How to Use Asana to Organize Your Life
If you've read Getting Things Done or many other popular productivity books out there, you've probably come to the conclusion that in order to remember stuff, you should write it down.
The problem is when you have many things, and therefore many lists, to keep track of. I love my Bullet Journal / ARC planner like no tomorrow, but with the amount of stuff in my head, sometimes keeping it all straight and organized can be kind of crazy.
This is why I use Asana. It is one place that I can keep EVERYTHING that gets dumped out of my head and organize it in a way that I have just the information I need at any given moment. Let's dive into how Asana helps me organize my life...
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What is Asana?
Asana is actually a web and mobile application geared towards helping companies keep their projects and employees all on the same page. It is basically a group project management system. The design and simplicity of it, however, means that a lot of people use it to manage their personal lives as well.
When you sign up for a free Asana account, you will be shown a short video explaining how it works. You can skip all the parts of the sign up that are company-oriented. It will ask you to assign your "team name," which can be anything, and will become the name of that "workspace."
You'll immediately be set up with two workspaces: The one you just named for your team, and another called "Personal Projects." I recommend NOT using the one called Personal Projects, because there are limits on it that aren't on all other workspaces (like you can't use the "tag" feature).
In theory, you could set up one workspace for personal or household things, and another for business things. This would be great for people who like to keep those two areas of their life separate. Just know, however, that you can't see tasks in both workspaces on the same page. You would have to click back and forth between the two. So you may choose to keep them all in one workspace, like I do.
Along the left-hand side of the web page, you'll see a section called "Projects." This is where I make my list names. I have lists for Personal To-Do's, Blog To-Do's, Books to Read, Movies to Watch, Gift Ideas, and so on.
The cool thing about projects is that you can color code them! That way, when you are looking at "My Tasks" or your calendar view, you can easily see which tasks belong to which projects, based on their color.
Inside of each project, you can add tasks. There are a BUNCH of different ways to organize these, but I'll just touch on a few here.
From the "My Tasks" dashboard, you can view tasks by project (like the picture above) or you can choose to view tasks by due date (see the dropdown in the top right-hand corner?) You can also click an individual project if you only want to see the tasks associated with it.
You can easily check tasks off from this view, or by clicking on that little blue dot, you can assign the task to be done today, tomorrow, or later. You can also shuffle the order of tasks by dragging and dropping.
When you click on the task itself, it will open up a window to the right for additional options and information.
Starting at the top of the window, I'll explain the options that I think are relevant here:
- You can assign the task (to yourself, so that it will show up in the "My Tasks" section, or to someone else... can we say honey-do list?)
- You can assign a due date, and/or set it up as a recurring task.
- You can add tags to help you find and group similar tasks together.
- You can add SUBTASKS (I love this feature!)
- You can assign this task to a different project, or to more than one project.
- You can add attachments.
- You can edit the name/description or add notes and comments.
How I Use Asana
The biggest way I use Asana is by having two Master To-Do Lists; one for my personal life and one for my blog. I love it because I can add stuff on the go with the mobile application and I can easily check off tasks on the go right from the Android widget (where my Android lovers at?!)
I have tried a lot of other "to-do list" apps and this is the best one I've found that lets me do everything I want, for free.
What do you use to keep track of all the stuff floating around inside of your brain? Have you tried Asana yet... and if so, what did you think of it? Let us know in the comments!