The Ultimate Guide To Using Asana In Your Business

Asana is the best available project management tool. I will show you how we use Asana in our business.  

Before owning my own business, I worked in corporate america as a project manager for many years. During that time, I tested many different project management tools like Smartsheet, MS Project Management, Trello, Spreadsheets and others. However, nothing I tried worked because I was the only person using it. Then, I started my first business in 2013. I tried to use project management tools to manage tasks between me and my partners. However, it failed again because I was the only person using them. Those experiences taught me the importance of simplicity and user experience in project management tools. That’s why Asana works. It is simple and user-friendly for anybody involved.

Just to put it in perspective, so you understand the efficacy, let me tell you how I use Asana. I use this system to manage 11 people, along with my own personal tasks. I use it to manage 6 businesses in 3 different industries, which include at least 50 different projects. If it works for me, I bet it will work for you too.

I often hear from people about cool tools. However, when I start using them, I do not like them or they are not as useful for me as that person suggested. Why? Because I do not know how to use the tool, or I need to use it for many months or years before learning the best practices. That’s why I want to share with you how we use Asana in our businesses, and how it can be a baseline for you. You can adopt our practices, or tweak them to create your own strategy.

So let’s begin…

Asana Teams

First of all, Asana is free for up to 15 users per team. What does a team mean? You can create as many teams as you like, and have as many projects as you want per team. I personally use “team” to mean my business or entity. Here is a live example:

Also, as you can see in the example above, I have one team named Family, where I and my wife manage personal family tasks, and I called the team Personal.

Asana Projects

You can make as many projects as you want per each team. Since we use the free account version,  everybody on one team can see all of the projects under that team. In our digital marketing agency business, we have one project per client. See example below:

When you create a new project, you have two options for the project layout. List or Board. See below:

We always select Board layout. We do not use List layout at all. The board layout is much easier to understand and to manage for people. Also, it is very easy to see the overall picture of the project, like a list of things that needs to be done and more.

95% of our projects have a very simple setup with 4 columns:

    • To Do
    • Assigned
    • In Progress
    • Completed

The idea and definition of each column is as follows:

    • To Do – This is the column where we put things we need to do, or things we might need to do, or things which we might want to do. In general, this is the inbox for each project. We do not assign these tasks to anybody, and we do not specify the due date.
    • Assigned – In this column, we put tasks which we have already assigned to somebody. However, the task is not as urgent, so we do not put the due date. Instead, we let the assignee to pick their own due date. This column is the progression from To Do to Assigned. The idea is to filter the To Do column, and assign the task to the right team member. After you assigned it, you need to move the task from To Do to Assigned.
    • In Progress – This is the most active column. In this column, every task is assigned to team members and has a defined due date.
    • Completed – This is just a column, where we keep all completed tasks. After somebody on the team completes the task from the In Progress column, then marks the task completed, it moves to the Completed Column.

The idea of the column layout is to move a task from left to right. However, sometimes there are tasks that are put directly into the Assigned column, or in most cases, into the In Progress column.

By the way, I own a few businesses, and, in general, those businesses are divided into 3 different industries: Marketing, Real Estate and Non For Profit. And the system I described above, works well for all the businesses, so I’m confident that the same system will work for you as well.

In addition to those 4 columns above, we sometimes have a 5th column. We call it Recurring, and we put it between In Progress and Completed.

We use this column for recurring tasks. For example, you or your bookkeeper need to do a reconciliation of the accounts monthly. This is the perfect task, which you can assign to be Recurring, repeating on monthly basis.

Tip: When you click complete task wait 1-2 seconds until it shows completed at the bottom, then you can move it to the Completed column. Why? It takes 1-2 seconds or less to recreate the recurring task for the future. After it is done, you can move to the Completed column.

