"Estimated Work" custom field as a single choice - how is Workload calculation affected?

Hi there!

I am trying to set up Asana the best way using the Business version.

I want to be able to manage and use Portfolio Workload so I was watching Workload demo here - Workload • Asana Product Guide.

In this video at minute 2: 11 it says that I can create a custom field and shows an example “Estimated Work”.

I noted on the screen that the field created seems to be a colored single choice drop down.

I would like to examine this use case to understand better what choices it would be smart to create in the single choice drop down. I want to make sure the hours if chosen through the single choice drop down will be able to be calculated with Workload.

I would also like to understand what others are using as their choices!

Can anyone help?



Hey Mindy,

the effort should be a numeric custom field, see

I have outlined a detailed example a while ago in this thread that might be helpful for you as well.

I hope that helps

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Thank you SO MUCH @Andrea_Mayer for taking time to answer my question.

I am trying to make sure I understand because of what is shown on the explanation of the Workload page - please see screenshot below -

“Estimated Work” in Asana’s example shows to be a single choice, with color, showing an amount of time range.

This question arose because we cannot see the custom field that I added to estimate how much time a task would take when we are using “My Tasks” . We really need to understand how long tasks will take to be able to prioritize effectively.

As a result of this limitation in “My Task”, I created a separate “Homebase” project and used a custom rule to add any new tasks that come into My Task to my “Homebase” project.

I was told that this was an incorrect thing to do, that I needed to go back to using “My Task” and that the workaround was to have the time estimate for tasks be a custom field that is a single choice drop down field with colors - that if you added a custom field like that WITH COLOR as the choice on the drop down, that the TASK would adopt the color and you could use the color to gauge how long the task would take on the CALENDAR view, effectively allowing us to understand the time estimate for each task using the calendar view of “My Task”.

I’m trying to understand what is the better way to set this up.

I want to understand which is the better choice for custom field - a single choice drop down with color and time choice or a simple custom field that is numeric. It seems that if I use the single choice I would LOSE the numeric time value, and as a result, the SUM of that field by section.

I want to MAKE SURE one way or another before I put time estimates in for tasks since estimating tasks is time consuming and I don’t want to have to go back and have to change it.

Can you explain the benefits of using a single choice colored type of custom field as is shown in the Workload example? And if I did choose to set the field up that way, if it would indeed mean that there would not be SUM of time?

I’m trying to understand the PROS and CONS of a numeric custom field versus the single choice drop down before I make the wrong choice and have to spend time undoing it!

Thank you for helping me!



@Bastien_Siebman my “Homebase” idea came from this post - 📢 Tip on how to organize your work in a variety of ways (My Tasks Filtering Workaround)

Would you weigh in on pros and cons of my choice?

Hey Mindy,

Efforts always have to be numeric fields.

The custom fields with drop-down are used to display colours.


So let’s say you have one single-select field to highlight the importance of a task with options such as for example: Urgent (red), normal (yellow), etc

Then under the workload view you can select which colour to show. This gives you a better visual overview. Like in the screenshot you shared from Asana.

Yes that is correct, the coloured custom field solution also works for calendar view. That can work well if you do not have access to portfolio workload for example due to your plan.
However it won’t really have all the other features that workload offers.
Because in workload you can set capacities for team members and a lot more.

I hope that helps

Thank you! That is what I needed to know!

Can you confirm:

IF I use a numeric field because I want to see a time estimate to determine workload, there will be no color associated with the task, but the numeric value is required to be able to determine workload.

The only way that COLOR can show up on a task on a project calendar is if you designate a custom field with a color. So if I want to be able to see tasks by color on the calendar I would need a custom field with drop down choices that each have a color.

The problem is that I think I need both - until I can find a work around, I guess.
So my conclusion is that essentially I need two fields.

I have the business plan.

Is there anything that I am missing?

@Andrea_Mayer I REALLY appreciate your help!

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Sorry that it took me a bit to respond again.

Correct. The numeric value is used to set an estimated/expected time for tasks in order to then match it with the workload for example.
On top of that you can also create super useful graphs or using the sum/average features in project list view for example (in case that is ever needed)


I mean one great feature as well is that when you allocate hours per task and then allocate the max hours people are available weekly via the workload feature then it will highlight it in red on the workload view when it is impossible to complete tasks by a person within the timeframe as they would require more time.
I hope that makes sense.

I guess ones you started tested it out and played around with it a bit you will figure out what fits best for your use case. But yes a combination with the drop-down custom field is good since then you can also display other things.

@Andrea_Mayer - thank you for this - this is exactly what I needed to know!

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