How to Create a Visual Task Management Dashboard

As a full-time Internet Marketer, I am involved in a fairly large number of projects at any given time. I have a portfolio of Adsense sites, a blog, a membership site, a link building service and a facebook application (in development) With so many projects on the go, maintaining my productivity can sometimes be a challenge! Thankfully, over the years, I have managed to discover some very powerful tools and developed a set of best practices for using them. In this post, I’m going to share with you exactly how I run my various businesses with peak efficiency.

What Have You Built Today?

Before I get into the tools, I want to touch on a very important concept; how I organize my mind and prioritize my activities.

In my business, I’m primarily concerned with building online assets that will produce a passive cash flow for me for years to come. Because of this, the first thing that I think about when I start my day is what am I building today? This type of focus is absolutely critical because without it, it would be extremely easy for me to become consumed with “busy” but not very “productive” work like email, moderating blog comments, researching new ideas, making lists, etc…

If you are in the asset business and you aren’t consistently building new assets, you are a dead duck!

There is one other key to understanding the key to my productivity; store nothing on my own hard drive and put everything online so I can access it from anywhere.

Google Docs

While Google docs aren’t new to anyone, I use the spreadsheet in a way that consistently gets a ton of requests for copies from my readers. My secret is to use the spreadsheet as a visual dashboard for task management.

In my case, I have a portfolio of websites that are largely maintained by my team of Virtual Assistants. I have VAs that do link building, I have VAs that launch sites, I have VAs that handle article marketing, and VAs that manage the tasks of other VAs!

Because each VA is involved in more than one project, it can be a challenge for them (and me!) to keep everything straight; especially without a mountain of emails flowing back and forth.

In the screenshot below you can see my niche site task management dashboard (the red areas contain confidential information). This dashboard is used to manage my growing portfolio of niche websites that produce a wonderful stream of passive income.

Across the top are the URLs of each site, so essentially, each column is its own mini-project.

Then, down the left hand side are all the tasks that would be associated with each site. I then have each VA that works for me subscribe to changes in this spreadsheet so that any time they, or I, make a change, we all get a color coded notification.

By organizing my projects this way, I am able to very easily see the status of their work on a variety of sites. Plus, we also use it as a communication tool.

For example, if a new task is assigned, I mark the cell in blue and put the VA’s name on it. If I have special comments, I include them in the comments of the cell. Then, once they have started the task, they change the cell to yellow. If, at some point, they run into a challenge that they need my help with, instead of emailing me, they change the color of the cell to red and then put their question in the comments of the cell. Once the task is complete, they change the color to green.

For them, and me, having a visual map like this has proven extremely helpful. They know where to direct their attention, and at a glance, I can see how heavy their workload is.

Training Portal

For each task that I assign to a VA, there is generally a set of instructions for carrying out that task. These instructions are created by me and are generally a combination of text, images, video, and audio. As I want to be able to easily bring new VAs up to speed, I wanted to create a scalable system for the storage and sharing of my various instruction sets.

I accomplished this by creating a membership site (I purchased the ProfitsTheme for this) and then structuring it in a way that was very easy to navigate. Plus, as it was a membership site, it was also very easy to protect all the content from the prying eyes of others!

For example, in the screenshot below are (part of) the instructions for launching a new site. Whenever I need to update the instructions, I have only once place to go, and that makes my life a whole lot easier!

Trent Dyrsmid is a full time Internet Marketer and blogs extensively about how he earns his living online. You can read more on his Online Income Lab blog, follow him on Twitter @TrentDyrsmid or check out his Podcast.


50 thoughts on “How to Create a Visual Task Management Dashboard”

  1. Dukeo says:

    That’s a very interesting way of organizing your team.

    I should definitely work on that to improve the productivity of my structure…

    1. PPC Ian says:

      Great post! I’m going to check out Trent’s blog to learn more!

  2. Abhik says:

    Pretty nifty ideas..

    1. Neat, tidy Impressive and very productive.

  3. incomediva says:

    wow, i appreciate all the effort you put into your projects
    am impressed!

    1. He really organise all things beautifully.

      Impressive.

      1. Abhik says:

        Yes, it’s really impressive.
        Organizing those all alone is really a tough task.

        1. But once you did that … life become really smooth.

          I also manage things perfectly so that work flow will be smooth and can be complete within stipulated time.

