How to Make Project Management Easy with Smart Lists

Quick Tips / January 31, 2017 / JD Mckenzie

Do you have so many different projects happening at once that you need a better way to focus? By using Daylite Smart Lists, you can filter your projects, so you have a more focused list of which ones need your attention.

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If you don’t have a solid way to stay organized, you’ll find that keeping tabs on all your projects is going to take up a huge part of your day. You may lose sight of what’s important or miss out on important tasks. All this lack of focus will increase your mental effort as you switch back and forth, never knowing what should be worked on now.

Daylite makes keeping your projects organized easy with the help of Smart Lists. These handy lists update themselves based on rules that you create and allow you to stay up to date with things like what state your projects are in, their pipeline stage, if they have upcoming appointments and even a priority list of open projects with VIP clients. There are a limitless number of Smart Lists you can create to make project management easy and work for your specific needs.

Check out these practical Smart Lists you can use now, and learn how you can build even more!

How Smart Lists Help with Project Management

Smart Lists help you organize and prioritize your projects in a way that makes sense to you and fits with your business workflow. By filtering your projects by specific criteria, you can stay focused on projects that need your attention most. Smart Lists can serve as a reminder of what steps you need to take next, and help you identify areas where things are falling behind.

Knowing things like how many projects are awaiting payment after sending an invoice you have, or when were your most important projects last updated are the kind o things that are invaluable to your business and available with a single click after you create a Smart List.

Try These Smart Lists

Making the filters in your Smart Lists might seem scary at first. There are a lot of option available and understanding what they are doing can seem a bit foggy. Once you start to use them  you’ll get the hang of it.

When you make a filter, you are creating “Boolean Expressions” with AND/OR operators. That sounds like gibberish to most people but all it means is anything that matches the rules you set will appear and anything that doesn’t, won’t.

Check out these examples Smart Lists and learn what they are doing behind the scenes:

The “What’s Happening” Smart List: Filtering Projects by State

This a simple filter and will only show projects if they match a given Project State. This is helpful if you want to see what projects are currently in progress, new, or even canceled.

This example looks for Projects that are open, or in progress but you can do this for any Project state.

  1. On your sidebar choose AllProjects to display the list of all projects.
  2. Choose the Filter icon to create a new filter.
  3. Change the filter type from MatchAll to  MatchAnyso that both projects in the state “new” and “in progress” show up in your list.
  4. Make the first filter StatusNew so that new projects will show up in the list.
  5. Add a new filter by clicking on the Plus.
  6. Make the next next filter to StatusProgressso that projects in progress will appear.
  7. You can remove any extra filters by clicking on Minus.
  8. Now you should have a filter that looks like:ProjectStatus
  9. Click on SaveAsSmartList
  10. Type in the name of your smart list. Example: “Current Projects”.

With this Smart List, you can easily see what your current work load is. By seeing what projects are new and in progress you can decide when the right time to start looking for new projects or determine when to say no.

The “Unfinished Business” Smart List: Filtering Task States Linked to Projects

This is a clever filter that doesn’t check the details of a project, and instead look at the details on tasks linked to your projects. It will only show projects that have tasks that are open so you can always see what hasn’t been started.

    1. On the sidebar choose AllProjects to see a list of all projects.
    2. Choose the Filter icon to create a new filter.
    3. Make the first setting  TasksAtLeastOne so that any project that has tasks that meet the filter requirements will appear.
    4. Set this filter under “Tasks” to StatusOpen. Note: there should be an indentation of the “Status” filter so you’re filtering the status within Tasks.
    5. If you wanted, remove any unnecessary criteria by clicking the Minus for each filter.
    6. Now you should have a filter that looks like:IncompleteTasks
    7. Click on SaveAsSmartList
    8. Type in the name of your smart list. Example: “Open Projects”.

Pro Tip: View this Smart List in Multi-Column List View and add the Next Pending Task Column to see what specific tasks are next!

This Smart List can help you find out what tasks are causing your projects to stall or to simply decide on what projects need to be worked on and when.

The “Cheque is in the Mail” Smart List: Filtering Pipeline Stages

This is a simple Smart List but can be  highly effective. By filtering out specific stages in a Pipeline  you can get a top down look at how your work is progressing. One example is using this to filter projects that are in the invoicing stage of the pipeline.

  1. On the sidebar choose AllProjects to see a list of all projects.
  2. Choose the Filter icon to create a new filter.
  3. Make the filter PipelineStageso only projects with the pipeline stage “Invoiced” will appear
  4. If you wanted, remove any unnecessary criteria by clicking the Minus for each filter
  5. Now you should have a filter that looks like: ProjectPipelineInvoice
  6. Click on SaveAsSmartList
  7. Name your smart list. Example: “Projects in Invoice Stage”.

Instead of rummaging around for bank records you’ll be able to keep track of which projects are awaiting with the click of a button. Check this Smart List weekly and you can always make sure your clients are paying you for your great work.

The “VIP Client” Smart List: Filtering Projects by Client Keywords & States

This is an advanced Smart List but don’t fret. It is actually similar to the Smat Lists you’ve already created and is actually combining two different types that you’ve done. This Smart List checks details on things linked to Projects, in this case Keywords for People,  as well as  state. By combining different filters you can dig even deeper and filter out the most important details.

  1. On the sidebar choose AllProjects to see a list of all projects.
  2. Choose the Filter icon to create a new filter.
  3. Make the first setting  PeopleMatchAll so any people linked to the project that match the next filter will appear.
  4. Set this filter to KeywordsVIP2.
  5. At the top of the Smart List click on NewSubFilter to add a new filter.
  6. For your second filter change the type from MatchAll to MatchAny.
  7. Make the second filter StatusNew so new projects will appear.
  8. On the same line click on Plus to add a new filter.
  9. Make the third filter StatusProgress so projects in progress will appear.
  10. If you want, remove any unnecessary criteria by clicking the Minus for each filter.
  11. Now you should have a filter that looks like this: KeywordsVIP
  12. Click on SaveAsSmartList.
  13. Name your smart list. Example: “VIP Projects”.

This Smart List is useful when certain details of a customer will determine how you run the project. In this case, we have a keyword VIP for People.  This can be used to give those high impact customers extra care by assigning the project to a more Sr. member of your team or as a reminder for you to have a chat with the client regularly so they know ‘the boss’ is aware of how things are going.

You’re a busy person and have a lot on your plate. Make switching gears between projects easier by knowing exactly what you need to focus on. With Smart Lists† you can customize what projects you need to keep top of mind, keeping you organized, saving you time, and focused on your top priorities.

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