The five Asana tips and tricks you should use

Kasia Kramnik

By now, you probably know that we’re huge Asana advocates. It’s a great tool for making sure your team’s projects stay on track - whether you’re a small garage startup or a massive multinational corporation. You already know that, though. Why else would you click on an article promising to show you the five best Asana tips and tricks?

In this post, we’re going to reveal some highly guarded secrets about our favourite project management tool. Previously, these Asana features were only known to the most dedicated of power users, the sort of people who spend their days reciting arcane spells while staring at Kanban boards. We decided they’re too useful to be kept hidden from regular users, all of whom could stand to learn how to use Asana effectively. Let’s get started, then: sit back and prepare to be dazzled by…

Tip #1: Group tasks into sections

...well, okay. Not very dazzling, is it? Still, we thought we’d start with a simple trick before we move on to more complicated Asana hacks. It’s actually astonishing how many people don’t realise this feature exists. Organising tasks into sections is most certainly a thing in Asana - it’s just hidden under a button that is itself hidden inside a dropdown. It’s beyond us why Asana’s designers thought that would be a good idea, but, well, there you go.

Forget about the button, however. There’s a faster way to create sections, and it doesn’t require you to take your hands off your keyboard. Simply hit Tab+N to create a new section. As far as Asana tips and tricks go, it’s not too exciting - if you weren’t dividing long lists of tasks into sections before, however, let us be the first to tell you: you should start.

Tip #2: Repeating tasks

Some projects, regrettably, require us to perform the same task a number of times. Inexperienced Asana users often simply resort to creating each new repetition as its own separate subtask. Sure, this approach gets the job done - would you rather not have to waste time, though?

Enter Asana’s repeat function. Whenever you create a new task, click on the “due date” field. The repeating options are on the bottom of the panel. Tasks can recur daily, weekly, monthly, yearly - whichever option you need, it’s there. Asana even allows you to define your own time period. It bears repeating (pardon the pun) that out of all the Asana suggestions given to newcomers, this is one tends to get ignored.

Are you ready to get into something more advanced? The next three Asana productivity tips are some of the coolest tricks you can do with any productivity software.

Tip #3: Add tasks through email

Let’s say you’re on a long train journey. You receive an email from a client describing a new feature you’d immediately like to pass to your developers. The problem is, you don’t have your laptop with you. Sure, you could open up the Asana app on your phone and spend ten minutes copying and pasting the contents of the email into a new task… Or you could just forward the email.

As far as Asana tips and tricks go, this one is simply black magic, as far as we’re concerned. Everything is centered around the address. By default, if you send an email to that address, a new task will be created in your My Tasks view. The subject line will become the new task’s name, and the contents will become its description. Any attachments will be added to the tasks as if you added them through Asana itself.

Well, that’s all well and good, I hear you say. Wouldn’t I need to switch to Asana to add other people to the task anyway?

No. No, you would not. See, this is where the magic comes in. You can assign people to the task simply by including their email address in the To: field of your message. Similarly, people in the CC: field will automatically be added as followers.

What if you want to add the task to a certain project? That’s also not a problem - go into Asana, click on the project’s name, and select Import / Email. You will be presented with a unique email address for your project. If adding tasks in this fashion is something you think you’ll be doing a lot of, it may be a good idea to add your project’s emails to your address book.

Tip #4: Cross-indexing tasks

You could read a dozen articles titled “Asana best practices” and not come across this tip. We can’t fathom why - it’s so useful! Simply put, cross-indexing allows you to add a single task to multiple projects. Depending on which of the projects a given user has access to, they will see different information. 

You could, technically, achieve the same result by simply duplicating a task across every related project. Using cross-indexing, however, does away with the need to update each copy by hand. A change in a single project will be reflected across all others. 

This technique can also be applied to sub-tasks. Although creating an intricate web of related and shared tasks may seem like a recipe for a lot of needless complexity and cruft, Asana power users swear by this technique. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Tip #5: Advanced search

As your team grows, so does the scope of their projects. Eventually, you’re going need help navigating Asana. That’s where advanced search comes in.

While the basic search bar is still plenty useful, the advanced search view allows you to narrow the search results based on different criteria. You can look for items assigned to certain users or projects and apply additional filters to the results.

What’s more, you can save your searches and return to them whenever you need - effectively allowing you to create your own views. Do you need to look at every task created within the last three days? Create an advanced search and save it for easy access in the future. 

Bonus tip: Integrations

We can’t close out a list of the best Asana tips and tricks without mentioning integrations. Although we already wrote an overview of the best Asana integrations, here’s the tl;dr version: they’re great. You can use them to generate reports of your team’s activities, import data from other apps, and, soon, you will be able to use the best time-tracking tool available to manage your Asana projects ;)

What did you think about our list of Asana tips and tricks? Did we mention your favourites? We’d love to know! And if you haven’t given Timenotes a try yet, please feel free to sign up for our free trial.