How to Use Asana Effectively in Your Business

Here at Syrup, we use the project management tool Asana for all our task management and workflow needs. This is a popular tool used by many businesses around the world, and I am willing to bet most of you have heard of this tool, and some of you may even be using it in your day-to-day business operations currently.

Being in the project management role at Syrup, I live and breathe all things Asana. The majority of my day is spent managing, assigning, scheduling, and routing tasks throughout our internal team. Now, I wouldn’t go as far to say that I am an Asana expert (although some might), but I do have some tips and tricks I’d like to share with you that will help organize your business’ internal operations as well as save time. Whether you are new to Asana and still trying to figure out how to assign a task to your coworker, or if you’ve been in the game for years, there is something for everyone.

The Basics – Templates

One of the most basic features of Asana is project creation. If you are new to Asana and haven’t had the chance to set up a project of your own just yet, check out this article here. Once you begin setting up a project, you’ll realize how time-consuming it can be, especially if your project contains multiple phases with 20+ tasks within each phase. If it is a project your company works on frequently, like creating a new website for a client, you don’t want to have to take the time to set up an entirely new project with 60 or more tasks involved each time you sell a new project.

That’s where templates come into play. Once you have a project set up in Asana with a proven process that you know works well, simply save this project with the word “template” in the name, and keep this under its designated “team” in the left sidebar. In the future, when you have a client that wants a new website, simply hover over the project template, click the three dots, and select “Duplicate Project.” This will allow you to quickly and efficiently set up a new web project using that perfect template of yours!

The Advanced – Custom Fields

The custom fields option is my personal favorite feature in Asana and is one of the biggest time savers when it comes to setting up and assigning out tasks to your team. Some examples of frequently used custom fields are showing which team member should be assigned what task within a project, what stage of the process a project is in, who the point of contact on the team should be for that specific task, or showcasing the priority level of the task (not to mention they are color coded)!

It’s important to know that custom fields will vary depending on the type of project you are setting up. If the project is for onboarding a new hire, you will most likely want to have the custom fields set up with the point of contact for each task so your new hire knows which team member to reach out to if they have questions. Or, if your project is set up for the content, design, and development of a new website, having the custom fields showcase which team member should be assigned which task would be your best bet. There is no rule as to which custom fields are the best ones to use, and it will take some experimenting before you find out which fields work best for you.

Believe it or not, I have only skimmed the surface of what all you can do with these. For additional information and to start exploring all custom fields have to offer, read through this helpful article.

The Pro – Permission Settings

We’ve covered both templates and custom fields; now let’s talk about something only for the Asana pros to use: access settings within projects. To use these once you have your project set up in Asana, click the “Share” button towards the top of the page. Here, you are able to grant access to the team members who will be working on the project, as well as change their permission level.

There are many reasons why you’d like to give some team members different permission levels on a project than others. For example, if you have an intern and you need their help on a task, you can grant them “Comment Only” permission within the project. This means they will only have the ability to leave comments on the task itself, and will not be able to edit, add, or delete anything within the project. This can be extremely helpful, especially if it is an intricate project that you would not like to be altered in any way.

On the contrary, you can also give someone “Edit” permissions, granting them the ability to add and delete tasks, as well as change the main descriptions within each task. This is helpful if you have multiple project managers within a team, or if you have Account Leads that need to be able to add important information to the tasks.

Once again, I am only scratching the surface of all permission settings have to offer. To learn more about this, see what the pros at Asana have to say.

The.. Cats?

That’s right, cats. While most aspects of Asana serve a purpose in the management of work, there are some out there that serve absolutely no purpose other than giving their users a surprise moment of delight. Follow along with me to find out more.

  1. In Asana, click your user profile image in the top right corner
  2. Select “My Profile Settings…”
  3. Select the far right option, “Hacks”
  4. Toggle on the “Tab+B” option
  5. Select the button “Reload to Apply Changes” in the bottom right corner
  6. Close out of your profile settings
  7. While still in Asana, go ahead and press the “Tab” + “B” keys simultaneously – as many times as you’d like
cats in Asana
Image source: Asana

Behold, cats! This is just one of several little surprises the apparently pun-loving folks at Asana have built into their tool. For more fun, turn on the “Extra Delight” option also found in Hacks, and start completing some tasks to see it come to life.

If you’d like to learn about additional ways Syrup can help better your business, or if you just want to share your favorite Asana hacks with us, go ahead and send us a message! We’d love to hear from you.

Tricia Frey