Onboarding checklist

Asana is the easiest way for teams to track their work and get results. If you’re joining a team that’s already using Asana, this onboarding checklist will get you up to speed.

We recommend displaying this checklist in another browser window so you can follow along as you get to know Asana. You can also download and print this out for reference.

1. Understand Asana

Your team’s work and conversations are centralized and searchable in Asana. Before you dive in, let’s go through how Asana is structured:

Hiearchy of organizations, teams, projects, and tasks

  • Organizations are the highest level of hierarchy for your business. They are associated with your business’s email account and include all teams.

  • Teams are groups of people in your Organization who work together. Teams can be made up of departments in your company (Engineering, Marketing, Design, Recruiting, etc.) or any group of people who need to work on a set of projects together.

  • Projects organize your team’s work into lists or boards. Create projects for your team’s latest initiative (i.e. Website Launch), goals you’re working towards, brainstorms, meeting agendas, or any work that requires many steps or teammates.

  • Tasks break down your project into actionable steps. Tasks can be to-dos, requests for teammates, reminders, or ideas.

2. View and join teams

Now that you understand the basics, it’s time to browse and join some teams. Since you’re a member of an Organization, you’ve probably been invited to a team already.

Look at the sidebar on the left to view the other teams in your organization. Request to join one if you’d like to access the team’s projects and collaborate with other people in the team.

Nested under each team name, you’ll find team conversations (generally used for team-level discussions, announcements, etc.) followed by a list of your team’s projects.

3. Join projects

You can view a project as a task list or a board (and within a project, you can see calendars, conversations, and progress charts). Use projects to track and organize all the tasks related to a specific initiative, like a product launch or campaign.

Look at the sidebar on the left to see the team(s) you joined in Asana. Click on the caret to the left of the team name to see a list of all the public projects on the team. Start to explore the work in them, and ask your teammates about the projects you should join.

To join a project, click the + button in the top right corner of the project.

Dropdown to join a project

To create a project of your own, just click the (+) button in the top bar and select Project from the drop-down. Give your project a clear and goal-oriented name and description. Projects are made public by default, but you can set the privacy and select the team in which the project will live (via the drop down arrow).

You can also create custom templates for your common workflows or try an Asana-created template to help you get started. Click the + button and select Project, then click on the Templates tab. You can then choose a custom template you’ve created, or start with one of ours and further customize it for your team. We even have an Asana onboarding template!

Create a list or board project in Asana to track your work how you need to

4. Assign and complete tasks

Tasks are the basic unit of work in Asana, and they can represent a variety of things: actionable to-dos, ideas that you want to keep top of mind, or simple reminders for yourself like, “send vacation request to HR.”

Creating tasks in Asana in simple. In a new or existing project, select a line in the main pane and just hit Enter, or click the + button below a column heading in a board project; or add a task directly from the top bar using the + button.

Now try it out for yourself: Create a new task with a call to action and assign it to yourself or a teammate. Be sure to give your task a name, a description and a due date so everyone knows who is responsible for doing what by when. You can also add the task to a project so that it can be easily found.

When should you complete a task? The rule of thumb is: When you finish the work, mark the task complete!

5. Add subtasks and attachments

You can do even more with tasks by adding subtasks and attachments.

Subtasks break tasks into smaller parts. When tasks are complicated or more than one person is responsible, create subtasks. Subtasks function similarly to independent tasks with their own assignees, due dates, and descriptions, except they’re embedded in a parent task.

To create a subtask, click the subtasks button next to the due date field in the right pane. Or, press Tab+S on your keyboard after you select a parent task. After you’ve created one subtask, select the subtask and press Enter on your keyboard to create another.

Adding substasks

You can also use attachments to easily share files related to a task. Attach them to a task by clicking the paperclip icon at the top of the right pane. You can attach files from:

  • Your computer
  • Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, or Box

Adding attachments

6. Comment on and follow tasks

Comment on a task to ask questions, or offer extra information and insight.

