Having worked with a few consulting clients to review and refine their Asana setup, I’ve noticed a common trend; users often underutilise Asana as a work management tool.
When a business first dips their toes in the Asana waters, they often start by using Asana for just one facet of their business. For example, managing client projects. But Asana can be used for so much more than that. It’s the place where you can manage and track all different kinds of work.
In this post, I hope to expand your horizons and get you thinking about other ways of using Asana (or whatever task management tool you use).
In this post:
- Storing deadlines and reminders
- Managing your team
- Billing and invoicing
- Office administration
- Team training
- Client outreach and sales
- Managing client work
- Client reporting
- Setting client expectations
- Setting sales goals and targets
- Web development projects
- Product roadmaps
- Writing, editing, design and other productions
- Brainstorm your ideas
- Storing customer feedback
1. Storing deadlines and reminders
During the act of running a business, there are so many important due dates to keep track of. From when you need to file your annual returns and monthly goods and service tax to quarterly reports and everything in between.
Asana is a great place to keep a track of all these important dates so you’re not caught out at the last minute. Set up a project with all your important dates, set to repeat (weekly, monthly, annually or use a custom period), sync with your calendar and you’re good to go.
2. Managing your team
Managing people can be a real challenge. Especially when your team grows it becomes a little bit like herding cats.
To make this job a bit easier, you can use Asana to:
- Track annual reviews for each staff member.
- Onboard new team members.
- Keep track of employee complaints, feedback and ideas.
- Create a checklist of equipment your employees need to do their work.
- Planning social events.
3. Billing and invoicing
Let’s face it, chasing payments and keeping up to date with bills can be a real pain. Set up a project for billing and invoicing where you can record the due dates for all payments (ingoing and outgoing). Assign these tasks to the right person with a due date and there’s no excuse to miss a payment again.
4. Office administration
Keeping an office running smoothly can be made a lot easier with some simple recurring reminders in Asana:
- Set up a weekly reminder to stock up the treats cupboard.
- Use a monthly checklist for ordering office supplies.
- Set up a roster for cleaning the lunch room.
- Use a project for taking people through health and safety training.
5. Team training
Whether you’re inducting a new team member or training someone for a new role, having a project template for team training can be extremely handy.
For employee onboarding, use a project that gets the new staff member to complete specific induction tasks like:
- Getting familiar with Asana (and other office tools).
- Introducing themselves to key people.
- Signing contracts and providing emergency contact information.
- Completing health and safety training.
- You get the idea…
It’s also a great idea to have staff members create templated projects for key parts of their jobs. Not just for their own use, but so that other people can learn these skills should the situation call for it.
SALES AND CLIENT WORK
6. Client outreach and sales
Asana is a great space for managing your client outreach activities. No need for a separate tool for customer relationship management (CRM). Instead, create a task for each new prospect and use subtasks as reminders to make contact at the right time.
TIP: You can now use Asana’s new Custom Fields to track the potential value of that new client so you can sort your prospects by the size of the deal.
7. Managing client work
Once you have the client on board, set up projects to manage the tasks required to service the client. It’s quite common to set up a brand new team for the client and use separate projects for the different campaigns or projects you’re working on for that client.
8. Client reporting
As you chip away at your various projects, clients are going to want updates on how things are going. Using dashboards, status updates and Google Sheets reports you can quickly update clients on how things are going.
Setting up a new team for each client means you can add the client as a guest to the account where they can comment on tasks and keep up to date with how the project is going.
9. Setting client expectations
Have you ever been in a situation where you’re waiting on a client to provide key information, brand materials or feedback before you can move a project forward? Sending repetitive reminder emails can get annoying. Instead, invite your clients as guests to the project and assign them tasks that list what you need (and by when). That way, it’ll be very clear just who’s holding the project up…
10. Setting sales goals and targets
Clearly communicating your sales targets is one of the best ways to motivate your sales team. Assign a task to each salesman for the month and use Custom Fields to list each individual target as a numerical figure. You could even set these to repeat every month. At the end of the month, you can use project updates and comments to evaluate everyone’s progress and share the successes and learnings.
11. Strategic planning and goal setting
Asana isn’t just for managing day to day tasks. It’s also a great tool for planning the long-term direction of your business. Using a goals project or working in seasons is a great way of planning ahead.
By outline your goals in Asana, you can increase transparency in your team and ensure everyone knows the direction of your company. Trust me, employees really appreciate this extra insight.
12. Planning marketing campaigns
Got a project launch coming up? Planning a seasonal promotion? Why not plan out your marketing tasks in Asana? Set up a project for each campaign and use tasks to set up the timeline of your campaign. Use subtasks to plan who needs to do what (and by when) to make sure you finish all your preparations in time.
If you find yourself running the same kind of campaigns, again and again, set up a project template which you can duplicate every time you need to plan a new promotion.
13. Event planning
You can follow the same steps when planning events. Whether you’re planning a social event for your team, a launch party or pop-up shop, you can use Asana to plan the entire event.
