⏰ Strategy on how to deal with overdue tasks

First of all thanks again for organizing such a great challenge @Bastien_Siebman ! :pray:
Delighted to be one of the winners!

In case you have missed out participating and want to find out what this was all about, have a look here: 🏆 Overdue Task challenge

Bastien asked me to share my strategy of dealing with overdue tasks directly with the whole community, so here we go:

:nerd_face: Especially around this time of the year, things are usually very crazy and I would always have overdue tasks. + a few days after the challenge was announced I also got pulled into a super important project which meant more overdue tasks upcoming on my main B2C project involvement. To tackle overdue tasks I‘d say staying focused is key!

Often overdue tasks occur since something unexpected happens or something urgent has to be done which consumes quite some time.

:sparkles:How I work with the team to tackle overdue tasks:sparkles:

:heavy_check_mark: What I noticed over the years in my team is that many of my colleagues are kind of scared or demotivated when they see they have a bunch of overdue tasks. So I am always trying to push them to split going through them into a few days.

:heavy_check_mark: I would even set Asana tasks for them to clean their overdue tasks, I would send messages in key group chats, my weekly Monday GIF messages to motivate and push them.

One day, I even wrote a poem for them to push them further. So I kind of try to always sneak in messages in my regular communication with the team to ensure they really understand the importance and do it haha

:heavy_check_mark: Because I know the more tasks accrue the harder it becomes to have a “clean” Asana again :slight_smile:

:heavy_check_mark: For the team I would have such focus phases every 2-3 months

:heavy_check_mark: Whenever somebody is just not able to clean their overdue tasks sometimes I even get into their task list and clean it up to have a fresh start

:sparkles: How I try to tackle my overdue tasks :sparkles:

:white_check_mark: I always try to have a day about every two weeks where I check all overdue tasks and update them.

:white_check_mark: Tasks that definitely have to get done the next day I usually set for today (especially though if the day ended already), because then the next day when I am starting to work these tasks will show overdue and I know they are top prior to attending to.

:white_check_mark: When attending to overdue Asana tasks a key rule is to switch off or mute anything that could disturb me such as Skype, Whatsapp etc and mute the Asana inbox (or else I might get stuck again there). A few times I even told my team that I had to log off earlier, but in reality, I stayed to clean. my Asana.

:white_check_mark: Some tasks are usually overdue monitoring tasks. For those, I review what subtasks are still open or if the campaign is complete or requires further action and then the due date will be changed accordingly. - Plus these tasks are usually in a special column under my tasks which are called “Monitoring” or something like that.
If I am involved in various projects I would also split up the monitoring columns.

:white_check_mark: Many of the overdue tasks I sometimes have are from team members that left and reassigned their tasks. This means I will go through them, see when to action and update the due date .

:white_check_mark: Usually many of the tasks are ideas. Those are moved into an ideas section and the due date is removed. Instead, I have one task that I check on a monthly or quarterly basis which is „Check all tasks in the Ideas column“
This will avoid me getting 20 reminders instead of 1 + many of the ideas might be from years ago if they are no longer relevant I would close them.

:white_check_mark: Sometimes a few overdue tasks have had the due date changed quite a few times already and are super old (might be an old article I wanted to read or some marketing tips).
Instead of just changing the due date yet again as I might read it later „when I have time“, I rather see if the task is still needed.

Because especially when it is about marketing strategies, ads, email campaigns or tips from 1-2 years ago, they might not even apply anymore. If unsure I would just quickly take a quick look on the spot and then decide what to do. (When watching your video @Bastien_Siebman my processes reminded me of what you call “parking project” :slight_smile:

If I decide it is worth reading it in detail I add it to my reading list task that has a bunch of subtasks but only the main task has a due date (again to avoid the problem of 20 due dates instead of 1).

:white_check_mark: Often a task might have been assigned by a team member or I created it in a rush and then since I moved on with another tax forgot to set a proper task title.

So whenever checking overdue tasks I always ensure they have a proper task title and description.

:white_check_mark: Reassign tasks
Sometimes I come across tasks that can be reassigned to a team member.
When doing this I keep in mind their current workload, availability and skill set. When I reassign tasks I either just assign the main task, if I want them to take over being the task leader and they would then involve other team members if help is required.

For these tasks, I often add a subtask for me just to be reminded to check in again on this task to see if everything is progressing (I always do this especially for new team members or when I don’t know a person that well yet to avoid the task going into limbo)

If I still want to stay the task leader I would divide the task into subtasks and assign those to the relevant team members to execute.


Amazing tips, @Andrea_Mayer! Thanks for sharing! :tada:

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Thank you for sharing! I am meeting with my internal team to discuss overdue task management, especially this time of year.