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I mean, listen, there are so many project management tools out there – we’ve tried lots of them – Trello, Monday, Zoho, Basecamp, Podio, Active Collab. The list goes on, but Asana won our hearts a few years ago. And here’s why…

At designdough, we live and breathe Asana. I wish that were an exaggeration, but it’s what kicks off our mornings and gets the whole team on the same page; the working day wouldn’t run quite as smoothly without it. If proactivity were a software, Asana would definitely take the crown. We feel obliged to say that this is not an ad – we’re not that big…yet!

Asana is a web and mobile app designed to help teams organise and track their work tasks. That’s what it is in its simplest description, but there’s honestly so much more to it. We wouldn’t be shouting about it otherwise!  It’s easier to think of it as a giant work-based calendar with lots of quirky features that make working as a team easier, rewarding, and satisfying. 

Collaboration and proactivity are hugely important to us at designdough, and Asana provides us with the tools to work effectively and efficiently as a design agency. There’s just something about ticking a task off of a to-do list, isn’t there? A little buzz of excitement, an affirming sense of accomplishment – it goes a long way for motivation, and jump-starts the working process, no matter the task at hand. 

1. It creates structure in a time of chaos

Running any workplace is no easy task – trust us, we know.  In our case, there’s always a meeting to go to, a pitch to complete, a website to update, or a design to tweak – it has the capacity to get quite overwhelming to say the least. 

Thankfully, it never gets to that point – because the whole basis of Asana is rooted in organisation. From calendar-view, to list-view, to organising your tasks into personalised and colour-coordinated boards – there’s no escaping the tasks at hand. But, the difference is, it’s not daunting. Asana makes you feel like you’re completely in control of your work…because you actually are. 

There’s nothing worse than coming into work on Monday with a brain full of tasks that need to be done. From the big, exhausting jobs to the nitty-gritty sub-tasks, there’s a place for them all within the Asana database. 

The ability to structure your work in a way that works for you, as an individual, is extremely effective and motivating. There’s so much flexibility, so you really do feel on-top of it and one step ahead at all times. 

2. You can sub-task to your heart’s content

Do you ever get that feeling that a task is just never-ending? Sometimes it’s not as easy as doing one thing and it being complete. There’s always something else, or something that needs to be done before you can even think about ticking a task off the list for good. 

Within a big task, there can be multiple sub-tasks, and Asana accounts for this. It’s like it…understands. It allows you to create as many sub-tasks as you want within a project, so you can visually see your progress and gradually get the task completed – without the stress or the drama. 

Being able to visualise progress in general is a massive help for being proactive at work – it allows, and almost forces us, to ask ourselves whether what we’re scheduling is actually achievable. Asana is good at bringing you back to reality like that. We’re all guilty of setting high expectations of ourselves at work, but Asana encourages users to be honest with themselves about their workload, and there’s absolutely no guilt involved. It’s as simple as moving it over to the next day, or the next week, if need be – it’s flexible, but also authoritative enough to hold you accountable.

3. Collaboration and transparency become second nature

We pride ourselves on our work being collaborative and team-oriented. Everybody gets to have a say, and everybody’s opinion is always valued and heard. As an Asana user, you’re able to delegate tasks to your peers alongside viewing their calendars. 

Nothing’s sacred on Asana… unless you want it to be (don’t worry, there’s a private feature you can use on your tasks), and this means everyone in your team is always in-the-know. No awkward conversations about where you’re at with a deadline, or what stage you’re up to in a process, or not knowing what’s really going on behind the scenes in a project – it’s all there. Asana takes away the awkwardness and mis-communication and replaces it with ease and transparency. 

Say you needed some support on an upcoming project; maybe you’re a bit apprehensive to approach someone in person about it or you’re worried you’ll say something wrong. No problem – add a task on Asana, choose which project it’s under, add your peer as a collaborator, and input the details of what you need help with along with a deadline date. It’s really as easy as that, and it will jump into your peer’s calendar – you can then communicate with your chosen peer (or peers) about the task at hand, and add updates in the chat feature to your heart’s content. This communicative aspect jump-starts the process, avoiding any awkwardness or miscommunication – who has time for that anymore, anyway? We’re all about getting straight to the point nowadays.

4. It keeps morale high within the team

It’s always fun to be a bit nosey…there’s no shame in admitting that. We won’t tell anyone – promise. But more importantly, there’s a warm fuzzy feeling involved when you can see a project slowly being ticked off by everyone within the team. A sense of pride, satisfaction, and just a general ‘hell-yeah!’ vibe. Thanks to this, success and progression never seem too far away in Asana. The finish line is always in sight, you just get closer with each tick off the list. 

Also, it’s lovely to see how your team is doing with their work and projects. It’s also insightful to see if it’s time for you to step in and offer a hand.  At the end of the day, you’re all working under the same roof for the same purpose – you care for your company, and you want to deliver, and you want to succeed in your projects. Asana reasserts that feeling and that drive that made us start working in the first place. 

Soppiness aside, we couldn’t write this section without a shout-out to the Asana Narwhal and Unicorn – we appreciate you guys. There’s always a little dopamine hit when you tick off a task and a cute animal flies across your screen. It’s fun, uplifting, and adds a bit of joy to the work day. All work, no play? Haven’t heard of it. 

5. It acts as a springboard for insightful conversations

Every morning, without fail, we start the working day with an Asana meeting. Asana is basically our daily life-blood, no joke! – it quite literally kicks us awake, and gets our brains ticking, and gets us talking to each other about what work we have. There’s always a positive vibe surrounding it, too, meaning we all leave the meeting with a ‘let’s get on it’ urge. After the meeting, everybody feels more clear-headed, and there’s a set agenda for the day. 

It really is just amazing for our communication as a team; there’s never any lost information or any confusion, because we sort it all out in the morning by running through everyone’s personal Asana schedule.

In short…

If you asked us, there’s no doubt that we could shout about Asana all day. It really has changed the way we communicate, and the way we collaborate as a team. It has brought us joy, structure, and motivation in the times we need it most, even when we don’t realise we’re lacking it! 

Asana might do wonders for your team, too – have a look into it…nothing’s stopping you.