Follow a task to stay informed on comments and changes. Followers of a task will receive notifications via My Inbox (in Asana) and email, according to their notification settings.

To add yourself or someone else as a follower, use the Tab + F shortcut or click the + button at the bottom of the right pane.

If you’re getting notifications for a task that you’re no longer working on, you can unfollow by hovering over your photo in the followers field and clicking X or click Following at the bottom of the right pane. You can also unfollow tasks and projects via My Inbox.

7. Plan your day with My Tasks

My Tasks is your view of all the tasks that are assigned to you. It should be your first stop in the morning, as well as something you reference throughout the day to recalibrate your priorities.

My Tasks in Asana

All new tasks that you create in My Tasks are automatically assigned to you and private to you. You can add them to projects to make them visible to the rest of your team.

Use My Tasks to organize your day by reviewing tasks in your New Tasks section and marking them with a priority of Today, Upcoming, or Later:

  • Drag and drop tasks to any section
  • Click on the blue dot to access the drop-down list and select a section
  • Select the task(s) and use the shortcuts Tab + Y (Today), Tab + U (Upcoming), or Tab + L (Later)

Give it a try and prioritize a few of your new tasks. You will only see the New Tasks, Today, Upcoming, and Later sections if each has at least one task.

8. Stay informed with My Inbox

My Inbox is your notification center in Asana. Notifications for the tasks and conversations that you’re following are sent to your Inbox. Navigate to it from the top bar.

Inbox, similar to an activity stream, lets you see what’s been happening and where you might want to focus your attention. You’ll see an orange dot next to My Inbox if there are unread notifications.

My Inbox in Asana

You’ll receive a notification in My Inbox when:

  • A task is assigned to you
  • A task is unassigned from you
  • A task that you’re following is completed
  • A file is added to a task you’re following
  • You’re added as a follower to a project
  • A due date is changed on a task assigned to you
  • A task assigned to you is due today
  • A comment is added to a task you’re following
  • Your comment, attachment, or task completion is liked
  • A task you’re following is liked

Once you get used to checking My Inbox regularly, you may want to turn off email notifications. You can adjust your email notification settings from the drop-down at the top of My Inbox, or from My Profile Settings.

9. Customize Asana with My Profile Settings

To customize your account, click your profile picture in the upper right corner of Asana and select My Profile Settings. If you haven’t uploaded a profile picture yet, click on the circle with your initials in it.

In the My Profile Settings menu, you can:

  • Change your name and profile photo
  • Adjust if and where you get email notifications and task reminders
  • Determine which emails can send tasks to Asana and add additional emails to your Asana account
  • Deactivate your account
  • View apps you’ve authorized
  • Change your Asana theme or activate hacks (see next section)

If you haven’t already done so, you should update your first and last name, upload a profile photo, and add your role and department so that you’re easily recognized.

10. Have fun with Asana!

Like a task to show enthusiasm for it, offer agreement with someone’s comment, or express gratitude for a task completion. Simply click the thumbs-up icon wherever you see it—main pane, right pane, in your notifications, etc.

Likes in Asana

Check out some of Asana’s experimental features by navigating to your Profile Settings and selecting the Hacks tab.

Customize your Asana display with backgrounds. Check out the available backgrounds by navigating to your Profile Settings and selecting the Display tab.

Learn more

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Asana Lessons

Learn the Asana basics in less than 15 minutes with these quick lessons

Tasks

Tasks Lessons

Track all of your work

3 Minutes

My Tasks

My Tasks Lessons

Always know what to do next

3 Minutes

Projects

Projects Lessons

Work with teammates

3 Minutes

Inbox

Inbox Lessons

Communicate even faster

3 Minutes

You can use tasks to track, collaborate on, and organize all your work.

Tasks can be to-dos, ideas, notes, or reminders.

Assign a task to yourself or a teammate.

Press Tab+M to quickly assign a task to yourself.

Add a due date so your deadline is clear.

Add instructions and expectations in the task description field.

Type @ to link to other tasks, people, conversations, or projects.

When you @mention someone, they’ll be added to your task as a follower.

