This is a transcript of episode 48 of the OMGrowth podcast.
I’m Lanie Lamarre and my favorite book as a little kid was Eloise and I often like to think “where would she be now?”
Another think I often think about is “where would I be now?” if I didn’t have systems that keep me organized and the work methods to keep me from being distracted.
On today’s episode, I want to talk about a new tool I’ve been playing with that definitely feels like the type of game-changer I soon will wonder how I ever lived without as well.
When it comes to project management systems, I have mad-love for Airtable. Even if you’re team Trello or Asana, I encourage you to hear me out with this, especially if you have clients or deal with any type of collaborations because I know a number of online business owners who rock the socks out of their Trello and Asana… but still lean on Airtable for these types of projects.
In the past, I’ve been known to throw confetti at Airtable for its many views – and you know I’m a sucker for a good view! – but last November, Airtable gave a total aerial money-shot to their views by integrating a new feature called INTERFACES.
WHAT ARE INTERFACES?
Let’s start at the beginning and define: WHAT DOES THIS NEW AIRTABLE INTERFACE FEATURE DO?
The simplest way to describe Interfaces is that they help you see your projects in a way that makes decision-making easier, results more accessible and your workload simpler to manage.
There are a handful of layouts that Airtable Interfaces offer you to choose from and while I could describe to you what they do, I prefer examples and case studies to explain how things work so that’s what we’re going to do here.
The first Interface layout available is the Record Review and this layout works as an advanced form that makes the process of reviewing and approving content for publication a breeze.
Let’s say you work with clients or even on a team when it comes to your content creation: the Record Review Interface is awesome for this because you can set it up so that your client can see all of the pieces of content you’ve created without being able to edit the actual content itself, but they can leave comments and they can check a little box to approve your creations for publishing.
I have personally taken to writing my podcast episodes using the Record Review Interface because I’ve been able to set myself up with a distraction-free way of writing my posts on one side of the screen while I have handy little sections on the other side to jot down keywords for Pinterest and SEO while I’m writing, and I can also easily copy-and-paste what I want to caption for Instagram.
In fact, it’s such an organized method of writing for me that I’m writing my book using the Record Review Interface. Yes, I’m writing a book – which I’m expecting to have ready for April – but writing hundreds of pages in a Google Doc is a nightmare. But by dividing each of the chapters in a simple-to-access sidebar that allows me to focus on writing just one section at a time, I’m better able to find and shift between sections when I think of something I need to add to another area while also being able to hit F11 and just pound a whole chapter out.
While I’m still a big fan of Airtable’s Views, an Interface allows you to generate a beautiful, uncluttered way of looking at your task at hand and managing your workflow in a focused, intentional way.
Another Interface layout that comes in hard with the intentionality is the Record Summary layout.
Any time you’re using a database to share insights or information, the Record Summary interface is what you’re looking for.
For instance, say you’re launching a product and you’re running a competition among your affiliates. You can use this Interface to keep everyone up-to-date as to how all the affiliates are performing and who the top affiliates are.
Likewise if you’re launching a product and there are different deliverables and timelines you need to collaborate on seeing through, but you don’t want to have to manually share all of those updates.
By creating a Record Summary Interface, everyone can stay on top of status deadlines and deliverables without a whole lot of back-and-forth update emails.
video c/o Airtable
The last interface layout – and this one feels like Airtable is flirting with me – but who loves a good Dashboard more than yours truly over here? Apparently, Airtable does because they’ve included it among the Interface layout templates they provide and I’m here for it.
If you’re collecting data or information – for instance, say you’re a content manager who manually collects and stores Instagram Insights: you actually do have to dig for these because your Post Insights and your Stories Insights and your Reels Insights aren’t all located in one place, and they expire so my understanding is that if you want to consult historical data for your Instagram performance, it’s up to you to store that.
Now, spreadsheets are fine but I live for a chart. Being able to see a visual representation of my performance in a way that I can easily identify trends and patterns, peaks and valleys, is key for me, and a Dashboard will deliver that.
Plus, if you’re creating reports for your clients with this information – say you provide a monthly performance summary to your clients – you don’t have to do these manually in a Google Docs anymore; you can use the Dashboard Interface to auto-magically generate those reports for both you and your clients, totally hands-off-the-wheel style.
Same deal for anything you’re having to do a little manual data entry for. We all know Facebook Analytics aren’t necessarily bang-on due to tracking limitations, but nothing is more telling than your bank account to say how much you spent on Facebook ads and how much you made from those ads.
If you’re doing any manual data entry like this, you’ll love what a Dashboard can do for helping you visualize the performance your ad spend is commenting on.
Here’s the thing with playing around with features like this: you put one thing in place and find it useful and then your creative brain starts to ask questions, like “I wonder if I could do it this way instead?”.
And yes, you can use Interfaces with anything your brilliant mind comes up with because there’s also a blank layout – you don’t have to use the templates, even though using them a couple times will help shorten your learning curve.
Another thing that will shorten your learning curve with Airtable is my signature course on the project management system called Airtable Like A Boss, and I’ve just wrapped up my annual update of its contents to include a review of the new time-based views as well as a walk-through of how you can easily set up your own game-changing Interfaces.
This is all in addition to the awesome sauce content that is designed for you to be able to hit the ground running in Module 1 where I set you up to learn by accident and get you immediate quick wins for all of the most common projects an online boss like yourself may want to plan, like sabbaticals and product launching and client onboarding, just to name a few.
Something I’m into is hearing about how YOU are using Airtable Interfaces so if you dive into that wonderful world, please slip into my DMs @omgrowth to let me know what your favorite use case is because I would love to hear it.
Talk soon, baiiieee!