My original advice to Jeff_Crist was to help out with quickly moving tasks between the My Tasks categories by giving him keyboard shortcuts and pointing out multi-select. He was trying to integrate priority into his tasks as well as a view or report that would help him sort it all out. That was my interpretation anyway.
To address some of your points though, Asana does do something things automatically for you. I know they’ll move tasks into “Today” if you set a due date and that day comes around. I don’t play around much with “Upcoming” or “Later” with respect to due dates so I can’t offer much on that.
I agree Asana could provide a rule interpreter so you could maybe automate things based on due date. There’s a lot of complexity to that, but if you have a good sense of how you’d use that I’d suggest making a Product Feedback post.
With respect to sorting tasks manually, I derive tremendous value from it. But it all comes down to how you’re situated. We tend to leave our tasks unassigned, but in a prioritized list that my team and I pull from. We’ve established norms on how we do this as well as how we handle those tasks once we take ownership (we have standard sections within our My Tasks so other team members can see our personal priorities). Almost all of this is manual, but we feel it’s not that much overhead when we consider the care we take creating the tasks (i.e., good titles, user stories in our descriptions, defining done, prioritizing in the backlog, etc.). The bit of extra work to drag and drop a task into a different section or column doesn’t feel like a costly overhead by any means. Someone working with templates and copied tasks that’s literally using Asana as a task pipeline where everything’s repeated would undoubtedly feel differently.
The overhead for me is maybe 5-10 minutes per day picking the tasks I’ll commit to for the day. I do this either before I go home or first thing in the morning. Weekly I’ll spend about the same amount of time again, maybe a little longer, figuring out what I want to pull from the backlog and take ownership of for the next week, and sometimes we’ll do this as a team if there are a lot of tasks any of us could do.
I don’t know if it interests you, or if you’re aware, but you can also create your own sections in your My Tasks just as you can in List Projects. Just put a colon at the end of a task title. You still have to manually move things, but it can help break things up a bit. If you want your teammates to see these sections when they look at your tasks, you’ll need to make the sections public. Here’s what mine looks like:
I like this because as tasks are assigned to me, or as I pull them from “Upcoming” I can select them and hit TAB+Y and they all show up in “New-In” so that I can prioritize them into my “Requested” section. I pull a tasks from “Requested” into “In Progress” one or two at a time as I complete the previous tasks. The “Waiting/Blocked” section is self-explanatory. The “Project Emphasis” category has a bit of a special purpose. We have a high level “Project Board” where our tasks represent projects or a larger scale task. Generally tasks I’m working on will come from one of these projects and it’s just kind of a daily reminder of my focus, plus it gives me quick access if I want to post a comment about the status of these projects to the team.