When it comes to corporate success, good organizational skills, tools and policies are a necessity. Consider the business world as a system made of smaller tasks that combine and lead to the final outcome, the bigger project or goal. A break anywhere along the chain of tasks can quickly lead to managerial dysfunction. Bigger projects rely on teams.
Working in teams can sometimes be tricky, especially when you don’t have a system to facilitate the work in the virtual world. Because our work is virtual and we aren’t in the same physical space as our team members, we have an additional challenge to make sure communications and systems are working smoothly.
Enter, Asana. There are several workflow tracking tools and Asana is among the best!
Asana is a simple tool that’s easy to master and Asana is committed to improving their awesome program with feature updates. As with most program out there, you can just learn a little and do the basics, or you can learn how to put this tool to work for you in some pretty cool ways.
Here are 18 ways to use Asana to keep you and your team organized!
Let us now get to the nitty-gritty details of this post. Below are eighteen ways to stay organized and run effective teams with Asana …
1) Train Your Team Members On How to Use Asana
As a decision maker, you could be a prowess when it comes to Asana. But, if your team doesn’t know how to use Asana, your prowess isn’t going to do much here. So put together a small training for all your team members to enhance their Asana skills and mastery. If you’ve got someone on the team who knows Asana inside and out, that’s a huge plus – she can give advice and provide assistance with any user technical issues.
- Hire a team member with Asana expertise
- Organize a mandatory virtual Asana training day for everyone on your team
- Email your team members on a regular basis (e.g. monthly) with tips and articles to increase user skill.
2) Create Different Workspaces for Different Purposes
Asana can be used for any type of team (family, professional etc…).
Think of the Workspace on Asana as the main office where all the team members converse, operate, and deliver results. Don’t mix your “main offices”, so to speak by bringing in different tasks from a different scope. Create a different workspace for each of your businesses or niches:
- Project A
- ‘Project B
How to Create a New Work Space
- Click your profile photo
- Click More
- Select Create New Workspace
What you can do on Workspace:
Access the Workspace Settings menu to:
- Edit the Workspace name
- Manage people and invitations
- Manage billing (applicable for those who’ve upgraded to a premium Workspace)
3) Create Projects Relevant to Your Workspace
Within each workspace that you have created, you can create projects, for example Web Designing, Newsletter Planning, Office Construction, Customer Service Improvement, etc.
How to Create New Projects:
- Access the Workspace You Want to create projects on
- On the top bar, click on the Quick add button next to MY INBOX,
- On the scroll bar that appears, select Project.
4) Share Your Projects
If you do not share your created projects with your team members, no one else will see them but you! Therefore, after creating each project, share it with all the necessary members by clicking on the share button at the top of the project screen.
On your Sidebar:
- Click on Projects
- Select the Project you want to share
- On the Project Screen, Click on the Share Button at the top
- Choose Team Members you want to share it with.
5) Use Different Colors for Your Projects
This helps you easily differentiate your projects at a glance. It also makes your Workspace look organized – we like that!
How to change/ assign colors to your projects
On your Left Sidebar:
- Point on Projects
- Hover on a project you want to assign color
- A drop down-arrow appears to the right of the project’s name
- Click on that arrow
- A box of colors appears
- Select one
When you hover over a Project or Tag in the left pane, a down-arrow will appear to the right of its name. Click that arrow, and the new Left Pane drop-down menu appears. From there, you can select a color. (You can also quickly duplicate, archive or delete the project, or turn it into a favorite).
6) Create Sections for Every Project You Create
Projects, from a general view, can look intimidating and overwhelming, but broken into small actionable steps, or sections, they aren’t. For instance, if your project is Website Designing, you may want to divvy it up into sections like:
- Front Page
- Contact Page
- Blog Page
- Media Page
- Email Collections etc.
How to add Sections
- On the project screen,
- Hover around Add Task button…
- A button ‘add section’ appears on the right
- Click on it to add sections.
7) Add Relevant Tasks to Each Section Created
Tasks are the building blocks of the projects previously discussed, and are critical to get, and keep, your organizational goals or objectives on point. In the Front Page section above, tasks may include:
- Content Creation
- Front Page Template design
- Email integration
How to Add Tasks
- Go to the project screen
- Hover around Add Task button
- Click on Add Tasks button
8) Set Due Dates for Each Task
Virtual Assistants, Online Business Managers, and Project Managers usually have to work under deadlines, so set deadlines for each task created. This will help each team member prioritize her tasks according to urgency.
