Time Blocking with Asana
New to "Time Blocking"? It's essentially creating appointments on your calendar to indicate work that needs to be performed, personal activities, and in extreme scenarios, coffee breaks and any other interruption you may have during your day.
There are several advantages to this approach. Often times it is difficult to determine what you should be working on next after completing a task and you may have to re-evaluate priorities frequently throughout your work week. By blocking your calendar at the beginning of each week, you can be sure you are working on what you should be working on at any given point. This is just one example of an advantage to time blocking.
A typical setup would involve several calendars. You can use the following calendars within Google Calendar as a guide:
Default Calendar: This will contain items on a traditional calendar. Meetings with colleagues, stand ups, etc.
Personal Calendar: Add things like lunch, workouts, breaks, dentist appointments, etc.
Asana Calendar: Includes tasks from Asana that need to be worked on. This will synchronize your tasks from Asana into the calendar.
These 3 calendars should be sufficient to get you started. Below is a screenshot of what this could look like in Google Calendar once configured.
At this point you can go through and start adding your personal activities into the calendar. It's best to use recurring tasks for things like your drive into the office, lunch breaks, and anything else that you need to tackle on a recurring schedule. You can always update one off entries to take a later lunch, a day you might work from home or other changes.
In the example below, I have setup my drive time to the office, my lunch breaks, dentist appointment, and a dinner I have scheduled as well. You can add additional items like drive time back home, time spent reading the kids a bed time story, and any other personal activity you have scheduled.
The color coding in Google Calendar allows me to quickly see the personal activities in the citron color below vs. items on my more traditional calendar in the grape color.
Now for the Asana tasks. This has traditionally involved blocking off a portion of your calendar to work on tasks. For example, you may block off a 3 hour period to "Work on Asana Tasks". On a day with little meetings or interruptions, that might look something like this.
I can see from the image on the left that my day is pretty light in terms of interruptions. I should arrive in the office by 8:15 and have blocked off from 8:30 to 12:15 to work on tasks in Asana.
I then have 15 minutes before my lunch to tackle anything that might need my attention, and then break for lunch for an hour.
After returning from lunch it's back to Asana tasks till the end of the day.
This is obviously very bland and does not provide much information on the calendar on what I should be working on . This is where our integration comes in to play.
With our integration, the green boxes will be replaced with actual tasks in Asana. You can then stretch out the tasks to indicate the duration they will take you to complete, and plan out each task according to availability on your calendar.
Below is an example that shows actual tasks synchronizing over into the calendar instead of placeholders.
In green here we are able to see tasks from Asana appear directly on the calendar. The "Blog Review" task exists in Asana as a single task. It has a due date as the same date / time that the item on the calendar is scheduled to end.
There are two additional tasks scheduled for this day:
Weekly Finance Extract
Prepare New Hire Training Material
In this setup, we are synchronizing the actual tasks from Asana onto the calendar. We are also synchronizing the due date and time from the calendar back into Asana.
This allows you to change the duration or due date of the event on the calendar, which will then change the due date of the task in Asana.
The animation at the top of this post shows how you can move tasks around on the calendar, and that the corresponding task in Asana will be updated.
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