Creating, assigning, completing
Tasks are the basic unit of action in Asana. You can follow tasks, assign them to yourself or others, add notes for context, or comment on them.
Task names are listed in the center pane and the task details (like due date, notes, and comments) load in the task pane on the right.
Create tasks quickly by typing them in a list in the center pane or by using our shortcut called Quick Add. You can also create tasks from any email address associated with your account or via your mobile device.
Task names are often the calls to action for the task, while more specific information resides in the task description, an editable field in the task pane, and discussion in the comments.
Type Tasks in a List
Think of Asana’s center pane as a text editor. Create and edit tasks by typing in the fields in the center pane.
To create a new task:
- Select a line in the center pane
- Press Enter on your keyboard
- Begin typing the task name
If you think of a task unrelated to the list you’re currently viewing, take care of it quickly by using Quick Add.
To call up and use the Quick Add menu:
- Click the green + button of the top bar and select Task
- Fill in all the task details and click Ok
- If you forget to give the task an assignee or project, it will default as assigned to you so you can find it easily in your My Tasks list
Press TAB+Q on your keyboard to easily open up the quick add task dialog.
If you’re using Chrome, download the Asana Extension for Chrome from the Chrome Web Store to quickly add tasks to Asana while you’re browsing other sites.
Clicking the icon next to the task name field will insert information on the site you’re viewing into the task (see images below).
If you do not designate a project or assignee, the task will be assigned to you.
Make a Copy
If you need a quick copy of an existing task:
- Select the task or subtask you want to duplicate
- Click the down arrow at the top right of the task pane
- Select Make a Copy…
- Select the components of the task you want to see in the copy
- Click Create New Task
Click the name of the copy in the pop-up in the lower left corner of Asana to navigate to it.
The assignee field designates the task owner. This can be changed by anyone who has access to the task, at any time.
Each person’s set of assigned tasks will appear in their My Tasks list.
To assign a task:
- Select the task
- Click the Assignee field in the task pane (or use Tab+A)
- Begin typing a name
- Or, click Assign to Me or use Tab+M
To learn how to assign a task by email, read the Asana Email Basics section of the Guide.
To unassign a task:
- Select the task
- Hover over the assignee field in the task pane
- Click the X that appears
Mark Tasks Complete
When the work is finished, mark the task complete in one of a few ways:
- Click the check box next to the task in the center pane
- Click Mark Complete at the top of the task pane
- Type the word “Complete” as the first line in a reply to an email notification you receive for the task
Merge Duplicate Tasks
If a task closely resembles another, we’ll suggest that you merge them. If you believe a task has been created before and we don’t prompt you to merge, you can do it yourself. To do so:
- Click the drop down (task action) menu at the right of the task pane
- Select Merge Duplicate Tasks…
- Type the name of the task you think it might be, or if you know the task, enter its URL
- Click Merge Tasks
You will be navigated to the other task (its project will load in the center pane) and you’ll see an Undo option at the top of the center pane.
The tags, followers, and hearts of the duplicate task will be added to the master task. The duplicate task will be marked complete and you will see the word “[Duplicate]” affixed to its name.
We will notify the following people about the merge by email (if they have email notifications turned on) or Inbox:
- The followers of the duplicate task
- The creator and assignee of the master task
Attachments from the duplicate task will not be added to the master task.
Expand a task
To isolate the task pane in order to focus on one task at a time, expand the task.
- Hold Tab and press X on your keyboard, or
- Click the down arrow at the top right of the task pane and select Expand
- Press Tab+X again, or
- Click in the area outside the task pane, or
- Click Exit Full Screen in the upper right corner of the task pane, or
- Press Esc on your keyboard
When to Assign a Task
Assign a task to the person who can take the task to its next step or who can drive it to completion.
Consider assigning a task back and forth, in a process of equal collaboration, as steps of the task get completed. Add comments like “Assigning this to you for review” to help direct the process.
If the task is small, the assignee should be the person who can most effectively complete it.
Consider assigning the task to an owner to drive it. They can then assign subtasks to get smaller components of the job delegated and done.
If you’re assigned a task that is not actionable - it’s a long term goal, reminder, or reference point - consider marking it as Later to hide it from view.
We currently allow one assignee per task or subtask.
When task ownership is unclear, confusion and hesitation can inhibit task progress.
Here are some of the techniques we use instead of multiple assignees.
With subtasks, you can identify the parts of a task each person has responsibility for, and assign those subtasks to their respective owners. This enables each person to see the task in their My Tasks view, while still keeping the accountability for each action with a single person.
Make Smaller Tasks
They can be different to make it clear which part of the task each person owns, or you can just put the person’s name in the task name to differentiate. You can link from each task to the other so that you can easily find all of the information.
We use this technique when we have a task where each person has unique steps for the same product, like the designer coming up with a design, and the engineer writing the code.
Make Multiple Identical Tasks or Subtasks
If you choose to make multiple tasks, you can group them together with a Section or tag to keep them together. For subtasks, consider copying the parent task name into multiple identical subtasks with different assignees.
This is a good technique any time each assignee has to take an action, when you want each person to see the task in their My Tasks list, or whenever you want each person to get email reminders when the due date approaches.
Assign the Task to One Person, Add the Other as a Follower
Followers will receive notifications when added as a follower, when the task is marked complete, and when comments are posted on that task.
You can have people respond on the comment thread when their part of the task is complete, and the assignee can mark the task as complete once all the followers have done their part.
This is a good technique whenever a task is done simultaneously by all the assignees, and for tasks where one person is really the lead but other people have contributions, like reviewing a document.
Assign the Task to Different People During the Task Lifecycle
For example, a task about writing a blog post might start assigned to person who is writing it, and then gets assigned to someone else to review it, and then gets assigned to a third person to post to the blog.