To Email or not to Email

So here is the dilemma: lots of people set up asana with email notifications.
What I am noticing is that they get into the habit of answering stuff through their emails and not directly from the platform.
How have you all encouraged people to sign into asana on daily basis? and while you are at that, I noticed that many of my team access projects directly before looking into their actual My Task page … any ideas?


I’ve had exactly the same issues. We’re still stuck in our Outlook mentality, where nothing is real if it hasn’t come through email. I also notice that, despite the demos I’ve done and the information I’ve repeatedly sent round, most people aren’t using My Tasks as intended. I break out in a sweat when I see an endless list of to-dos in the New Task section, most of which have no due date.

I’d also love to hear any solutions people might have.


What would be cool if the email function is not set to default. And once being set up, you cannot set it up for an umbrella of the entire platform. you must go and set up email for each type of notifications, projects, tags, etc… the more difficult it is for people to receive emails, the more they can log into the task and complete those custom fields and complete a task properly! this is my 2 cents rant! LOL :stuck_out_tongue:


@Mark_Hudson you reminded me again my request that Advance Search have the ability to search for tasks with no due date :slight_smile:


In our experience with integrating Asana, we have to prioritize engagement l, accountability and proactivity rather than just responsiveness (via email). That’s the key. To help you, you can now (finally) disable email notifications to force users to login and check inbox regularly.

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@Rashad_Issa - you hit the nail on the head. This was (for us) the #1 most difficult thing: getting people not to just use Asana via their email, and on the flip-side to use My Tasks properly and not just look at Projects. I haven’t found a miracle cure for this, but some thing that help…

  • Whoever does the roll-out and training should really emphasize how Asana should work and why it’s important to get into the habit of going directly into Asana. I was lukewarm when we first started so I’d tell users to do whatever felt best - but most then opted to live in email. Now I’m a bit more forceful about it.
  • Have your power users call it out when they see it. This must be done nicely, but when we have users Comment via email there are several of us who are in the habit of kindly requesting they switch to Asana platform, not email. Being direct works, again, if done courteously and if explained.
  • In our training I explain the My Tasks / Projects this way: are you here to “do work” or are you here as a manager, to “give oversight.” And I don’t mean what their title is, I mean at any time when they open Asana are they coming here to get stuff done, or because they’re a manager and need to get a sense of the progress in an area. IF it’s time to get work done then they need to go to My Tasks. IF they’re managing, giving oversight, checking-in, then they want a Project view. That’s the best way I’ve found to explain it that makes sense to our team.

I’ll definitely be following this thread for other tips - this topic hits home because it is a big, and recurring, struggle.


This is a constant issue. When i worked to onboard our company of 16, I allowed everyone to use the email concurrently with In Box so they could get used to it. I also would explain things not really using the Asana nomenclature, but with Gmail (our email solution). I framed it like this: Think of each Asana project as a Gmail account that can be filtered to one specific subject. The In Box is where you get notifications to all of these subjects, Tasks are like emails or collection boxes of information, etc. And My Tasks are a way to see all of these subjects from a bird’s eye view and know what you need to do and when.

I also got the owners to OK the purchase of secondary monitors. I myself have a 27" iMac and have two windows opened side by side with the left window showing Asana and the right window showing Gmail (other tabs as well). That way i always see notifications in either. But for those w/o a huge monitor, getting an external monitor allows to have Asana always open in one.

But the sad truth is, some people just don’t get Asana. Not everyone is excited about new ways of organizing or being more productive or transparent. Nearly 2.5 years in I still battle with people never replying to In Box notifications, let alone getting folks to use My Tasks so they can organize there own projects and tasks, not just ones assigned to them.

It’s endless frustrating. I think Asana is genius and I see how great it can be. But to the specific issue at hand, I say just don’t allow email notifications after agreed upon date or length of time. After that, then it’s very clear who is hiding behind email notifications and who is actually using Asana. :disappointed:


God, I so feel your pain! It’s difficult isn’t it…


So I see how we are all in the same boat!
What about … just what about, asana adds a feature to the admin level, or to the team set up level to disable email notification to all collaborators / users :slight_smile:
this way during a roll out, or a new project, no one will get an email notificiation and they will have to go and set it up themselves.
To take it a step further, make the email notification setup for projects a bit more complicated :smiling_imp:

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That would be great, especially for large organizations. For now, I would just suggest giving an end date to everyone for email notifications. Then have them go into My Profile and turn off Task Reminders and All Activity. The Weekly Dashboard can be helpful, if that’s used.

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In our team, it’s OK for people to use email. Asana can handle replies to email gracefully. It’s a nice introduction to working with a tool like Asana. And for people who use other “task management” tools (like Jira) as their main tool to check daily, I think it’s better to keep email notifications for Asana.

People who’s main work can be done via Asana can learn to notice the dot next to Inbox, and how the center pane works and can open task details on the right. If they trust this view to keep them up-to-date like Asana’s notifications and they actually show up in Asana daily, they can turn off email notifications.

There are a couple of really simple things I do to wrestle people in.

  1. Setup the chrome browser to automatically open on ASANA instead of google
  2. Drag ASANA my tasks to the first bookmark spot on the upper left corner
  3. Tell people that they must l like an item in order to show that they have seen it
  4. Tell people that the first hour of the day is ASANA only, but if everything is processed, they can move on
  5. Follow up with comments on tasks that people have not checked in on by liking

After a couple of weeks, you will end up with these groups;

  1. Adopters, who get into it because of ‘why’
  2. Constructors who do it because they are told ‘how/what’
  3. Socials who do it because of the ‘who’ responsibility/ social aspect
  4. And finally, the Draggers who consistently focus on ‘where’

This last group and generally the ones who drag the system down

By making the login automatic, and the check-in mandatory, there is very little room left for ‘I didn’t see it’, ‘where was it’ etc…

What you will find is that draggers are generally the people in an office who use variables and tolerances in their own favour. They are left with much less room to hide in when responsibility and responsiveness are allocated at a task level and monitored.

So the technique I use is to make ASANA mandatoy for a set period, let people know they are being monitored and zone in quickly on the draggers. The other groups will progress at their own pace, but identifying the holes that draggers cause early and making it a community issue to get them included is the best way I have found so far.
Encourage the constructors to monitor for others questions to help use ASANA,
Encourage the socials to tag people in and include in comments
Encourage the Adopters to charge ahead with developing projects and templates

And if you are in an environment where people flat-out refuse, then you have a much bigger problem around terms of employment if you have team members who are not willing to learn new tools and processes…


I love this way of addressing this issue, Joel, and will start using it. Thanks so much for sharing!


Also feel this pain, a lot!

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