The handoff between email, conversations & tasks

Hi all,
I have been using Asana several months now, but am finding the rhythm of it hard to integrate with the rhythm of how my business operates, specifically when and how to track tasks and incorporate them to Asana in a way that I actually still have time to work, and not just endlessly updating tasks.

Let me explain.
I am a manager in an entertainment business. At any given time, I am working with multiple suppliers, assistants, marketing campaigns, logistics, budgets across multiple projects. I interact with many people and receive a very high level of email. At the same time, I am expected to know and follow all conversations and be able to track them which I have to do myself.

In the past I have done this almost entirely mentally, simply using email and my brain to follow what’s happening. I came to Asana hoping for a way to handle this better.

Where I struggle is when an email conversation is happening, with many updates coming in I can not work out to what extent to transfer individual elements into tasks. Often doing so would mean by the time I had added a task and sorted it, someone else may have already responded to it and made my task instantly redundant. In the meantime, I have wasted 1 minute or so writing and organising this. Equally, I work with so many external suppliers, it is impossible to ask them to use Asana (which would be an easy solution)>

I could simply ignore all but high level tasks, but then, the second someone working for me misses a task, I would not necessarily realise this without a record. Equally, my business has expanded to such an extent that missing these details could be critical.

Perhaps you see my dilemma. I can easily continue an afternoon just reading email and entering tasks and not doing any actual work myself, simply following every conversation. Which leads me to get very behind.

I have no idea what to do and would be curious to hear any perspectives.

My first thought is that many (or most?) project managers have a similar challenge. There are few people out there who can deal with this kind of nonstop stream of consciousness from 10-100 sources. I am NOT one of those superpeople. So in my case, I try to simplify, channel and summarize, and also get those inputting to do the same as much as possible.

Do you really need to listen to the whole flow? Probably not, so delegate people A, B, and C to go work out the issue and then get back to you with the answer or proposal.

Create a quick template or table for inputters to fill out.

Sched a 1:1 with each inputter.

That sort of thing. Don’t even try to sip from the stream of consciousness of 50 people all day long.

1 Like

Hi Stephanie,

Thanks for your reply. I felt a huge amount of relief that it was not just me experiencing this, at least to some extent!
I really like the idea of perhaps emphasising that they have the responsibility to handle certain bits, and that I can instead check in 1:1 at certain points. I think the key is probably actually outlying this to them too - often this kind of thing remains unspoken.

Definitely delegate and be hyper-clear and explicit about it: goal, scope and due date, not the minutiae of execution. Leave it to a capable DRI to figure out tasks and activities to achieve the goal.
Let them know when and how you would like progress updates.