Freelance project management can get a person lost in the sea of email correspondence from time to time. I’ve tried several time tracking applications and various sorts of free productivity tools for keeping things in order. The drawback of taking this route is that you are running several apps to get the job done. I’m sharing something that I started out with as a starting point for data management with client projects.
If you are new to this please don’t be intimidated. I’m an artsy fartsy gal, who used to be in the “dumb blonde” category. If I can get this you can too! So before I get started with this I’m going to share a link with you, an online friend who shares a love for spreadsheets and organizes her blog posts this way.
The Organized Writer
I was so geeked to meet another chick online who’s into organizing information. If I don’t make your eyes glaze over with this post, I’ll post another tutorial using zoho docs.
Managing Client & Personal Data
Have you ever needed to look up client or personal login information and found yourself digging through emails and text documents?
My partner is a Visual Basic for Applications and .Net programmer. He sometimes shakes his head with my methodology for keeping my information straight. A problem for us is that we spend so much time working on client projects, we haven’t fully developed our own in house business software.
So in a nutshell part of what we do is in addition to web design/development is manage data for people. For our own system we have one big Microsoft Access database that has about 2400 records for clients and login information. Because there are so many records in this database, it would be pretty difficult to load it as a google doc. I’ve tried but it lags a little bit because there is so much data in there. This template will work fine for a starting point if you are a beginner to this.
I’ve sort of outgrown the spreadsheet, but still find it useful for time tracking and keeping a data record set specifically for clients who don’t have database applications.
It may be a great starting point if you have not yet begun to organize your personal and/or client data.
The cool thing about working with data is that you can import it and export it into different applications to perform various functions. A simple task would be to filter a record set by “category” in Microsoft Access. You could then export those filtered records into a spreadsheet.
Say I have 20 records for “John Smith” and I want to see all of the information related to “John Smith”.
A Scenario – Finding it FAST:
I want all of his login information so I can send him the current data he needs. He needs his twitter login, his hosting control panel login, the logins for all of his employees pop email accounts, etc. I would filter the category column and it would pull up only the records in which I’ve entered “John Smith” in the category field.
I could then select all of those records and paste them into the tab in the spreadsheet called “Keys” and bam, here’s all of John Smith’s data. I could paste it into Excel or OO Calc, but honestly I prefer the auto formatting in google docs.
Sharing & Collaboration
I can then share that document with “John Smith” if he has a gmail account. I can talk with him on the phone and select a cell in the spreadsheet and he will see right where I’m at in the document because google will highlight the spot I’m at in the spreadsheet. Also, two people can edit the document at the same time, so it’s great for collaboration. If “John Smith” has someone on staff taking care of his social media marketing, I can collaborate with this employee through a shared google doc.
The above spreadsheet tab displays a time sheet. When you type the time you started in the IN field and the time you stopped in the OUT field (with AM and PM), it will automatically calculate how many hours and minutes you’ve worked and leave a total at the bottom for the week (or time frame if you remove the days).
Just a FYI, I ran Linux as my main operating system for a few years. Back then I was using Open Office Base for my personal database. My partner was running windows and we just had separate data because I was stubborn and fanatical about using open source software. Base is a great app but definitely not MSAccess. I can’t copy and paste selected filter/sort rows into excel or Open Office Calc from OO Base. One can however, export a database and import that data into these spreadsheet applications.
Here’s the logins tab. You can use your tab key to navigate around in the cells or just click on them. If you click on a cell that has a hyperlink though, it will take you to that link. Using the tab and arrow keys on your keyboard is very effective. I typically just put the url in the service column, like say twitter.com/username
I also have other tabs in this sheet for various data/information that is required when working on a project. Some of the fields may be out of date, such as category ID and page order information (used in wordpress before WP 3.0 Custom menus). From time to time I still need to order the pages by number so I keep it in there.
So once you click on the link, just copy the spreadsheet to your google docs or download it to your computer. I hope you find this useful!