Using Asana Review

Review: Is Using Asana Worth Your Time to Boost Productivity?

Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank

Productivity apps have made a profound difference in how I handle myself both as a freelance writer and as a blogger. Especially since they help me remember that I want and need to do certain tasks. Is Asana one of those that can help you?

Actually, it’s probably one of my favorites.

I am a bit biased when it comes to Asana simply because some of my clients use it as well. In fact, they are the ones who introduced me to it in the first place.

But, I can say that I’ve got so much more done while using the app.

What is Asana?

Asana is a productivity and collaboration app that lets you keep track of projects and tasks. Created for a team environment, Asana comes with a variety of tools to enhance the process of managing workflow.

At a glance, you can engage in conversations, save messages regarding tasks, assign work, and it allows for integrations with Slack, Zoom, Gmail, and a host of other third-party tools.

For instance, you can add the TrackingTime extension in Google Chrome and keep track of every moment you or your team spend on specific projects.

This is just one example of more than 100 available apps to use within Asana.

Although there is a premium version of Asana that offers more robust functionality, you can use Asana for free to manage a team of up to 15 as well as a very long list of projects and tasks.

How Well Does Asana Work?

Since I have access to both the free and premium versions of Asana, I’ll do my best to point out the differences. This is because my client pays for the service while I use the free version for my own blogs.

Keep in mind that this review is from my perspective as a freelance writer, blogger, and author. Some of the functions may or may not be as important to you and your needs.

So, what can you expect when using Asana?

Pros

  • Free version is full of practical functionality
  • Unlimited file storage for projects
  • Dropbox & Google Drive integration
  • Lots of features for a myriad of purposes

Cons

  • 100MB cap on sharing files
  • A bit more expensive than other project management apps

Keeping Track of Projects and Tasks

One of the biggest reasons why I use Asana is to keep an eye on projects and tasks. This goes for myself as well as my writing team for my client.

Each project can have an unlimited number of tasks attached, which lets you assign team members to specific jobs.

So, I can assign my writer to complete a blog post, assign myself to review and edit, then assign my social media manager to post the content on Twitter once it’s published.

This means I am in the loop every step of the way for publishing the content. And if I see someone hasn’t checked off a task in a timely manner, I can consult with them to find out why.

Using a Check-to-Complete Platform

Check to Complete Tasks

I love to-do lists. Because I have a lot on my plate, I like the idea of having checklists throughout any given day. Asana gives me that check-to-complete option while graying out tasks that are done.

Or, you can change the filter of the list to exclude completed tasks which will remove them from view. That way, I can always see what projects and tasks are still in the pipe.

This aspect has helped me tremendously over the years with everything from motivation to content strategies. Looking at the list, I can see what posts need updates and which still need to be written.

Lately, I’ve been using these to-do lists to remind me to spend a half hour working on social media posts and updates.

The bottom line is that it’s simple to create tasks and then check them off as you work.

Color Coding Projects

One feature I like is how I can color code projects and tasks. This is helpful as I can quickly determine what blog, client, or YouTube channel needs attention on any specific day.

Of course, you can use the color palettes for more reasons. But it’s nice since I keep track of several projects throughout any given week. I can look at the calendar and know what kind of day I’m about to have.

Technically, you don’t need to use the color schemes in Asana. In fact, one of my clients doesn’t. However, I find it nice to look at the calendar and see what blocks of time are scheduled for which blog, book, or client.

Up to 15 Team Members for Free

Another reason I use Asana to track my own projects is that it allows up to 15 team members on the free version. This means I can expand my team quite a bit before having to pay for the premium service.

The way I think of it, if I am making enough money to hire so many team members, I should be making enough to afford the premium version of Asana.

While this might not be something a freelance writer would use, it’s definitely an interest for me as a blog owner. One of the things I am planning to do is expand my writer pool, and this lets me add a dozen more for my different websites.

Mobile Apps Available

Asana has apps readily available for iOS and Android. This way, you can keep track of tasks and projects while on the move.

However, I’m not a big fan of the mobile layout. While some of this can be chalked up to my dislike of mobile devices, it just doesn’t have the same awesome flow on a smartphone as it does on a desktop computer.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being able to manage projects while I am out of town. But I would prefer to use my laptop over my smartphone.

That is probably more of a personal preference than anything, though.

Unlimited Projects and Tasks

One aspect that sets Asana aside from many others is the capacity to add unlimited projects and tasks. This is great for those tracking client projects, articles, blog posts, and other elements of writing.

For example, I have all five of my blogs as well as my Wattpad projects and social media posts saved in the system. Then, I can add clients as projects and their content as tasks without having to worry about which ones to sacrifice if I hit a capped number.

I even have platforms such as Vocal, Medium, and Hubpages saved to track the posts I create.

