This past spring, at the northern end of Central Park, New Yorkers were treated to eight different artworks in the bright green grass under the dappled sun. In one, a fishing boat carrying a chamber ensemble called the S.S. Hangover floated through a pond. In another, a solar-powered ice cream truck served up ice cream colored like the sunset.
The project, Drifting in Daylight, was organized by Creative Time, which commissions and presents public art projects like this throughout New York City. Kat Fry is one of the brains that keeps these programs running. As a communications associate, she juggles duties ranging from scheduling email blasts to writing press releases. To keep everything on track, she uses Asana. Here’s how she organizes her time and helps foster inter-department serenity:
Managing Her Projects
In addition to being responsible for Drifting in Daylight, Creative Time also hosts exhibitions, educational summits, and fundraisers throughout the year. Fry supports these efforts by fielding press inquiries, setting agendas, managing interns, leading weekly team briefings, and circulating documents to different departments for review.
Asana helps her track these responsibilities, so it’s the first thing she checks every morning. “It’s really aesthetically pleasing and very user-friendly,” she explains. She creates a project in Asana for every program she manages, so her team stays on track. That upcoming summit? It gets its own Asana project. Last August’s summit at the Venice Biennale? It got an Asana project, too. These projects acts as a centralized location for the tasks needed to be completed for every program.
To plan accurate schedules, Fry works backwards. When she needed to create programs for the upcoming Summit, she figured out when they needed to be sent to the printer, then used that date to determine when every preceding step had to be completed. This method helps her meet deadlines and work productively.
Building a Dream Team
To handle the whirlwind of events and tasks, Fry must maintain near constant communication with her colleagues. Before they switched to Asana, her team used everything from emails to post-it notes — methods that were far from perfect. Now, with Asana, nothing gets lost in the shuffle: “It keeps everything in one place,” Fry says. It also keeps excellent records, so she and her colleagues can refer back to completed projects from years past when determining the steps and timelines for new ones. In practical terms, that means that Fry can see how last year’s Summit went to determine how much time they need to proof, print, and distribute the programs.
When someone’s completed a task, Fry can always stay in the loop because she’ll automatically get an email from Asana. And if she has a meeting with someone outside of the office, she can access any project and check up on its status from Asana’s mobile app.
Finding the Elusive “Work/Life Balance”
Fry knows that she can leave the office satisfied every day because Asana’s “My Tasks” feature makes prioritizing projects simple. “Since there are a lot of projects and so many moving pieces and people involved...I need to be ready for things that come up last-minute,” she says. That’s easy because she receives an email from Asana each morning listing the tasks that are due that day.
In order to make her team’s life less complicated, she checks Asana a few times a day when on vacation: “I like to be kept in the loop and know what’s going on.” Once she returns to the office, if a task is overdue in Asana, she knows to follow up with the appropriate teammates. That way she doesn’t spend precious vacation time worrying about pending assignments.
For Fry, all of this comes naturally because she loves her job. She takes pride in her work and has a close relationship with her coworkers. Art is one of her passions and working at Creative Time has allowed her to collaborate with talented artists, help make pieces accessible to a wide community, and explore under-the-radar locations throughout the city.
Since she loves what she does, it’s never difficult for her to negotiate the demands of a career and an active social life. “Sometimes my work and personal life overlap, but I don’t mind,” she explains. “I’m lucky because I have the rare opportunity to work in a creative and engaging field alongside innovative individuals. When you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work.” And she always stays on track using Asana.
Nandita Raghuram is a Senior Writer for Studio@Gawker. She tweets here.