A Beginner’s Guide to Using Asana for Tracking Any Project

A Beginner’s Guide to Using Asana for Tracking Any Project

asana-guide

Asana is one of the best productivity tools that you can use for free, and it’s perfect for a creative professional looking to manage their schedule. It comes with a lot of customization options, but when you’re first learning the ropes its versatility might seem intimidating.

Let’s ease into it. Here’s how to create and keep track of a project using Asana.

Step 1: Log In and Get Familiar

Create Asana Project Opening Screen

Asana is web-based, so when you’re setting up your project you’ll need to log into your account. If you haven’t signed up yet, try the Basic free account first and see if you like it. For more advanced uses, Asana has different price tiers.

If you have tried to manage a project with Trello, we’ve already talked about how Asana compares to Trello as a project management tool.

Once you’re signed up, you’ll see a homepage similar to the screenshot above. Along the left side is your sidebar. In the center under Tasks Due Soon you’ll see a list of things you need to complete. Beneath that, you’ll see the icons for your recently opened projects.

Step 2: Create a New Project

Create Asana Project Add New Project

To create a new project, go to your sidebar. Under Teams, click + > Add Project.

Once you do, you’ll be greeted with a new screen that gives you a list of templates to choose from. Let’s go with Blank Project. For keeping track of day-to-day tasks you won’t need more than that.

Create Asana Project Choose Template

After you click on Blank Project, you’ll be prompted to add your details. This is where you’ll set up the “rules” that govern what your project looks like.

Because this project helps me with my day-to-day tasks, I’m going to set the privacy to Private to me. There’s no need for anyone else to see it.

Create Asana Project Add Details

Next, click Create project. Asana will generate this project under your Teams category in the sidebar.

Step 3: Change Your Project Color

Create Asana Project Change Project Colors

Now that you’ve created your new project, you can customize the color of it. This makes it easier to see in your calendar.

To customize your color, click on the “…” beside your project’s name. Under Set Highlight Color, choose a swatch.

Step 4: Create a Repeating Task

Create Asana Project Create Repeating Task

The beauty of Asana is that you can create multiple tasks with different parameters inside of each project.

Any task can also be a repeating one. To create a repeating task, click on your project’s name—“Asana Tutorial”—under the Teams section in the sidebar. This ensures the project is active.

Under List, click Add Task. This will automatically add a task card on the right-hand side of your workspace. This is where you will fill in your details.

Create Asana Project Assign Task

For this tutorial, I’m going to say this task is for posting art to Twitter.

To assign the task to someone, click on the person icon next to the Due Date. Type in their name. By clicking on their username the task is assigned to them.

Create Asana Project Due Date

Next, let’s give this task a deadline. To do that click on the Due Date icon. This brings up the calendar and a list of dates you can choose from.

For this task, I’m going to set the deadline to March 24. But I also want to make this task repeat once a day once I have finished creating it.

To turn on repeat, click Set to repeat. This will make a dropdown menu pop up, where you can choose daily, periodical, weekly, monthly, or yearly intervals.

Create Asana Project Assign Repeating Due Date

You can also click Add due time to have the task due at a certain time each day. For this tutorial, I’m going to type in 11:00am.

Create Asana Project Assign Due Date Time

After you’re finished, click Done. You’ll see your new task pop up with its name, due date and who it’s assigned to in the List.

That said—what if you want to create a task for a more complicated project? What if this task has a hard end date, or there are multiple steps that you need to complete?

Step 5: Create a Task With Subtasks

Create Asana Project Add Single Task

To create a task with a hard end date, follow the same process that we laid out in Step 4.

Click on Add Task, fill out the title, the assignee and due date, but when you get to Due Date don’t click Set to repeat. It’s not needed.

Create Asana Project Description Box

Under the title section, you’ll see a text box that says Description. By clicking on this box you can fill out the information on your project: who the client is, what they need, or any ideas you want to include in your design.

All these details side-by-side might get complicated. If your task requires multiple steps to finish, you can add subtasks to keep track of them.

