How to let people know it's actually time to start their task?



In our agency we have a typical ‘routing’ workflow where once a piece is ready for review, it goes through proofreading/editorial, then around to team members for revisions and/or comments, and around and around again until it’s “clean.” Many times, these routing flows happen in the span of just a single day (depending on the size of the piece, of course).

Because our editors are working across multiple teams, and often have many ad-hoc/time-sensitive requests coming in during a typical workday, I would like to be able to schedule any known editorial routing tasks as far in advance as possible.

This way, even though they don’t have a piece in front of them, ready to review yet, they know it’s coming – and even better, other PMs can see what might be on their plate at any given time before adding to the pile.

The challenge is that since the routing process can’t begin until the content creator’s task is complete AND the PM has prepared and saved a PDF for recording any markup, I need a way to let the editor know “You Can Start Your Review Now.”

We typically put this workflow inside a parent task as a series of subtasks, since it’s never known in advance how many times the piece will have to route around the team. So unfortunately that means I can’t use custom fields to indicate the status of a task – which might have been one way to help people see what’s a “live” task and what is pending.

One idea I had was to create a “Begin Routing” subtask for myself, and make the first editorial task following it dependent on it. I think then that once I complete my “Begin Routing” task, Asana should generate a notification to the assignee of the dependent task that they can start.

I think what I’d really like to be able to do is just push a notification that I have some control over directly to a team member. That way I would be able to explicity tell someone “go” when it’s time. I suppose I could just write and send an email, but I’m really trying to keep all project comms inside Asana to the extent possible.

I should also note that we are in the process of transititioning into Asana, and there has already been some grumbling about how notifications work. So I want to me mindful of not overloading people with notifications, and also making sure that when they do get notifications they are meaningful.

So, I was wondering if anyone is facing the same scenario and if you have figured out any tips/tricks to manage it. TIA


When Asana rolls out start date for all users and equally important adds it to advance searches will this assist your process


Having start date as a piece of data that you can sort “My Tasks” by would certainly help with this.


Hi @Brian_Titus

At the moment there is no “definitive” way of doing it. You can use certain strategies to make it work. I tend to use the “due date” as the date I have to start working on things.
Alternatively you can create a task with a subtask. The task is the main goal, and you create a subtask called “start working on XYZ” and you create the dependence where you need from the subtask creation.


Hi Brian. We have a similar process, where content has to go through a serious of proofreads before being finally signed off. Traditionally, we’ve done it through Outlook, with a spreadsheet to record when the various stages are completed. Now that we’re using Asana, our plan is to do it through subtasks, one representing each round of proofreading. When the first person has finished the first round, they then assign the second round to the next proofreader, and so on, until the task owner does the final check. Each time the subtask is assigned, the relevant proofreader gets a notification which signals that they can start.

Would the process of assigning the tasks or subtasks not give you that notification that you’re looking for?


Hi Mark – that’s basically how I’m doing it now – I assign the subtask when it’s time to start the round, the proofreader gets a notification and starts the job. However, since we are working to a (basically) predetermined timeline, I would like to have at least the first round for the proofreader set up as a task so that she (and the rest of the team) know what her workload for any particular day looks like.

I really want Asana to help us understand workloads across the organization, and to enable people to think about and plan for their work more than a day ahead.


Ah, okay. I can see how having start dates would be much more beneficial. That’s currently possible in Instagantt, but hopefully it’ll be coming soon in Asana too.

The only other solution I can think of, without specifically seeing how you’re set up, is to use sections and tasks instead of tasks and subtasks. that would allow you to use custom fields as you described. I’m sure you’ve probably already thought of that, though.


I did think about using sections, but sometimes our routing rounds can get pretty long so it’s great to have all those tasks encapsulated in a parent task. Also, we use the parent task for ‘meta’ info-- like instructions, client comments, file locations, etc – so that would be less clear in a section/task setup.

I’m going to experiment today with setting up a “begin routing” subtask for myself, and making the actual 1st routing task dependent on it.


I’d love for there to be a start time, coz in most cases i have some time sensitive deliverables with a due date, but technically cant start working on them until a specific time. And in general i’d like to be able to filter my tasks by start time, so i know what i should be working on now, vs work backwards from when something is due.

To add to that, it would be great to be able to see said task in the calendar view spanning the days between start and end date. Would help in the macro level planning of a project to see where things are at. Currently i would plot those on a project google calendar on a macro level and review the task based level in Asana.



I think you can take advantage of the task dependencies.

You can still consolidate all the steps in a task as subtasks and set the dependencies of each of the step. Once all the dependencies are complete, there will be a notification telling the assignee that the task can already be started. :smile: