Advice For Freelance Remote Work Success – A great guide from Trello

Remote Work Success - Trello

Advice For Freelance Remote Work Success. – A great guide from the guys at Trello.

Remote Work may not be for everybody! Personally, I work remotely, wherever I am in the world I am at my desk. For some people that sounds like a huge burden, and sure I understand that, but the reality is that I have total freedom. I am not tied into the morning commute, fixed lunch breaks or a uniform, some days I work in short and flip flops!

Gaining clients in a freelance world is only half the battle, the other half is managing them. I have tried many different methods to keep on top of projects from bouncing emails back and forth to relying on Skype or Facebook Messenger (I know it sounds crazy) but until very recently I hadn’t been able to find a solution that works for me. Enter Trello.

Trello - Remote Work Success

What is Trello? In a nutshell:

Trello is the easy, free, flexible, and visual way to manage your projects and organize anything, trusted by millions of people from all over the world.

I don’t work for these guys and i’m not endorsed to offer shameless plugs but as far as remote management tools go these guys have it nailed!

I use Trello in conjunction with Slack. Slack basically creates a simple, navigable way to work in a remote office. Slack has been talked about, debated and discussed the internet over so I won’t outline what they do or how they do it but suffice to say they have worked hard to provide a great service that fosters a professional remote working environment.

I have used Slack/Trello alternatives such as Asana and have found that whilst Asana has some awesome features it isn’t as to-the-point and simple to dive into as Slack and Trello.

So why Trello?

Well for me its the ease and simplicity of its design. You can create boards, lists and then cards. My methodology is:

Board – Clientcentric
List – For the type of task, so for example “Blog Images”
Card – For the attachments.

It saves so much time drafting emails with concepts, everything is kept nice and ordered and can always be sent onto other people within the pipeline without having to forward a potentially personal email you sent to your client or having to write something new.

Trello interacts directly with Slack too. So you can easily post your content right to your remote office without having to duplicate anything at all.

In my opinion the marriage of these two platforms makes freelance project management a breeze.

Trello needn’t be about just the freelance market either. There is a very real appeal to any employ within a normal business. Everybody knows that people are more productive when they’re happy right? Lauren Moon over on Trello has kindly written an interesting blog about how the platform can work for employers everywhere.

“Let’s say it nice and loud for the people in the back:

Remote work is here, and it’s revolutionizing the way we work.

Technology has advanced such that embracing remote is no longer challenging. It requires different considerations for collaboration and communication, sure, but ultimately it is not a lower quality work experience.

How do we know? Because we are proving it out as a team right now, and so are some of the fastest-growing teams in tech.

If you’re not on the remote train yet, we’ve got you covered. We wrote a guide all about the benefits, considerations, and best practices of remote work. These are the most important tips and tried-and-tested practices we’ve picked up along the way of building out our 65% remote team.” – Trello Blog

There is even a great PDF guide that I encourage you all to grab and read through, it’s far better put together than my musings here but I encounter the “I can’t work remotely, I don’t know how to function…”type attitude all the time so thought i’d share this with you.

Wacom Intuos Art. We Review the tablet!

Wacom Intuos Art Review

With the new Wacom Inuos Art,” You’re only an Intuos away.”

Wacom Intuos Art Review

At least that what Wacom are saying about their new range of Intuos Tablets that include the colourful Wacom Intuos Art Tablet!

Wacom have split their new tablets into two very different groups and the comparison is noticeable as soon as you open the box of the new Wacom Intuos Art Series. At one end of the spectrum you have the £200+ Pro Intuos Series and then, below, you have Intuos Draw, Intuos Art, Intuos Comic & Intous Photo. Wacom are calling the new Intuos an ideal chance to unleash your creativity. It’s a great introduction to Wacom products and for somebody who has never used a Wacom pen & touch tablet before, it’s a great piece of kit. The Wacom Art comes complete with a Downloadable Software Bundle, but Wacom’s recent problems with European servers being down for weeks, means that consumers have been forced to download trial versions of the Intuos Art Software, (Corel Painter Essentials 5) because UK and European residents can neither access the software, nor register their products. To be totally honest, the addition of software is reflected in the product and personally, the build quality just doesn’t cut it for me having used an Intuos 4. The Intuos Art and other Wacom tablets in this series are totally consumer products and fall short of the prosumer tag that it could carry. Wacom have pulled a genius type advertising campaign with a bunch of professional artists promoting the product and the styling, colourful marketing will undoubtedly sell this product.