To create a subtask, click on its icon at the top of your task card, seen here highlighted in red.

Create Asana Project Add Subtask

This will automatically create a subtask for you. Like the parent task, you can name it, give it a due date, or assign it to another person.

If the main task is set to private, the subtask will need to be assigned to you. To quickly assign the task, click on the person icon, then click Assign to Me.

Create Asana Project Assign Subtask to Me

Now that you’ve created one subtask, you can create additional subtasks within your task card.

Create Asana Project Add More Subtasks

You can also re-arrange the subtasks by clicking and dragging them using the six dots located on the left side of each check mark. This is useful if you create your subtasks out of order.

Step 6: Adding Tags

Create Asana Project Add Tags

Once you’ve created your subtasks, you might want to tag this project so it’s easier for you to find. To tag it, press Tab + T to bring up your tag box. This box will appear above your subtasks.

I’m going to tag this project “tutorials”, but as you can see I don’t have a tag for that yet. To create one, click on the blue box that says NEW TAG. Asana will generate it for you.

Step 7: Completing a Task

Create Asana Project Complete a Task

So now that we’ve finished setting up repeating and one-time tasks, there’s not much more to do other than “complete” them.

When you finish a task or subtask, click on the checkmarks next to the item. They will turn green once they’re done.

Step 8: Deleting a Task

Create Asana Project Delete a Task

What if you want to delete a task that is no longer active? Click on the three dots in the top right-hand corner of your task and select Delete Task.

Create Asana Project Delete a Task Permanently

Once you do, Asana will prompt you: do you want to undo your last action, or get rid of the task for good? If you’re sure you don’t need the task again, click Delete Permanently and Asana will wipe it.

Use Asana to Organize Your Life

As you can see, Asana’s ability to manage your creative projects—and customize them—can be done with just a few simple steps.

It’s not the only tool that can help you with your time and projects, however, and if you’re looking for more info we’ve got a great list of free project management tools for you.

Read the full article: A Beginner’s Guide to Using Asana for Tracking Any Project

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It’s Getting Easier to Stop Facebook Tracking You

If you’re an Android user there’s a good chance Facebook can track your location even when you aren’t using the app. And you only have yourself to blame, as you’ve ticked the option to share your location. However, Facebook is now adding more granular controls.

How Location SHaring Works on Android and iOS

Android and iOS differ in a number of different ways, one of which affects location sharing. Apple offers iOS users three options when it comes to sharing their location: “Always,” “Never,” and “While Using”. Android, on the other hand, only offers “On” and “Off”.

This effectively means that while iOS users could prevent Facebook from tracking their location when they weren’t using the app, Android users were essentially giving the social network permission to track them at all times. Probably without realizing it.

Facebook Adds a New Location Sharing Option

On the Facebook Newsroom, Facebook explains the new option for Android users. As well as the usual “Location Services” option, there’s now a new “Background Location” option. Switching that to “Off” will prevent Facebook tracking you when you’re not using the app.

Facebook is sending an alert to all Android users who have previously turned on “Location History” informing them of the new option to turn off “Background Location”. The social network is also alerting iOS users to make sure they’re happy with their settings.

Facebook is keen to point out that it isn’t “making any changes to the choices you’ve previously made” or “collecting any new information as a result of this update”. In other words, this is an innocent update designed to help people maintain their privacy.

Do You Really Need to Share Your Location?

Personally, I wouldn’t let Facebook know my precise location whether I was using the app or not. But if you make use of that feature, or simply like checking into places on Facebook, at least stop the social network from tracking you when you’re not using the app.

Facebook deserves credit for making this change. Especially as most people don’t seem to be aware the company could see their location at all times. However, Facebook is still a security nightmare, which is why you should manage your Facebook privacy settings.

Read the full article: It’s Getting Easier to Stop Facebook Tracking You

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10 Useful Excel Project Management Templates for Tracking

power-of-templates

Project management templates are an essential ingredient in replicating successful projects. With Microsoft Excel’s free templates, you can turn your simple spreadsheets into powerful project management tools.

