For the past three months or so, I’ve been using a new tool to manage my projects, this one seems to fit all my needs. It’s called Sortd.
I’ve written in the past about the project management methodology Kanban in my post – Kanban Saved My Sanity,
Sortd uses this methodology and mixes it with my prime communication medium; email.
What Is Sortd
Sortd is a Google chrome extension that works with Gmail.
It turns your inbox into a manageable Kanban board of tasks to be derived from your emails. Rather than having a huge list of email, that is constantly growing, Sortd turns your inbox into something much more sane, a calmed inbox.
How It Works
Once the extension is installed, you can drag and drop emails out of your inbox into a Kanban board, if the email needs to be actioned and scheduled as a project. If the email is a standard notification or does not need action it can be archived, all emails requiring work are put into the Kanban boards.
My Kanban setup is to have a board and in the board are lists Quote Sent, To Do, In Progress and Blocked. Emails become cards or tasks and are moved through the various project management stages.
The benefits of this approach is that I can reply to my clients without leaving my inbox. You will see in the accompanying video what I mean but you can also do the following
- Rename email subjects so they mean more to you in your project management
- Snooze messages so you can get inbox zero
- Add private notes to an email that are not see by your client, fo example I save passwords against an email as a note
- Set due dates for a project and see all work in a date view.
Add to that the power of Gmail such as canned responses and I have a complete project management system in my inbox.
Where Other Systems Break Down
I don’t like to try and force clients to use project management systems. Any friction in the project process will break things down. All of the ones I have seen require a client to register.
I love Trello, but you need to create new boards and register clients.
I love Basecamp too but the effort to setup a project outweighs a lot of my smaller
Sortd is a friction less system, you take your clients emails and organise them
Sortd has a freemium pricing model, the single private board version (which was more than enough for a solo freelancer) is free.
When you start sharing boards and assigning tasks to a team you need one of their premium levels. They costs from $2 per user/month to $5 per user /month which is amazing value compared to project management systems which typically start at $20 per user per month.
I’m Early in the team adoption and it seems to be working well.
Video Sortd In Action
Here’s a video of me showing how I use Sortd on a test email account.
What Worries Me About Sortd
I’m not sure about whether or not it is still being actively developed, I don’t get many updates from the development team so this is a real worry.
Wrap Up – Sorted With Sortd
I’m in control of my projects with the same tool I use to communicate with my clients (Gmail) and IM my team (Google handouts).
Sortd is a winner in my book, I just hope they keep up development, fingers crossed.