Asana Project View

I gave a task to a newly hired project manager, and she told me that she was not able to see the project. Initially I was confused, but later, I realized that I did not explain how to see all projects at once. By default, Asana shows you only few projects that are assigned to your team. You need to click “Show More Projects” to see all of the active projects you currently have under the team.

Asana Project Description

There is a project description option for each project in Asana. Asana’s idea might be to describe the project, but we use it a little bit differently. We use it to add the important links for the project. We use Google Drive for all our businesses –– so in the project description in Asana, we put links to project folders or the commonly used files for reference. For example, in addition to folder links, we put links to the campaign calendar schedule. For us, this is a helpful shortcut to the locations where we go often. If you do not use password sharing software like Lastpass or One Password, you can put passwords in the project description area as well.



Task Tags In Asana

There might be too many tasks in your project to accomplish in one day. For example, there are many past due tasks currently assigned to my name. To simplify everybody’s life, I created 4 tags that we use for each task we create, to help prioritize the tasks:

    • Critical – These are top priority tasks. We need to do them before anything else. After all tasks that are  assigned to your name with critical tags are completed, you can move on to other tasks.
    • High – These are high priority tasks.
      • Medium – These are typical tasks which we have to do.
    • Low – These are low priority tasks, which are nice to get ahead of, but not critical at the moment.

Later I will explain the daily routine I use, which I recommend for you as well. For now though, I just want to show you how your tasks look with the tags assigned to them.

If you want to see tasks of only one kind (for example, tasks that are critical), you can just click on the tag, and it will filter everything by that specific tag.

Subtasks in Asana

There might be some cases, where you have a task, which might have few subtasks. For example, we recently recorded new videos for our website category page. I created one task to update the videos. However, there are many subtasks since we have different pages, and we need to edit the video, and then update the website pages. So here is the example of how it looks like:

Update Videos is the task name on category pages. All the links below are subtasks. We can complete few subtasks. However, the task will not be completed until all subtasks are done.

The Task Completion In Asana

When you use Asana only for yourself, it is easy to complete the task. You just do it, it is done, and you mark it complete, and move to complete column. However, when there are 2 or more people on the task, it is different. The task is not completed, until everybody agrees it is completed.

For example, I assign to somebody to do XYZ. After they do it, it makes sense to just click complete and move to complete column. However, it is not the case in our businesses. We use it a little differently. I assigned task to a team member. If after the reviewal the team member has a question, he/she  reassigns to me the task, and puts the due date for the next business day. This way, the next day when I check my Asana inbox, I can see it, and either respond to his/her question or review it.

In some cases, one task goes back and forth many times, until it is done. It is like those long emails, where people say something like “see my response in red below” or etc.

The Process

As I said before, we use that setup for 95% of our projects. However, there are few projects where we use it differently. If you have a system for something what you do over and over and over, it is better to recreate the major steps in Asana in columns format. For example, we have one project called BLOG. In this project we create blog posts like in the example below.

Correspondingly, I am currently working on this article. And as you can see, it is in the second column called emNYC-0042 – how we use asana. After I am done writing this article, I move it to our copywriter, who will proofread it. After the proofreading is done, we move it to our virtual assistant, who will log the blog post to our database. After the VA is done, we move it to our graphic designer, who will create an image for this post and so forth. We use this process for all our articles. It does not matter how big or how small it is. We developed the system, which works for us and we use it.

Also, this kind of customized projects can save you a lot of time. For example, instead of logging each blog post to our database, our VA can check this project once a month, and batch the post log at once.  The same thing our graphic designer can do.

Additionally, I want to show you another example of the process in Asana for different industry. We own commercial property, and we own homes that are standing on it, which we need to renovate time to time. We have close to 20 columns for each home renovation. It covers all parts of the renovation. When you open it, you can see what is outstanding, and what is in need of more attention. See the snapshot below.

As you can see, we have zero tasks in insulation section, which means we completed all tasks there. By the way, if you are in real estate industry, and you think you would benefit from this setup, we set up all out categories by using J Scott system from the book The Book on Estimating Rehab Costs.

