Asana for Students with ADHD

I recently learned that I have ADHD. In my quest for tricks and tools, I came across Asana and have been testing it for 10 days now. It has been helping me a lot because I no longer have 10 different To-do Lists and can see all my tasks in one place or look at them per project and so on. What also really helps is the timeline feature and seeing the tasks in relation to each other.

Here are some things that I have been thinking about and that I would love some Tipps on. I’m also hoping this will help some others with ADHD/ADD to use asana to improve their lives. If you have any additional ideas I’m very eager to try them :slight_smile:

  1. On bad days it’s really hard to look at my to-do’s and prioritize them. I’ve tried to tag Exams and Important Dates but it’s not “catching” enough. Is there a way to really make a task “scream at you” from the list? Like making the whole task a color?

  2. As I am using asana on my own the tools used by companies are distracting me a bit. Assigning all the tasks to myself seems like a bit of a waste of time. Is there a way to hide the like, comment & assigning functions?

  3. I have a few Projects where I collect ideas. I put them in as tasks and add pictures, links, and so on. Is there a way to hide them from my general task list?

  4. I would love to track my time for tasks to get better with time management and learn how long I usually need for things like washing my dishes, studying for an exam, and so on. I am currently using “Nesto Pomodoro Timer” as a focusing tool. I saw there is a Pomodoro tool for asana but somehow I got distracted along the way. Is anyone using this as a focus tool and time tracker?

Thank you so much and I look forward to read your answers :slight_smile:

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Hi,

I missed your previous post, and have been running a study with other Asana users with ADHD. They helped us put together a document to help you navigate this tool to get the best out of it!

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Good morning @mel,

Somehow I never saw your post when it was first posted either (very likely due to my own ADHD!) I’m sure by now you have found things that work for you, here’s a few ideas that have worked for me, (just in case you’re still struggling, or if you just need validation that somebody else is also doing what you’re doing.:wink:)

As an ADHDer I do love my lists!! And I definitely know how challenging it is to find lists and apps and that actually help. I started using asana for work, and it has been pretty useful. I’d like to use it more for personal projects and to do’s and I have set up a second free workspace for myself for personal use. (My challenge is switching between the two, but fortunately I can at least have two windows open on my desktop, or I can always just have my personal space open on my iPad or phone.)

1) SUBTASKS. I often find it difficult when my to do lists get very long and it all becomes very overwhelming. It’s helpful for me to use subtasks to break things into smaller steps (as small as you need them to be) which makes those bigger tasks less daunting. Then you still get the satisfaction of ticking the check marks along the way to completing those bigger tasks. (I can’t be the only one who creates smaller steps just for the dopamine boost of a few extra flying narwhals upon task completion.:unicorn::joy:)
I also like that subtasks collapse up into the parent task and then your side bar is a little less visually overwhelming. While I do realize I’m very out of sight out of mind, leaving the parent task there with the subtask icon reminds me there’s more details to attend to.
(Also with regards to hiding your photos, files etc., if they are nested in sub tasks i’m pretty sure they won’t show on your main project boards.)

2) DUE DATES. I also have a very hard time prioritizing, (since I often find myself procrastinating and continually changing the dates.) But I do find due dates very helpful. I have rules that automatically move tasks to certain sections based on those due dates. For instance, in my tasks I have a section for today, tomorrow, this week, next week and a few sections for specific task categories. I have rules running that when the due date is 1 day away it moves automatically to the “tomorrow” section, and when the due date is today the task automatically moves to the “today” section. This means I just tackle one day’s tasks at a time, and if I get extra time or finish those then I can look at other sections. This is why it is extremely helpful to use those due dates and rules especially if I’ve created a task and stashed it somewhere, then completely forget it exists.

3) SEARCH/ADVANCED SEARCH. If you don’t want to assign every task to yourself, the search function is super helpful since searches across all of your projects whether assigned or not. This helps keep your my tasks a little less cluttered. (You just have to remember you have tasks elsewhere besides just my tasks.)

