Best practices for a 1-2 person start-up

I have watched a few videos - more than once, but I still have questions about the best way to use Asana for a 2-person start-up. Specifically:

  1. I want everything to be public between my partner and me (I do not want to mark everything public). Is there a way to set this as a default?
  2. It’s not clear to me how my emails interact with Asana. Help.
  3. Should I keep files/documents in Asana or elsewhere (Dropbox) and attach to Asana when needed?
  4. I started creating tasks, but now think they should all be “projects” so I can break them down. What is the best was to handle this?

I do not need all the bells and whistles. Is there a video or guidelines for 1-2 person start-ups who just need basics?

Thanks, Celia

Disclaimer: I am not employed by Asana, but I’ve used Asana as an employee in 2 different businesses and for my own business. I also use Asana with my spouse for household management and finances. My recommendations are by no means the only way to use Asana.

  1. I very rarely add tasks from the “my tasks” panel. I would much rather add a task within a project, and then by default, anyone with access to that project would be able to see it. Adding a task not connected to a project will by default be private to you, which makes me nervous it might get missed. I keep a generic “To-Do” or “Misc” project for tasks that might not fit in any clear categories for team visibility.

  2. Asana & Email is a very broad topic. What exactly don’t you understand?

  3. I recommend using Dropbox or similar to store your documents, and rather than attaching to tasks or conversations in Asana, adding a link to the document. This prevents the potential of multiple versions being saved. I will attach documents for reference, but I always go back to the link for the most up-to-date version.

  4. It’s up to you how you want to break out what is a task and what is a project, but I’ll give you a couple examples below:

  • I have a project called Social Media. Within that project, I might have tasks called “Schedule Facebook Post” and “Email Monthly Newsletter.” The Email Monthly Newsletter task has subtasks for “Gather Content,” “Format Email,” and “Update mailing list.” I complete the parent task (Email Monthly Newsletter) when I send or schedule the email.
  • If I need to break out something beyond a handful of subtasks, I’ll use a project. (Ex: 2019 Tax Prep, Grand Opening, Commercial Spot).

I hope this helps you get started! Let me know if I need to clarify anything.

Asana & Email: The 30-sec tutorial.

Asana can SEND emails, which it calls notifications, when various events happen within projects or tasks associated with you. The events can be task creation, comment added, Your Daily Update, you are added as a collaborator, etc. There are settings (check your profile!), but maybe not enough. I funnel ALL Asana-generated emails into a non-Inbox folder in my external email account.

Asana can RECEIVE emails through 2 main routes:

  • Gmail add-on (which I recommend as it is most flexible and requires least work). Once set up, you can open an email in Gmail and click on the Asana logo to the right. The email is imported as a task…you have some choices as to which project, description, due date etc.
  • Setting up each project (individually) to “import” tasks via email (it’s an Asana project setting). Then you can originate or forward emails through any external email program, having them arrive in your Asana account. This is not recommended, as it is less flexible, harder to create metadata on the fly, and has some amazingly tough setup bugs involving getting your IT people hipdeep in under the hood of your email settings.

Hope that helps!

Thank you, Ellen. That was very helpful. I’ll create “Projects” and have tasks within a project. Re: emails, I already have so many email accounts, I’m not going to complicate my life further. Docs in Dropbox.

Thanks for taking the time to share.

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Hi Stephanie

Thanks for responding. You convinced me that it is not worth it for me to integrate emails into Asana. I’m trying to simplify my life - not complicate it.

Thanks for taking the time to share.

I consider the Gmail add-on a simplification - it greatly reduces the workload of clearing my email inbox, by turning actionable emails into Asana tasks with the click of a few buttons. I’m sorry if I made it sound hard! The “setup” I alluded to is all of 45 seconds…