How to focus on actionable tasks only when using sub-tasks

I’ve been using Asana at work for a bit over a year now, and I haven’t found a good solution for getting a good overview of only the actionable tasks. Have worked with a (more or less) GTD system before and I realized how important that was. Two problems I have are:

  1. Filtering out (sub)tasks that are dependent on earlier tasks being completed but to which I am assigned, and
  2. Filtering out tasks that I am assigned to but that need all the sub-tasks to be completed first.

For context, I work in marketing. Currently we have a project called “Content Priorities”, in which each task is a piece of content. Within those tasks are the standard sub-tasks (e.g. create outline, finalize keyword research, create draft, review draft, update draft based on review, publish on website, add to content library). I am often put as the overall owner of the task, plus on the individual sub-tasks I’m responsible for.

When I look at “My Tasks”, the whole list gets muddled. I have to use unnecessary mental energy to determine which of the 4 or 5 tasks is the one I need to take action on (if I’m not waiting on someone else). I enjoy the My Tasks view because I like being able to put things in “Today” or “Upcoming” buckets. But seems like it’s not possible to add filters there.

My current workaround is creating a saved search called “Actionable Tasks” which does not have a tag of “Waiting”, but that’s a really manual process. I could alternatively create a saved search that filters out tasks that are a dependency, but that doesn’t solve the annoyance of seeing both the overall task (which is just there to “shepherd” along) and the next concrete sub-task that I need to actually take action on.

Anyone run into the same problem and/or have any advice?


Couple of ideas (I’ll re-read your message next week):

  • you should never be assigned a something you are not the one who should do the work
  • you should never have an assignee on something that is not a task
  • if you are assigned a task that has dependencies, I think you are notified whenever those dependencies are completed (not 100% sure)
  • you should heavily use task-autopromotion (something due Later should be pushed to Later with a due date, it will come back automatically)

Its a bit of a mind shift, but we ditched the notion of ‘who is overall responsible’ for this task, and changed to the concept of who is responsible right now.

As soon as I ask someone a question (or waiting on someone) I assign the task to that person. Set a due date for that task and let Asana do the work of chasing them up. People do the same for me and I really appreciate the auto reminders they are waiting on me for something.

Maybe this will help you to?

Ben Munk

Sent on Android