Asana Review – Features, In-depth Demo and More
One of the many challenges of managing your time is to complete all your tasks on schedule, before the deadline. Marketing heads, Professional bloggers & online businesses often use project management apps to track their blogging tasks from start to finish.
Project management is nothing new. A report states that 77% of organizations use project/task management software. Big businesses believe in the power of project management, and it’s no different when you manage an online business such as a blog.
If you’re looking to improve your productivity this year, then it’s time to check out one of the best project management apps, Asana.
Here at BforBloggers, we have been using Asana to manage our content calendar and workflow every day.
Here’s an introduction of Asana:
What is Asana?
Asana is a project management tool for web and mobile that allows teams to collaborate and accomplish tasks for specific projects.
It is designed to be used by organizations and small teams, but it can also be used for personal or solo projects.
How does Asana help manage teams and projects: Asana can be a tool for businesses to plan their content, send/receive files or links, assign tasks to other team members, and track the progress of each project.
Asana has a free basic version that allows for the collaboration of up to 15 team members and access to Tasks, List view, Board view, Calendar view, Assignees, and due dates.
Recommended reading: Best collaboration tools for SMBs and Marketers
Now that we’ve discussed the basics of Asana, let’s look at the ten reasons why it is quintessential for managers and content creators.
1. Creating a content calendar
A content calendar is key to making sure that you deliver and publish content regularly. With Asana, creating a content calendar is easier and better organized.
To start creating your content calendar, you can click on the button for the New Project. This takes you to the next page where you are prompted to pick a project template or start with a blank one.
On the next screen, you can select to start with a blank or pick a template to create a new project.
You can select the Content Calendar template, but starting with a blank template works fine as well.
Either way, you’re off to a great start.
The next step would be to create tasks by clicking on Add tasks.
These tasks would be any content that you want to create for your blog. Tasks can be grouped into a series of blog posts or individual blog posts.
If you follow a specific workflow for creating a blog post from start to finish, you can use subtasks to break down each step.
Don’t forget to assign the task and set a due date.
Switch to a Calendar view to better visualize your blog’s publishing schedule. You can drag and drop tasks on different dates to adjust the timelines.
If you work with a team for creating content, then you might need to set Dependencies for each task — which means that a team member can not start working on a task unless another one completes a preceding task.
For instance, an editor can not start editing unless the writer submits the first draft. Dependencies are a Premium feature that requires you to upgrade to a paid version of Asana (starts at $10.99/month, billed annually or $13.49/month, billed monthly).
2. Tracking your progress
Working on multiple blog posts and other types of content for your blog can be confusing. It’s important to keep focused on the priority tasks and know their progress.
Progress tracking in Asana’s free version is available with the Board’s function.
After creating your project, switch to Boards view and click Add Column and start making columns for each “step” in the content publishing process that applies to your blog (see example below.)
If you are using Asana’s paid version, you can track the progress of each task with Custom Fields.
On the top right corner, click Fields and select Add Fields. The Field Title can be “Task Progress,” and the Field Type should be set to “Dropdown.”
List down Options such as “In Progress,” “Waiting for approval,” or “On hold” as the contents of your custom field dropdown.
Click Create Field when done.
You should now see a column for this field on all tasks on a project.
3. Collaborate and communicate with your team
Although Asana can be used for solo or personal projects, it is primarily designed for small, medium, and large teams.
You can add up to 15 members with Asana’s free version.
To add a member to a project, click Invite People under your Project’s name.
On the next page, enter the email address and name of the person you are adding and click Send Invite.
Your new team member will receive an email notification, and in it is a link for him/her to sign up for an Asana account and be added to your team.
Here are some things you can do with your team in Asana:
- Share files from your computer, Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive.
- Communicate within the chat section in each task
- Assign/un-assign tasks and set due dates
- Mark tasks as completed
If you opt for the paid version, you will have the added function to make tasks dependent or set milestones.
4. Organize tasks
Setting up and managing a blog can be overwhelming, and you might find it challenging to prioritize every task accordingly. Asana makes it easier for users to organize their tasks, whether it’s setting up a WordPress website or writing a blog post.
You can select the default view of your tasks as List, Board, Timeline (paid feature), and Calendar.
The list view is great for dividing tasks into Sections. Simply click Add Section and give the section a name. You can then go ahead and start creating tasks within the section.
Once you have all tasks lined up, you can use the columns to the right to assign tasks and set due dates.
Boards in Asana is similar to Trello’s default view. You create Boards and add tasks under each one. This is great if you want to divide your task by status.