Followers get notified when new comments or attachments are added.

Add anyone who needs to stay up to date on your task as a follower.

They can always unfollow to stop getting notifications on your task.

Add comments to ask questions or give followers updates.

Heart a comment to let followers know you’ve seen it.

Add relevant files or irrelevant GIFs as attachments.

You can also attach directly from Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box.

Create subtasks to break your task into smaller steps.

When you’ve added a subtask, press enter to add another.

Subtasks can contain all the same details as regular tasks.

Click the comment bubble to add comments or attachments to a subtask.

You can create tasks from any screen using your top bar.

Every Task has a unique URL to easily copy and share.

Congrats! Looks like you’re up to the task.

On to the next lesson!

Always know what to do next with My Tasks.

My Tasks is a list of every task assigned to you.

It makes managing your work simple.

Click on your My Tasks list and start typing to add tasks.

Like a text document, add a new line for each new task or paste in any list.

Forward to x@mail.asana.com to turn your emails into tasks

Asana will translate your email into a task, including your attachments.

New tasks will appear at the top of your list in New Tasks.

Tasks you add to My Tasks are private to you.

Click Make Public to share them with your team.

Prioritize tasks as Today, Upcoming, or Later.

Click on the blue dot next to the task, to quickly sort it.

Mark the tasks you’ll have time for Today.

Teammates can view your My Tasks list to see what you’re up to.

They’ll only see tasks you’ve made public or shared in a project (more on projects later).

Mark tasks due within a week as Upcoming so you can see what will be due soon.

On its due date, your task will move from Upcoming to Today.

Just like magic.

Mark tasks due in more than a week for Later.

They’ll be out of your way until their due date approaches.

Your tasks will move from Later to Upcoming a week before they’re due.

Keep My Tasks prioritized to always know what to work on and what’s coming next.

Now you know how to track and plan your work!

Next, learn how to work with your team in Asana.

Work together on groups of tasks with projects.

Projects help you track and organize the steps in a process or initiative.

Like an event plan, product launch, or editorial calendar.

Like My Tasks, simply click and type to add tasks to your project.

If you have your steps in a document or email already, paste in that list.

Add tasks to your project from email.

View your project’s unique email address from the project dropdown menu.

Add your tasks to other related projects.

Tasks can be included in multiple projects.

Add sections to organize tasks in a list project.

Type : at the end of any task title to make it a section.

Or, add columns to organize tasks in a boards project.

Drag and drop tasks between or within columns to reorder.

Assign your tasks and set due dates.

Never miss a deadline with your project calendar.

Drag and drop tasks on your calendar to change their due dates.

Add everyone who needs to stay updated on your project as members.

Project members will get notified of new conversations, statuses, and tasks.

Post conversations to make announcements or start discussions.

Your post will be sent to all project members.

Use Progress to see how your project is moving forward.

Set a project status to update your team on how it’s going.

The Project Owner will be reminded to set a status once a week.

Open and organize projects from your sidebar.

Favorite projects to pin them to the top of your sidebar.

Click the star button on the left of your project name to favorite it.

Create new projects from any screen using your top bar.

Now you can move projects forward with your team.

Just one more lesson before you dive in.

Communicate and coordinate faster with Inbox.

Check Inbox to quickly read and respond to your latest updates.

Inbox will notify you when you have a task due…

and when teammates update tasks, conversations, and projects you follow.

Open and respond to updates without leaving Inbox.

Click an update and you’ll have all the context you need to respond.

Archive updates you’re ready to dismiss.

Click the X that appears on the right of an update to archive it.

Open Archive to move dismissed updates back to your Inbox.

Click the arrow that appears on the right of an archived update to move it back to Inbox.

Unfollow tasks or projects to stop receiving updates about them.

In the end, you have control over the updates you receive (or choose not to receive)

When you’re ready, you can turn Asana’s Email notifications off.

Most communication with your team can be more easily managed from Inbox. Just remember to check it often.

Congratulations! Now you’re ready to have a great work day with Asana.