Using Asana to give a team member a list of action items

How do managers use Asana to give a team member (direct report) a list of quick tasks?

When a person reporting to me comes into work on Monday, I’d like to give them a list of action items they should look at, instead of sending the usual email. Creating a list of individual tasks is too much work, because we only turn items into full tasks if there’s work agreed upon. The weekly list changes, too.

I was going to create a task like “Jane’s Monday List” and then add subtasks such as “Learn about SEO tool ubersuggest”, and “Be awesome, again!”. Is there a way you have used to manage your direct reports’ work in Asana, by giving them a list like this? Ideally, I want it to be pinned to their view on their mobile phone, so they see the “what I should be reviewing” list.

BTW, if there is another product that equally does the job well, I am interested to learn about it. We’re not going to not use Asana, but interested to learn about other tools that may be just right for the use case I have in mind. Google Keep?

1 Like


I am not sure I understand why you don’t just assign them regular tasks? :thinking: can you elaborate?


1 Like

Hi Bastien, yes, sure. It’s very fast to send an email and say “Hi Elijah, can you take a look at these 4 areas this week, and then just bullet point them. That’s enough from a manager to a direct report. It’s up to the recipient to turn those into tasks for themselves. It’s not micromanaging them, like It would feel like if I created 4 tasks. Also, then I have to do all the work in writing descriptions, not what a CEO should be doing with execs who report to her.

In Asana there is no equivalent feature, so the closest I can think would be to create a task, then add subtasks. I know Asana is used for deeper project management like we at Dossier do, but I wanted to use it for this scenario and get the team in a habit to look at using Asana for this.

Maybe Asana is not really used for communication, much as so would like it to be a tool for all communications. It’s really for tracking work, and that’s different than communication/workflow combo products.

However there may be another way to achieve this, ex create a 1-on-1 project and update the project status every Friday for my direct reports to look at. These are the ideas I am seeking.

In the case you describe, I’d be tempted to create just a single Monday morning roundup item, and use the description to spell out the areas that need attention in a numbered or bulleted list - as many as are required. Individuals can then flesh their task list out as needed, turning some of the bullets into individual tasks, omitting items that aren’t relevant or that are quickly addressed.

I understand and agree with your point, that there are some items that are just too small to be worth creating a task.


Hi @Vik_Chaudhary how about using either a team or project conversation to bullet point the focus areas for the day/week then they can then turn them into Tasks as needed.


1 Like

What you describe sounds more offline to Asana and more like the brief type of stand-up meetings as described in Rhythm or Mastering the Rockefeller Habits. I have to believe there may be an IOS app that is pretty cheap for stand up meetings. A rapid google of IOS app turned up ‎Workboard for iPhone on the App Store that looked kind of interesting. But if you want to keep everything in Asana there are several other suggestions and their IOS app is very good to save as a Favorite.

I would create a project called “:sunny: Monday Thoughts” and type in tasks quickly in there. I would make sure I know the keyboard shortcuts (Enter to create a new task, Tab + A for assignee).

My colleagues would recognize the :sunny: in their My Tasks and would know this is a quickly typed task that we can iterate on.


@Stephanie_Oberg, @Bastien_Siebman and @Jason_Woods
I used your :sunny: emoji, Monday Thoughts and simple bullet points to get my message across. Worked beautifully, you guys are creative Asana users, and I loved the emoji. Thank you!

@James_Carl I’ll be checking that out, thank you!


Glad we could help…

1 Like

Emojis are underated :slight_smile:


It sounds like you’ve got the situation handled and I like the ideas listed here.

Question: Wouldn’t subtasks take the same time (if not a little slower) as regular tasks?

My thoughts:

  • Tasks in Asana should not be held to some sort of sacred standard. It’s ok to create simple little tasks. There isn’t some sort of task limit imposed.
  • Tasks do not have to be created inside of any project. You can navigate to the employee’s Task List and add tasks directly to it. You can then add yourself as a collaborator to see any comments they post about their findings on a topic or whatever else you have them do without junking up a project.
  • To take it a step further you can rearrange their task list to make sure it’s at the top of their list and if you want add emojis/due dates/symbols/sections to their list to let them know what type of task this is
  • Just because you create the task doesn’t mean you have to create the descriptions. It takes less time (assuming Asana is already open) to add a few tasks than it does to open up a new email, put in the address, the subject, a quick greeting, and a bullet point list. Just let it be known that with these types of tasks they need to update the task as needed (comments, descriptions, extra tasks, etc)
  • Depending how many people we’re talking about here, each person could have their own project. Again, the bullet points you mentioned putting in an email would instead be tasks on their personal project that only you and them are members of (you can make projects private if necessary). This also allows for some of the tasks to be set up as repeatable, week to week for reporting, etc.
  • Lastly, stand up meetings were mentioned… if that’s what this is for you can definitely have a “Stand Up Meeting” project with recurring meeting tasks and then each week update the non recurring ones.

Very good insight.

I feel confused about this one. That would drive me crazy to have someone changing my task order, doesn’t it?

1 Like

Haha, well it really depends on the type of person you’re managing and the type of systems you have set up. I more or less meant… move these tasks to the top when they are created, not rearrange everything lol. As stated, you could add a section in their My Tasks area above everything else, where these tasks would “live”.

Having said that, yes… I would not personally want people messing with my “My Tasks” area :sweat_smile:.


Great insights here from a lot of people including @Bastien_Siebman and @Stephanie_Oberg.

Only thing I’ll add is I would never recommending creating a project called “Jane’s Tasks” because it’s really a redundant way to classify tasks. We can already view all her tasks in My Tasks, or we can build a report for her tasks within a project, or we can just sort a project by assignee to get this information.