The screenshot below is an example of how you can use Boards in Asana.
Timeline is a paid feature that lets you view you and your team’s workflow. The visual timeline is more detailed than the Calendar view and can be adjusted along with deadlines and start dates.
Asana does support Gantt Charts in the premium versions as well.
The calendar view is suitable for time-sensitive tasks that need to be monitored. If you publish content on a specific day of the week, then the Calendar view is essential to ensure you don’t miss your deadline.
5. Phone and email notifications
Track your tasks and projects on the go with Asana’s mobile app and get phone notifications. Don’t want to install the app? You can opt for email notifications instead.
Asana’s mobile app is available on iOS and Android. You can change the notification settings for your phone if you need to adjust how often you get notified.
Notification setting on iOS
To adjust notifications in iOS, follow these steps:
- Go to your iOS Settings (gear icon)
- Select Notification Center
- Scroll down and tap Asana
- Toggle the options to turn off or turn on where you want to see Asana notifications
Notification settings on Android
To adjust notifications on Android, follow these steps:
- Open the Asana app
- Tap on your profile photo
- Tap the three-dot icon
- Select Notification Settings
You can turn on or turn off the following options:
- Enable notifications
- Receive updates on tasks assigned to you
- Receive updates on items you are following
- Enable Vibrate
- Enable LED
- Turn on Sound notifications
- Choose notification tone
6. Voice-activated tasks
Asana’s mobile app for iOS allows you to create tasks from voice recognition.
To create a voice-activated task in Asana, open a Project, and hold down the Quick Add icon.
Your screen should change to the recorder mode. Speak clearly into the phone. Asana will use the first line of transcribed text as the Task title and the rest of the text as the description.
Tap the checkmark when done talking.
The new task will show up on your Tasks list (highlighted in green). Tap on it to edit.
A copy of the audio recording will be attached to the task, and you have the option to delete or duplicate it.
You can record up to 1 minute and 30 seconds, after which the app will stop recording and add the task.
If you’re always on the go and don’t have the time to type long entries on your phone, then this feature is perfect for you.
7. Skip email and file-sharing apps
With Asana, you can forget the tedious back-and-forth emails with your team members.
Each task in Asana has its own chat section where you can directly communicate with team members. Your team will get notified every time you send them a message using the Asana chat feature.
There is also no need to use file-sharing apps like Google Drive or Dropbox, as you can directly attach files in Asana. If you still want to use file-sharing apps, you can integrate these apps with Asana so you can link to it without leaving the dashboard.
8. Plan and implement your content marketing strategy
Let’s say you’re a CMO and you are preparing a content marketing plan.
Publishing a blog post is a great accomplishment, but your work as a content marketer owner with multiple projects does not stop here. You still have to promote your content, whether it’s through social media, blogger outreach, or paid advertising.
With Asana, you can make sure you implement the same marketing tasks for each blog post that gets published.
With the free version, you can use Subtasks to make sure you carry out additional marketing steps after publishing a blog post. This would include sharing your blog on social media and your email list.
You can also use Asana’s Social Media Calendar template to organize and plan all your social media posts. As you can see from the example below, you can edit this template to suit your own social media plan.
Whether you are working alone or with a team, motivation is a key ingredient to the success of any project. For your blog to succeed, you need to be in the right mindset that is focused on achieving your goals.
Using Asana has the benefits that increase motivation resulting in:
- A clear purpose with daily tasks
- The ability to visualize goals and look forward to the outcome
- Being able to communicate with the team and develop a healthy working environment
- The ability to break down elaborate projects into small, manageable tasks
10. Integrate with other productivity or time-tracking apps
If you have other team members who use time-tracking software for billing purposes, then you can integrate Asana with ease.
Some examples of time-tracking software that integrates with Asana include Hubstaff, Harvest, Timely, TSheets, Toggl, Calamari, and Time Doctor.
If you collect information via Google Forms or Wufoo, connecting them to Asana will convert these forms into actionable items.
If you work with graphic designers, you can integrate Adobe Creative Cloud.
For more advanced integration settings, you can connect Asana with IFTTT or Zapier.
The possibilities are almost endless, with the many apps that work with Asana. In fact, you can even integrate it with similar task management apps like Trello and Evernote.
In this fast-paced world, every minute of your time is valuable, and it should be spent on work that matters.
Asana is an excellent tool for SMBs & bloggers, but only if you truly study and experiment with its features. Start with the simple and basic functions and dive into more advanced ones when the need arises.
And it can be as simple or complex as you want it.
Have you tried Asana yet? Share your experience in the comments below.