Asana Inbox

Asana inbox is like your email, which you open every day or every minute (bad habit 🙂 ), and check all incoming emails. However, inbox in asana will have all tasks which are due today and assigned to your name, or if there was activity on some tasks which you follow. By the way, you follow tasks you want by adding your name at the bottom left corner.

This is the snapshot of my inbox today.

You simply click on inbox and “attack” the tasks.

There are 2 options:

    1. You can simply archive it. By the way, you archive only the notification and not the task. For example, if it is something you have to do today, and it is assigned to your name, I simply click archive because I can find it later under my tasks. Simply click on X sign to archive the notification.

  1. Another option, if you follow some tasks and there were some activities. If you review it, and have some comment afterwards, you just write it in the comment section.



    If you read the update on the task, and do not have any comments, you can simply archive it.

The inbox has to be empty every day so you are on top of all tasks.

My Tasks In Inbox

My tasks section in Asana is the list of all tasks assigned to you. When I work in Asana I like to click on My Tasks and sort it by due date.

This way, I can start working on the tasks which are due today. Remember, since we think sometimes that we are superheroes, we typically have more tasks than we can accomplish in one day. Therefore, I recommend to focus on the ones according to the TAGS, which we discussed above.

Recently, I started to eliminate my daily tasks by removing the due date and putting them into assigned column, or trusting my team and delegating the task to other team members.

Check others’ Tasks In Asana

In case you want to check what other team members have on their plate before you can add more, you can click on their image and see what they have outstanding.

My Personal Asana Routines

Asana can be addictive, as checking emails every 2 second. You think you are productive when you do it, but as many studies show, it is not the truth. I am not perfect and try to be more productive, so I try to improve my habits and routines. Thus, I just want to share what I currently use. I check Asana  twice a day. It is open all day long because I add tasks there often. However, I check my inbox only twice a day. I do it at 11:30am and 5:30pm. At 5:30pm it is part of my work shut down routine. At 11:30 it is part of my start work routine. I do start working at 8:00am, but start the communication with my team and external world at 11:30.

Here are the steps I take:

    1. I go to Asana Inbox,
    1. I check all tasks one by one.
    1. If the task is assigned to me, the due date today and there is nobody else on this task, I simply archive it. Why? Because i can view it later in My Tasks.
    1. If the task is assigned to me by some other team members, and they either completed it and want me to check, or have question, I respond to it right away, if it takes me less than two minutes (the two minute rule which I learned from David Allens – GTD (getting things done))
  1. If the task is assigned to me by others, and it will take me more then two minutes, I archive it.

At the end of the day at 5:30pm, I do the same thing but now all tasks, which are assigned to me and which take more than two minutes, I schedule for the next day or to the day when I decide to do it. For example, I do books on 10th and 25th of each month, or I create content like this article every Wednesday.

After I am done with inbox and it is clean, I go to My Tasks. At the beginning of the day, I see where the task fits. For example, if the time on My calendar blocked off for XYZ project, I know that I will do the task at that time. If I do not have time blocked on my calendar, but the task is due today, I either delegate, reschedule or remove the due date and move it to Assigned Column. Aslo, I can simply delete it, in case it is not important anymore.

Taboos

You should not abuse the tasks in Asana. Sometimes, people write essays in the tasks with hundreds of different tasks in one. It is not the proper way to use Asana. You need to break down all tasks into separate ones or the tasks with subtasks.

Things We Do Not Use In Asana

There are many other features which might be beneficial for you, but we do not use it yet. The system has been working for us for the past two and a half years. Why do we need to overcomplicate it?

Closing project in Asana

After you are done with the project, instead of deleting it, I would recommend to archive it for future reference. You can simply select the project from the menu, then click on three dots and select Archive Project (see the snapshot below)

In conclusion, I wrote this long guide for my friends, piers and clients. I receive a lot of questions on how I manage so many projects, and how I can stay on top of all of them. It is hard to explain during a coffee meeting, so I created this article. If you use everything as I described, I guarantee your success. After you master everything I described, you can then build on top of it, change, or simplify it.