In this article, you’ll find some of the most useful and free Microsoft Excel project management and project tracking templates you’ll want to use for your next project.

In this article:

Microsoft Excel Project Management Templates

Let’s have a look at the best Microsoft Excel project management templates.

Note: We cover both native and third-party templates here. To find the pre-installed Excel spreadsheet templates, open Excel and search for the respective keyword from the New document screen. If you’re already in Excel, go to File > New to bring up the template search. Check the Managing Microsoft Excel Templates section below for more details.

Excel Project Timeline Templates

Excel comes with several timelines and Gantt chart templates provided by Microsoft, but it also integrates templates from Vertex42, one of the most popular third-party resources for spreadsheets.

1. Work Plan Timeline

The Work Plan Timeline template is suitable for a basic project with multiple phases. When you enter your data into the worksheet, the roadmap will update automatically.

Excel Work Plan Timeline Template

This template comes pre-installed with Microsoft Excel 2016.

2. Date Tracking Gantt Chart

Gantt charts are a staple in every project manager’s toolset. They help you visualize the flow of your tasks and track progress.

With this template, you can create a comprehensive Gantt chart with minimal effort. Just enter each task, complete with a description, who it’s assigned to, a percentage to indicate progress, a start date, and allocated days until completion.

Gantt chart template to track project progress in Excel.

This template is a Microsoft Excel default.

3. Milestone and Task Project Timeline

If you want to integrate milestones into a basic timeline, this template provided by Vertex42 is ideal. It combines the best elements of a Gantt chart, i.e. the visualization of the task flow, with milestones hovering above the timeline. Just fill in the respective tables to populate the visual.

An Excel timeline template with integrated milestones.

You can find this template by searching in Excel.

Excel Project Plan Template

A project plan is a document that may require Excel charts but is otherwise composed in Microsoft Word. For basic projects, however, you may get away with only a Microsoft Excel document.

4. Simple Gantt Chart

When you search Excel’s template repository for project plan templates, you’ll mainly find different Gantt chart variations, including this Simple Gantt Chart from Vertex42. What sets it apart from the Gantt chart above is the inclusion of project phases.

A simple Gantt chart Microsoft Excel template with project phases.

This template is included in Microsoft Excel.

5. Event Planner Template

A project plan really isn’t something you typically put together in Excel. But if your project is simple enough, like planning a party, a solid one-page template that lists essential tasks and lets you define a schedule and budget is all you need. This template from Office Templates Online is a great start.

Excel event planner template for Microsoft Excel.

Excel Project Tracker Template

A search for tracker will bring up a wild mix of personal and business-related Excel spreadsheet templates for tracking. You can narrow down your search by selecting the categories that relate to the project management task you’re dealing with.

6. Activity-Based Cost Tracker

This tracking template can help you get an overview of direct, indirect, and general and administrative product costs.

An Excel template to track indirect and direct product costs.

7. Project Tracking Template

This Vertex42 template is essential if you are handling multiple different clients, projects, and/or deliverables. It combines project details, expenses, task statuses, and due dates.

An Excel template to track multiple clients, projects, or deliverables.

Business Plan Templates

Microsoft Office has its own category for business plans. Use the suggested business search and select the Business Plans category on the right.

excel-business-plan-template

You’ll find the following Microsoft Excel templates:

  • Startup expenses
  • Business plan checklist
  • Business plan checklist with SWOT analysis

For more business plan templates, have a look at our dedicated article.

Search for Online Templates

Couldn’t find the exact project management template you need inside Excel? Turn to a third-party online resource for a wider selection of Excel spreadsheet templates. We recommend the following sites.

Vertex42

This website has a few great project management templates for Microsoft Office 2003 and up. The site notes that its templates are mostly related to project scheduling. Anything more complicated might require Microsoft Project or other project management software.

vertex42-project-management-templates

On the page dedicated to project management, you’ll find a list of useful material, including, but not limited to, the following:

Each page contains a quick rundown of what the template does, one or more templates, and further tips and tricks for the respective project management tool. It’s a great resource for budding project managers.

