In order to keep your company running smoothly you need to make sure all of the working parts are communicating and working together seamlessly, like a well-oiled machine. Here at myZone, we’ve decided that the best way to ensure we’re operating at 100% is to use task management software such as Asana to keep everyone on the same page.
Which software you decide to use is completely up to you; we use Asana because we find it very simple and user-friendly. You can experiment with a free trial version of the product, and then upgrade once you’re ready.
We also find Asana to be reasonably priced, considering the benefits it brought to our company. After all, having your entire company on the same page, working and communicating on the same projects on an easy to use platform, is priceless. Using reliable task management software such as Asana promotes transparency, accountability, productivity, teamwork, and all of the things that truly make a successful company tick.
Read on for our tips of how you can practice effective task management with Asana.
Creating and Assigning Tasks
Creating a task in Asana is super simple. You simply click on the line you’d like the task to appear below and hit “enter” to go down to the next line, creating the new task (Of course, you can always shift the task’s placement in your queue later). Make sure to type in a succinct but descriptive name for the task in the first line. Once the task is created, you can add more details in the description as well as add attachments, followers, and comments later on as the task develops.
Once you have created a task, assign it to the appropriate person, whether that be yourself or one of your team mates. The assignee can be changed at any time, which is great when multiple people are collaborating on the same task, as it can easily be passed down the “production line.” For example, the task to create a blog post such as this one may first be assigned to a writer, then to another writer to proof the content, then to a designer, and finally to a social media manager to get it live on Facebook and Twitter.
Projects and Subtasks
Since each task is usually part of a larger project, and can contain a few different steps until it’s fully completed, Asana also allows you to create projects to keep your tasks organized and add subtasks to keep all of the moving parts in one place.
Every time you create a task, make sure it’s assigned to a specific project. Some projects will be very specific, such as a marketing plan for an event you are trying to organize. Others will be more general and will be a sort of catch-all to make sure that similar types of tasks all end up in the same place.
For example, say you are setting up a contest for a specific event. The task to set up the contest could be found within the project for the event (EG. Summer BBQ) and also within the general project where you keep all of the company’s contests.
Once you’ve set up the task, you can further organize it into subtasks. If we continue with the contest example, you could set up a subtask for each step of the process; getting the contest live, creating a blog post about it, promoting it on Facebook, and announcing winners. Each subtask can have its own unique descriptions, comment section, assignee, due date, and so on. It’s a great way to make sure none of the smaller details are missed when you’re trying to bring a big project to life.
Followers and Comments
Once your task is up and running, it will be maintained and developed during its life cycle through followers and comments. These can be thought of as the people involved in helping the task reach completion, and all of the discourse and file sharing that happens along the way.
When you create a task, make sure that you’ve added the appropriate followers to it. This is anyone who may need to take over the task at some point to help it progress, offer insight that can help the task advance, approve work along the way, or anyone who should just be kept informed about how the task is progressing.
You can use the comments to communicate with other team members about the task, and by clicking the paper clip symbol at the top, you can attach any relevant files that yourself or team members may need while completing the task. Asana allows you to tag specific team members in comments so that you can get their attention immediately. You can also favorite comments to acknowledge that they were received when they don’t necessarily need a response.
Once the task is complete, you simply check the square box next to the task’s title and you’re all set. Everyone who is following the task knows it’s done, and you can always go back and see all of the task’s info and comments to track how it was completed by searching for it in the Asana search bar.
Now, the above guide serves as just a quick insight on how you can use task management software like Asana to set up tasks, assign them, keep them up-to-date, and finally complete them. While the steps we outlined are specific to Asana, they translate over to other software as well.
If you follow the steps we’ve outlined above you should get a lot out of your task management software and everything should run smoothly. However, there are a few more extra steps you and your team can take to make task management with Asana even simpler and more efficient.
When creating a task, put the amount of time you think that it will take to complete in parentheses. This way, when you’re prioritizing your tasks for the day you have an idea how long each one will take so you know what you can realistically get done that day. It’s also a good idea to put a suggestion of how long a task should take in the description when you’re creating a task to assign to someone else, so they have a better idea of where it can fit into their schedule.
Make sure that when you’re assigning a task to someone else you set a due date so that they know how the task should be prioritized. Also, make these due dates reasonable and ask the assignee to confirm that they will be able to complete the task in time in advance so that if there are any scheduling conflicts they are resolved immediately, not at the last minute when the task should have already been completed.
Finally, make sure you remove any unnecessary followers from tasks. In the beginning, it may be important to include all team members on a task just so everyone knows it’s being handled. However, as the task progresses and the steps get more and more specific, having too many followers can make a task too confusing or overwhelming. It may also negatively affect your team’s [rpductivity productivity and adds unnecessary stress to individuals who really don’t need to be updated on the task anymore as they may receive countless notifications, flooding their inbox and possibly burying other important messages.
At the end of the day, task management software like Asana should make your life more simple. It may take a little getting used to, but once everyone is using it as they should your teams’s productivity, communication, and accountability should all improve dramatically.
If you want to learn more about how to use Asana, you can check out this guide. They also crafted this handy 2 minute video to get you started:
As always, feel free to contact us if you need any help making your team run more efficiently. We’re always here for you.