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How I Use Trello & Basecamp Project Management Systems to Save Hours of Time

As a freelance web designer who’s been developing websites for over 7 years, it can be very easy to lose track of time and become unorganized if I don’t utilized some sort of tool to keep me on my toes. I pride myself on the fact that I provide my clients a level of customer service that they can’t easily find everywhere. So it’s essential for me to make certain I am managing my time so that I can reasonably get big client projects completed and breeze thru smaller client tasks that i’ve been assigned. I’m a very visual person, so it’s imperative I have an interface to manage clients that allows me flexibility and useful tools. In this article, I’m going to show you how I instantly saved hours of my own time by utilizing the Trello project management system.

In the past, I’ve used tools such as Gmail’s To-Do list via Canvas (Google), my built in iMac’s Reminders App and Google Keep. But all of these had a ton of limitations and because of that, I would sometimes be reluctant to use it and revert back to…dum dum dum….my memory ๐Ÿ˜•

Gmail to do as a project management solution

When i tried and failed to use gmail to-do as a project management solution.

Recently I came up with an easier solution to keep track and manage my everyday tasks for clients. I designed a system that worked perfectly for my small business, a freelance web designer & developer. No matter what business you are in, I’m certain you will find my system useful for your own company and can use the same theories I use myself, customized for your own use! The following video will visually explain all the awesome features I can utilize with Trello. Trello is an online project management system that is available to use for free! With Trello, some of my favorite features are it’s drag and drop system, to-do lists, ability to add other contractors/employee’s to a project and color label cards.


One of the big things I don’t mention in this video is that Trello has an app you can download from the Google Play or the Apps Marketplace, making it easy for you to check client projects on the go.

Trello wrote a couple very useful blog posts that show you how you can extend your project management with Trello in over 15+ ways with Chrome Extensions. Here is another huge list of resources provided by the trello team. The uses for trello are vast and flexible to any business or project you might be managing. If your business is put together by contractor’s/employees that happen to all work remotely, Time Doctor has put together a really nice tutorial show you how to use trello to manage your remote teams.

For bigger client projects such as new websites and website redesign, I like to use Basecamp. Basecamp is a project portal that allows my clients to be able to upload all website content, photos, documents and instructions/requirements. We can hold discussions here and everything is documented and timestamped. There are to-do lists we can add too. Everyone knows what they should be doing or what the current status is of the project. Clients have their own access to their portal and managers have full access to hide documents from clients (for example: note taking that might be confusing to clients and is unnecessary to display to them). Here is a video I show my clients so they can understand how we will be utilizing basecamp to manage their projects.


Now mind you, this is just how I manage my day to day tasks and make sure that client communication is at it’s most optimal pace. I also utilize awesome tools such as Fusion Invoice for Client Invoicing which I’ve been a loyal and happy customer for over 7 years. As far as support & emails, I like to use Help Scout.

I hope that by visually showing you how I manage my own clients, you are able to save yourself hours of time on your own projects. Please leave a comment. I’d be happy to hear about solutions you find useful for yourself and if I was able to help you in anyway by showing you this custom management solution I’ve designed.


Author: Heather Valencia

Author: Heather Valencia

Web Designer & Developer

I’ve been developing WordPress websites as a freelance web designer in Spokane since 2010. My passion for building websites is as strong as the dedication I put forth in strengthening my client relationships.

If you’ve valued the content I work hard to provide for free, show your appreciation with a cup of coffee or a tip.

Either way, I’m very appreciative that you came here. Share a post and if you think something is lame, email me and let me know.

Consider a donation to my daugther’s business! ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. Nick

    I don’t mean to diss Basecamp, but come on, it’s 2017 and there are so many PM tools that are better AND free. Bitrix24 – free unlimited projects with Gantt, time tracking, client management, quotes and invoicing. Basecamp doesn’t have this even in paid plans. Asana – totally free for 15 people with unlimited projects. Trello – free and unlimited. I could go on and on.

    • Heather Valencia

      I never heard of any of these and thank you for bringing them to my attention. I have researched other methods. I understand I could easily just use google drive too and also soley use Trello for clients. But for me, it’s more about my clients user experience. I need to make sure things are as easy as possible for them and if that cost me money to ensure their ease of working on the project, it’s causes less headache for both parties. In turn, keeping my clients happy. Which is my main priority. Basecamp just happens to be very simple and easy for most my clients to grasp which makes it hard for me to leave unless some other exceptional method comes forth to my attention. Asana looks pretty cool, I’m gonna check it out! Thanks so much ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. JC

    Hi Heather!

    Your blog posts are gems. Thank you.

    A long while ago, in 2013, I read about Ultimate Client Manager Pro, which you had ranked no. 1 (or, at least, listed first) in your list of non-SaaS invoicing software. I had imagined that was your invoicing software of choice.

    Do you have a specific reason that made you choose Fusion Invoice over UCM Pro? Just curious.

    • Heather Valencia

      UCM Pro seems decent. But I’ve been using Fusion Invoice for years now and I love the simplicity of it. It does everything I need it to do and there is a nice little community behind the scenes too.

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