Despite appearances, we at CreativeIQ don’t just roll out of bed looking this awesome and collected. Well, we are naturally pretty organised people, but we also use a lot of systems and processes to give us structure and keep us on-track with projects. One of our favourite systems is Asana.
What is Asana?
I like to think of Asana as a sort of online personal (or team) assistant – only better. OK, it can’t take phone calls or get you a coffee (if only) but it does make team-based work simple, easy and trackable.
Asana is a mobile and web-based application that helps teams organise, track and manage their work. It allows you to log jobs, divide them into subtasks, assign each task to individual team members, set and change due dates, and have the satisfaction of ticking off tasks as you complete them. And that’s just the basics of what Asana can do for your team. Here’s how we use Asana at CreativeIQ:
Complex projects can be broken down into many smaller subtasks. The benefit to this is not only that a large job is made more manageable by dividing it and delegating, but all team members are able to view the project holistically, not just their own individual tasks. You can view tasks that have been completed or are in the pipeline, as well as current tasks.
Organisation & Planning
Asana is a great tool for keeping organised, both individually and as a team. Our team have projects, tasks or jobs that we need to complete on Asana, and since we all work remotely, it’s really important that we know what we need to do, when it needs to be done by, as well as being able to see other elements of the project for reference.
If someone asks me to do something, the first thing I do is check to see if the job has been logged on Asana, and if it’s not, I add it myself. I simply give the task a name, a brief description, decide on a due date, then assign it to myself! I make sure other members of my team can see it by making it public, that way they know I’ve got the task covered and can add their own comments to it if necessary. Plus, Asana will send you reminders (either with push notifications or emails) when it’s nearly due.
This is a visual workflow tool consisting of a number of columns, each representing a different stage in a project. If you used one in a physical sense, you’d probably have a whiteboard or similar, with post-it notes representing the subtasks of your project, moving each one to the next column or stage as tasks are completed.
We were inspired by the concept of Kanban boards and started using Asana’s virtual post-it notes tool in order to brainstorm ideas, categorise projects, suggest content and generally organise ourselves. The brilliant thing about using boards with post-it (or sticky) notes like this is everyone in your team can see them; they can be moved, rearranged and edited; team members can comment on the notes to make suggestions or additions; and all the elements of a project are laid out neatly and clearly to see.
All of the features mentioned above can be used individually or shared with a team. You can have multiple teams on Asana, too. Functions like the inbox and conversations are handy to keep discussions regarding particular projects separate and easy to find, as well as preventing lots of dialogue clogging up your regular email inbox.
Harvest Time Tracker
Harvest is a time tracking application that integrates with Asana. The great thing about it, other than being an easy way of tracking the way you divide your time, is that once Harvest is linked with Asana, there is a little icon in the shape of a stopwatch at the top of each task that you simply click on, and it automatically begins tracking that task. Once you’ve finished working on that task, you click the stopwatch again and it will record the amount of time spent on that task in Harvest. It’s a very easy way to see how you’ve broken down your time across the day or week, as well as stay on budget for a billable project.
Do you use Asana or a similar system to help manage and track your (or your team’s) workflow? How well does it work for you?
Where Erin really shines is working with all things words. From crafting the perfect story to share what you do, through to polishing your own creations to bring out the sparkle, her way with words will give you that special buzz when someone nails exactly what you’ve been trying to say but couldn’t quite get there yourself.
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