Today we’re going to get nerdy and talk about project management systems because that is the NUMBER ONE way I keep stress and overwhelm at bay.
I don’t keep anything in my brain. I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow, next week, or next month, but if I go into my project management system I can tell you exactly what I’ll be doing every hour of every day because I’ve already planned all my tasks.
Recently we made the shift from using Asana to ClickUp for project management, so on this episode, I’m sharing the Asana deal breakers and what made me take months worth of tasks and move them to a new system.
Links + resources
ClickUp (affiliate link)
Asana + ClickUp trainings are inside the Dare to Grow membership
Alright, today we are going to get nerdy and talk about project management systems.
If you don’t have a project management system I want you to stop whatever you’re doing and go get a notebook because you need to be taking notes. You need a project management system if you run a business. There is or will be way too much on your plate to be just using a regular calendar. I want you to clear out a day within the next week to set it up and get your system in place.
This is the way I keep my shit together. I was on a coaching call a couple weeks ago, one of the Dare to Grow members said, “Sarah how do you always seem so chill?” The answer is I don’t keep anything in my brain. I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow or next week. I don’t know what I’m doing next month, but if I go into my project management system I can tell you exactly what I’m going to be doing every hour of every day because I’ve already planned all my tasks. That means I don’t have to be continuously thinking about what’s next or what I should be doing, or the thing that I saw on Instagram that I really wanna try.
Not thinking about all that extra stuff helps me to focus on the task at hand. And because I’m only focused on that one task or the three or four tasks that I’m doing that day, I am not accidentally getting distracted by things or throwing things into my schedule that are not important for my current goals.
Another thing happens that’s also really important for your mindset when you’re consistently checking off tasks or you’re consistently showing up on social media or consistently sending emails – you start to trust yourself more. That is where things go wrong in business very often because we’re looking to social media to figure out what we’re supposed to be doing next. We’re taking lots and lots and lots of courses or buying them and putting them somewhere and forgetting about them. We’re always looking outside of ourselves for validation of what we should do next or if the thing we wanna do is actually going to work. The problem is there’s no way to know if it’s 100% going to work. That self-trust becomes a huge factor in feeling like it’s possible to succeed, or that you can work through any bumps in the road, or if you don’t succeed you can recover.
That is why trust really becomes the key to making decisions quickly and taking action every day. Because you trust that you’ll be OK no matter what happens. Doesn’t mean it’s gonna be easy but you’ll always get through it.
That is why I keep reminding you to schedule things in advance and the way that I do that is with a project management system. I’ve been using Asana for five or six years. It’s a really solid system – it’s easy to use, has lots of options, and it’s helpful to collaborate if you have an assistant or anyone you’re working with. I was able to use the free version which is always a plus.
There were a few things that I wanted to be able to do that were not part of Asana. There are a lot of apps and add-ons to connect Asana with other things, but I am a stickler for efficiency, and the more things I can do on one platform the better.
I was just finding that Asana was getting a little bit clunky and decided to check out ClickUp. I made an account, exported all of my tasks, dumped them into ClickUp, and then went through some tutorials and started organizing things and seeing what features were available there that were not available in Asana. (Or had to be connected to Asana through an outside platform.) I found that ClickUp had a few extra things that I’ve been looking for as part of the platform.
Today I’m gonna walk you through some of those features that made me switch. Also, because I know some of you will immediately ask, yes I have trainings on both Asana and ClickUp. They’re inside Dare to Grow in The Systems Lab, so if you want to see everything that I’m talking about I’ve got a full-screen share training and you can see what it looks like inside of my ClickUp and inside of my Asana.
One more caveat before I dive into this because I do not want to create unnecessary work for you. If what you’re currently using for project management is working you do not and likely should not switch. I get it, every time I hear about a new platform I start worrying that what I’m currently using is not good enough, but if upgrading your project management system is not on your to-do list – you don’t need to give yourself extra work. Make a note to check it out next quarter and you can figure it out then. Don’t derail your goals now just because I’m teaching you about a new app.
Let’s talk features
Asana allows you to track time by connecting a platform called Harvest, which is what I’ve been using so my assistant can log her hours every day and connect them to tasks. The problem comes up when I have to pay for a second app – I think Harvest was 20 something dollars a month. In ClickUp it is part of the system.
You can also estimate your time which is really helpful for getting your schedule on track if you find that you are running out of time every day. Being able to estimate my time and then also either use the timer – you click the start button it tracks your time and then you click it to stop when you’re done with your task or you can just type in how long it took – has been such a good integration because now I’m tracking my own hours which I’ve never done before because I just worked all the hours and who wants to realize that. Now by tracking my own hours I’m able to more accurately see if I’m compensating myself for the time that I’m spending working for my business.
