Hack Your Project Management with Asana

As a consultant to small business owners, I’m often asked about how to get organized. With multiple projects, deadlines, and clients to keep track of, my colleagues and clients are often left trying to manage it all from an overstuffed inbox and a stack of post it notes. Luckily, there is a digital solution: Asana. I love and recommend Asana for many reasons: it’s free, it’s intuitive and easy to learn, and it keeps me out of my email inbox.

Having a project management (PM) tool is crucial for any business owner. If you’re a team of one, a PM tool can keep all of your lists and internal to-dos organized so you aren’t wasting time tracking down that piece of paper you used to jot down your notes. A PM tool also allows the solopreneur support in the quest for focus — that elusive skill that holds Shiny Object Syndrome at bay and keeps you on task for your greater goals.

If you run a team or interact with clients, a PM tool allows you to converse with your teammates and clients on various projects, store documents all in one place, and add comments, support, and deadlines to tasks as you move thru to the end of the work.

While there are a number of incredibly robust PM systems out there, Asana is my go-to for my business and my #1 recommendation for my clients. And although most people use Asana on a very surface level incredibly effectively, there are a few key features that will up your Asana game and bring you (and your team) more efficiency, ease, and even save you tons of time.

1) Get Integrated

Asana has a large number of powerful integrations and my two favorite are Zapier and Harvest. Head to https://asana.com/apps to find the apps that you want to integrate.

Harvest is a time tracking and billing program. If you track your time for your clients (or you simply want to get a good picture of how you spend your days — highly recommended) connect Harvest and watch how easy it is to track your time while checking off your tasks:

Zapier is one of the most robust ways to integrate other tools and systems with Asana. Watch how I connect my scheduler to Asana and automagically create a new project for every 1×1 client with all of the information I need gathered up for me:

2) Change the View

One big struggle I hear about with Asana is being able to see tasks that were completed. When you create a project, your task list will default to a priority view (the priority being the order in which you entered the tasks) but you may want to see a different view. You may also want to ensure that everyone on your team is seeing the same view. Here’s how:

3) Add Tasks to Multiple Projects

Tasks often cross over from project to project. To save time and avoid having to check the task off twice, assign one task to multiple projects in one place.

4) Frame of Reference

Projects and Tasks often rely on one another and you want to create clear communication with your team about what comes first. Using Hypertext, you can easily create a clickable link to any task in any project from another task. Like this:

5) Group It Up

Assigning due dates and responsible people can become tedious if they are all the same. Why not select them all and assign it just once?!

Asana’s robust features go on and on…. and did I mention it’s completely FREE for up to 15 users in an organization?!

And here’s a bonus tip to get the most out of your Asana experience:

Email to Asana

Asana is incredibly useful in getting you out of your email inbox. When working with clients or colleagues who are new to this system, you might find that you still get emails that relate to a project or task in Asana. As you process your inbox, take these steps to get your tasks into Asana for easy organization:

  • forward the email to x@mail.asana.com (This email address is the same for every Asana account. Asana matches your email address to your account and creates a new Task in the My Tasks list. You can add a new email in the From Email tab under Account)
  • Asana will interpret your email as follows: Email subject = Task name Email body = Task notes Email attachments = Task attachments People in the CC field = Task Followers

You can then assign due dates, change or add projects, or add subtasks inside Asana.

PS — April is Asana month inside It’s Not Complicated, the membership site that supports your growing online business. For even more training on Asana (and to access all of the monthly topics and tutorials), join the It’s Not Complicated family today!

Originally published at www.aspireandgrow.com on March 24, 2015.