One of the challenges of the modern entrepreneur, project manager, or really anyone who’s trying to gain a better understanding of their company’s overall productivity is tracking, gathering, managing, and monitoring relevant data.
Besides being one of the most versatile productivity tools available, ClickUp is continually adding great new features, striving to be ever better as your hybrid Asana / Notion / Trello solution. And one of the latest exciting features is ClickUp Dashboards.
What are Dashboards in ClickUp? Let’s explore.
What are ClickUp Dashboards?
Emails, status updates, notifications… this is the domain of the modern worker. It’s nearly impossible to get away from the noise telling you things you already know about what’s going on with your department’s projects.
Let’s say it like it is – as useful as it might be to keep tabs on how the projects are progressing… unless you have the time and the means to gather, organize, and visualize the data in meaningful ways, you’re up a creek without a paddle.
ClickUp Dashboards work double duty as a task manager and a reporting tool, visualizing relevant data and supplying you with valuable takeaways you can apply to manage your projects and productivity.
Further, you can use the data to identify and address bottlenecks, edit tasks and workloads, add needed notes, and cover other essential functions.
Oh, and did I mention that Dashboards are customizable? Yes, you can set up Dashboards to match your exact needs.
That means even if you’re a solopreneur, a small team, a school, a financial professional, or another, there is a way to make ClickUp Dashboards work for you. It’s not just for big teams – it can be for individuals too.
What Types of Dashboards Can You Create?
This is probably one of the greatest things about ClickUp Dashboards – it’s highly customizable!
The following are just some of the many categories you can cover with Dashboards:
- Customer service or customer support. Monitor support tickets, track response or resolution time, set goals, and more.
- Software development. Set up team wikis and knowledgebases, keep tabs on relevant discussions, track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and more.
- Event planning. Set up a calendar, track event tasks, set deadlines, and more.
- Education and class management. Plan the semester, add a course syllabus, set weekly targets, and more.
- Finance. Keep an eye on trends, measure revenue by department, embed Excel spreadsheets, and more.
- Healthcare. Monitor patients admitted, maintain an up-to-date staff availability calendar, measure average waiting time, and more.
- Marketing. Track clicks and impressions, measure email Return on Investment (ROI), set up a list of project tasks, and more.
- Personal. Create a daily planner and personal Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution for yourself. Add to-dos, set personal goals, embed your calendar, and more.
You get the idea. ClickUp Dashboards are applicable across a wide range of uses – product development, Quality Assurance (QA), remote teams, sales department, and so on.
Ready to try ClickUp? There is no risk involved. You can try their Free Forever plan or check out their premium plans that will scale with your company. Simply click on the link to get started NOW.
What Types of Widgets Are There?
Widgets are what you’ll be using to set up your custom ClickUp Dashboard. There are many widgets, and I can’t cover all of them here, but I will be looking at some of the more popular options.
Let’s look at five widget types that are sure to get a lot of use:
- Time tracking widgets. The perfect tool for monitoring overall productivity. Explore which projects are taking up the most time. Or find out if your teams are overcapacity.
- Status widgets. Use status widgets to track the number of tasks in progress, tasks completed, time spent across multiple tasks, and so on.
- Custom widgets. Set up line charts, pie charts, portfolios, text blocks, chat, and more.
- Goals widgets. Track the progress of specific projects in real-time.
- Embed widgets. Add essential content from outside ClickUp – Google Docs, YouTube videos, tweets, and more.
How do I Ensure I Set Up My Dashboard Correctly?
Whether you’re new to ClickUp or have never used Dashboards before, it can sometimes be hard to know how to get started.
There aren’t too many things you need to be thinking about as you define your data story, but if you take advantage of the following tips, you should have an easier time getting it right.
Determine Who Your Dashboard is for
Is your Dashboard for you? For your partners? Your collaborators? Your team? Knowing your audience will help you determine how to make effective use of your Dashboard.
In addition to your audience, take some time to understand the problem and the story you need to tell using data.
Identify the KPIs that Matter to You or Your Organization
What do you want to track? Having gotten clear on who will be using the Dashboard, you should have a good idea of what KPIs matter. If not, spend some time determining this. When it comes to measurement, specific is always better.
