“Huh?” you ask? The typical project management state of mind is angst-ridden and chaotic. There are too many projects with too many tasks and too many people to manage. Then there is the inventory and handling of the content in order to check-off completed tasks to complete the projects. And so it goes, until the mind becomes a tangled mess that brings on the dire need for a cup of coffee and a candy bar.
Three weeks before the beginning of a new quarter became the trigger point for inducing this project management panicked state of mind. The bits of content and emails started rolling in which prompted growing task lists, phone calls, and meetings with my production assistant. We couldn’t seem to get the information contained in any organized way where we felt in control. We also found that in this morass of information, we were making mistakes.
Then along came Asana. Asana is a cloud-based project management tool whose tag line is “Teamwork without email. Asana puts conversations and tasks together so you can get more done with less effort.” YES! This is exactly what we needed to get out of the vortex of swirling emails and task lists. We piloted it for the first few weeks of the quarter when we usually get more technical questions and inevitably more fires to put out. We created a “workspace” and then a project folder for each course. Tasks can be quickly assigned to a specific project, then assigned to a team member, and given a due date. Content can be attached to each project from Dropbox or a local drive. In addition, each task has a comment box that can be populated with notes which is automatically sent to anyone following the task. This is helpful for answering questions quickly or for clarification about a task without picking up the phone. The mobile app is very convenient to use during meetings when additional tasks need to be added or on the morning commute to see what the priorities are for the day.
Asana has brought a peace and calmness that I did not think was possible in the realm of project management. My production assistant and I are not forwarding emails, hunting each other down via phone or scribbling to-do lists during meetings that only then have to be transcribed into an email or explained over a phone call. We have achieved a clarity and calmness that, I suppose, is close to a Zen-like state of mind. We know where we are and what needs to be done, so our effort can be put towards achieving our tasks and projects. Asanas in yoga are positions of the body that will restore well-being. The project management tool, Asana, has certainly brought a sense of well-being and control and allowed us to make room for bringing more creativity and innovation into our daily work.