How to Set Due Dates for Tasks
- Go to the project screen
- Click on the Task you want to modify
- That brings you to the Task’s Screen,
- Click the Due Date field and either type a date or select it from the Calendar.
9) Assign Team Members to the Tasks Created Above
Go ahead and assign your team members to each task so that every member knows exactly what to do. This helps managers know what needs to be done and who should do it. The assigned members will then have the option to Do the task, to Delegate, to Defer or to Delete. Once members have been assigned tasks, they will be able to change the due date, add comments or even alter the description.
How to Assign Members to Tasks:
- Go to Projects Screen
- Go to My Tasks
- Click the assignee field from the right
- Begin typing the person’s name or email address
- Select the person from the autocomplete results
10)Add Task Followers
Just because each team member may be working apart from each other, it doesn’t mean that we all have to do our task without any interaction. Asana is all about making teamwork effective.
Asana has a really nice feature that allows us to add “task followers”. Task followers aren’t responsible for that task completion, but they might need to be clued into the progress of the task. With this feature, the team member completing the task can ask questions, solicit feedback, and keep teammates in the loop. Task followers might advise accordingly, offer suggestions, or contribute towards the success of the assigned task.
You can easily add followers at the bottom of any task and they will receive notifications about any activity on the task.
To add or remove other followers on a task:
- Click the + button in the followers field of the task pane
- Assign Copies of a Task
If several team members will be performing similar tasks, use Asana’s handy feature that allows you to assign copies of a task to different members.
To assign multiple copies of a task:
- Click the assignee field in the right
- Select the assign copies icon
12) Sort Your Tasks
Asana now allows you to view your tasks on your dashboard depending on the urgency. You can sort tasks which are due by Today, Upcoming or Later.
How to Sort Tasks
- On the Projects Screen,
- Go to My Tasks
- Different Categories are shown: Today, Upcoming or Later.
- Click to sort
Having a general idea of what you need get done is one thing, but actually prioritizing is another. Asana empowers you to consciously direct your efforts and decide on the sequence of tasks that need to get done. “My Tasks” in Asana lists all tasks assigned to you and lets you sort them into three priority sections: Today, Upcoming and Later.
13) Send out Announcements to Your Team Members
In case there is urgent information you need delivered to all your team members, you can do this within Asana. Asana allows you to send out team-wide announcements which typically act as thread-based notifications.
You can easily do this by:
- @mentioning people
- Updating tasks and controlling who sees them
14) Set up Recurring Tasks
Really, you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Some tasks are repeated either on a weekly or monthly basis. Please save yourself time and use Asana to automatically regenerate the Tasks for your project on a regular basis when you can.
Setting up Recurring Tasks
- Set the due date of the task
- Click on Set to Repeat
- Choose the frequency the task should repeat
15) Sync Asana Tasks to Your Calendar
Asana has a super handy option that lets you sync the tasks into your own calendar. This will remind you of the tasks due beforehand right from the comfort of your phone if you like.
To sync an Asana project:
- From the sidebar, select the project you want to sync
- From the header, click the dropdown arrow to access the project actions
- Select Sync to Calendar
16) Add Descriptions to Your Tasks
In the tasks section already discussed above, you can easily add a description beneath this task. This feature ensures that you can provide the assignee all the information she needs to get the tasks done. In the description, you can attach files, provide links or anything else that you would like the assignees know about the assigned tasks. This ensures clarity which is a key to an organized work strategy.
To add Description, while creating a task, there is a comment box for typing your description.
17) Leave a Workspace
To stay organized and focused within Asana only stay within workspaces that are relevant to you at the moment. If you feel that a certain workspace is no longer applicable, maybe because all the tasks have been completed, you might choose to opt out. To do this:
To Delete Workspace:
- Click your profile photo
- Click More
- Select Remove me from this Workspace
18) Add apps (add-ons)
You can take your Asana Workspace up a notch or two and add some useful apps to your dashboard for more organization power.
To do this, on My Profile Settings, go to Apps tab and add apps from the Asana’s Marketplace (most are free).
Bitlium is a cool app that provides a single sign-on solution that allows all of the team members to log in once and enjoy one click access to Asana.
Other useful apps include:
- Google Drive
- Google Calendar
- How to Add Apps
How to Add Apps to Your Asana’s Dashboard
- On your Profile Settings,
- Navigate to Apps tab
- Add apps from the Asana’s Market Place
- Go back to Apps tab
- Click on the Activate Buttons to authorize the apps
Asana is a master at organization for teams. Virtual teams especially benefit from using a project manager and Asana is one of the best!