Back in 2008, the Giants ended the Patriots’ undefeated season in the Super Bowl, “The Dark Knight” and “Iron Man” were released, and Dustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein founded a project management tool called Asana which they created during the development of a little social media networking tool known as Facebook.
While Asana may not have turned into a cultural phenomenon with its own movie, it has grown to be a notable team-communication app in its own right.
Asana now has more than 350 employees and it has evolved into a full-fledged productivity suite with advanced features like budget management, resource management, task management, and time tracking.
Asana now has more than 25,000 paying customers, including teams at well-known companies such as Lyft and pioneers at organizations such as NASA, and there have been more than one billion tasks created in Asana.
But when it comes to knowing the tool better than anyone else, look no further than Asana’s own staff. They use Asana to manage their own projects in-house everyday.
Asana tips and tricks
If your team just started using Asana, or has used it in the past, you’re in the right place. Figuring that no one knows Asana better than Asana’s own developers, I asked them what some of their favorite tips and tricks are for increasing productivity on their own projects, and here’s what they told us.
A quick note: I picked Asana for this exercise because it is one of the most popular project management tools on the market—with more than 200,000 followers on Facebook, and 115,000 on Twitter—and its versatility and wide range of features foster exploration.
1. Star lists of search results, rename, and save them
When you use Asana’s advanced search function, you get a list of results. It could be a list of names, tasks, or even a list of incomplete tasks by a certain team member (let’s call him Bob).
Advanced search results in Asana
But did you know that you can “star” that list of search results, then rename it something like “Bob’s Incomplete Tasks” and save it? Now here’s the cool part: whenever Bob has an incomplete task in the future, it will automatically be added to the list. C’mon, Bob…
“It’s like a filter put on anything now and in the future,” says Emilie Cole, head of PR and Comms at Asana.
2. Reschedule events using drag and drop
In early 2014, Asana added an integrated calendar view that automatically populates with your tasks and projects. It can also sync with Google Calendar.
Asana’s calendar view
But did you know that you can simply drag and drop a task on the calendar to shift your schedule around, and all the changes will be immediately updated for everyone else on your team?
For example, Fran the designer has three graphics due on Friday, but you want to give her a break and move one of them to Monday. You could go into the task, manually change the due date, then message Fran and let her know the good news. Or, you could just drag one of the tasks to Monday. The due date will be automatically updated, and Fran will get a notification letting her know. Nice.
3. Use ‘My Profile’ to customize Asana for yourself
Asana is a great tool for teams and improving your own productivity, but there are some things that you can do to make your personal work space more comfortable so that you can be a better team member.
Asana’s My Profile screen
Get to the My Profile screen by simply clicking on the picture of your face (which you should have added during registration) in the top bar. There, you can do things such as activate your vacation indicator, personalize email notifications, change your background image, and manage your own apps and integrations.
You can even enable experimental features that Asana is testing out… like an ice cream delivery button, maybe?
Here are some real examples of experimental features at the time this article was written:
- Inbox snooze (a button that hides all notifications for one hour)
- Reminder tasks from inbox (adds a Create Reminder Task option to notifications that reminds you to follow up)
- Follow-up tasks from right pane (adds a Create Follow-up Task option to the right pane’s action menu that reminds you to follow up)
- Extra delight (adds additional celebrations and delightful surprises to the product experience)
- Tab+B (adds a keyboard shortcut that does—Spoiler Alert!—this)
- Recurring tasks in Later (makes near-term recurring tasks reappear in the Later section of My Tasks when you complete them, instead of the Upcoming section)
You can test these Beta features and give feedback on them, then if they become a regular feature you can brag to your friends. Asana does provide this disclaimer: “They are not supported features and may change, break, or disappear at any time.”
4. Add tasks directly through incoming email
Say you’re really busy, or in the middle of a meeting, or in line at the coffee shop, and you get an email on your phone about an important task. While you could add this task to your list fairly easily through the Asana mobile app for iPhone or Android, there is an even easier way.
Adding a task by forwarding an email
All you have to do is forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will magically appear in your My Tasks view where it will be waiting for you when you have more time to dig in. The subject line will become the task name, the body will be the task description, and all attachments will be attached to the task as files.
5. Get integrated!
This is the ultimate tip AND trick for Asana because it can help you do hundreds of different things—from maintaining relationships with customers in Salesforce to creating Gantt charts with Instagantt—and the list is ever expanding because Asana has an open application programming interface (API).
What does that mean? It means that third-party developers of other productivity tools can build within Asana to ensure that their tools work together as smoothly as possible, and everybody wins as a result. Now THAT’s what I call teamwork.
Don’t see the one you’re looking for? You can build your own (assuming you know how to develop apps).
Your thoughts on Asana hacks?
Are you an Asana productivity expert? If so, now it’s your turn to share your favorite tips and tricks with us and the Asana team in the comments.
You can also leave your thoughts in a review here.
And if you want to keep up with the latest Asana tips and tricks as new features are rolled out, join the Asana community and follow the Tips and Tricks category here, and follow their Best Practices blog here.
Finally, if you’d like to read more articles about Asana, check out these:
- Asana vs Basecamp: Clash of the Titans
- The 12 Best Basecamp Alternatives
- Top 4 Easy to Use SharePoint Alternatives for Small Businesses
- 5 Ways to Save Time With Asana
Looking for Project Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Project Management software solutions.