If you aren’t using a task management system such as asana to manage your small business, you are missing out on a lot of time saved and productivity lost from using papers & emails to do so.
Asana has become a central hub in my business, and since I started using it, I have eliminated:
- To-do lists: Even though I plan my week ahead using my priority planner, my priorities eventually go onto Asana. And I use Asana to track them going forward
- Notebooks & sticky notes: While I love good colour coded sticky notes, you’ll eventually outgrow them in managing the different moving parts of your business
- Emails: I hardly ever send an email to a contractor or team member in my business. We communicate primarily through Asana and occasionally on Slack
- Reminder apps: I have a personal project within my Asana workspace where I add all my errands and personal things that need to get done. I assign myself to each task and a date. That way, nothing falls through the cracks.
As you can see, Asana is a powerful tool that you can use to replace at least 4-5 other apps/tools you may be using in your business. The problem with having so many different apps is that it gets confusing. And most times the apps don’t talk to each other. It also becomes overwhelming to have to open three different apps to figure out what you need to do everyday in your business.
Asana eliminates the overwhelm, creating one central hub for everyone in your business to access and keep up with their tasks.
The best thing? It’s free! There is a paid version, but you definitely do not need it to start streamlining your business today.
If you want to feel more organized and less scattered, here are the steps to get started with Asana in an hour:
Step #1: Sign up for Asana
You can either use your personal email or an email with a business domain to sign up for Asana. If you use an email with a business domain, you automatically get free access to adding 15 additional members to each of your projects for free.
Step #2: Decide on your organizational hierarchy
Now it’s important to have a good idea of how you want to organize your Asana workspace. Asana is structured in 4 hierarchies:
- Teams: A team is a group of projects that belong to a similar area in your business. Think of teams as the main departments in your business, e.g. marketing, operations, clients, products
- Projects: A project belongs to a specific team in Asana. You could have more than one project in each team, depending on how similar or different the tasks in those projects are. For example, you may want to have a project for each product you have developed in your business. You may want to have a project for each social media platform you create content.
- Lists: A list is a group of related tasks. Lists help you organize the tasks within your project. Making it easier to track, drag-and-drop and view your tasks based on the list in which the task belongs
- Tasks: A task is the actual activity that is tracked in Asana. You can assign people, dates, priorities, subtasks within tasks and many more options.
The important thing to note is that there is no one size that fits all when it comes to your organizational hierarchy. Start simple, and build as you go along. You could also align your hierarchy to how you have organized your folders in your digital workspace.
Just make sure that you can easily track everything. Here’s an example of an organizational hierarchy for a small business in Asana:
Step #3: Create your teams
Once you have signed up and you have an outline of your hierarchy, you can start creating your teams. Click ‘Add Team’ to add a team.
Step #4: Create your projects
You can only create your projects once you have created your teams. Every project must belong to a team in Asana.
Click on any team and click ‘Add Project’. You can either create a new project by;
- using a template from the Asana library,
- Creating a project from scratch (I use this option the most)
- Creating a new project from a spreadsheet template (use this option if you have purchased done-for-you or downloaded our free team onboarding Asana template)
Step #5: Add team members to your projects
If you already have an existing team or contracts you have outsourced work to, it’s a good idea to get them set up in Asana. This way, you have one central place to manage your team and have a view of what everyone is working on.
You can start by adding your team members to your workspace, and then adding them to specific projects or teams. This makes it more efficient for your team, especially contractors, as they only see projects and teams of which they are members.
You can also make projects private (no one in your organization will have access to a private project unless you invite them).
PRO Tip: Once you have gotten comfortable with Asana, you can integrate a time tracking app like Toggl, so that your team members can track time spent on each of their tasks, to boost productivity, increase accountability and analyse whether you are getting more efficiencies from using Asana to manage tasks.
Step #6: Create tasks
This is where you will spend the most time. If you have a task list somewhere, now is a good time to copy and paste those tasks into the relevant projects in your Asana workspace. Once you have created your projects, you will need to create lists within those projects. You will then click ‘Add Task’ under each list to start creating a task.
If you have Standard Operating Procedures already in place, you can also start to create the tasks that are relevant to your SOPs, and create the steps/workflows in your task card.
Setting up recurring tasks is also a good place to start, as these are the tasks that are typically the most time-consuming. You can automate recurring tasks by setting the frequency at which the task needs to be completed.
Once the task is completed, Asana will automatically create the same task with its new due date.
Good practices when it comes to setting up tasks:
- Always assign a due date to a task that requires action
- Always assign a person to a task that requires action
- Mark tasks as complete once you complete them, and get your team members to follow suit.
Step #7: Colour code and tag your tasks
You can colour code each project so that you can track your project tasks when viewing all of your tasks in one view. This is called the ‘My Tasks’ view in Asana.
I like to colour code my projects in the same team with the same colour. That way, I don’t have many different colours to deal with in my workspace, and it’s easy for me to remember which colour relates to which type of task. For instance, pink relates to content creation and yellow relates to client management tasks in my business.
Hint: You can use the same colour codes for your task types as the ones you use in your Google Calendar. That way,
everything is consistent and easy to remember.
A few other amazing features in Asana
- Phone app: Download the phone app to view everything that’s going on in your business while you’re on the go
- Messaging tab: You can send messages to your team within Asana
- Mentions using @: You can mention people using the ‘@’ sign in the comments section of each task
- Attachments: You can attach documents straight from Google Drive, or file uploads into each specific task
- Zapier integrations: You can integrate Asana with so many other applications in your business, and further reduce the amount of manual work done in your business
- Multiple project view: You can view your projects in board, list, calendar view formats. There are a few other view formats on the paid version, but the free version gives you enough formats to use as a start.
Asana is a powerful way to organize your small business and set up the right foundation for scalable growth. Not only does it eliminate the need for 10 other apps to manage your to-do’s and team members, but also gives you the ability to manage pretty much every other core area of your business efficiently.
You can use Asana for;
- Onboarding & managing client projects
- Tracking leads & sales
- Tracking key performance indicators
- Setting & tracking goals and progress
- Prioritizing tasks
- Weekly planning
- Managing your teams
- Managing launches
- Creating a database of important business information
- Bringing your SOPs to life
- Creating and using templates for consistency and quality control