You've heard it being talked about around the tracks, this "project management" thing. Where the heck do you start when it comes to managing projects though, and what if you've got a handful of projects on the go at the same time?
I've got you. I'm a chronic sufferer of Shiny Object Syndrome. I get these amazing, shimmering, exhilarating new ideas and they swiftly put the other ideas on the shelf until it's time to start worki- wait... where were those ideas again?!
Before I found Asana I was filling waste baskets with post-it notes and notepads with scrappy to-do lists that were re-written ery damn day because I couldn't remember what I'd started the day before. Ergh. Talk about setting myself up for failure. I missed deadlines. I forgot about tasks all together. I was a freaking shambles.
Not to mention the fact that I'm running a business at the same time as working a day job, volunteering in my community and being the best dang wife, sister, daughter and friend that I can be.
Enter Asana. A place for me to digitally organise my thoughts and my tasks. From an entire project like planning, creating and delivering a paid product to one-off tasks like returning an email - this program saves my ass every day.
So put on your Warby Parkers and let's dive into the first day of your new productive life!
Can you tell me what the heck Asana is?
Asana is a tool that helps teams manage projects from start to finish. It’s the easiest way to break down goals and ideas into actionable tasks, assign that work to teammates, and communicate to move projects forward. It’s free to use, simple to get started, and powerful enough to run your entire business. (via Asana)
How you use your Asana account is as personal as your taste in Netflix shows. However, the same structure within the program will always apply.
- Organisations are the highest level of hierarchy for your business; they are associated with your business’s email account and include all teams. They’re the “boss’ office”.
- Workspaces are shared offices and round-table conversations within the office building. A Workspace is a collection of people and projects, and does not have teams.
- Teams are groups of people in your Organisation who work together. Teams can be any group that you work with: Engineering, Marketing, Design, Recruiting, etc.
- Projects organise your team’s work into lists of tasks. Create projects for your team’s latest initiative (i.e. Website Launch), goals you’re working towards, brainstorms, meeting agendas, or any work that requires many steps or teammates.
- Tasks break down your project into actionable steps. Tasks can be to-dos, requests for teammates, reminders, or ideas.
TRIP UP POINT: If you signed up for Asana with a personal email address, you’ll start off in a Workspace. When you sign up for Asana with your work email address (custom domain), teammates who sign up with the same email domain will be instantly added to your Organization, so you can all work together.
TRIP UP POINT: If you know you’ll be using Asana for work, create an Organization right away. You can’t move projects and tasks between Workspaces or transfer them to Organizations.
Should I create Projects or Tasks?
Projects are the end goals. They allow you to organise all of the tasks related to a specific initiative, goal, or big piece of work.
Tasks are the action steps. Start by adding some tasks for yourself, like things you want to get done today, tomorrow, this week, or later this month.
To create a project:
1. Use Quick Add – just hit that bright orange + button in the top bar, and select “Project”.
2. Click the Projects + button in the sidebar under a Team or Workspace name.
To create a task:
1. Select a line in the main pane, press Enter on your keyboard, then begin typing the task name.
2. You can also use the Quick Add button to add a new task: hit the orange + button in the top bar, then select “Task”.
Subtasks break tasks into smaller parts. When tasks are complicated or more than one person is responsible, create subtasks.
Sections categorise and group tasks within a project. When projects contain several tasks or your workflow has many stages or steps, creating Sections helps you stay on top of your work. You can move tasks between Sections right from the task.
TRIP UP POINT: You can create tasks and not assign them to projects. It can happen accidentally but it’s easy to reassign. If you lose one and you’re certain that you created it, try clicking on Show More > All Items to pick it up again.
TRIP UP POINT: If a task has 5-10 sub-tasks, involves a handful of people or has a complicated workflow, consider setting it up as a PROJECT.
can you give me some tips on managing my workflow?
Dashboards show you a project's progress at a glance.
TRIP POINT: To add more than 3 projects to your Dashboard, upgrade to Asana Premium. My Dashboard defaults to display every project you are the project owner of, but you can customise your Dashboard by adding or removing projects.
To add a project to your dashboard:
1. Scroll to the bottom of My Dashboard and select Add Project Summary.
2. To remove a project, click the X in the top right corner of any project’s card.
Progress Views provide detailed summaries for each project, and automatically populate the information in My Dashboard. The Progress View appears in the right pane of your project when you click into a project.
- Project Owner is the person responsible for moving the project forward. The Project Owner receives a reminder task once a week to update the project status.
- Progress charts automatically show progress: Tasks remaining (incomplete tasks) over time are shown in blue, and completed tasks over time are shown in green. The project due date appears on the chart in grey.
- See project’s story: Use the progress charts to see momentum, progress, and velocity, identify scope changes, or get an indication if you need to pick up the pace or give yourself some time to relax.
Search for groups of tasks. Select whatever criteria you want, such as assignee, complete/incomplete, due date, Sections, or project, and get the list of tasks you need. Favourite the Search View to access it again.
Save items as favourites. Items you’ve favorited will appear in the top of the sidebar with a star icon next to them for easy access.
Colour-code your projects. The colours you choose are unique to your personal view of Asana, nobody else will see them. Colours can be used to categorise projects or whatever way works for you.
Apply tags. Use tags like “Discuss in board meeting,” “Review with team,” or “P1- Company” to group tasks that fall into several projects.