Manage approvals and find at-risk work

How to add approvals and see task statuses

  1. Pick a project where you’d like to start tracking task approvals (like work requests or a marketing campaign.)
  2. Add custom fields with notifications to that project

GIF of adding custom fields for your approvals workflow in Asana by clicking the blue link in the project header

How to add custom fields

  1. Click the blue Add Custom Fields link at the top of a project.
  2. Search for “Approval stage” (you’ll see the Asana logo next to it) and add it.
  3. Then search for “Task progress” and “Priority.”
  4. If you add your own fields, be sure to turn on custom fields notifications for them so followers get updates when the fields get changed.

That’s it! The next section will teach you how to turn your fields into a true approval process and give you visibility into each task’s status.

How to manage work needing approvals

In any project where you’ve added the approval custom field, use the following workflow and teach teammates how they should use it:

  1. Add all stakeholders as task followers so they get custom field notifications as work progresses and can post comments and questions.
  2. The task assignee should update the “task progress” custom field at each step so it’s clear where they are in the creation process. (This is also important for search reports below).
    • Followers will receive notifications every time the assignee changes the custom field so they know when it’s time to review or approve it.
  3. Once they complete their work for the task, they should update the “approval stage” custom field to “Ready for Review”.
  4. Reassign the task to the reviewer.
    • If the work to review is a visual asset, they can leave feedback directly on the asset so it’s clear what they’re referring to.
    • This feedback gets turned into an actionable subtask for the creator so they have a clear record of feedback.
  5. Once the reviewer has finished, they can update the custom field to “Changes Needed” if updates need to be made or “Approved”’ if it’s ready to go.
  6. Reassign to the original assignee so they can incorporate any necessary feedback, or mark their work complete if approved.

GIF approval workflow with custom fields in Asana to show when work is ready or already approved

See at-risk work and follow up faster with search reports

Task status and approval fields make it fast and easy for contributors to show where their work stands (without providing tons of written updates.) And project managers and leads can stay ahead of missed deadlines and handoffs before they happen by creating advanced search reports using these fields.

How to create reports to see what work needs your approval

Approval reports help you understand what work might be blocked. For this example, create a report of work that isn’t yet approved to know who you might have to follow-up with.

SCREENSHOT of creating an advanced search report using custom fields in Asana

Creating a search report with custom fields

  1. Click into the search bar in the top bar of Asana.
  2. Click Advanced Search. This pulls up a variety of search criteria options to help you refine results.
  3. For this report you want to see Tasks that are Incomplete and due within the next 5 days.
  4. Next, click Add Filter then Custom Field and type in “approval stage.”
  5. Set the options to is and Ready for Review.
  6. Click Search to run your report

You’ll see a list of results that you can further refine by assignee, due date, project, and more using the filter options in the top right corner. This list of results gives you an idea of what’s due soon but still isn’t approved yet. For anything that appears to be at risk, you can comment on the task to ask the assignee if they think the task will be on track.

Want to run this report regularly? Click Save Report and you’ll be able to access it anytime from your sidebar with up-to-date results.

How to create reports for “at-risk” work

To take your approval report one step further, you can also filter results by your “task progress” custom field. This will help you spot work that isn’t quite off the ground or approved but has a deadline approaching. Then you can adjust due dates or other project components as needed.

  1. Follow steps 1-5 above.
  2. Add the priority and content status custom fields to your search by clicking Add Filter then Custom Field and adding both custom fields to the search.
  3. Set the options to is and Not Started for “content status” and is high for “priority.”
  4. Click Search to run your report.

SCREENSHOT of advanced search report results in Asana

This list of results will show you work that is not started but is due soon and high priority. Depending on the type of task, that might not be a big deal, but for work like first drafts, budget approvals, etc. this can be a sign something is off track and give you a starting point on where to check in with your team.

Resources for approvals and reporting

More of a visual learner? Want to see how our customers monitor approvals and report on work? Check out these resources:

Resources Link
On-demand course Register for Asana Academy
Connect with Community Attend an upcoming training or start a thread on our community forum

Planning and managing your work in Asana gives you clarity into project plans and knowing where work stands. But even more powerful is using the information in Asana to help make better decisions to save time, hit deadlines, and see problems before they happen—with just a few clicks and reports.

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Asana Lessons

Learn the Asana basics in less than 15 minutes with these quick lessons

Tasks

Tasks Lessons

Track all of your work

3 Minutes

My Tasks

My Tasks Lessons

Always know what to do next

3 Minutes

Projects

Projects Lessons

Work with teammates

3 Minutes

Inbox

Inbox Lessons

Communicate even faster

3 Minutes

You can use tasks to track, collaborate on, and organize all your work.

