Use Asana for planning

As a follow up to the previous post, I wanted to quickly share this video on how to use Asana for planning. This makes use of a neat feature in Asana where you can assign multiple projects to the same task. Incidentally this is also the same trick that allows me to see projects in both List and Kanban views.

There are more productivity tips by the author, so check out the channel for other videos if you are interested in the topic.

Online task management tools

Ever since I started using smartphones (the iPhone Gen. 1 being my first!), I have been on the lookout for a good task management tool, for both work or personal use. During this time, many apps were trialed – this was also when the GTD fad appeared – and gradually I got to know features that suited my needs. Eventually I settled on Trello which has three features I consider essential to this day:

  1. Online, and preferably can be used inside a browser.
  2. Must be able to synchronise across devices: PC, phone, tablet.
  3. Allows collaboration, but has public and private areas.

Trello is especially notable for its visual approach (the Kanban presentation) and allows me to easily switch between devices (add/edit tasks, checking progress on the fly, etc.) As a matter of fact, I have been using Trello on and off since its initial release in 2011. Apart from managing personal to-do lists and work tasks, I used Trello to manage the volunteere project http://donorweb.org for Red Cross (no defunct), organising meet-ups and events for Google Developers’ Group, Singapore chapter. However increasingly I found the Kanban structure insufficient for my use, especially in the last 3 years or so. My biggest gripe with the kanban format was that while it was good for workflow and projects with a clear chronological/progression-type ordering, it became unwieldy when you were running multiple projects or simply have too many upcoming tasks. For example, you might end up with a super-long list of boards under To Do but only a few under Waiting/Doing or vice versa (inefficient use of screen space).

This leads to my current favourite app Asana. I have only just discovered Asana and I am really loving the tool. The main features that have impressed me so far compared to Trello:

1 Flexible in that it can list projects in list view or Kanban view (with a neat trick).
2 Sections in in list view.
2 Each task can include sub-tasks.

Kanban or Board view

List or Task view with sections

It goes without saying that Asana also satisfies my three basic features: online, a mobile app, allows collaboration. As yet I don’t have an urgent need for Gantt Charts (a paid feature) but who knows, it may be needed in the future.

Finally I want to add that I still consider Trello to be an excellent product, and the free features should already satisfy the needs of many people. However if, like me, you need to be able to switch to List view from time to time for certain projetcs then I would certainly recommend giving Asana a try.

By the way Monday.com also seems a worth competitor given this comparison Monday.com vs Asana. As a disclaimer I haven’t actually given Monday.com a try but it certainly looks very interesting from this review.

2019 mid-way

Although we are only about halfway through 2019, this is already shaping up to be a eventful – both in the happy and sad sense – year for me.

With the birth of my daughter, passing of my dog, and having been in the same job for 5 years, and the need for a long-term abode… there are really quite a few things I need to sort out. Perhaps there are equivalents of Marie Kondo’s decluttering, but for the mind, that I need to do!?

Halt and catch fire

Just finished watching Halt and Catch Fire on Netflix, which I think is brilliant by the way. Apparently the show won’t be returning for a fifth season, so here is a nice review from Wired since I can’t write as eloquently.

(source)

When I first heard of the show, I had the impression that it was simply dramatising the events leading to the birth of Compaq (Silicon Cowboys is the documentary of this story that I thoroughly enjoyed too), but the series went on to explore online gaming, e-commerce (think early days of eBay), community (bulletin boards?), telco networking, birth of internet, browser wars and search (Yahoo-type versus Google?). In parallel it was also a show about the human relationships between the protagonists, the start-up culture and the do-or-die fearlessness of entrepreneurship; you can have great idea or even be on the cusp of victory, everything can still crash and burn. The key is to be able to take failure in its own stride, move on and reboot.

I really like this ending phrase “They’re (computers) the thing that gets you to the thing.” New technologies that appears at breakneck speed (even more so than the period when the show was set in) are tools which allow us to achieve goals but more importantly connect us to people that matter the most.

Reboot

Since about mid-2016, my life has been turned upside down, life changes, job changes, everything coming all at once. Now that the dust has more or less settled, it seems a good time as any to reboot this blog.

A new chapter, begun mid-2017, is slowly taking shape.