Find the Right Widgets for the Job
There are different widgets suited to different purposes. Find the right ones for the job. For example, if you need to calculate the number of tasks in progress for a specific KPI, take advantage of the Calculation widget.
Customize the Dashboard Layout
The goal of any layout is to communicate key insights in a clear and efficient manner. You may not be able to figure this out on the first go around, but if you commit to iteration (also see next point), you should be able to nail down your formula.
What does your audience think of your Dashboard? Is it working for them?
Ask for feedback ongoingly and iterate as necessary. If you keep reading up on best practices and listen to feedback, you will nail a winning formula in short order.
Setting Up a Dashboard
The great news about setting up a new Dashboard inside ClickUp is the fact that there are several templates to choose from. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel if you don’t want to!
There are only three types of Dashboard templates by default, but we imagine ClickUp plans to add more. They are as follows:
- Simple Dashboard
- Reporting Dashboard
- Time Tracking Dashboard
I set up a Simple Dashboard and ClickUp populated the following:
- A welcome message
- Chat widget
- Docs, Files & Links
- Task List
While this is not the exact setup I would use for personal productivity or event management (two things that are very close to home), I found that the Dashboard was very easy to customize.
New cards are also easy to add and configure, and there are plenty to choose from.
I’m a big fan of any tool that makes life easier, and sometimes an easily customizable and configurable dashboard is exactly that. I sense a lot of potential in ClickUp Dashboards, and for me, it would mostly be a matter of gathering the right information and having a good sense of how it would complement my workflow to boost efficiency.
For any individual or company thinking about using ClickUp Dashboards, I think the same thing would apply.
Is ClickUp already a part of your ecosystem? If so, is adoption strong? And if adoption is solid, do you have specific KPIs to track? If you have KPIs to track, would they benefit from visualization? And if so, would a Dashboard solution work? And would you and your team check in on the dashboard regularly?
All these questions would be pertinent for anyone thinking about taking advantage of this decidedly cool functionality.
While I cannot say that Dashboards is at a “must-have” level for me yet, that could certainly change as I continue to experiment and explore the possibilities, which are admittedly many.
Have you given ClickUp a try yet? If not, and you’re interested in improving your productivity, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain! ClickUp offers a convenient Free Forever plan for those who want to try it out, and they also have Unlimited, Business, and Enterprise plans for those who know what they need. Get started now.
Is AI quickly making modern business tools – productivity apps, email marketing software, social media automation, and others – irrelevant?
“No,” says businesses from across the internet, “because we’ll integrate our software with AI.”
And this is exactly what’s been happening. Which brings us to the subject of ClickUp AI.
It should be said at the outset that I already have a bias toward ClickUp, given its ability to become just about any productivity tool you need it to be at a moment’s notice – Asana, Notion, Google Calendar, Trello, and more. So, what follows may be little more than gushing for what is already an extraordinary tool. We’ll see…
Either way, here’s my review of ClickUp AI.
What is ClickUp AI?
The ClickUp AI writing assistant was designed to help project managers with mundane, time-consuming tasks, such as generating action items for a specific project.
ClickUp AI can:
- Summarize text
- Write and edit documents
- Generate action items
- Role-based tools & templates
- Comment & thread summary
- Generate subtasks
- Task summary
- Task progress update
- AI search (coming soon)
Ready to try ClickUp? They have a convenient Free Forever plan, as well as several more plans that scale with your business. Just click on the link to get your account set up NOW.
So, what is there to do besides play around with ClickUp’s new functionality? I immediately began messing about trying different things to see what I could come up with (and whether I could stump AI). Here is my experience, and the result of my AI experiments.
Experiment #1 – Marketing Plan for My New Year Live Music Event
As my first order of business, I had AI cook up a marketing plan for my new year live music event, slated for January in Victoria, BC.
As expected, ClickUp AI generated a document for me in seconds, just as ChatGPT would.
As anyone who has used ChatGPT or AI writing software will tell you, AI is a great tool for generating ideas you wouldn’t have otherwise come up with.
