@Marquis_Murray and I have a combined experience of 20 years with using Asana and hundreds of clients helped. But we might not agree on everything and we thought it would be interesting for others to see how we align or not on important topics.
Inbox zero: should you require this from your employees?
- I think it’s difficult to require anyone to follow the Inbox Zero methodology, but I think that every organization should strive for this as a best practice.
- Nothing gets to me more than when I see a notification of a “like” or a comment in Asana on a task or comment that I left 25 days ago. This is unacceptable and doesn’t make for a very collaborative workspace. It also lets me know that the other party isn’t checking their Inbox.
- I’m of the belief that, at minimum, you should be using filters in Asana to make sure that the most important information is what is displayed to you in your inbox. At a minimum, I want to either clear my inbox each day or at least browse through the notifications to archive what isn’t important.
- If you can’t action everything or respond right away, at least leave a like to let the person know that you’ve seen it. When you get back to your Inbox, then you can action any tasks or update the due date to a time that works for you.
- People who don’t use their inboxes or respond weeks later have been known to be the same people that have overflowing email inboxes, out-of-control My Tasks, and Slack channels with endless notifications.
- We should all be working towards some form of Inbox Zero so that we can make sure our attention is on the tasks and conversations that need our attention.
- If all else fails, then there are also filters in your Inbox that help to remove a lot of the clutter and noise. You can also always remove yourself as a collaborator from tasks and projects that are no longer relevant to you. Doing nothing on the other hand just doesn’t make sense to me.
In an ideal world, everyone should be at Inbox zero when they leave their desk at the end of the day. It is, according to me, impossible to have true clarity on your work if your email and Asana inboxes are not empty.
But don’t get me wrong: this is, at best, really hard, and at worst, completely impossible. You need to do a deep clean up first: unsubscribe from newsletters, leave tasks you don’t care about anymore, train your team to not add you to every single task, and stop with the “cc madness” where we put everyone in cc all the time.
We worked on this very topic recently with a client. They were never truly at email inbox zero (but thought it was ok) and were rarely at Asana inbox zero (they wanted to but couldn’t).
Regarding email, I managed to convince them that even if they have a handful of emails, visually scanning them several times a day actually takes a lot of energy. Once they reached inbox zero for the first time, and managed to keep it that way, they understood what they have been missing out on.
Regarding Asana, this turned out to be harder. They had structural problems, they were involved on too many things. They were also lacking a good system to structure priorities and goals. It took them weeks to get everything under control, but even today, the Asana Inbox remains a challenge, because of its lack of filter and sort options.
But the goal is and should still be to reach inbox zero whenever you can!
Conclusion: what do YOU think?