Organise your life with Asana

About a month ago over on GlobalThing, Michael Smith put me onto Asana.com and I’ve never looked back.

Slick on the outside, powerful on the inside.

Slick on the outside, powerful on the inside.

It’s basically a personal/project management package that allows you to set up various todo lists and share them with coworkers. I’d long been looking at various similar solutions, particularly Basecamp, but I’d found them too complicated for the fairly simple matters I need to get organised.

What makes Asana so awesome is its absolute simplicity. It has a flat interface in that everything gets shared with everyone, but as (at the moment) there are only three of us using it, that’s perfect.

Big picture, medium picture, detail.

Big picture, medium picture, detail.

At first glance Asana did my head in a little, but after watching the first two introduction videos and playing around with it for 15 minutes, it was all clear.

Essentially there are three panes. The left column has your broad task collections — the centre column shows you the tasks within one collection and the third shows the contents of a particular task.

The Asana whip-list for the day.

The Asana whip-list for the day.

The third pane is the most useful as it is here the task gets detailed, assigned to a team member and the task path is recorded and displayed with progress notes and final status.

Organisation has never been a strong point for me, and Asana has brought a tremendous amount of clarity to what I’m doing, what I need to be doing and what can be filed away for a rainy day.

A detailed blame trail for why something isn't done.

A detailed blame trail for why something isn’t done.

Aside from asigning tasks to team members, you can set deadlines (for others or yourself), sync to your calendar, set tasks to repeat (say preparing a newsletter) and use it for broader stroke big picture visualising what a new project or task may entail, then break it down into smaller chunks and eventually sprints. There’s also email notifications (yes, you can’t escape your tasks) and a bunch of other features I’m yet to fully explore.

Broad strokes.

Broad strokes.

The actual interface may look complicated, but, once you’re used to it, it’s extremely intuitive and dead easy to use — fast too.

Best of all?

It’s free.

If you’re looking for some kind of multi-user author tool and don’t need an overly complex solution, check Asana out — I highly recommend it.