The bottom line is that if I am involved in creating it, I’ve got an Asana project at the ready.

TrackingTime Extension Error, at First

When I tried to use the TrackingTime extension, I was getting an error, “This content is blocked. Contact the site owner to fix the issue.” However, I was able to fix the problem.

You’ll have to signup and log into TrackingTime before using it with Asana. For some reason, trying to log into the time tracking extension from the Asana dashboard kept crashing with the above message.

TrackingTime

But once I created the account and was able to sign in outside of Asana, it worked perfectly.

Unlimited File Storage

If you use a lot of images in your projects, especially from clients, Asana lets you save an unlimited number of these whether you’re using the free or premium services.

However, you’re limited to 100MB per file shared. This works great for basic JPGs, GIFs, PNGs, and the like. In reality, you shouldn’t use 1MB image files on a blog, anyway. WebP is more ideal, but that’s a story for another day.

If you save MKV files for video, you should be able to share shorter clips.

Unfortunately, I’m also trying to do video content to accompany the blogs. And saving something like a large, 4.3GB MPEG-4 file is impossible in Asana.

Still, there are ways to work around this issue. As I said, it can handle a lot of MKVs in contrast, as those video files are much smaller in comparison.

Not to mention that you can also use the automated Dropbox integration for Asana. Since Dropbox can handle much larger files, you can add the link to the task for something like a video file quite easily.

Or, you can also integrate all of Google’s Workspace apps, such as Google Drive, for larger file sharing.

So far, I’ve added hundreds and hundreds of JPGs for both the blogs and my social media manager in Asana.

Limited Color Palette

Few Colors in Asana

At the time of this blog post, Asana only gives you access to 16 colors when assigning them to projects. I know most of you probably don’t care, but I like to use color as a quick way to recognize which projects are due.

Having access to a hexadecimal system would have been much better for someone who keeps track of many things at once.

You’re also able to set icons for projects in Asana, which can help you and your team quickly identify certain tasks and whatnot.

Installable App Available

Currently, you can install Asana on your computer system instead of using a web browser. However, you’ll still need an Internet connection to use the program.

This means it’s not necessarily an “offline” platform. It just means you don’t need to use up browser resources to use Asana.

If you’re using Google Chrome, it might actually help with memory usage considering that Chrome is a bit of a RAM hog.

At the time of this post, it’s available for Windows, iOS, and Android.

Drag and Drop Moving of Tasks

In the calendar view, it’s easy to drag and drop tasks to help schedule your time. This is useful if you have something scheduled that you’re just not going to finish but need to reschedule.

One of the ways I used this feature was to help create a strategy for time management to ensure I can get as much completed as possible throughout the week.

Essentially, Asana helped me answer the question, “Can I get X, Y, and Z done if I schedule them this way?”

I can also move certain high-priority projects around to make sure they’re done first before I tackle anything else. This feature alone helped me schedule the best times to work on my next book while finishing two weeks early.

Slack Integration for Asana

One of my clients uses the Slack integration for Asana quite often. It lets us create a new task, comment, and receive updates from the Slack chat window.

When you have a larger team such as my client, this feature is a time saver while keeping everyone in the know.

Additionally, you can create rules between Asana and Slack to automatically send messages to a specific channel if you have a team that needs the information.

Would I Recommend Using Asana as a Writer?

From a freelance writer and blogger perspective, Asana has a lot to offer. Not only does it give you unlimited projects in the free version, but you can easily keep track of what needs to be done on any specific day.

As I mentioned earlier, I use it to keep track of all my blogs. This includes the blog posts I need, revamps I want to make, assigning writers, and managing the overall workflow.

As a freelancer, I’m able to keep track of the time I spend on client content, using content mills as projects to manage time, and share files for post images.

Unfortunately, you’ll have to upgrade to a premium account if you want to invite an unlimited number of guest users as clients. Otherwise, you can add and remove clients per job as part of the 15-member version.

It’s a bit of a pain, but much cheaper overall, especially if you’re just starting out.

So the short answer is yes, I would recommend using Asana to keep track of your writing gigs or personal projects. And since it’s free, you can try it yourself without worrying about fees or trial periods.

Over the years, Asana has made a vast difference in my productivity from a freelance writing career to writing my books. It’s all about managing time better, and the effect Asana has made on me from a professional standpoint is nothing short of astounding.

Asana is a Great Tool

Using project management apps is greatly beneficial from blogging to freelance writing. Instead of using a spreadsheet to keep track of individual tasks, systems like Asana streamline the process.

For me, it’s been one of the most utilized platforms on my computer. Especially since it’s a free system to start.

Find what works for you and get the most out of your day. Apps like this can work wonders from a personal and professional standpoint.

Michael Brockbank
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