The Wonders of Asana

If you use life planning tools, you’re probably an anal-retentive sort of person. So it’s a bit redundant for me to say that anal-retentive people will love the life planning tool I’m about to recommend.

Let me say this, then: if you’re a practical, no-frills sort of person who cherishes peace of mind, you will love a free program called Asana.

The basic unit of Asana is the “task,” which is exactly what it sounds like. You can set a due date for all your tasks. Every day I log in to Asana and it shows me all my tasks organized by due date. The ones due “today” are the ones I focus on.

You can also create recurring tasks. This is incredibly convenient. For example, I have programmed “do laundry” to show up every Saturday. I never have to worry about putting laundry on my to-do list again because Asana will automatically remind me. You can have tasks recur in unusual ways, too, like “get a haircut” every sixth Saturday, “pay rent” on the 27th of every month, or “exercise” every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

If you think a task will take more than one day to complete, you can divide it into “subtasks.” Then set due dates on the subtasks to keep you on schedule.

Group tasks together, if you wish, to compose “projects.” Some examples of mine:

Nikolai (my current fiction project)

Writing (this blog, journaling, potential projects)

To-do (chores and miscellaneous tasks)

Asana doesn’t compose a schedule for you. It only tells you when tasks and subtasks are due. I didn’t like this at first, since I’m used to scheduling my day with specific times to complete various tasks. With Asana, the focus shifts from filling up my day to simply completing the tasks at hand, regardless of how long it takes me. And, if I don’t finish a task, I can simply change the due date. Easy!

For writers, it’s also massively helpful to be able to attach documents to the tasks you are working on. Finding the appropriate files on Asana is much easier than combing through Google Drive or your computer’s folders.

Also, when you complete a task, a rainbow unicorn leaps across the screen to celebrate. That might be the best part of Asana.

Asana is different from other life organization tools in that it isn’t designed as a shiny procrastination device. Instead of giving me more work and more distraction, it helps me relax knowing my daily to-do lists are taken care of.

Have a look at asana.com and let me know what you think.

P.S. I’m not affiliated with or being paid by Asana in any way. I’m just a huge fan!

27 thoughts on “The Wonders of Asana

  1. “shiny procrastination device” – ha!
    I tend to use pen and paper to remind myself of things to do, if the list gets too long for mental storage, but I am trying to upload as many of my recurring tasks as possible to the ‘habit’ program, which not only reminds you of what you need to do, but makes you start doing it without thinking about it. Alas, the upload speed is slow 😦
    Worth it in the long run, though!

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  2. Since I finished college I’ve written in pencil on a paper calendar to keep track of to-do items. I erase things that don’t get done and re-schedule them for later. Mostly I get everything done without becoming compulsive, which is a danger for me. I would enjoy a visit from the Rainbow Unicorn. 🙂

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  3. I will admit this program sounds wonderful to me. Going to check it out, I struggle to keep on task because I have many projects running at the same time, I love the word free and need to be more organised. I guess that means I am a member of the AR group? Oh well have known it for some time.

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  4. Love the sound of this. I’m always skeptical of digital task managers, mostly because I’ve abandoned so many of them, but also because I always fall back on a good paper calendar book. BUT. The bit about attaching documents to this really intrigued me. Maybe one day, when I have lots of clients and my business is going full-speed, a tool like this will be the way I go. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. I prefer unstructured time, because life is so full of “to-do’s” that I’ve decided I will never run out of things to do. Tasks like laundry, haircuts, dishwashing, and cleaning get done when I reach the “I can’t stand it anymore” stage. With time unstructured, top priorities seem to take care of themselves. It’s always interesting, because I never know what I will do next.

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    • Thanks for offering your viewpoint! I hate even getting close to the “I can’t stand it anymore” stage of things. Just me, though. But I wish I were more spontaneous like you! Suppose I can’t be everything, unfortunately.

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