When I worked at Mighty Ape we would attend pop culture expos (like Comic-Con, but smaller). These events would come around a couple of times a year and we’d use Asana to plan every aspect of the event. From planning equipment hire to marketing and stand setup. Using Asana worked so well, we used templates for future events. Using the templates makes it almost impossible to miss a step during your event planning.
14. Content planning
One of my favourite uses of Asana is planning your content calendar. Use sections as months of the year and tasks for each email, blog post or podcast that you plan on producing.
Using Asana’s new Custom Fields you can set up a field to show the status of each piece of content (idea, in progress, finalised).
Similar to before, use task templates to plan what needs to be done for each piece of content. For example, podcasts will have subtasks for editing and uploading. Blog posts will have subtasks for writing and proofreading.
15. Run Asana meetings
Does this sound familiar? You go into a meeting, there’s no clear plan or agenda. You talk for 60 minutes (because that’s the default time for a meeting) and leave with no specifics on what needs to be done (just a vague idea) and then… crickets….
Sometimes you just can’t avoid getting dragged into a meeting. But before you do, make sure there's a clear agenda and purpose for the meeting. One way to do this is to use Asana to plan the meeting. List the discussion points before the meeting, jot down your notes during the meeting and assign action steps so everyone knows what needs to be done after the meeting.
16. Web development projects
Asana is a great tool for bug tracking and planning development projects. You can setup sections for your various sprints and tasks for each of the key actions steps or features you plan on implementing.
With Asana's new board's layout, you can even move these bugs through a development and testing process like you would with scrum project management.
17. Product roadmaps
Planning to develop a new product? Use Asana to list everything you need to do to take the product from idea to reality.
I’ve used Asana to plan and create various products like my Personal Productivity Toolkit and Guidelines. Listing everything you need to do and setting up due dates is a great way of making sure you tackle things in the right order. Planning out your product roadmap ahead of time is really handy for making sure you get the product shipped on time. If you don’t, it’s easy to procrastinate and push the launch back again and again.
TIP: Use the project due date feature in Asana to specify when you want your product to ship and work backwards from here to set the due dates for your various tasks.
18. Writing, editing, design and other productions
Whether you’re a writer, filmmaker or designer, Asana is the perfect tool for planning and tracking the various parts of your creative projects.
I often find the stress and overwhelm that can come at the start of a project will disappear as you plan out what you need to do. By getting the work and ideas out of your head and into a project you feel a lot calmer and more organised. Not to mention, you free up your mental bandwidth for doing the work (instead of planning the work).
19. Brainstorm your ideas
Asana is so much more than just a task manager. It’s essentially a place where you can plan all aspects of your work. Creating a project for new ideas and points of discussion is a great way of helping ideas to germinate. Then, when you’re ready to take the next steps, you can convert a task into a new project and away you go…
TIP: The new Asana boards are ideal for brainstorming and sorting through all your ideas.
20. Storing customer feedback
Whether you’re a software developer, writer, blogger, filmmaker or designer, chances are you come across great feedback from customers and other team members. Use Asana to plan out product improvements and lessons learned from your creative endeavours.
21. Home todo list and chores
Okay, maybe this is a bit geeky, but Asana is great for planning things you need to do around the house like DIY projects and chores. For example, you can setup recurring tasks to:
- Check smoke alarms.
- Clean the windows.
- De-flea the cat.
- Clear your gutters.
- Fix that squeaky door.
22. Wedding planning
You can even use Asana to plan a wedding. Why not? There’s so much to do before the big day, from venue hire and sorting the band, to catering and planning the honeymoon. Take the stress out of planning a wedding by setting up a project and delegating tasks to your friends and family.
Templana even has a wedding planning template you can use to get ready for your special day.
23. Travel planning
In January 2017 we’re starting a 6-month trip around South East Asia and you can bet that we’re planning a lot of it in Asana. It’s super useful to list out everything you need to do before you leave on your big overseas experience:
- Sorting visas and insurance.
- Booking storage.
- Planning and booking flights/accommodation.
- Purchasing travel gear and essentials.
- Managing your research.
Like I said, you can take a lot of stress out of planning when you list everything you need to do in one place. Seeing it all in front of you makes everything so much more doable.
24. Planning what NOT to do
The idea of the not to do list is to list things you shouldn’t waste time on. The author of the 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss, has listed some things he prefers not to do and I’ve recently set up my own list of tasks that don’t deserve my time.
Part of being able to free up your time for more important things is about eliminating things that aren’t important or urgent.
25. Develop new habits
And finally, if you have any habits you’re trying to develop, one of the best ways you can make those habits part of your regular routine is to practice them on a regular basis. For example, if you want to read more, set up a reminder to repeat a couple of times a week and use this to hold yourself accountable. You could even use subtasks to list which books you’d like to read next.
How are you using Asana? If I’ve missed anything on this list (I’m sure I have), let me know in the comments below!