Wacom Intuos Art Review

Wacom Intuos Art Review

Intuos Art – The Review

I’m focusing purely on the Wacom Intuos Art because this is the tablet that I’ve purchased? Why.. Because my current Intuos 4 has seen four years of work and three Wacom stylus pens. With my latest Intuos 4 pen now not working, it was a choice of spending £75 on a new pen or trying out the new Intuos Art which I’d been sucked into after visiting the Wacom site.  The Intuos Art comes in small and medium versions. A a professional photographer running a Digital Image Agency, the software choice was irrelevant. I use Adobe CC, so my main concern was the pad and the pen. I was driven primarily on colour. The Intuos Art came in a nice looking blue, a nice change from the standard black, so that’s what I opted for. The small tablet is seriously small. The working area is much smaller than the working area of the Intuos Pro range and I immediately missed the an hand rest area around the tablet. The small version packs quite a bit of space to work on a single 27 inch monitor by I immediately felt the touch gestures were going to be a paionn in the backside, simply because when moving the pen across the tablet, I repeatedly felt my my hand was hanging off the edge of the tablet, which it was and it was difficult to manage the change in surface when used to running your hand on the rests around the Intuos 4. There is a mechanism  the tablet to enable palm rejection so you can rest your hand on the tablet without dragging you pointer around or making unwanted strokes when drawing, but I still felt it was somewhat uncomfortable. Installation of the tablet drivers is effortless. No messing around and the tablet functioned perfectly after installation. Wacom have a decent level of update drivers and support, despite my previous riffs about the UK servers not working.

Wacom Intuos Art Review

The Intuos Art Pen is possibly the biggest disappointment of the whole tablet. It’s like working with a toothpick. It works very well. The 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity did feel restrained because it doesn’t have 2048 pressure levels ofthe Pro range tablets. The pressure curve is similar to other Intuos/Pro tablets and the same system preference panels mean you have the ability to set your own pressure and creative settings. The stylus pen does feel and behave just like the traditional brushes, markers and pencils you may have been using. For long periods of work, the traditional rubber grip and thicker pen would have been a favourable ergonomic addition to the pen. I constantly felt like I have to spin the pen around to find the right and left click options because the stylus pen feels far too thin for prolong periods of editing.  The physical dynamics of the pen work just fine particularly if you practice with it.There is no shading and tilt option with the pen, so people used to working with Wacom’s may find this problematic. The Intuos Art Stylus will switch between witch between many pencils, chalks, oils and watercolours, so from an artistic perspective, there is a huge amount of scope for budding artists. The Intuos Art does include multi-touch, which I have touched on already in this review. You use all manner of common gestures to zoom, rotate and pan your work, but part of me feels that the Wacom Intuos Art would perform better as a Trackpad than it does as a Wacom Tablet.  There are four touch Express keys that have a good range of programmable functions and click in your applications. ExpressKeys put shortcuts at the press of a button and incorporating the radial menu, you can actually load up a shed full of presets to save time.

Wacom Intuos Art Review

The Intuos Art provides support for multiple monitor setups. I’ve yet to try this on two x 27 inch monitors, but I’m not going to hold my breath. I have heard that controlling multiple display across a small Intuos Art Tablet is simply too restrictive. When using the tablet with multiple monitors, you are essentially splitting the working area in half, meaning the stylus has the potential to work in an over exaggerated  way.

 

Wacom Intuos Art Review

The tablet lacks the solid build of it’s pro models. It’s extremely lightweight,  plastic will bend and flex under pressure, the back plate comes off with a two thumbed push, but I feel as though it;’s likely to snap when I remove the back panel. There are some replacement nibs hidden away inside the rear panel, where you will also find space to load up the Wacom’s Wireless Accessories. The housing has space for  the Wireless Battery and Dongle, but you will end up shelling more than half the price of the tablet to benefit from the wireless connectivity. I was sold on the wireles element, but having been to five retailers, none of which carried the Wacom Wireless Kit and then seeing the build quality, I’ve decided that, wired it will stay. I can’y justify the costs on this.

Wacom Intuos Art Review

The final word on the Intuos Art

Taking the price, build quality and size into account, the Wacom Intuos Art and the rest of the series, offer a great consumer, entry level tablet that does the job. For Students and hobbyists whoThe pricing is affordable, but I’m a great believer in the analogy of ‘BUY CHEAP… BUY TWICE!” and that’s exactly what I’m about to do. Having used the Intuos Art after owning an Intuos 4 Medium Sized Tablet, there simply is no going going back to something as simplistic and plasticky as the WAcom Intuos Art.