TIP: instant private messaging team members

Create a personal/private project named “Private Messaging”. Then create a conversation for the project and name it after the team member you are contacting. On the first conversation comment, @ mention the team member you are private messaging to. BOOM! Instant Private Messaging with Asana.
Repeat this creation of a conversation for each team member that you want to be able to private message. If you or the recipient of one of these conversations @ mentions any other team member in the conversation, then the conversation is no longer a single person to person private message, and I would suggest starting a new conversation as outlined in the beginning of this paragraph to re-establish privacy.

And of course, set/unset the notification options per the right fit for you.


@john_wayne thank you so much for sharing this tip! I use the same process. I call my project “Outbox” and communicate with people there. This brought me some comfort when I started using Asana because yes, some conversations need to happen privately. However, I find that I only need private messaging to happen with my manager(s) because everything else regarding my work can (and should) be totally transparent. So, rather than using my own outbox to communicate privately with my managers, we use a private 1:1 project.

Based on my personal experience, I recommend that folks use private messaging only when absolutely necessary. In fact, private messaging has hurt my work before! I thought I’d private message someone about a project the two of us were collaborating on (thinking oh, this is a normal thing to do). However, what happened is this colleague could just ignore my message. I had to follow up three times to get a reply! This kind of issue rarely happens when tasks and conversations are public. When things are public, everyone is held accountable. I was just going to add “for better or for worse” but in my experience it’s only better! I like being held accountable and I like that doing so adds a level of transparency and clarity to work that makes everyone more productive.

When do you use private messaging, John? And where does it particularly help (or hurt) your work? Do you have any other advice to add?


I do understand your points on transparency. All mission critical stuff goes in the appropriate project that is openly visible. I use direct messages in Asana in place of any quick txt messages or email i would have sent to that person on minor things. And private is just so that others notifications do not get filled with things that dont matter to them. I could create a team per member to keep it all visible, and also keep the notifications uncluttered, but that eats sidebar real estate. There may be another in-between thats a better fit, but if its something that i dont want anyone but the recipient to see, there’s snapchat for that :smile:


I have to agree with @john_wayne. Most of the time, it makes sense to have open communication. However, the way we’re set up at the moment, we have a team of about 40 people, and within that team are sub-teams, each with its own manager. If a manager wants to send a message to her/his sub-team, we have to create sub-team projects specifically for that purpose. It’s another layer of admin and it starts to look a bit messy. It would be great if we could just @ mention certain people and not clutter up the whole team’s inbox.

My real motivation is that I want to ditch Outlook wherever possible! Your Outbox project idea is a good workaround.

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John, I would love to hear more about your private messaging. I am trying to get away from the constant text messaging back and forth about minor issues or situations (eg being late for work) but have not found a way to do this.

I also want to be able to have a digital trail over brief conversations.
I would love your input