          Perfect and proper planning is the key to success.

          You should also read this post on John Chow –

          http://www.johnchow.com/how-to-design-a-business-plan-that-works/

    2. Erwin Miradi says:

      Yeah.. Nothing can go wrong with the way he organize it.

  4. MIchael says:

    Those are some great ideas there Trent. Checked out your site and looks pretty good. I’ll have to learn a thing or two from you 🙂

    1. Glad to hear that you here you are liking what you are seeing. If you head over to my website and join the mailing list, you will not only get downloadable versions of what you see here, but you will also get access to the entire Keyword Research module of my private membership site, Niche Site Mastery.

      Cheers,
      Trent

      1. Now that one is really interesting, if you will provide all these facilities by simply joining your mailing list.

        1. PPC Ian says:

          Agreed! I’ll be joining Trent’s list. Seems like a tremendous productivity resource.

      2. Erwin Miradi says:

        Wow that’s even better. I think I’ll go check it out and join the mailing list.

      3. Kevin Kimes says:

        Trent, great article. I especially appreciate the training portal idea. Very clever and effective!

  5. fazal mayar says:

    cool idea wasnt aware of that

    1. yEs managing things efficiently is also an art and we can learn many things from it.

      1. Erwin Miradi says:

        Yeah I agree.. Well, it’s actually a really important art for online business..

    2. Indeed, that is why we should not stop reading and learning, right? I love reading guide post like this it makes me feel even more confident on my work.

  6. Tom says:

    Trent,
    Great way to keep track of your websites with the excel spreadsheet. That’s a great idea.
    Tom

    1. thats google docs my friend …

      1. Virtual Tour says:

        And who doesn’t love Google Docs?

          1. So how do you like it Shanker ?

            Which format of Google Docs you use often ?

        1. No doubt Virtual i am also a big fan of Google.

    2. Erwin Miradi says:

      Yeah.. I a hundred percent agree

    3. Abhik says:

      Google docs can handle not only spreadsheets, but also other document formats.

  7. Its an useful source to track the website with excel

  8. Yes google docs are changing the face of internet business and with that dropbox is really a deadly combination.

  9. Erwin Miradi says:

    Nice presentation, Trent. I think I’ll check out your blog more often..

  10. fas says:

    Interesting post there, I am not sure how many have felt the need for it though!

    1. Virtual Tour says:

      I agree with this, how many people actually do?

      1. Its all based on the people mind

  11. Thanks, more new things to look thro and use.

  12. Hey Trent, thanks for giving us such a insight post about productivity, I am actually going through the same situation where i need to assign productive and potential work to my team mates. Noted few point from here and will implement these to manage tasks.

    BTW can you share that spreadsheet shown in the image? it will help me to get going exactly in the same way.

  13. It’s really impressive. Thanks for share.

  14. Inspiration presentation…

  15. Most important the above mentioned Google Docs, Google Docs originated from two separate products, Writely and Google Spreadsheets…

    1. yes, and it is not in the article, thanks for the information.

  16. Thanks for sharing an interesting post

    1. PPC Ian says:

      I really enjoy these productivity posts. Time is the most valuable resource in my opinion.

    2. Yes Top this is an interesting article to encourage more visitors.

  17. mitu says:

    hi john,
    i have been going through your blog and some other blogs.i dont have a blog yet,but will have one soon.
    there was something that bothered me.how can people start start a hate compaign and get any1 banned from digg..i just dont understand it and find it very vicious.and how can google allow something like tht!
    and if some people can get together and get you banned ,cant some better people start a nicer “liking” campaign and get you back?isnt tht fair!?
    competetion should be with your own self and healthy.not to destroy any1!i certainly wouldnt like such a thing happening to me.and there should be a way out.you should be back on digg.

  18. According to me time is equal to money

  19. Task management should be done for all the business

  20. I’m glad that you shared this helpful ideas with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Effective task management supposes managing all aspects of a task, including its status, priority, time, human and financial resources assignments, recurrency, notifications and so on. These can be lumped together broadly into the basic activities of task management.

  22. Essays says:

    Super… just tell me, if i launch a DOC file and share it with other people, will it help me in SEO. I mean if i place a link in the doc file, will it be do-follow?

  23. Technary says:

    It`s really good and effective! Thanks for sharing the information.

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