In this case, I was surprised and/or impressed by the following ideas:
- “The event will feature local and international artists, food vendors, and a fireworks display…” My event probably won’t have all those things (mostly because it won’t happen on New Year’s Eve), but it’s always nice to have another perspective on the matter.
- “Our primary target audience is music lovers aged 18 – 35 living in or around Victora, BC. Secondary audiences include tourists…” This is mostly true, although I have a feeling, we will have a strong contingent of audiences in their 40s as well. The secondary audience part is spot on.
- Marketing Strategies. I doubt we will do everything generated. But it presented me with some great ideas I can use for future events, including advertising, social media, email, influencers, local press, and more.
Experiment #2 – Marketing Task List for My Virtual Assistants
Next, I decided to have AI whip up another new document from scratch. I provided it with talking points (I asked it to generate daily marketing tasks for my virtual assistants), set the tone of voice to “humorous” and creativity to “high,” and let it take over from there.
Within seconds, I had a document that made me smile and laugh. What I did not expect was how the tone of voice affected the specific marketing activities generated. The humor carried over into the tasks themselves!
I don’t think the plan generated would be for us, but no doubt there are companies out there that would love to show off their personality in the manner described in the document.
Just for fun, I also had AI translate the document into Japanese (a language I’m fluent in) and was pleasantly surprised by the results.
There are some cultural references that might fly over a Japanese person’s head, but aside from that, it’s a very on-point translation that’s easy to understand.
Experiment #3 – Drafting a Unique Selling Proposition for My Business
I figured I would try one last experiment before calling it a day. So, just to see if I could stump the AI, I had ClickUp whip up a unique selling proposition for my business.
You don’t often hear the term “unique selling proposition” anymore (many things are personality-, influencer-, or celebrity-driven now), but when comparing products or services, people still like to know what makes one unique versus the other, don’t they?
So, here’s what ClickUp AI came up with based on my prompt:
Well, not only was I unable to stump the AI, but I also didn’t even have to ask for any changes. Again, I’m impressed!
What Else Can ClickUp AI Do?
In my experiments, I mostly had AI generate content or written documents on my behalf, something I knew it would do quite well (but I did not expect it to do as well as it did!).
Besides writing and translating, ClickUp AI can also:
- Summarize documents
- Explain concepts
- Edit/improve writing
- Create action items
- Simplify your writing
- Fix spelling and grammatical issues
- Make content shorter or longer
It’s all in the realm of generating, translating, or expanding on the content you or AI generates, which is now a prevalent functionality. But there’s nothing wrong with that!
Summarily, having AI inside one of the most versatile productivity tools out there is a definite benefit!
So, is ClickUp AI any good?
Yes, it’s better than good.
This really sunk in for me with the third experiment, where I asked it to craft a unique selling proposition for my business. I was expecting to have to sit there and offer more guidance and ask for multiple revisions, but I didn’t.
I didn’t have too many preconceptions about ClickUp AI going in, but I was basically thinking to myself, “This is just another company doing trendy things, isn’t it?”
But now having tried ClickUp AI, I asked myself whether I’d want to do without, and the thought made me sad. That’s how you know something it’s worthwhile!
So, kudos go to ClickUp for recognizing that its users might want to take advantage of this new functionality. I think it fits like a glove.
Have you given ClickUp a try yet? If not, and you’re interested in improving your productivity, it’s time you gave it a chance! They have a convenient Free Forever plan as well as Unlimited, Business, and Enterprise plans for those who demand more of their productivity software. Get started now.
Over the years, I’ve experimented with a variety of approaches:
- I’ve done things sporadically or by the seat of my pants, e.g., writing a new song as inspiration strikes.
- I’ve created schedules based on consistency, e.g., publishing a new blog post once per week.
- I’ve created schedules based on daily habits, e.g., going for a walk once per day.
- I’ve quit things for a period and have returned to them, e.g., writing a book.
What I’ve discovered is that every approach is valid. They are all tools. And as we all know, a hammer is the perfect tool for pounding nails, but not for sawing wood.
