Creating effective tasks in Asana

There are multiple ways to use tasks in Asana. This article will help you understand their use cases and how to create and name them effectively.

Creating a task

Tasks are actionable items that clearly show who is responsible for what by when, but can also serve different purposes, like taking notes, meeting agendas, or reference items.

You can create a task in three different ways:

  1. From the Quick add button in the top bar
  2. Via the + Add task button in a project
  3. Clicking  + next to the section

Actionable titles and clear descriptions

When a task assignee or collaborator sees a task for the first time, they should understand what the task is about and what’s expected of them based on the title and description. An effective title would be “Complete first draft of blog post” versus “Blog post.” 

The task description must provide the assignee all the information they need to complete the task. 

Benefits of clear task ownership

Assigned tasks have a higher completion rate; that’s why actionable tasks should always have an assignee who is responsible for the task’s completion. When a task has an assignee, it’s clear to everyone who is responsible for getting that work done. Learn more about assigning tasks in Asana.

Setting start and due dates

Actionable tasks should have a due date to keep track of your tasks and meet deadlines. You can also add start dates to specify when the work should start. 

If a due date needs to be changed, it’s best practice to comment on the task and @mention the person who assigned it to let them know why the due date has been pushed back.

If you assign tasks to yourself, give them a due date to increase productivity.

Examples of creating tasks

Context Task title Action
You need someone to complete a specific action.  Publish blog post Assign this task to the person responsible for publishing the blog post. The task’s due date would be the date the post goes live.
You need to delegate and distribute work. Perform market research Create a parent task and add subtasks, assigning them to various colleagues responsible for conducting market research in different areas.
You want to receive feedback from different stakeholders. Finalize campaign messaging Add the stakeholders as task collaborators and ask them to provide feedback.


Subtasks

Subtasks are used to break up the work of a task into smaller parts or to help share the workload with multiple people. Subtasks function like independent tasks with the same fields as a parent task and are embedded within a parent task.

Milestones

Milestones mark significant progress points along a project timeline. You can create a milestone or turn existing tasks into milestones. Examples of milestones include: 

  • Hitting a revenue target 
  • Confirming an event site 
  • Completing significant pieces of work that unblock the next phase of a project

Mark a task as a milestone



You can distinguish between milestones and normal tasks in the following ways:

Approvals

You can turn any task or subtask into an approval by clicking the three dot icon, and selecting Mark as Approval. This is a way of quickly receiving feedback on a task that needs approval. Approvers can easily see what’s needed and can “Approve”, “Request changes”, or “Reject” a task.

As the requester, you’ll receive inbox notifications when action is taken on the task. 

Follow-up tasks

A follow-up task is a standalone task created from an existing Asana task. It can be a reminder to follow up on the original task later. Unlike subtasks, the follow-up task has no affiliation with the parent task. You can create a follow-up task from any task or subtask. 

 

To create a follow-up task:

  1. Open the task you wish to follow up on
  2. Click on the three dot icon
  3. Select Create follow-up task

This creates a new task with the following default characteristics, all of which you can edit:

  • A default name of “Follow up on [original task name]”
  • Assigned to you by default and shows in your My Tasks
  • A description containing a hyperlink back to the original task

Example use cases:

  • A user has created a task that captures the minutes from a customer meeting. You create a follow up task to review the minutes or take action on one of the points.
  • Your manager shares key information in the team meeting agenda task. You need to communicate this information to your team. Create a follow up task to remind yourself about this.

Dependencies

The completion of certain tasks may depend on other work being finished first. Task dependencies help work happen in the correct order and at the right time. Dependencies are the relationships among tasks that determine the order in which activities must be performed. With task dependencies, you can mark a task as “blocking” or “blocked by” another task.

Multi-homing

Multi-homing is adding the same task to multiple projects in Asana. Every change made to the task, such as comments, attachments, changes to due dates, etc., will be reflected across all projects, eliminating the need to update the task in each project individually.

Multi-homing avoids duplication by centralizing work; keeping various teams in the loop without providing individual updates. 

How to multi-home tasks

multihoming

From the task details pane:

  1. Navigate to the Projects field, click Add to projects and type the project name
  2. Or click the three dot icon and select Add to another project

Using task templates

Task templates make it easy to standardize tasks in your project and quickly set up the same tasks repeatedly without starting from scratch. You can convert existing tasks into templates or create new ones to save time. Follow these step-by-step instructions to create task templates. 

Tips on using task templates 

  • Use "template" or "duplicate me" in the task title to quickly find them when searching and to ensure nobody accidentally modifies it
  • Converting a task to a template closes the original task
  • Duplicate the task by clicking the three dot icon in the top right corner of the task, then selecting Duplicate task

Additional resources

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