HOW TO: Organize Your Client Projects into Manageable Task Lists

Three words: Project Task List! If you are anything like me, you typically accept more than you should, have more going on in your life than just clients, and end up having to bounce back and forth between projects to make progress on all of your concurrent jobs simultaneously. Here is the strategy I developed over the last few weeks to keep myself productive and keep my clients happy:


It may sound like common sense to some, but to many businesswomen/men the little details get lost in the grand scheme of things. When was the last time you talked to Client #3? What was your conversation? What was that change that Client #7 wanted to make? Who was it that asked for me to return a phone call today? What price did I quote Client #4 for the additions she requested? When you have several projects going, several phone calls/emails coming in daily, and several “lines of communication” open at once, no matter how good you are at multitasking, you’re going to forget something! You will do yourself a HUGE favor by logging it all in ONE place that gives you easy access to all those little details any time you need them.


I have 5-subject notebook that is dedicated solely to work. I do love to keep track of things digitally and accessible by my computer and smartphone but I also prefer to keep my information written in a book so that I am able to jot more detailed notes immediately and organize them more efficiently. No matter how much technology improves, I’ll always believe that paper is KING ;) Why? Because I’ve had one too many overwrite, sync, and deletion mishaps to trust a digital version as my only source of information.

I do keep a very condensed version of my project tasks in GTasks, which is an app based on Google Tasks that I have added to my Android smartphone, my iPad2, and my web browser on all of my computers and syncs across all platforms. In addition, a simplified version can be accessed in my Google Apps email account. The items in GTasks are very basic and include my client’s name and the most broad task descriptions that need to be processed on each particular project. They are hierarchical and have a check box to click when a task has been completed. This is mainly for me to keep track of the main events, and to keep my clients in order according to priority which isn’t always possible in my notebook since I can’t move pages around to accommodate changes.

Here is a snapshot at the organization of my log book:

  • The first subject of the notebook is strictly for correspondence logging. If I send or receive an email or phone call from a current, former, or potential client I write it in there. I write the date, time, and take notes that will remind me about the high points of the conversation. If I quoted them a verbal price, I notate that beside the record. I also have notes I put out to the right side of the line, such as “follow up” or deadline information for certain things.
  • The second subject of the notebook is my actual work log. I make a note of when I start and stop and what exactly I’m working on as well as how much of it I completed during that time span. This helps me to get a better feel for how much I’m actually getting paid in respect to the work I’m doing (I then transcribe this information into my Freshbooks timesheet and apply it to the project there to keep a permanent record). Without knowing exactly what resources I’m putting into my business, there is no way to be able to gauge what I’m getting out of it, so periodically reassessing my pricing structure based on this continuously compiled data helps to ensure I’m always turning a profit and getting paid what I’m worth for the work I perform. It’s very important to know how long certain tasks take to carry out, especially since time slips away from me most of the time. and both have great time-tracking tools integrated into their services, and both provide a free option. {Neither of those links are affiliates — I’m simply sharing intuitive functionality I’ve found that works for me.}
  • The remaining three subjects of the notebook are for client project tasks lists. I allot two full front-and-back pages for EACH project. I write down their preferences at the top, any applicable login credentials and contact information, and notes that include details like the HEX codes for their color scheme, font families used in the graphics and/or text styles, and other pertinent information. Next, I make a list of EVERYTHING that needs to be done to complete the project. I check each item off the list as I finish them. Last, I have room for notes about processes I have run (such as import tools, installations, custom modifications, etc) and various other information that needs to be recorded along the way. This is all valuable information to refer to when my client wants an update on our progress.

Operating this way allows me to quickly see where I left off of a project and thus I am able to know immediately where to pick up when I come back to it. Keeping track of things this way means I won’t forget to do something. Because I’m typically working on several projects at once, I’m always double and triple checking to make sure I haven’t missed something; it’s easy to omit an element or skip a step when you’re working on similar projects if you aren’t closely keeping up with which task was performed for which project… I don’t worry about that anymore because if it is not checked off the list, it is still pending. If it is checked off, it’s no longer a worry of mine :) Plus, marking an item with a “check” gives me an unparalleled sense of accomplishment LOL!

What are YOUR productivity tricks? How do you keep yourself in check when you are your own boss? Share your tips in the comment section below!

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