Let’s Try Asana [Newsletter]

This is a copy of the weekly newsletter sent out to subscribers on 12 April 2017. To get the newsletter every week click the button below…


Although I’m a big fan of MeisterTask (software for managing projects), I did have a few concerns. One of the big ones was that it’s not a mainstream tool like Asana and I wondered if that would be a problem if I were to outsource some work – a lot of virtual staff know Asana but would likely not have heard of MeisterTask.

So, last week I jumped into Asana (which is free for teams up to 15 people) to see what all the fuss was about.

It’s worth also noting that one of the key things I like about MeisterTask (and Trello) are the kanban style boards. Thankfully, Asana now has this option as well as the standard list style of actions.

I set up a mini project that had multiple small tasks in 5 distinct categories and have been working through it for the last few days. I used a list style rather than the kanban board.

My initial thoughts are that I quite like it. It’s super simple to add tasks as I think of them. Then I can easily move them around under different sections to get the structure exactly how I want it.

It gives a good overview of a project and is much better than a normal todo list (although I can’t see it ever replacing Todoist for all my ad hoc tasks).

I’m going to continue using it for a few more different projects and then I’l write up a piece on the site.

Do you use Asana? What do you think about it? Any tips for a new user?

Artificial Intelligence Boosting Productivity

Artificial intelligence (AI) is coming. I already talked about Alexa (Amazon Echo) which is AI at it’s basic level but still having a positive impact on my productivity. In the workplace there are a number of ways AI will boost productivity (and not just replace us).

An article I read this week suggests 4 key areas:

  • AI ends the “paper-chase” – we spend a lot (20%) of our time searching for information. AI is going to make those searches much easier by “learning” what we need before we need it
  • AI cuts wasted meeting time – most of the time spent on meetings is in the preparation for the meeting. AI will have the ability to learn what the meeting is, the objectives, the people, the context, etc. and proactively prepare what we need. Although I would prefer to just send a bot and not have to attend.
  • AI eases mobile chaos – when working whilst mobile, AI is going to be able to provide relevant information for calls and last minute meetings when we don’t have all our tools with us.
  • AI reduces distractions – we all suffer from distractions whilst trying to work. Particularly all the notifications coming from multiple sources. Would be great to have AI deal with those messages and prioritize them for us!

The pattern here is that AI is going to intelligently deal with information (I’m talking about knowledge workers rather than hands on production – this is a different story).

Freeing us from the administrative work, in theory, allows for more time to do value work.

The difficult questions that need to be asked is what about the people who are employed to do the administrative work today. What happens to them?

There are also plenty of articles out there discussing how even the professional level jobs of doctors, lawyers and accountants will be hit hard from the implementation of AI. Any job that relies on retrieving and analyzing information for insight / decisions is going to be affected by the productivity boost of AI.

Are you seeing any AI having an impact in your workplace yet?

Super Simple Way To Master Any Subject

Continually having to learn new things in this fast paced world can pose a problem – it takes time to learn. Time not many of us have.

So this article promising a super simple way to master any subject, grabbed my attention. It is definitely simple and not what I was expecting!

The answer is…. argue with yourself. That is the science backed way to learn something more in depth, quickly.

You have to imagine a skeptical second party who objects and questions everything you say about the subject. You then reply using facts and logic to counter.

Interesting? I’m going to give this a go. I think all people do this anyway but not consciously.

The one important piece of advice is don’t do it out loud when in public. At least not very often.

The Peak Work Performance Summit

From April 18 to April 27 the Peak Work Performance Summit is taking place. This is a virtual summit that you can watch for free. It’s all about productivity and they say that you will learn:

  • How the most successful people start their day
  • How to design the perfect to-do list
  • How visual thinking can help flesh out ideas
  • How to build exercise into your daily routine
  • How to say “No” diplomatically
  • How food affects your productivity
  • How to get more sleep
  • How to spark your creativity
  • How to grow your network without feeling salesy
  • How to stay energized all day long

All good stuff to learn or get a refresher / new techniques.

There are a lot of well know productivity experts who will be presenting. I won’t name them all but expect to see David Allen (Getting Things Done), Charles Duhigg (The Power of Habit), Gretchen Rubin (Better Than Before), Darren Hardy (The Compound Effect), Mike Vardy (Productivityist), Michael Hyatt, Thanh Pham (Asian Efficiency).

There are many, many more. Go check it out.

(I’m in no way affiliated with the event – I will be watching some of the presentations and thought you might like to take a look as well).

Wrap Up

That’s it for this week. Any questions or comments, hit reply.

All the best

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About Paul Metcalfe

Hello, I'm Paul, the founder of Workweek Zen. When I'm not searching the internet for the best productivity techniques, I'm implementing them. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter

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