The sporadic approach is great for the example given (writing songs as inspiration strikes), especially if your career doesn’t depend on writing songs.
Having a weekly schedule for certain activities is a great way to create expectations with your audience and to remain disciplined in producing something for them (like a podcast).
Daily habits will seem grueling at times, but they can be very fulfilling and rewarding if you stick to them.
The last approach, quitting and starting, starting and quitting, may appear to have the least value at first brush. But we all need to step away from certain activities at certain times. And returning to these passions or projects fresh can spark inspiration as never before. For example, going on vacation for two weeks and leaving your work at home (I mean really leaving your work at home).
To make the most of this, you will need to look at what works best for what activity.
I’ve remained consistent with working out four times per week for several months now, so I know I have a proven, working system for my workouts.
But this system doesn’t work for writing. I find publishing daily truly is the best way, though I have started and stopped this practice on a couple of occasions. I’ve found meditation to be the same way. If I’m not doing it daily, I’m not doing it.
Likewise, with any projects that matter, daily action is the only way. It can be very difficult to get back into a project you haven’t touched in a while and to regain the momentum you had going.
The goal, then, is to find a system that works for everything that matters to you.
Summarily, things do have a way of falling out of existence if not acted upon daily.
In an ideal world, you would do something daily to move your key projects forward.
Well, it was new to me anyway. Someone else has probably thought of this before.
Either way, it was Sunday. And I wanted a pizza.
So, I looked up my favorite local pizza place and placed my order. The confirmation message said I’d placed the order for May 30 at 12:30 PM, but I didn’t think anything of it. I honestly thought it was a bug in the system.
So, I drove over to the pizza place for my takeout order at 12:30, only to notice the shop was closed. I realized right away what had happened.
The pizza place was closed on Sunday and Monday. It sounds a little crazy, but where I’m living right now, the city is very quiet on Sunday and Monday, so it kind of makes sense.
Should I cancel the order? No, I decided to let it stand. Count on the fact that the pizza place would have my pie ready for me when I got there on Tuesday (today). And sure enough, they did.
Not all ordering systems have a calendar that allows you to pick the specific date and time you would like your order, but some clearly do.
If you know in advance that you can’t cook on a certain day, or if you know you’re going to be busy, you could place your order well in advance of that date and have a meal that’s ready to be consumed waiting for you. Score.
A couple of years ago, I was asked what my daily routine was like.
And things have changed quite a bit since January 2021! Sometimes I can’t keep track of all the amazing things in my life that happen in a week let alone three years.
So, it feels as good a time as any to offer an update on how I’m spending my time. Let’s get to it!
8:40 AM: Meditation
This is more an ideal than reality right now, but meditation is in my schedule first thing in the morning. Some days I keep to it, most days I don’t. More likely I’m at 7-Eleven buying an energy drink.
9:00 AM – 11:45 AM: Writing & Content Work
Not much has changed here.
I do have the occasional call or meeting during these hours, but certainly not on a Monday.
As much as possible, I use these hours for focused work, usually client work.
11:45 AM: Workout
I keep to this routine three to four times per week.
Two days are dedicated to cardio/full body, two days are dedicated to weightlifting/strength training.
12:15 PM: Committed Colleague Call
I check in with my Committed Colleague four to five times per week, sometimes for 15 minutes, but it often goes longer.
We share breakdowns and breakthroughs, what we’re out to accomplish that day, and create a possibility for the day.
12:30 – 1:30 PM: Lunch
There’s some extra margin built into my schedule as my call with my Committed Colleague may go long. If the call is short, I can shower and get lunch during this time. Otherwise, just lunch.
1:30 – 5:30 PM: Writing & Content Work
I will usually wrap up client assignments during this time block, and begin working on my next blog post, podcast episode, book, presentation, or course.
5:30 PM: Meeting
On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I have a half hour meeting beginning at 5:30 PM.
There typically aren’t any meetings on Monday, Thursday, or Friday during this time, but I may have a coaching call.
I also have a monthly meeting on Monday from 4:45 to 6:00 PM.
6:00 PM: Supper
A big man has got to eat, you know! 😉
6:30 PM – 9 PM: Writing, Meeting, or Training Session
On Monday, it’s typical that I’ll still be writing during these hours.
