4 Project Management Tools to Use for Work and Studies

Project management tools are a dime a dozen these days, have you noticed? If you search for them online, you’ll get bombarded with lists of 30, 40, 50+ “best” tools! It’s a lot like the search engine results you can see as you type “help me write my essay” in it. Overwhelming, isn’t it?

This list won’t be that long. It’ll contain only the apps that have already stood the test of time – and won over users’ hearts.

So, if you’re dead set to find a tool to increase your personal or professional productivity, there are four project management apps worth checking out.

First Things First: How to Choose the Right Tool

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There’s no one-size-fits-all solution out there. You can’t just google “perfect project management tool” and expect to find a magic tool that fits every purpose (unfortunately).

Instead, you’ll have to go through the tedious process of assessing your needs first. Here are 8 essential questions worth asking:

  1. What are you going to use it for?
  2. Are there any specific methodologies you’re going to implement?
  3. What platform(s) do you need the tool to be available at?
  4. What are your “need-to-have” and “would-be-good-to-have” feature requirements?
  5. Are there any integrations with third-party apps that you need or want to have?
  6. How many people are going to use it?
  7. What are their preferences in terms of the platform and features?
  8. What’s your budget?

Once you’ve made up your mind, the sad truth, you can’t expect the first tool you try to turn out 100% great for you. You may be lucky enough to experience this, but it’s an exception, not the rule.

Instead, take your potential right fit for a test drive. Set aside a week or two to learn your way around the app itself and see how it works out for you. It’s a good idea to keep track of its pros and cons in a doc somewhere.

Before jumping right into the list of tools, here’s a word of caution. Becoming more productive isn’t really about which tool you use – it’s about your everyday habits outside of productivity apps. Those apps are meant to help only!

Project Management Tools

Trello

Trello
  • Cost: free, paid plans are available (upward of $10 per user per month)
  • Platforms: web, iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS

Yes, Trello is on every list of this kind. But it’s for a good reason: it’s the de-facto go-to option for most small teams and personal project management.

Pros
  • Intuitive in its use: it’s super easy to get organized with Trello’s Kanban-style interface from the get-go.
  • Basic task automation: even free accounts can use Butler to automate some internal processes.
  • Flexibility: you can set up your boards, lists, and cards in a variety of ways.
  • Plenty of third-party app integrations: Slack, Gmail, Jira, cloud storage services, and more.
  • Robust free version: you’ll get a full-fledged product with plenty of features available without a paid subscription.
Cons
  • Not a great fit for large projects: pages take too long to load, apps become too slow.
  • No permission management included: once you add a person to a board, they can see and edit everything there.
  • Lack of well-rounded reporting and search features.

It’s for you if:

  • You don’t have large projects with hundreds of cards and dozens of lists in mind.
  • You prefer the Kanban view (or you don’t mind it, at least).
  • You’re going to use it for personal productivity purposes.
  • Your team is relatively small (up to 20 people).

Asana

Asana
  • Cost: free, paid plans start at $10.99 per user per month
  • Platforms: web, iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS

Asana is beloved in the IT world and beyond, all thanks to its plethora of well-executed features. The catch is, most of what makes Asana so special in the world of project management isn’t available for free.

Cons
  • The free version has a limit of 15 teammates.
  • The most outstanding features aren’t available in the free version (workload view, timeline, milestones, the list goes on).

Asana’s free version is for you if:

  • Your team is up to 15 people.
  • All you need is basic task management and third-party app integrations.

Asana’s paid version is for you if:

  • You have a team of more than 15 people.
  • You work on complex projects that involve tedious planning.
  • You’d like to enjoy the extra features that make Asana stand out.

Monday.com

Monday.com
  • Cost: free, paid plans start at $8 per user per month
  • Platforms: web, iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS

This project management tool is praised by reviewers and teams alike for its simple learning curve. Of course, you might be skeptical about this: every app claims to be intuitive. But Monday.com indeed does have the simplest learning curve among the listed tools.

Pros
  • 200+ custom templates available even in the free plan.
  • 20+ column types to customize any board to make it match your needs.
  • Easy and fast to get started due to the intuitive interface and simple learning curve.
  • Well-customizable to fit any range of project management needs, from simple collaboration to projects with complex timelines and task dependencies.
Cons
  • Only up to 2 users and up to 1,000 items allowed in the free version.
  • Limited file storage and activity log even on paid plans.
  • Integrations and automation are available only for paid plans and come with an action limit.
  • Its full potential is locked away behind a paywall, and the pricing is steep.

Monday.com’s free version is for you if:

  • You need a place to manage your personal tasks for studies or work.
  • You want a simple management tool that you’ll pick up quickly.
  • You know you won’t need to bring any teammates onboard.

Monday.com’s paid version is for you if:

  • You’re going to manage a team on a project that involves more than 2 people.
  • You want access to its full range of features that allow for easy collaboration and project management.
  • You can afford the (quite high) price tag.

Notion

Notion
  • Cost: free, paid plans start at $4 per month for personal use and $8 for teams
  • Platforms: web, iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS

While most other project management tools focus on serving businesses of all sizes, Notion was created with individuals and small teams in mind. That’s why it’s a pleasure to use it when all you need is to keep track of your personal tasks.

Pros
  • Minimalistic and clear user interface that makes for a pleasant user experience.
  • Powerful tools for creating custom databases.
  • 50+ custom templates to get you started (available for free).
  • Robust note-taking features: Notion allows creating in-app wikis and docs.
  • Affordable pricing.
Cons
  • The free version is available only for single-user workspaces.
  • 5 Mb file upload limit in the free version.
  • The timeline view number is limited in most versions.
  • No budgeting or reporting tools are included.

Notion’s free version is for you if:

  • You need a tool to manage your daily tasks only, including studies and work.
  • You’re going to be the only person editing the dashboard.
  • You know you won’t need more than 3 timelines.

Notion’s paid version is for you if:

  • You want to add version history and unlimited file storage and guests to the free version.
  • Or you want to collaborate as a team on a project in a simple yet robust workspace.

In Conclusion: Remember to Make the Most Out of Your Choice

Whichever tool you choose, that’s all it is: a tool. Whether it works for you or not depends on how well it matches your needs – and how well you use it. The latter is a skill, so here are a few tips on how you can improve it.

If you try one tool and it doesn’t work out for you, switch to another one. That’s what a test drive is for; don’t make yourself suffer.

And remember: make it a habit to use the tool you’ve chosen. Otherwise, it just won’t work out. 

Good luck!

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