Along with time tracking you can time block your days and this is really helpful for being realistic about how much you can get done in a day. Time blocking is scheduling your day – so at 10am I’m writing emails, at noon I take a break, at 1pm I’m planning content. Having to keep less in your brain because everything is not just on your to-do but a spot on a specific date in your calendar. Just that makes me so much more chill about getting shit done because I know that every single task that I wanna do is going to be prioritized in my schedule.
Asana also allows you to time block your day – however, you do it via Google Calendar so it will sync your calendar and then you can go over to google and time block there. It has the feature, it works, but then I gotta go to a different app. Just switching tasks still takes time for your brain to refocus. It’s not a huge deal but if you have friction in every task it’s gonna slow you down. It’s gonna add more hours to your week.
ClickUp has more options / easier options for repeating tasks. For example, I have repeating tasks for writing podcast episodes, recording podcast episodes, and writing descriptions and emails and IG captions.
Your tasks are not going to repeat on an exact monthly or weekly schedule. ClickUp has been a lot easier to set up a ton of repeating tasks.
One of my favorite ClickUp features and something that has driven me crazy in Asana is that (in Asana) when you create a repeating task it only creates the next one so if you have one this week and one next week it won’t show next week’s task until you check off this week. That’s so annoying because I need to see my schedule for at least a quarter at a time and I wanna see all those repeating tasks every week so that I can fill in my tasks around them.
In ClickUp you can either show all of the repeating tasks or you can do the Asana version and only show it after the previous one has been completed. Instead of the same task details over and over again, it’s creating a new task for every week or however often it is set to repeat. This is great for things like podcasts where every week the episode is different and I need to add separate notes so I can’t use the same task over and over. It needs to be a new task every time it repeats.
Another thing that I’m really loving about ClickUp is the ability to set goals. In Asana you can set goals based on tasks. I’m in the process of building out a new website and in Asana I could see a chart for what percent of the tasks were complete, but that’s not really a chart I need.
In ClickUp you’re able to set number-based goals. That’s what I want to see! I can set weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly financial goals. I can set goals for the number of new members that we want to onboard every month, or followers or email subscribers.
Now I can see more data attached to big goals in the same space that I’m planning the tasks to reach those goals.
Dashboards + Widgets
ClickUp also has a more flexible dashboard. The dashboard is an overall view of what’s coming up, what’s getting done, and who’s checking off what. In Asana the dashboard has widgets for your daily tasks and a chat widget and project tracking.
In ClickUp they have a fully widgetized dashboard which means I can see my tasks, I can see tasks for my assistant, I can see financial goals, I can see our membership goals, I can see a chat, I can see everybody’s hours. Now in one spot I can track a lot more data related to productivity and have a better birdseye view of what we’re creating in our business.
Statuses + Status Templates
You can also create multiple statuses or even status templates. In Asana your statuses for tasks are complete or incomplete. In ClickUp you can create custom statuses. Right now, because I’m just getting started, I’m just using three – to do, in progress, and done. I have separate sections (or spaces) for podcast tasks, website tasks, or general admin tasks. If I was working with a copywriter, I could create a new set of statuses that include things like approved or needs review. It gives you a little more flexibility and it feels better to set an unfinished task as “in progress” than to leave it incomplete when I’ve been working on it all day. It’s silly but it’s way more satisfying and helps me feel like I’m getting more done.
Lastly, ClickUp includes lots of views like tables and calendars which makes me think it could replace Airtable. Now, I have like 20 bases in Airtable, so we’re not moving anytime soon, but ClickUp allows you to create some of the same tables, calendars, boards, etc. which is part of what is really awesome about Airtable. It does have a little bit of the database functionality that Asana is missing so, again, you’re getting more options in one platform instead of having to connect multiple apps together.
Now, before y’all send me a bunch of messages being like Asana totally does that.
There may be some things that I just didn’t find or realize were available and here’s the problem – I don’t wanna spend time looking for things, and I don’t wanna pay my assistant to go looking for things either, so another benefit that I’m seeing in ClickUp (even though it is really robust and it has a lot of options, which can be overwhelming) everything is easy to find. It took me a full day to figure out and set up, but now we’re off and running and I’m really happy with this switch.
Like I said – don’t feel like just because I’ve switched to ClickUp that you also have to do that. If Asana or Trello or Notion is your jam – keep at it, but if you’re not loving your current system or you don’t have one, ClickUp is getting two thumbs from me.
If you want help with the setup or you want to see these features in action, jump into Dare to Grow and you’ll get access to all the trainings and you can also join the Facebook group to ask me any questions that come up along the way. All the info is over at daretogrow.co.
Alright, I hope that was helpful and you’re feeling excited to plan. Thanks for hanging out – I’ll talk to you again next week!