A while back (in the second episode, in fact) I covered the productivity/todo list app TeuxDeux, a delightful tool that helps you manage your todo lists, with a focus on only essential features. I still love TeuxDeux, but as my team and business has grown since then, I needed to upgrade to something with more power.
Asana, a free and powerful productivity tool for individuals and teams
Asana is a delightful, downright sexy (gasp!) solution for teams and individuals looking to level up their task management. It’s all in the “cloud”, and you can access your tasks from anywhere—phones, desktops, and tablets. Asana lets me track tasks that need completing, assign them to team members, discuss the tasks, and more. You can set deadlines, add tags, subtasks, and so much more.
As always, the audio and transcription are below.
Asana: Productivity is sexy again — Audio player
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Asana: Productivity is sexy again — Transcription
Hello and welcome to yet another episode of Wrapp Up. This week I want to talk about productivity apps, the one that I’ve chosen to use specifically. So if you’re a listener of Not a Real Job, which is my other podcast with my pal Joel Kelly, if you’re not you should be. If you are, you might remember on a recent episode, episode 12, which is free on the Not a real Job website – you can google that – we talked a little bit about our productivity apps and what we use to manage our to-do list.
One thing that I mentioned was I was having a hard time finding an app that I could use with my team so I could keep track of projects that my team was working on for me or different tasks that they were handling and things like that.
However, I found one, quickly after I started googling around and asking for recommendations in that podcast episode and found Asana. I’ve used Asana before, maybe a year or two ago, right around the time that it first opened up to the public. And it was okay, but I didn’t really get it. And the reason then is because I was mainly working on things by myself. But now with the team Asana makes so much sense.
Basically it is a shared to-do list that you can do with anyone, whether they have their own task list or anything like that, they can integrate very easily into the Asana workflow. So members of my team, even though they might be tracking their own tasks separately, this is a way for us to all to go, dive in head first, and manage things together, basically the concept of teams, which are different groups of people working on certain projects.
For example, I have a Van Patten media team and within that team I can have a bunch of projects. So I’ve got projects for client work, things like our server workflow that we’re working on, things like that. They each have their own project and I can invite my team members in per a project or the whole team to see everything that the company is working on. I go with that later approach. I just let everyone see everything. So we’re on the same page. If there was an instance where I had a one-time contractor come in, I can easily just say they can only see this project.
So you create these projects and then you go and you just add bullet point to-do items. It’s super easy. They’ve got tons of keyboard shortcuts and it’s all very natural. You type your to-do list, you hit Enter, and it starts a new one. Backspace is going delete that to-do item. So it’s awesome.
And then you can also do even more with these to-do items. You can add in a due date. You can put tags in there. Each to-do item can actually have sub to-do items. You can have maybe a big task like “Finish the design for the media page” and then within that that’s going to be a separate task, a subtask, “Work on the photo section,” “Work on the video section,” or whatever the case might be. You can do file attachments and you can comment on these items, you can provide a description, so you’re basically building many discussion areas and many multimedia areas around specific tasks in your to-do list. That’s so cool.
Already I’ve only been using it for a couple of days now relatively speaking but I already find that I have a much better sense of what’s going on in my company. You can assign tasks to people. So I can say a certain task “I want this to be handled by my assistant.” Great, I can go in there, type her name in the box and it’s super easy. She gets a notification. I get a notification because I’m following that task. So it will show up in my to-do list inbox every time she adds a comment, or marks it finished, or uploads a file there. That will show up very easily.
It’s also great because it integrates with email, so if you’re already a big email user and you do you everything in your inbox Asana can send you notifications and you can reply to to-do items directly from your inbox. It’s so great. You can manage your own stuff for your personal projects, your company’s projects. It’s just super fantastic and it’s easy. They’ve got a bunch of iPhone apps out there using their API. I like Tappsana, T-A-P-P-S-A-N-A, but there are a lot of choices out there. So that is Asana, give it a look. Asana.com. A-S-A-N-A.com.
Now I still use to-do teuxdeux.com for some of my own personal things, but I am finding that I’m switching into Asana more and more when I have these personal projects that I want to work on. It’s just nice to keep things a little more organized. So I recommend checking out Asana. It’s super fast. It’s 3 up to 15 users. Really it can’t be beaten. All right, I’ve been Chris Van Patten. This has been Wrapp Up.