Tasks can be to-dos, ideas, notes, or reminders.

Assign a task to yourself or a teammate.

Press Tab+M to quickly assign a task to yourself.

Add a due date so your deadline is clear.

Add instructions and expectations in the task description field.

Type @ to link to other tasks, people, conversations, or projects.

When you @mention someone, they’ll be added to your task as a follower.

Followers get notified when new comments or attachments are added.

Add anyone who needs to stay up to date on your task as a follower.

They can always unfollow to stop getting notifications on your task.

Add comments to ask questions or give followers updates.

Heart a comment to let followers know you’ve seen it.

Add relevant files or irrelevant GIFs as attachments.

You can also attach directly from Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box.

Create subtasks to break your task into smaller steps.

When you’ve added a subtask, press enter to add another.

Subtasks can contain all the same details as regular tasks.

Click the comment bubble to add comments or attachments to a subtask.

You can create tasks from any screen using your top bar.

Every Task has a unique URL to easily copy and share.

Congrats! Looks like you’re up to the task.

On to the next lesson!

Always know what to do next with My Tasks.

My Tasks is a list of every task assigned to you.

It makes managing your work simple.

Click on your My Tasks list and start typing to add tasks.

Like a text document, add a new line for each new task or paste in any list.

Forward to x@mail.asana.com to turn your emails into tasks

Asana will translate your email into a task, including your attachments.

New tasks will appear at the top of your list in New Tasks.

Tasks you add to My Tasks are private to you.

Click Make Public to share them with your team.

Prioritize tasks as Today, Upcoming, or Later.

Click on the blue dot next to the task, to quickly sort it.

Mark the tasks you’ll have time for Today.

Teammates can view your My Tasks list to see what you’re up to.

They’ll only see tasks you’ve made public or shared in a project (more on projects later).

Mark tasks due within a week as Upcoming so you can see what will be due soon.

On its due date, your task will move from Upcoming to Today.

Just like magic.

Mark tasks due in more than a week for Later.

They’ll be out of your way until their due date approaches.

Your tasks will move from Later to Upcoming a week before they’re due.

Keep My Tasks prioritized to always know what to work on and what’s coming next.

Now you know how to track and plan your work!

Next, learn how to work with your team in Asana.

Work together on groups of tasks with projects.

Projects help you track and organize the steps in a process or initiative.

Like an event plan, product launch, or editorial calendar.

Like My Tasks, simply click and type to add tasks to your project.

If you have your steps in a document or email already, paste in that list.

Add tasks to your project from email.

View your project’s unique email address from the project dropdown menu.

Add your tasks to other related projects.

Tasks can be included in multiple projects.

Add sections to organize tasks in a list project.

Type : at the end of any task title to make it a section.

Or, add columns to organize tasks in a boards project.

Drag and drop tasks between or within columns to reorder.

Assign your tasks and set due dates.

Never miss a deadline with your project calendar.

Drag and drop tasks on your calendar to change their due dates.

Add everyone who needs to stay updated on your project as members.

Project members will get notified of new conversations, statuses, and tasks.

Post conversations to make announcements or start discussions.

Your post will be sent to all project members.

Use Progress to see how your project is moving forward.

Set a project status to update your team on how it’s going.

The Project Owner will be reminded to set a status once a week.

Open and organize projects from your sidebar.

Favorite projects to pin them to the top of your sidebar.

Click the star button on the left of your project name to favorite it.

Create new projects from any screen using your top bar.

Now you can move projects forward with your team.

Just one more lesson before you dive in.

Communicate and coordinate faster with Inbox.

Check Inbox to quickly read and respond to your latest updates.

Inbox will notify you when you have a task due…

and when teammates update tasks, conversations, and projects you follow.

Open and respond to updates without leaving Inbox.

Click an update and you’ll have all the context you need to respond.

Archive updates you’re ready to dismiss.

Click the X that appears on the right of an update to archive it.

Open Archive to move dismissed updates back to your Inbox.

Click the arrow that appears on the right of an archived update to move it back to Inbox.

Unfollow tasks or projects to stop receiving updates about them.

In the end, you have control over the updates you receive (or choose not to receive)

When you’re ready, you can turn Asana’s Email notifications off.

Most communication with your team can be more easily managed from Inbox. Just remember to check it often.

Congratulations! Now you’re ready to have a great work day with Asana.