I made a new task level in the Asana hierarchy (and other goodies)

Hello Asana Community,

I’ve been a longtime Asana user, about 6 years at this point. Using the platform mainly as a soloist, I’ve iterated countless times my use of “My Tasks”, the description box, and in general pursued maximum visual efficiency of work and information.

I have laid out light overview of my system. Please read on and let me know if I can answer any questions.


Note: My Asana approach leverages espanso, a free/open-source alternative TextExpander. Espanso makes certain emoji and text elements effortless to incorporate — an essential part of my technique. I don’t go into detail in this post on how it is used.

Note 2: Things 3 (iOS/Mac) was a huge inspiration for this approach.

Note 3: This approach works for anyone, as I use Asana Basic (free).

The problems that I solved (in no particular order):

  1. Effortlessly sort work I can and CAN’T work on right now
  2. Maximize the amount of actionable work in one place
  3. Unify the trail of finished work and past meetings
  4. Indicate the difference between Asana (dynamic text) hyperlinks and web hyperlinks

A snapshot of my Asana with fake data:

My Tasks key:

:boxing_glove: Today: What I want to work on today

:newspaper: Anytime: What I want to work on this week.

  • I have this section set to receive new tasks with the due-date-auto-promotion, so that I have absolute control and focus in the “Today” section
  • If a “due date” is seen here (or in “Today”), it’s actually a DEADLINE, and I am able to work on it (nothing is blocking it).

:date: Upcoming: Multiple things happening here.

  • The initial tasks are SCHEDULED, which means I can’t work on them until their “due date” arrives.
  • What Things 3 calls “Someday” tasks are below the “– –” divider. These are:
    • Tasks blocked by other tasks (:no_entry: emoji)
    • Tasks blocked by email response needed (:postbox: emoji)
    • Tasks that I DON’T plan to work on this week. In other words, the remainder of tasks not in Today or Anytime.
  • The text surrounded by underscores allows me to hack “subsections” into the “Upcoming” area

Task naming conventions:

The following list describes how I go about reminding myself the complexity level of an item, and where I would go to find out more about it:

  • Topical tasks (that act like a mini Asana “project”) simply have names without action verbs (like Tesla Model R)
  • Subtasks with a large amount of work that should be opened to see more end in “(see notes)”
  • Subtasks that are interacted with in the description box of their parent task end in “(see parent)”. This is the secret Asana hierarchy level that I came up with.
  • Subtasks that are completed that were living in the description box have the end of their titles changed to “(see comment)”, and the task and it’s detail is cut and pasted as an Asana comment. This avoids isolation of completed work in disparate subtasks.

More on the bonus hierarchy item:

  • I begin “creating it” by pasting the task URL on a “Heading 2” line
  • I use a divider to split apart a mini-description and space for a checklist
  • I make use of strikethrough to complete steps
  • I’ve appended non-Asana links with " :arrow_upper_right:" to differentiate them from internal links

The “Logbook” divider

  • I’ve really enjoyed using this trick. Unfinished work stays above it, and I manually drag completed work in reverse-chronological order below it.
  • I also use the “– –” divider the same way it’s used in My Tasks — work that is NOT for this week is placed below it.

That’s all folks!

Edited for typos