4) EMOJIS. To make urgent or related tasks stand out more I use icons/emojis at the beginning or end of my task name, like :bangbang::star::zap:etc. (Since my computer doesn’t have these emojis I usually end up adding them from my mobile devices.) But don’t use emojis too much or with every task, as that gets just as cluttered and then nothing actually stands out.

5) RECURRING TASKS. I use recurring tasks especially to remind myself of my daily routine. Part of that routine is “HOUSEKEEPING,” where I go through my task lists, decluttering and eliminating duplicate or redundant tasks. Since I often think of things which I think are brilliant, and find out later that I’ve already added them previously.:woman_facepalming:t2: (SET A TIMER for this though, otherwise you spent half the day just re-organizing your lists.)

6) TIMERS. Since I get hyper focused and have complete time blindness, I set 30 minute timers. This at least gives me an alert that time has passed, and if possible I try to move to a different task that also needs attention. I use caution with this though because I still need to go back and complete that task.

Sorry, I realize there is a crap ton of information in this post. But you can probably relate to the need to overshare and give your whole life story in one go. I’m sure I’ll think of plenty more later.:joy: Again these are just some things that seem to work for me, hopefully it is helpful to you or someone else that might be reading my rambling.

Anyway take care, be safe and make good choices!:+1:

Oh and P.S. just in case you haven’t discovered noise canceling headphones yet, they are absolutely a game changer! For work, out shopping, or in over stimulating public places. (I turn on a “stay aware” function where I can still hear necessary sounds like traffic, or if somebody is directly talking to me etc.)

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I have ADHD and my office choose Asana after not talking to myself or looking at others. So take this has you wish.

I hate Asana with a passion. It’s crippled my ADHD more than any other thing. The UI is horrible for a company with multiple projects and multiple tasks within each project.

It’s a cluster- F if I’m being honest. Ironically enough, I’m a product designer and we run a product design firm.

But I can’t name one other tool that triggers my ADHD melt down more than this one.

If you have simple lists or task like a to do list, then yeah this is probably great. But a company like ours is a nightmare.

I worked with several Asana users with ADHD, and we put together a list of things that could help

A lot of people find that Asana helps, so I am surprised by the way you describe your own experience, I hope our document can help! @Aaron_Ryczek

Thanks for the reply.

I don’t doubt you’ve worked and found users that love it. For general use for simple tasks, yeah, it’s probably good. For a company with over 50 projects and 10-20 individual tasks for each project, documentation, follow ups, chat boxes, and budgets, the UI/UX of Asana is a nightmare for ADHD. As a product designer myself, the lack of customization and ability to control your dashboard (what you have is not it) is really an issue.

A lot of the things I need are burried with in other tabs and tasks and for someone that wants to get in to get the info and get out, it’s like running through a hallway in a haunted house and being grabbed by arms and hands while keeping your eyes shut.

It’s tough.

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I feel you. From my experience, this feeling can also come from not knowing the tool well enough and/or not having the perfect/correct structure/architecture. If you are able to share one or two examples of what bothers you the most (in a private message maybe, first) we could have a look? :person_shrugging:

I’ve been experiencing a lot of the same issues as @Aaron_Ryczek. I moved teams internally this year, and my new team uses Asana, compared to an internally developed ticket-based system built around sprints that worked… well enough.

Despite Asana’s flexibility, I frequently find what seem like obvious use cases that just aren’t supported, which leaves us shoe-horning things like sprint stages into custom tags because we decided to use Sections as features/project tracks.

The result is an incredibly cluttered UI that requires jumping between multiple views, and clicking multiple levels deep just to see all my subtasks. And even with filters on to just show “my incomplete tasks due soon” - this doesn’t seem to apply to subtasks for some reason, so now the subtasks list is wildly cluttered with everyone’s complete and incomplete work… All of these is incredibly unhelpful for ADHD folks, where having clean and clear to-do lists and easily-browsable backlogs is a must.

We had a discussion, and at this point we think our only options are to completely overhaul our asana layout to fit what asana wants us to do rather than the format that we want to do, just so it’s less cluttered.