How to Defer Dates

My team and I have used Asana for a while now and we’re always working on ways to improve our workflow. One thing we try to do on a regular basis is keep our My Tasks organized so we can all see what each of us is focusing on that day. But over time, tasks build up and it gets to the point where it’s hard to pick what to work on next because there’s so much clutter. Lots of tasks get thrown in my Upcoming and Later sections because I know I’m not ready to work on them and when it comes time to figure out what to work on next, it’s a little overwhelming. I need a way to only show tasks that are available to work on now and be notified when a task becomes available to work on.

In addition to Asana, I also use OmniFocus for tracking personal tasks and projects. The thing that I find really useful in OmniFocus, that I wish I could do in Asana, is the ability to defer tasks. Here are some snippets from the OmniFocus documentation about defer until dates:

The defer until date is the date when an action or project becomes available; until that date arrives, the item remains grayed out.

Items that have not reached their defer until date are not considered available so they won’t clutter your view until you can work on them.

So the idea is, if I had a task I knew I didn’t need to start on until next month, I would set to defer until next month and it would be hidden (or less visible or subdued somehow) until that date. Then when that date arrived, I would get notified that it’s available and maybe have it get listed on My Tasks in a Now Available section or something.

@Alexis: What are your thoughts? And any chance a feature like this can be added to Asana?


This is already mostly possible. Just set a due date in the future and then move it to “Later.” The task disappears and then you get a notification when it comes due.


@scottjohnson I’ll +1 @constana’s comment and say that this is what the due date feature is designed for :slight_smile: For instance, I often use the due date to bring something to my attention during a certain time period. Then after something pops up to the top of my My Tasks I might adjust the due date to a realistic timeline, say a few days or a week away. I think you’ll find it helpful to fiddle with due dates and also consider updating the setup of your My Tasks. Check out this thread for more info on how you can strategically setup My Tasks:

Let us know if you have other thoughts or questions!

Thanks for the advice @constana and @Alexis. Setting due dates on tasks and putting in the Later section sounds like it might work so I’ll give it a try. What about when you have actual due dates, though? If you’re using due date as reminder, are you putting actual due dates in a custom field or the description? What’s your workflow there?

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Good question! I could have stated that more clearly in my post.

I usually have a one or two phase process with due dates.

  • One phase: the due date is accurate and I complete the task by the intended due date

  • Two phase: the due date is approximate. It appears at the top of my task list and I determine whether to keep the date as-is or push the due date back for a more realistic timeline. In this case, I’ll update the due date to be an actual due date for myself. So 1) Due date is approximate and brings the task to the top of my My Tasks to get my attention, then 2) I set the due date to be my actual due date and complete the task by this final date.

Does that clarify things? Please let me know if you have other questions.

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@Alexis , @scottjohnson

  • I am trying to be a good forum citizen and search for my answer before reposting a question that may have been asked.
  • I found Alexis’ answer a bit wanting. I, too, come from an OF background. The idea in many productivity apps is not to overuse due dates and only use them when they are in fact due dates. The rationale is that iff you used some as false dates and some as true dates, you risk making due dates important or not knowing the distinction as it comes up (e.g., phase 1 and phase 2.
  • know this post is old. Just wondering if there is a solution that didn’t exist when this was posted.

@scottjohnson, Your issues are all address in my article here:

That covers an updated version of My Tasks Asana released several years after your post!

@anon23352771, I totally agree with you, and I strongly recommend to make a different distinction in setting Due dates, as described in my Forum Leaders Tip here:

A related point, in case you use dependencies, is to include a rule in your My Tasks to “promote” a task to “Now” or “Today” section if it should become unblocked, so you can see that there’s something new for you to potentially work on.

I hope those help,