TidyForm

TidyForm has a respectable selection of Microsoft Excel project management templates. The most popular categories are listed on the homepage. If you can’t immediately spot what you need, switch to the Business section or try the search feature.

When you scroll to the bottom of a section, you’ll see a list of popular categories and related categories. This can be helpful when trying to find just the right template.

We recommend the following pages:

Still looking for the perfect template? You might have to create custom Excel templates to get exactly what you want.

Managing Microsoft Excel Templates

First, let’s see what templates you already have installed in Microsoft Excel. For the purpose of this demonstration, we’ve used Excel 2016, but the procedure is similar in Microsoft Office 2013 and Office 2019.

Defaults

When you start up Microsoft Excel, the first window you see will contain a search field for online templates. When you’re starting from an existing workbook, go to File > New to arrive at the same view.

excel-template-selection

Microsoft Excel comes with a selection of pre-installed templates. They are listed underneath the search field. You can pin favorite ones by clicking the respective symbol in the bottom right of the listing.

excel-pin-template

Search Online for More Project Templates

The fastest way to finding the kind of template you need is searching for it. Once you start a search, for example for the term project, you will also see template categories listed next to the templates that match your search.

excel-template-search

Narrow Down Your Search

A neat feature is that you can narrow down your search by selecting multiple categories. This helps you exclude templates that may match your keyword, but not your desired category. On the downside, you may find that the perfect template is not available in Microsoft Excel.

excel-template-search-trick

Preview & Create Your Template

When you click a template, you’ll see a preview with a brief description of what the template provides. You can also pin the template from its preview; the symbol sits in the top right.

excel-template-preview

To download and use a template, click the Create button, which will open a new Microsoft Excel workbook with the template pre-filled.

Template Ready, Set, Go

While you’re at it, review our list of useful office templates and stock up on business letter templates.

We have covered a lot of project management tips and tricks the past. Once you’re good with templates, you might want to consider additional tools and solutions. For example, did you know that Outlook is great for project management? Likewise, you could use OneNote for project management. And you could integrate OneNote with Outlook for project management? The possibilities are endless.

Whatever you do, before you start a project, prepare a Work Breakdown Structure.

Read the full article: 10 Useful Excel Project Management Templates for Tracking

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Uber Stops Tracking You After Your Ride Ends

Uber is set to stop tracking riders after they have reached their destinations. This is the latest in a long line of changes Uber is making in order to improve its terrible reputation. And this one means riders will only need to share their location when actually using the Uber app. Which is fair. Uber Tracks Riders In December 2016, Uber updated its mobile apps. And one of the changes it made affected how it collected location data from riders. Previously, Uber would only collect location data when riders had the app open, but users were suddenly faced with a…

Read the full article: Uber Stops Tracking You After Your Ride Ends

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Facebook Adds Live Location Tracking to Messenger

Facebook has added a new Live Location feature to Messenger. You have been able to share your location on a one-off basis for some time, but Facebook has now added real-time location sharing to the mix. This comes just a few days after real-time location sharing arrived on Google Maps. Your smartphone has the capacity to reveal where you are at any given moment. This is bad news for cheats, but good news for everyone else. Facebook thinks you’ll appreciate the ability to track your friends in real-time, so if you value privacy above all else you may want to…

Read the full article: Facebook Adds Live Location Tracking to Messenger

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How to Use an Android Smartphone as a Tracking Device

GPS on Android is incredible for many reasons. You’ve got the obvious uses, such as recovering your device when lost or stolen or navigating your way through hiking trails, and it’s especially nifty because GPS works even when the device isn’t connected to the internet. When navigating, you just need to download maps ahead of time. But with GPS, an Android device could also be used for tracking. It may not be the most reliable method, and it does comes with some not-so-insignificant limitations, but it can get the job done. Here’s how you can use your device to pinpoint…

Read the full article: How to Use an Android Smartphone as a Tracking Device

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