On Tuesday, I’m usually training program participants.
On a Wednesday, I have a team meeting.
On a Thursday, I’ll be writing.
Twice per month on Fridays, I have meetings lasting from 7:00 to 9:45 PM. Most other Fridays I have a one-hour meeting from 7:00 to 8:00 PM, so on those occasions, outside of meeting time, I’m also writing.
I get to relax for the most part! I’ve earned it.
Nowadays, I often go for drives, walk along the beach, find something to eat, maybe smoke the occasional cigar…
I’m looking at adding fishing into the equation.
Did I ever expect to be writing, coaching, training, and spending as much time as I am in calls and meetings as I am today?
But writing and communication are my access to all wealth.
Coaching and training are my access to fulfillment.
Calls and meetings are my access to community and connection.
Everything one could hope for or want is in my life. It’s abundant. And I’m grateful.
If you’re going to develop any skill as an independent artist, entrepreneur, creative, or anything, make it problem-solving.
Problem-solving isn’t taught in school. The only place I ever received any training in it was in network marketing (and it was worth it).
Why does it matter?
Well, the difference problem-solving skills can make for you, your life, and your career is nearly incalculable.
Things always come up in life. Flat tires. Unexpected bills. Relationships going sideways. Breakdowns of various shades and colors.
Most of us, at best, have thought of one or two ways of solving a problem, and if we were honest with ourselves, we’d see that the few solutions we’ve devised aren’t very effective.
For the most part, we should reserve the word “problem” for our competition, and stick to “challenges” for ourselves, but for the intents and purposes of this post, we’ll let “problem” stand.
Anyway, can you see how having one or two poorly crafted solutions to any problem is a position of compromise?
For instance, if you’re one unexpected bill away from declaring bankruptcy, you’re in a much direr situation than you even realize.
At the risk of triggering you, I need to point out that spending no time thinking about all possible solutions is intellectual laziness.
The reason it’s intellectual laziness is that it’s an indication you haven’t spent much time practicing realistic thinking in your thinking, reflection, and journaling time. That is, of course, if you’re spending any time thinking, reflecting, or journaling at all.
It’s good to adopt a positive mindset. After all, positive thinking improves your overall performance.
But if you’re not also looking at everything that could possibly go wrong with your plans, you’re being unreasonably sanguine about life and the situations it can present you with.
I’ve had flat tires (naturally), fridges and furnaces break down, people ghost me for seemingly innocuous reasons, and much, much more. It’s surprising the disruption and headaches these seemingly simple “problems” can cause in life.
But suffering is always optional. Because there’s something you can do about the situation.
Several years ago, I remember having a car window that went off the track. I knew that I could bring my car to a mechanic. But a little bit of research quickly revealed that the repair could be costly. The car was already 10 years old. I didn’t think the repair was going to be worth the cost. So, I bought a roll of duct tape and taped the window shut.
My business coach, at the time, said to me “That’s super entrepreneurial.”
This turned out to be the ideal solution because, as I recall, three out of four windows eventually all went off track. Then, the car engine took a turn for the worse and the poor Volkswagen broke down completely.
I’m not advocating doing what I did, taping car windows, especially given that authorities might not always look your way with a forgiving eye.
But I could have wasted a ton of money maintaining and repairing a car that was clearly on its last legs. Instead, I chose to handle the challenges with simplicity and ease, putting out a fire and moving on with my priorities.
To summarize, unfortunately, I must use a phrase that’s both a cliché and a rather ambiguous expression – think outside the box.
In every problem or challenge, look for every opportunity for resolution, not just one. It sounds intellectually exhausting, but to the contrary, I have found identifying and implementing unconventional solutions exhilarating.
The alternative is submitting to the “at the first sign of things going wrong, rob a bank” mentality glorified by films like Fun with Dick and Jane, and to me, that’s intellectual laziness of the tallest order. Not to mention, there’s a very good chance such an act would land you in jail.
Looking for more help with problem-solving? Get the Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook NOW because when it’s gone, it’s gone.