will be nearly as good as doing the same task in 2 days. Read this somewhere a few years back and adopted it as it applied to me.

Visit Living in Thailand and see how you can live on a budget of under $500 per month.
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Dave Nicosia from

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

My two main tools for project management are Google Drive, and Dropbox. I use Google drive to organize all of my projects into folders. Anything related to a specific project goes in the project folder. Then I can quickly access any of the information from anywhere I have an internet connection, and from my desktop, laptop, and phone where I have Google Drive installed. I then share a folder within my main project folder with anybody who is working on the project with me with ease. I use Dropbox to host / share my files, and I have my Dropbox organized by project folders with matching names to my Google Drive project folders.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

My #1 tip for effectively managing my projects is to stay highly organized right from the beginning. This will save time down the road, especially when your project grows large.

Get updates on Dave’s progress becoming location independent and his creation of online income streams at
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Scott Masse from Niche Addiction$

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

I would say the software  that Mike and I use to manage our projects is Trello which allows us to categorize to do lists and move tasks to completed or pending stages.  It is also something we can log into  as a team and amend together.  The beauty for us is that it is intuitive and best of all free!

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

The best tip I have for managing a project is to develop a daily action plan that isn’t more than you can bite off.  As niche site builders we often have other priorities to keep the lights on and can go days or weeks without doing what we need to do for our sites.   Therefore, if you set very skinny daily goals, such as do 5 blog comments, write one 500+ word article —-you feel as though you are constantly moving forward which keeps you motivated!

Learn how to navigate the often chopping waters of Internet marketing by following Scott at Niche Addiction$.
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Raweewan M From

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?


I’m using Evernote for a note-taking tool and project-tracking tool, which helped me to remember everything involved my online projects. I can create tons of notes and notebooks for multiple projects. The best thing about Evernote is I can quickly search all notes that related to each project, for example, keeping track about niche site #1, niche site #2 and ideas of my next book. My life is less complicated since I can reach all notes via PC, notebook and mobile phone through iOS app.


I’m keeping everything on the cloud through Dropbox, for example manuscript of Kindle ebooks, keyword research files, WordPresss-plugins, backup files of blog and website and everything that I need for an online business. Sometime I’m working with my VA and outsourcers, So I share files with Dropbox share folder, which only invited person can access these files.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

My #1 tip for managing my projects is having FUN with it.  Actually, I just wrote the latest blog post about this topic on my blog. Check out this post for more detail:

Read more at about how to turn your blog into a successful online business.
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Quinton Hamp from Lost Cyclist

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use? 

I’m fairly new to using VA’s, so I’ve been trying different systems (mostly excel sheets and google docs). Two weeks ago I found and it has made it a lot easier.  I really like the way it lets you organize the steps and incorporate video and screenshots.  It also seems pretty intuitive from the VA’s end. It seems like I’m getting a lot more value out of my assistants since I started using it.

I spent last week pulling the head on the car (not a fun task!).  Because I have started putting all of my important systems on Sweet Process I was able to send a quick email to a friend and let them keep some of the most time-sensitive aspects moving forward while I took care of my little emergency.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

Deadlines.  I know it seems simplistic, but when I first started with VA’s, I didn’t set deadlines and it has really held me back (and cost extra money).  Now I tell the VA’s exactly when I need the projects done by (“have this back to me by July 15th”, or “this task should take 4 hours”).  It has helped me control costs and we’re starting to finally get these sites built in a reasonable timeframe.

Follow Quinton’s progress and income reports pedaling the road less traveled at Lost Cyclist.
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Suresh Palanichamy from Passive Income Scholar

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

I use excel sheet alone for my project management. Even though, I’m familiar with PM softwares like MS Project etc., I always feel comfort with Excel which has lot of ease to use functions. I can’t think a project without MS Excel.

What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

My #1 tip would be Plan the actual project and breakdown all the subtasks of main tasks. Because, if you lack or feel lazy in this step your project won’t move forward and will get stalled. Also the communication with stakeholders are also the important one which actually produce the quality of your project.

Bruno L – niche site builder

What project management (or task management) tools or software do you use?

I tried some task management apps, and some of them –  like Wunderlist – worked really well for a short period of time. The problem with them is that requires a lot of effort to fill all the details if you want a good segmentation, so I keep coming back to the paper or keep losing time trying to find some other app or software to help me.

So I decided to keep it simple.

Currently I use mainly Google Drive and Google Docs to do the project management of my niche sites.

I really like to create spreadsheets to track my progress and I use it very much at the keyword search process and at the income track. All the other task and project management I do at a document, separating it by topics. If I need, I print and do some notations by hand. Periodically I transcribe this notations at computer and print the new version again.

 What is your #1 tip for effectively managing your projects?

Keep it simple in a way that its not a pain to maintain it updated. Otherwise, you will lose control anyway. If note the tasks in toilet papers works for you, then it is the correct way.


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37 comments… add one
  • Dave Starr

    Really useful article, Doug and wow, the work that went into this. I’m going to learn a lot from many entrepreneurs you have highlighted here whom I’ve never seen before. Thanks

    Here’s a freebie idea that forms a close partnership with PM software.

    I notice many of the contributors here use the great product “Trello” from my good friends at FogCreek Software. Folks with partners and VA teams should look closely at another FogCreek product called CoPilot

    Training forms an important pillar of any PM effort and with CoPilot the trainer can jump on the trainee’s machine with one click and “show” as s/he “tells” or solve little problems in seconds, rather than in days of back and forth emails.

    Since CoPilot’s price can be as little as “free” on (weekends) I highly recommend it. … “It’s the next best thing to being there” 😉

    Keep on managing, everyone!

