nce upon a time, I would have ideas running through my head at a million miles an hour for my blog, The Bronze Hustle, and I had to get them out before they fled. I would usually start blindly with blank printer paper, a big poster board and notes in my notebook that become so scattered, I couldn’t even figure out my plans anymore because nothing was together.
That was me most of 2017, and I have decided that I have to become more organized as my brand grows. I thought that because I had all of these big ideas drafted out, I was on the right track last year, but they were all fragments and there were no processes on how to complete anything. I found myself working in circles and essential things would not get done and fall through the cracks.
I would go to create a webinar and think: “Ok what’s the first step again?” or “How did I do this last time?” I knew that I was pretty good at outlining a webinar, and the content came quickly, but everything else was hazy. Because I needed to create more consistent workflows and checklists, content creation became twice as hard. As a leader who hopes to have a sizeable regular team one day, I have to figure out how to create more efficiently as a small team before growth can genuinely happen.
As digital marketers who create newsletters, email funnels, social media posts, blog posts and everything else in between, it becomes repetitive but sometimes not as repetitive that we remember what we did time before. Moreover, that is where Asana comes in. It is a great project management tool that I use to organize blog content and make sure that my 2018 goals do not fall through the cracks.
Through Asana, I create workflows, checklists and keep an eye on my small team of contributors to be sure that everything is working as smoothly as possible.
The first thing to understand about Asana is Workspaces. Your Workspace can be a shared space between you and your coworkers or team, or it can be a personal workspace where you dig into your own goals. As soon as you become comfortable with what each Workspace will be used for, you can create Projects. As you begin your Project, you can decide if you prefer the List or the Board layout. The List works best for checklist items, while the Board layout works best when there are a lot of moving pieces of a project. Think of Projects as folders and then the Tasks in each one as your to-do items to follow. If you create your Project in the board layout, you create Columns that have corresponding tasks that you can move through each column like sticky notes as work progresses or moves between team members. You can create subtasks, due dates and assign to a team member or yourself to make sure that every moving piece gets done on your next marketing proposal, your next blog post or anything else you need to create.
To help you further understand Asana, I will explain how my Workspace works for my website contributors. One of my favorite features is the Team Conversations section that I communicate with the team on that functions as a message forum. As deadlines are approaching, I can message the team without having millions of emails to sift through unless my email notifications through Asana are turned on. There is also a Team Calendar where we can all look at due dates ahead.
Because our team plans in quarters, January, February, and March all have their projects that we work from to keep each monthly theme separate. Each Project is set up the same way using the Board layout with Columns as different stages in our writing and editing workflow. There are columns for the contributors to add their pitches and then I can go in and edit and move the pitches over for the contributors to begin writing. Through Asana, they can attach their posts, and comments can be made for quick questions and feedback. Once editing starts, I can continue to move the posts, add comments and move them towards publication. Everyone can see where his or her post is in the system and it lessens the need for consistent email communication. Each month, the process begins again, and the posts are completed a month ahead. So far, it has worked like a charm to keep the team on one accord.
Asana and its popular friend Trello are both fantastic tools to make sure that your next project does not take you twice as long as it should. If you are new to Asana, here is a tutorial that makes learning the tool a lot easier and makes sure your 2018 is super productive!
Shay D. Davis is a 2014 graduate of The University of South Carolina with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. Shay has worked in the Public Relations field, media and publishing as well as for various online blogs and publications. In 2016, Shay began her own business venture alongside the 9-5 corporate world. Shay created her blog, The Bronze Hustle, to provide resources and tips to black women who are bloggers and online entrepreneurs looking to advance their content marketing strategies. You can follow Shay @ShayDuriel on Twitter and you can keep up with The Bronze Hustle at @TheBronzeHustle on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.