If you have any other idea, question and/or comment please leave them below. I would like to learn with you, and hear your feedback. I am still learning, experimenting and adjusting.

Who am I and what is my purpose?

Who am I and what is my purpose on this earth?

Sooner or later we ask these questions ourselves. Some of us ask this question not only once but many times during our entire life. I am one of those people. This post I write 90% for myself to figure out where I am and which direction I am going since and 10% for the readers. I hope it helps you with your own personal definition and personal journey.

In my personal life, I have a very clear definition. I am a husband and father. However, it is harder to define my professional calling. I do many things in different industries and most of the time I am afraid to talk about it to the new people I meet.

Why?

I do not want them to think that I am Jack of all trades and master or none. How would you combine “I am mobile home park investor” and “email marketer for e-commerce”?

In the last few months, I struggle big time to define myself in a professional world. Big thank to Andry Carter for his presentation during Jake and Gino multifamily event in Nashville and Chris Ducker for his book Rise of the Youpreneur. I realized that I need to develop my personal brand AndriyBoychuk.

I am Who I am.

I need to have business cards and direct people to this resource and after they land on the site it is up to them what they want to learn about.

So personal branding was big aha moment for me. I can post on AndriyBoychuk.com anything and everything i want. Why? Because I am
Who I am. So, I figured this part and it is done.

But the hardest part is still not defined. I have crystal clear picture for each of my business and I know what each business does so it is very important but I have a very hard time figuring out what should I do first. Where should I focus and etc?

Here is a list of businesses and what I own and run:

Email Marketing NYC is an email marketing agency for e-commerce. We help online store owners increase their revenue via email marketing. I generate close to 90% of my income from this business. It is very successful and I have a proven track record. I am very proficient in it and I enjoy helping businesses. There are three business models in this business.
– Business model #1. The business model here is 100% marketing agency model where we charge per project or per hour. I like to sell but there is no stable predictable business model. This month we have 5 clients and next month 1. I am always prospecting. Do I like it yes and not. But it is different story.
Business model #2. We have two info product. One klaviyo course where I teach people how to use klaviyo and another one is an email marketing strategy and how to implement it in klaviyo. I sell the course on udemy, there are many sales but my profit ia $2-5 per sale.
Business model #3. Recently, i added new service which called Klaviyo premium support. Klaviyo is the best email marketing software for e-commerce. However, there are few freelancers and agencies who help with klaviyo. And those freelancers and companies are in high demand and cost little bit of money. So we decided to model WPcurve business model and create subscription service where we charge one flat fee ($97) per month and do the unlimited number of tasks.

Digital Consulting NYC – this is a marketing agency as well. Here we help people to save time by helping them with marketing and sales automation.
Just to add some clarity. This was part of Email Marketing NYC before. We had all the services in one company. However, it would hard to define what we do and hard to market to the right prospect of our businesses. So we decided to split into two different companies.

This is relatively new Business. We have 3 business models here as well.

Business model #1. I am activecampaign reseller. We sell the subscription to our clients. From this, we have monthly recurring revenue. This is a very straight forward model and scalable. We already have 105 subscribers but I did not figure out until now the best way to sell the subscription. I guess Model #2 will help. But this is concept yet.

Business model #2 is to sell pre-built marketing and sale automation packages for specific businesses like real estate agents, moving companies, property management companies, and other service companies. I am 90% done with the real estate agent package and working with my life coach to do the package for property management companies.

There are no sales yet but each sale is for business model #2 will lead into sale 100% of business model #1 product and possibly business model #3. Honestly, I have a dilemma here I would like to focus only on the real estate industry but I am afraid to lose othe clients. It might be my limited believe.

