I am not one of those amazing people with a natural aptitude for organization. I wish I was, but I’m not. It takes dedicated effort for my clothes to be put away in the right place, and files to be sorted accurately. Sometimes I enjoy the effort and other times I’d rather just go paddleboarding and leave it all behind!
That being said, I do value having a home where most things have a place (and are often placed in those places!) And Irvin… well he gets a little crazy when things get cluttered, and I prefer the sane version of my one and only, so that in itself provides further motivation.
It’s a constant struggle between my desire to stay organized and my natural tendency against it. And it impacts everything – from planning what to eat for dinner to making sure everything is ready for our cat sitter when we go out of town. Lists are my weapon of choice in this never ending battle. They help me keep track of all the less tangible to-dos, tackling the clutter in my mind and helping me make more efficient use of my time. Plus being organized makes it easier to control spending, and being productive makes me a happier person. It’s a true win-win.
Nowadays there are a ton of apps available to replace the traditional list making supplies of pen and paper. In the past I wrote about an app called Orchestra. It was a great to-do app which allowed you to sync tasks between yourself and other Orchestra users. Unfortunately the company that created Orchestra decided to stop supporting the app and took it offline to focus their efforts on another great app I use everyday called Mailbox.
Ever since then, Irvin and I have been on the look-out for a new app to replace Orchestra. We tried another app called Any.do for some time which claimed to support the ability for users to share tasks. It didn’t. We found that syncing tasks between users would sometimes take hours or days and most often did not work at all.
Asana is… the best! It has so many features it would take me all day to list them all. (But if you’re interested, check out their blog here). It is very powerful and designed to work for teams of people, not just teams of two like us! Here are the features that make it such a useful app for couples:
- Syncing is instantaneous. If I add something to the grocery list, it shows up on Irvin’s phone immediately. Bam!
- Projects. Projects allow us to categorize our lists in a way that makes sense to us. For example, we have a project for groceries, one for chores, and one for household renovations we’re planning. Projects keep things neat and tidy.
- Sub-tasks. Sub-tasks allow us to split our lists further. This is awesome for shopping and grocery lists. In the screen capture below, you can see how we’ve got different sub-tasks for all the places we regularly shop. This means that next time I go to Thrifty’s I know exactly what I need to pick up there, without digging through a master grocery list and guessing what I need to buy where.
- Assigning Tasks. Each item can be assigned to you or your partner (if you want). When you sign into Asana you can view “My Tasks” and easily see what you need to do to do your part. No excuses for not remembering!
- Tasks/list items can be broken into smaller tasks. This one is great for our renovation projects. For example, within our House Projects project, we have a list of all the different renovations we plan to do such as bathroom, kitchen, etc. For each renovation, I can expand the details and create a further set of tasks. Each of these tasks can be assigned, commented on, etc. just like the items under the Project level.
- Workspaces can be private or shared. Workspaces are one level up from Projects. It’s on this level that you decide if the Projects within the Workspace will be shared, and who they will be shared with. We each have a shared Workspace (Couples Therapy) and a private Workspace which allows us to keep some things to ourselves, such as my list of gift ideas for Irvin’s birthday!
- Web-based and on your iPhone = good design. Asana’s web interface is designed to handle the majority of the set up for your Workspaces, Projects, etc. The iPhone app is a simplified version of the web-based app with a minimalist and uncluttered look. It’s designed for quickly adding and completing tasks. For me, this design works great. I’d much rather fiddle with set up on a desktop/laptop than my iPhone any day and I appreciate how easy it is to use the iPhone app.
- IT’S FREE! If you are using Asana for under a certain number of users, it’s free!
Do you struggle with staying organized? What tools or processes have you found work for you? What are your greatest challenges?
I’d love to hear your stories and thoughts on this. To me, it seems our culture celebrates those who can keep it all together while tasked with a million things to do. Would you say that being organized is something we all should strive for or is it an unnecessary hindrance to enjoying life? I’m interested to hear what you think!
I hope you enjoy trying Asana! Until next time,