    • Hey Dave, thanks for the comment! I haven’t heard of CoPilot but seems like a good suggestion.

      I have been using screen capture software to record short videos for VAs that I work with. It’s working pretty well so far.

      • Dave Starr

        yes, for sure well made videos are a great backbone to training, but when the VA watches the video and does step a and then step b and gets to step z instead of step c., s/he is lost and frustrated … with a good remote log on software you can see the user’s screen and probably solve the dilemma in seconds.

        In my last “click and mortar” business I used to sell a third-party custom software as part of the sale and everyone told me selling it from my website it would be a problem because the customers would forever have a problem getting it installed right.

        My tactic was to ship the software on a CD-Rom and have them call me for installation, I only needed them to be the pair of hands that put the CD into their drive .I’d have it installed in just a few minutes, custom configure it to their particular business. and then walk them through how to use it.

        It’s also a great tool for anyone helping their VA or a friend/relative get going on-line when they are stuck and needing help. Keeps them happy and you more productive.
        Be well

  • This was a great read Doug, some really useful tips. I liked Perrin’s anti-project management tools stance as well, it provided a pretty nice alternative opinion.

    Thanks for including me, I’m in some very good company here!

  • This is some really great stuff here doug. I am kind of shocked at how many people keep it super simple with google drive. I thought asana was keeping it simple!

    • I was surprised too, Jeff. I do like Asana for getting the projects with bigger teams out of emails which is a default way to communicate. Thanks for contributing.

  • Wow, awesome round-up! Interesting to see how everyone manages their workload and seeing what cool new tools I need to test out. Thanks for including me, will be sure to share around!

  • Way to go Doug! Such a great panel giving really AMAZING
    & actionable tips! I am honored to be part of the action. I think
    everyone gave really valuable content that I am sure will benefit us
    all. Well done sir!

  • Very nice job on the round up post Doug! This is by far one of the biggest round ups I’ve seen that is put together well and actually has useful information from each and every contributor. Only a project management pro such as yourself could pull this off with 35 different entrepreneurs.

    Perrin’s piece stood out to me because of how he went against the grain. Wish I would have thought of that! haha

    It was quite interesting to see how everybody works in such differently similar fashions when it comes to managing their online projects. Thanks for putting it together and thanks for including me.

    • Thanks a bunch, Matt. It was an undertaking to get the info together. I have to give a shout out to Dave selfmadebm for guiding the process.

      Anyone can do it if you follow Dave’s lead to Write a Killer Round Up Post.

      Perrin has some excellent points. Smart dude.

  • Great roundup Doug. Fantastic line up of people who I really respect. Not sure why I’d be included in such great company but appreciated all the same.

  • Great post Doug, really interesting to read. You know, I use Google Drive (Spreadsheets and Docs) all the time by myself and collaboratively – and it didn’t even cross my mind to list it as a project management tool!!!

    • Hey Steve, There you go…another vote for Google Drive. 🙂

      I really think for small teams the simple solutions are best. Thanks for adding your voice to the post!

  • Great roundup post Doug! Thanks a million for including me. I didn’t mention it because I don’t use it for my own business, but I also use Trello at my day job.

    It would be total overkill for me at the moment in my own business, but it helps our team of 6 manage projects very easily. It does take some time to use and update, but it saves us even more time in the end when you have 6 people working on a project.

    Great work on this post!

    • Dave – Thanks for helping out.

      I hear that…I tried to use Asana for a couple of very small projects but the overhead wasn’t worth the value it was adding for that particular project. So I see your point with Trello being too much.

      Thanks again!

  • Adam

    excellent post! Thanks for including me in the roundup!

  • Great Post Doug! Thanks for including me. I also find it interesting to see how we are all different but similar. I forgot to add music, don’t do good without it.

  • Larry Deane

    What a great resource of tools, tips and information. Thanks for including me, and honored to be included with all of these folks.

  • CesarZ

    Hey Doug. Great post. It’s great to hear from other entrepreneurs on what works best for them. Looking to try some of these out. Thanks again for adding me as part of this group.

  • cant wait to read this one for later!

  • Reading this post was a mammoth task….but worth it.

    Breaking large project in small tasks and finishing them is key….almost all of them agreed over this.

  • Great article… good to know and leverage on what others are doing to keep track and maintain their projects.

    I have used a lot of free online task project managers and used Trello and it was okay for awhile, but later I got more lost with its (Trello) interface…as more projects or tasks can easily get confusing and a challenge to keep track of.

    Right now, I am using (free) for tracking daily and weekly/monthly main goals and I’ve been using it for about seven months now daily – love it! I guess it is how you use a tool that makes the difference and when you find it, it really makes a big difference. And Checkvist has been right and perfect for me so far. My productivity improved greatly since I started using it. I also use (free and has cheap upgrades) for individual projects and it supports my Checkvist main list.

    Being able to track and update your progress is important and crucial for meeting your goals and moving forward successfully.

    And being accountable to your tasks/to do list, just gives that extra push for you to get things done. I wanted to be accountable so I created my own group of accountability/productivity FB group and this I find has also helped me a lot in keeping me on track and moving forward.

  • Great compilation and useful resources. It seems Trello, Asana, Evernote are popular choices for managing tasks and notes.

    For startups grown in size, and have bit of complex projects to manage in terms of duration, phases, resources, stakeholders: they may find limited with pure email, spreadsheet sort of collaboration and project management.

    Say the business owner or manager has schedule to create as Gantt chart, track time, manage expenses, budget, assign resources across projects, share documents, track tickets, share documents & schedule with clients, etc. How do you look at these?

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