Business model #3 the same as in the previous business email marketing NYC we provide unlimited monthly support to activecampaign users. It is a subscription service with unlimited number of task for $97 per month.

Immigrant Porada is an online portal for Ukrainian immigrants in the US. I plan to convert it into non for profit in 2019. I started this company in 2013. This company is the foundation of all my knowledge of email and marketing automation since I did a lot of it for this company. This company brings negative income since expenses much higher than income but this is my baby. I love to help people I love to share what I do. Yes from the business perspective it is stupid to lose money monthly for the past 5 years but I can not help mysels. I do not care I do it anyway. At this moment money is not important but time and attention is. If I start doing something for business i am gone for hours. I love to work on it but it distracts and removes me from other important projects. There is no clear business model and monetization strategies. However, I know I need a team for this business.

Mobile home park hub- this is website and resource where I share information about the mobile home park industry. It is not my experience but things which work. The whole goal of this site to educate, provide value, built authority and redirect potential investors to Horizontal Nyc.

Horizontal NYC is a mobile home park investing business. I find deals via this company and syndicate it.

Afford MH and Royal MH. Those are business which is almost done. They’re not much to do but still, it takes some of my time monthly. We decided to close those two businesses in near feature.

Bazamarket is e-commerce online store where I plan to sell European groceries. This is not an active project but I am very passionate about it and want to start this business.

What is next for each business and what do I want to do?

As you can see there a lot of businesses.

Lately, I hear compliments from others that I am such great persona and businessmen and I do so much.

But, am I? Do I do this right?

I love compliments and it is like fuel for me. However, I always ask
myself if this the best I can do and I compare myself with Steve Jobs and Elon Musk and others. My business looks so unreal and unperfect that sometimes I question myself and what I do.

So what is the ideal outcome for each business for me?

Email marketing NYC – I want to find a partner who has the same passion or even more for helping e-commerce make more money. This business is very heavy on the support part and takes only a few big companies per month for the strategy and implementation.

Digital consulting NYC – at this moment I want to develop this business and get traction. I want to develop a few packages for a few niches and focus on selling it. The package itself is the entry product. The real money is from continuation product. This business will allow me to be involved and connected in reeal estate community what i love and bring value from the marketing side.

Immigrant Porada – I wish to have more time for this but I do not have it. At this moment I want to convert to non for profit. I want to find a team of volunteer first make this company work and an an employee later. Ideally, I want to find CEO for this company and I want to be only ok the board of directors helping to make big decisions.

All mobile home park-related projects. I want to be more involved in it but everything looks too complicated and complex for me.

As you can see there is a lot of actions in my head but most of them end up as only stress. I am not clear how to figure this out.

One thing I 100% clear about is to develop my brand andriyboychuk.com I will direct traffic only to this site and then people can choose what they want to know about me. Also, I do need 7 different business cards. I can only one where it says Andriyboychuk..com without title and position. I am my own company and brand.

Missing Information – Mobile Home Communities

We have visited almost all of the mobile home communities in Northeast and Southeast part of the Pennsylvania. At first, we had no idea what a challenge it would be to find some of the communities. We  looked up for communities on many well known websites such aswww.mhvillage.comand got plenty of addresses from there. However, the problem is some of those communities do not exist anymore or if you enter an address on google maps or GPS it won’t take you to the right location. Unfortunately, not many websites have phone numbers for the communities so you can’t really call for directions either. Many phone numbers have been changed or disconnected.

 

Also, it seems as many websites with parks info databases show the same information. So we decided to make life easier for people looking for homes and communities to live in in the area.  So we will post an updated info for communities such as locations with directions, current street name and address, updated phone numbers and any other contact information that might be useful.

 

Please feel free to add comments with any suggestions or corrections under each community so we can continue updating the information. As time goes by things change and no company can really keep up with all of the changes and updates so help us provide others with correct info.

We will add details for one mobile home community every week. Stay up to date with us.