Get organized and reduce stress, part 2: ClickUp
This is a five-part series on apps that will help you get organized and reduce stress. In part 1, I focused on Airtable. In part 2, I’ll focus on ClickUp. As a reminder, click any images in this article for a closer look.
ClickUp changed my world when I started using it a couple of years ago. I had been using a product called ActiveCollab, and I really didn’t think anything would convince me to leave that until I met ClickUp.
To begin showing you how I use this every day, I would need to write a whole course, which I am actually doing in a series right now as I write this. Depending on how soon you see this, you can either get in on the live sessions or sign up to get the recordings by clicking here. The course focuses on accountants and bookkeepers, but I am sure that anyone running any kind of business can benefit from this by looking at the concepts and adapting your own version of the same things I am doing here.
If you haven’t read David Allen’s “Getting Things Done,” go get that book. But, don’t just read it … study it. Take notes and start applying what you learn in a process and workflow that works for you, based on what David Allen teaches.
The Everything board
This is my adaptation of what I’ve learned from David Allen. The key is that this reduces stress by reducing and clarifying my options in terms of how I capture, clarify, organize, and process information, especially in terms of things I need to get done.
While you can, and should, set up “spaces, folders, lists, tasks, and subtasks” to manage your projects, you also need a “big picture” look at what needs to be done and when. This represents a place where you don’t necessarily have all of the details (that goes into the projects themselves), but you do track when you will work on that project, along with the general things that need to get done.
For this, you need a list in a space for your business at large, not where you keep your client info. Then, set up custom statuses for your list, as follows:
- This Week
- Next Week
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, just watch the video.
Once you have things set up, the first thing you will want to know is how to take the information in the many forms people throw at you and get it into ClickUp, quickly and easily – and in a place where you won’t forget it.
ClickUp has a GREAT mobile app. This means that even when you’re waiting for a haircut and you get a fleeting thought, you can easily add it to your Everything board as something New/Uncategorized. This way, you’ve captured it. And, as long as you make it a point to review this several times a day, you know you have it in a place where you won’t miss it. Then, later, you can clarify it, organize it, and process it, as needed. This reduces stress, and that is the name of the game here.
This is a good use case for ClickUp. Look at the task I have for this very piece → click here.
Remember, you can click the image for a closer look at what I have here. The screenshot shows you the state of the task, based on where it’s at as I am writing this. The Airtable piece is done, and now I am working on ClickUp. I chose to set up a little checklist in the description of tasks. I could have added an actual checklist, or I could have added them as subtasks.
If I needed the space to create more context around each of the apps I am covering here, I would have set them up as subtasks. But, this was simpler than that. I just needed something quick and simple here to remind myself what I wanted to write, and then record, about.
Notice the comments section. As you can see, I like to use this to bookmark links, and, of course, the Google Document, itself (where I am writing this), is included as an attachment. ClickUp plays very nicely with Google Docs.
As a colleague recently pointed out, what I really should do is create custom fields for these kinds of links. In any piece of content I am writing and recording, I will always have a need for this.
Once I start working on the video for this article, I will post a comment with the local file path for where the video files are.
This gives me one place – a “command central” I call it – where I can access everything I need, in order to produce this content.
The bigger picture I have is a space for content and some lists within that where I can capture, clarify, organize (prioritize), and process my content ideas.
The lists for “High Priority Ideas” vs. “Ideas & Resources” is to distinguish between ideas that I think are really good and ones that, after clarifying, I think are either weak or bad for any reason. I don’t necessarily want to discard them completely because they can potentially inspire something else that IS useful. Once I’ve clarified them, I organize them into the appropriate list, as you can see above.
ClickUp in Short
This is a very robust tool that can do a lot, and because it’s very reasonably priced, you can use what you need and leave aside what you don’t. It’s also very well organized, so even though it’s very robust, it’s not overwhelming. Start with the basics. Then, add what you need as the need arises.
And, before you do ANYTHING in ClickUp, design and outline your processes. Then, you can build solid workflows, using ClickUp as the tool.