Top 6 Management Tools Every Creative Needs

Let’s be honest.

Project managing is a stressful job. With coordinating different tasks, managing calendars, keeping strict deadlines, and communicating with team members, your plate gets really full really quickly. You could, of course, always hire a project manager. Or, you could check out some of our favorite management tools below.

Each of these is designed to make your life a little easier by doing a lot of the tedious work for you. Management tools not only help you to optimize your time on the front end of the project, but allow you to systematically keep track of timelines, tasks, files, and team progress…all in one place!

So here are a few of our go-to management tools:



Trello allows you to create and manage lists all in one place. Individual tasks are displayed as cards on a board and each board is available for team collaboration. Several features, such as comments, checklists, deadlines, and specific team members and instructions can be added to each card. Different projects? No problem! Just create a new board and have at it. And did we mention that it’s free?



If spreadsheets are your thing, SmartSheet is for you. With different view options (including spreadsheet, calendar, and card views), you can stay organized in whichever way works best for you. SmartSheet provides a 30-day free trial and several pricing packages depending on what you’re looking for, starting at just $10 a month!


Google Docs/Sheets

File storage and sharing is super easy with Google Drive. Live editing, commenting capabilities, and different sharing options make it easy for you to control what information your team sees. Since everything is stored on the Drive, there’s no annoying emailing back and forth once you’ve made changes to a document – everyone who has access to the content can view the changes. It’s simple, easy, and all in one spot. The service is free with a Gmail account, but anyone can be view a file if given permission.



Ideal for software teams, JIRA makes tracking progress quick and easy. From the initial planning to the actual release of your software, JIRA allows you to track bugs and issues with ease. You can even integrate with their team collaboration tool, Confluence, to make document editing and file sharing a breeze. JIRA starts for free for up to 5 members.



Asana allows you to see how your project is progressing simply by logging in. With its “Tasks Completed” and “Tasks Remaining” counts, you can get a real-time evaluation of how your team is working, what has already been done, and what still needs to be tackled. Discussion boards and emailing make communication with your team simple, but without all of the unnecessary conversations…you only get notified for things you’re directly assigned to! Asana is free for teams of 15 people or less. You can add additional team members for a per person/per month fee.



It’s an oldie, but a goodie. As the leading project management tool out there, Basecamp makes managing projects and communicating with your team easier than ever. The web-based tool allows you to keep all of your project details in one place. From discussion boards, real-time chats, email notifications, file sharing, and its scheduling and calendar features, Basecamp has all of the bases covered. Your first Basecamp is free, with additional Basecamp packages available depending on how many projects you have to manage.

When choosing which project management tool is right for you, be sure to pick one that doesn’t eat up all of your time. The goal is to optimize your time by having a comprehensive, easy to use tool for your team. If you’re spending a lot of time managing your project managing tool, that kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?

Do have a favorite project management tool? Let us know in the comments below!

Jason Long

Jason Long is the founder and CEO of Brainleaf and an Information Architect and Managing Partner at CodeWright. A self-professed serial entrepreneur, he is always interested in new businesses, new ideas, and new ways to change the world. He has over 15 years of experience in design and development and has served in a variety of different roles ranging from designer to Information Architect to CEO. He spends most of his time focusing on the build and development of new ventures while trying to travel the world.