Why can't I get going on the "doing"?

I’ve been using Asana now for almost a year. I feel I know its ins and outs pretty well. I have all of my Teams and Projects, tasks and subtasks broken down. I have a customized Task Board view… but for some reason I just can’t get going on the DOING part of my work. Perhaps this is a personal issue, or the thought occurred to me this morning that maybe Asana just isn’t the tool for me. I should mention that I am a GTD believer and have implemented everything from that methodology into my work and home life.

I have promoted, recommended, studied and referred Asana to everyone I know. I love the potential, the layout, ease of startup and at the same time the complexities it can offer. I’ve spent so much time setting it up, however, I’m still looking for that awesome “tell-me-what-to-do-next” view that really gets me motivated.

Does anyone else feel this way? Am I stuck in finding the perfect setup? How do I boil things down to DOING?

Hi @Brenda

GTD is a great method and can be setup in Asana, there are a couple of community articles that can help show you how.

But to the Doing part. My suggestion would be don’t leave My Tasks and Inbox view until it’s clear. Don’t go visiting the projects which have hi and visual distractions just work on your My Tasks and Inbox.

If you have cleaned them up then don’t do anything else unless it is a task in Asana. Use the GTD method of if it takes 2 mins just put it My tasks do the task and the complete it. If it is going to take more than 2 mins the review make sure it is associated with a project and meets your overall goals.

Good luck…


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I’ve experimented for a couple of years. I don’t necessarily have the ‘best’ way, but I found a way that works for me.

There’s 4 main ways that you could know what to do next.

  1. My Tasks
  2. Inbox
  3. Email alerts
  4. Browse through the projects

I tried things like switching off email alerts and only using my Inbox. Then I tried looking only at My Tasks and not looking at my Inbox. Finally I settled on Email alerts plus browsing the projects. So for the last little while, I haven’t used Inbox or My Tasks.

This probably sounds a bit strange, but it works for me.

Maybe it’s because part of our process is (i) set due dates on almost everything and use the email reminders (less important tasks often get rescheduled multiple times, but that is ok for me) (ii) our team has a habit that if we ask a question (ie. comment on the task) then we temporarily assign the task to the person we are waiting on - so I can quickly browse any project and see everything currently sitting with me.

I recommend trying one at a time and see what works best for you.

Hope that helps in some way.


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We have established a set routine for our staff as part of our onboarding process.

  1. Clear Emails and add any action emails to Asana.
  2. Work through and clear your inbox. Any tasks - just archive as they will be a task in your My Tasks list. Answer any comments directed at you that need answering urgently. Acknowledge any tasks that need acknowledging.
  3. Next we head to My Tasks and start the doing. We have set our My Tasks lists up to sort by None and created sections of quick tasks and larger projects that require a chunk of time to work on. I have a weeks worth of tasks together so I can see what my week looks like and shuffle if need be. We spend about 5-10mins first thing in the morning “triaging” the day and can see what needs working on right now.
    Works for me and my team!
    Everything we do has a task in Asana - no matter what so I have slowly but gently dragged my staff into the program and it drives every aspect of our business.
    Hope that helps!


It hard to give a definitive answer without being with you and actually seeing your setup. A couple of general things come to mind…Word your tasks so they are clear. What’s easy gets done. So, if you can break down something that is getting stuck into smaller pieces, those smaller tasks become attractive. Secondly, I like to have some order to tasks. Within Today, create several sections: Fab 5 (the top 5 things that are either deadline driven or will add considerable value to the day), Morning, Afternoon, Evening and then drag the tasks in a logical order. Look for ways to create “batches.” Drag and drop all of the phone calls so they are one right after the other, for example. Same with errands. That will allow you to put your head down, start at the top, and work through the list knowing there’s not a time-bomb lurking below.