How to manage ‘My Tasks’ using rules in Asana
One thing that comes up regularly with clients when working with Asana, is the fact that people don't use the ‘my task’ view.
This is surprising to me, as it’s such a useful screen - it’s a great way of tracking what work you need to do and when you need to do it.
Now before I get started I should say this blog is based on a video I made recently - so if you are more of a watcher than a reader please check the video out here.
Since Asana changed the way that the My Tasks view works, and removed the baked-in rules, some people are left confused about how they can best use the ‘My Tasks’ view to manage their workload.
So I thought I'd put together a few tips to help you if you're one of those people.
When it isn’t properly organised, the ‘My Tasks’ view can be overwhelming. If you open up your tasks for the day and see a long list of tasks, from a multitude of projects, some of which may be long term, some short term, it can feel like a truly daunting way to manage your workload. But when we get this view organised, it will quickly become your favourite place to spend your time. Probably.
The first step is to organise your sections. Personally, I like to rename the ‘Recently assigned’ section to ‘Triage’, because anything that is assigned to me automatically enters this section, and needs me to triage it to decide when and how I am going to deal with it.
The other sections I like to have on my ‘My tasks’ view are the ‘Do Today’ and ‘Do Later’ sections.
I actually delete the standard 'Do next Week’ section, as for me I am happy to keep anything due after this week in ‘due later’. I have seen people set this up with do next week, do the week after, do next month, next quarter - but for the way I work that is convoluted and overly complex!
But these are just my suggestions on how I choose to label my sections, and you can rename them to whatever works for you.
Now once you have taken a look at your tasks and moved them into the sections you would like to keep them in for today, and undoubtedly moved a big chunk of your tasks into ‘Do later’, you want to make sure that these ‘Do later’ tasks don't become ‘Do never’, and that they come back onto your radar when you need them to!
Well that's where rules come in.
Regardless of what plan you are on, you can set up a rule in Asana to move a task into a section based on the due date. One thing to bear in mind here is that with this particular rule in Asana, it does only run once a day at midnight. It is not a live rule like many other rules in Asana.
My suggestion is that you set up a rule that says ‘if a task is due today’, we want to move it to ‘triage’. On first look this might sound strange - I mean, why would I not move it into the ‘Do today’ section? I do this, because although some weeks ago I may have set a due date for today, it may actually be a longer term goal which needs to be pushed back, and the triage section allows me to manage that and reprioritise if needed without destroying the beauty of today’s ‘Do today’ section!
If you are on the Asana Free plan you only have access to one rule, but if you are on a Premium, you will have a few rules to use and in Business and above you will be able to make custom rules as well as select from a bank of premade rules.
If you wanted to keep your ‘Do next week’ section, you might want to also set up a rule that says ‘when a task is due in one weeks time’ move it to the ‘do next week’ section.
Another rule I like to create is that if a date gets removed from a task, move it to triage. The reason for this is that if the task is part of a shared project, it can be easy for someone else to accidentally remove the date from the task, and if this was sat in my ‘Do later’ list a little way out of sight, it might be lost until I next look at that particular project.
Remember, you are not stuck to looking at the tasks in this new sectioned way. If, for example, you want to look at the full list of tasks in a date by date format, you can simply use the sort function in the top right to sort by date and toggle off the ‘sort within sections’ button as and when you need - and you can do the same for the other sort options in the dropdown list
My advice is to set up your sections, set up your rules, and have everything come into triage to be looked at daily. You can then set a date against everything that comes in, move it to do later if it’s not something you are going to work on today, and your rules will push it right back into triage when the date comes around, at which point you can decide if today really is the day.
If you follow what I have outlined here, you will find it really easy to work in the My Tasks view, it will help you to keep on top of your list of tasks across all projects, and easily and efficiently prioritise and re-prioritise them as things arise. Of course you can play around with all sorts of sections, and rules that you feel will work best for you, adding in separate sections for specific things.
For example, I have now added a ‘Awaiting date’ section for backlogged tasks; these tasks automatically get added to an ‘Awaiting date’ project that I can go into and prioritise tasks based on custom fields (but more on that in the future…)
I hope you find this way of working useful and helps you to get the most out of Asana.