Since I started working from home back in 2012, I've looked far and wide for the perfect system to keep me organized. I've tried Asana, 17 Hats, Trello, Wunderlist, DaPulse, and more.
All of those were great for one thing or another, but I wanted a system that could handle virtually anything I threw at it. Finally, I found Airtable.
Airtable is like a fancy spreadsheet, but it's easy to navigate and set it up for different things. You can have multiple teams with multiple bases and the best part is it's totally FREE.
That's right. Free.
So what's Airtable good for?
Practically everything. You can make an editorial calendar, an amazing task list or project management system, or even a client planner. You can also use it to build forms to share and have people fill them out for a survey or an application. I have forms that I use to collect information from people interested in discovery calls with me.
Airtable also has premade templates you can use. One you might be interested in is the Product Catalog & Orders template. They have an extensive library of templates that come in handy, but you can make up your own as well.
And I know what you might be thinking... This lady must be an affiliate or something! But the truth is, I just love Airtable so much I want to share it with everyone. It keeps me sane by keeping me organized.
How does Airtable keep things organized?
The answer is "Bases." Airtable uses bases to organize information around one topic or area you want to track. Each base is independent of the others and can be shared. Within the base, you can have multiple tables with plenty of columns and rows.
Each column can be customized as a certain type of field.
- Need a column of email addresses? No problem.
- A column of links?
- A column of check boxes?
You can even have a column of file attachments! This is especially useful if you need to collect files from a large number of people because they can upload it by filling out a form you make in the base using the "Views" feature.
"Views" do a lot of the heavy lifting in Airtable.
One function they provide is helping you narrow down the results you see in a table. So if you had dated information and you only wanted to see the information for the last 7 days, you could set up a view for that. If you only wanted to see information for Facebook posts in your editorial calendar, you could set up a view for that. Views also help you build a "Form View" which will allow you to collect data from others in an organized way. Think Google Forms, but with the ability to collect files. Another view feature that was just added is the "Calendar View." If you have a date column, you can turn your table into a calendar--which is amazing for scheduling content.
When you share a base, you can share the whole thing, or just a specific view--hence the reason the "Form View" is so useful. Views and bases can also be embedded on a website page so you can control the URL you send people to or use the URL they give you to share.
What about the integrations?
Well, let me tell you. There are tons of integrations with this tool. The most useful one, in my opinion, is the integration with Slack.
For those that don't know, Slack is a team communication tool--almost like having a private social media platform for you and your team to communicate on so you don't have tons of emails between you all. I actually use Slack like a virtual assistant I don't have to pay, but that's a story for another day.
I use the integration between Airtable and Slack to get a notification anytime someone fills out one of the forms I built with Airtable. This allows me to react at my earliest convenience. So if someone wants to set up a discovery call with me, they fill out the form on my site and it automatically posts the information to the Slack channel I have connected to that particular form. I can see their entire response within Slack--so I don't have to go to Airtable to view it. When I'm ready, I can use the information to schedule a call, ask follow up questions, or do whatever I need to do.
Another integration that has been wonderful to have is between Airtable and Google Calendar. You can create a calendar event right from Airtable and sync the two so that you have the information in both places. Having calendar events in Airtable means you can build out other tables within the base to keep additional information you may need for your day-to-day operations or upcoming events. Airtable also integrates with Google Drivve to make it easy to access your docs, images, and other files you keep there.
There are plenty of other integrations with Airtable. Many of them are facilitated through Zapier. Airtable provides detailed and easy-to-understand instructions on how to set up the integrations, how to use Airtable features, and how to set up your account.
This AMAZING free tool has kept me from looking for other solutions. I used to always be searching for the next tool that would keep me organized, but since finding Airtable, my search has come to a close.
So, you ready to get organized with Airtable? I suggest grabbing a free account, checking out their learning resources, and playing around with one of their templates. Soon, you'll be making your own bases to fit your custom needs.
Now, I don't want you to leave this post empty-handed, so I have a gift for you! It's the Editorial Calendar Template I developed to track my blog posts, list emails, social media posts, and launch campaigns.
You can copy the base by clicking the button in the upper right-hand corner. Just copy the base and then customize it to your needs. To grab it, just visit the link below.
Note: If you don't have an account before copying this base, I may get a $30 credit to use toward a premium plan, but I don't have the need for a premium plan and I'm not sharing to get the credit, so please feel free to sign up for an account before copying the base.