Do you need a free time management tool? No Im not talking about a clocking-in and clocking-out machine, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day for everything we try to get done. I know I curse sometimes that I wish there were more hours. I do tend to neglect my sleep in the process of building my empire !
We are barraged by emails, instant messages, distractions from interesting articles or a funny video someone sent you free, time is a scarce commodity. Time management has grown into a vastness of applications, software, and hardware all with a single purpose – making sure every minute you spend at work is productive!
This tool – Asana – is a tool that I use to stay focused on goals, projects and daily tasks to grow my business. I have a habit of getting sucked down rabbit holes, I run about a bit in the warrens, time ticking by, like I’ve been eating the lotus flowers in The Odyssey, then eventually I resurface to find I have wasted half an hour!
Asana has a basic program that is free, it is limited but for a single business like mine, it works just fine.
How To Use Asana
Best place to start is to set your account up.
Choose the right area your business is in. If yours is anything like mine, it will fit quite nicely into the Marketing catagory. Then put in your website name or your own name for your team.
Next screen brings up your contact details. So I use my web email.
Asana has numerous interlinking features within the platform, essentially for the small business with 4-5 employees who all work closely together on projects. It offers an interface where each is assigned their tasks within the project and each can see how things are progressing to the common goal of the deadline for the completion of the project. It is an intuitive platform, fresh and clean. It can be customised to suit your character, what colours help you work better and assist you in staying focused.
There are interactive videos for each aspect of the platform if you want to watch how things are done. I’m not a great watcher, I like to dive right in nd get on using things but I do go take a look at the ‘instructions’ if it doesn’t come straight away.
Lists and Calendar
The main feature of Asana is the ability to create lists of ideas, brainstorms, keywords, perfect titles for blogs. I know that I get flustered and have tons of notes, post-it tags reminding me of things I have thought about whilst doing some thing else – my rabbit holes – so instead going off on a tangent, I can add them to one of my task lists to remember about later, rather than add yet another confusing note and feel totally disorganised. It also means that when one of the tasks has been completed, I can log an accomplishment, which is a good feeling! It gives me a balance with productivity and relaxation. The headings of each list are customised by you, then each of the cells can be filled with the details. You can set yourself a completion date for the task and assign it to yourself or others in your company. This then gets transferred to the calendar, so you can see at a glance whats going on. Its intuitive so quick to pick up and apply to your business.
The features can be accessed by the menu bar at the top. You can flick between your tasks and calendar. You can assign different colours to the different lists. This is ideal if you have other members of staff in your business, at a glance you can see that Pete is in green and responsible for the team building day next Tuesday or Evie is arranging the social media features for your latest release. For me, I use them to denote the different types of blogs I write, not that its important to separate them as I do them all, but it looks pretty cool and interesting on my calendar!
This is a feature that I don’t use as I am the only one in my business right now, so everything is down to me. But would be perfect to keep track on projects.
Perfect feature if you have different staff members all working on the same project where each one is in charge of a segment. Everyone can see how each is doing and support towards the completion deadline smoothly. Progress can be monitored by everyone, so reducing the need for so many catch-up meetings. The workday is then better managed and greater productivity achieved with satisfaction in a decent days work.
Another aspect of the the portfolio feature is that you can step back one level and see what the progress is, of each key section. Keep an eye on where everyone has got to, who needs help and who is forging ahead.
Each segment of the project can be listed, with details on progress within each cell. This enable those that are reliant on others to be a certain stage for their section to be introduced, can keep track.
Asana automatically saves the tasks, portfolio delegations, reports that have been worked on, keeping you up to the minute on what has been done and what is still outstanding, so at a glance you can see the progress made without having to go speak to each individual.
There are so many features that I wish I could use them all! The only drawback I have found is that I over extend myself and think I can get done more in a day than is humanely possible. But no worries, if you run out of time for all the tasks, you reschedule them later in the week or next week. They dont disappear from your tasks lists even if they get past due – no such luck! They are still there for you to remember and get done.
But I have found that I am much more productive with everything down, I know what is expected of me and I do my damnedest to get it done. Hence the lateness of the hour now!
Use it and stay focused on getting your work done efficiently. The competent companion for getting your sh*t done !