Understanding tasks

What are tasks?

Tasks represent actionable steps or to-do’s to make it clear who’s responsible for what by when—but they can also represent ideas and reference items. If you're used to sending emails every time you need something from a teammate, try a task instead.

For example, you might have a task to animate a video for an upcoming campaign, and another teammate is responsible for staging it. These tasks can be tracked in a campaign management project.

Tasks store all the files, comments, and instructions related to it so information stays in the right place (and one place). Tasks are usually part of a project so they’re easy to find and visible to your teammates. Check out asana.com/apps for more.

How to create tasks

GIF of task creation in Asana

There are three main ways to create tasks:

  1. From the orange Quick add button in the top bar.
  2. From Add task button in a project.
  3. Click into any task list, press enter, and start typing.

You can also create tasks from emails, Slack messages, and other external apps. Asana integrates with top tools to save you time and make it easier to manage your tasks.

Task assignee

Every task can only have one assignee, but it can have many collaborators.

Both a task's assignee and collaborators can view the task, and may edit the task based on the task's permission settings.

The assignee field denotes the person doing the work.

Any task assigned to a user will appear in that user's My tasks.

Task collaborators receive notifications when the task is updated.

The task creator and task assignee are automatically added as task collaborators.

To assign a task:

  1. Click the Assignee field in the task details pane
  2. Begin typing the person's name or email address
  3. Select the person from the autocomplete results

Press Tab+M to assign a task to yourself.

To unassign a task:

Go to the Assignee field and click the X icon that appears

Assign duplicate tasks

If you'd like to create the same task for multiple people, you can easily assign multiple tasks to individuals or an entire team in your organization.

To assign multiple copies of a task:

  1. Click the Assignee field in the task details pane
  2. Select Assign duplicate tasks from the drop-down menu
  3. Choose from the list who you are going to assign a duplicate to
  4. Click Assign duplicate

You will receive a notification at the end of your screen saying x was duplicated successfully.

Assigning copies does not assign the original task to multiple people; it creates multiple copies of the task and assigns them to each person.

Task collaborators

Become a collaborator on a task to stay informed on the following changes:

  • An attachment is added to the task
  • A new comment is posted on the task
  • Someone likes the task
  • When the task is marked complete

To add a collaborator to a task:

Click the + button beside Collaborators to add or remove collaborators

Collaborators will receive inbox notifications and can receive notifications via email depending on their settings.

If you are getting notifications for a task that you are no longer interested in, you can remove yourself from the task collaborators.

To leave a task:

Click the Leave task button

How to remove a collaborator:

From here, you can either:

  1. Remove a collaborator by hovering over their name and clicking the X icon
  2. Add a collaborator by typing their name or email and selecting them in the autocomplete results

If you @mention another person in a task's description or comments, they will automatically be added as a collaborator on the task.

Task tips and best practices

These tips teach you how to create a great task and how to respond to tasks assigned to you.

Creating a great task

  1. Write clear, actionable task names. For example, you might want to say “Complete first draft of blog post” versus “Blog post.”
  2. Assign the task to yourself or a teammate. Tasks have only one assignee so there’s no confusion about who’s responsible for the work.
  • You can break up a task into subtasks if multiple people need to contribute to its completion.
  1. Add a start date and due date to show a task’s duration and final deadline. Teammates can budget time on the task more effectively and know when it’s expected.
  2. Use the task description to give more details, instructions, or context to the task, so the assignee has all the information they need to start and finish the work. You can mention a teammate or a project, format your task description with rich text, and add insert media from places like YouTube and Figma that will appear as an interactive preview in the task description.
  3. Attach any needed files. Asana integrates with Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and Box to make it easy to attach files from the tools you already use.
  4. Some tasks might depend on other work being finished first. Set task dependencies so work happens in the right order, at the right time.
  5. Finally, you can add collaborators to the task (it’s like CC'ing them on an email.) They will receive notifications about any activity on the task. You can add or remove collaborators at any time.
  6. When you've completed a task, click the checkmark next to the task name. Post a comment so teammates know what you achieved.

You can also create milestones to represent major project goals - like hitting a revenue target, or major pieces of work that unblock the next phase, such as confirming an event site.

To create a project, task, or subtask?

Lots of customers have this question, and the answer is usually that it simply depends on what you're trying to achieve, and how you want to see information. Check out our framework below, along with a few pointers to help you choose the right way to go:

IMAGE of Asana hierarchy from organization to team to project to task to subtask with examples of each

Create a project...Create a task...Create a subtask...Examples
Effort levelIt's a large effort with a group of stakeholders working towards a goal over time, or you want a central place to track work.You're trying to capture a singular to-do for one person that can be achieved within a few minutes or work days.Multiple people are contributing to a task’s completion to help you divide and conquer.Project: Editorial calendar
Task: Publish blog
Subtask: Gather customer quotes for blog
ViewsYou want to see the project and its tasks across different views (list, board, timeline, calendar) and report on them with portfolios and dashboard charts.You want the work to be visible in timeline, dashboard, or workload views (subtasks won't automatically show up here.)You don't need to see the subtasks in timeline, dashboard, or workload views.Project: Product launch
Task: Perform market research
Subtask: Write research summary for marketing
ComplexityWhat you're doing has a lot of steps, stages, stakeholders, or layers.You want to communicate with a subset of stakeholders about a specific piece of work (versus the whole project).You're trying to break down a task into more bite-sized pieces. (But if you have more than five subtasks assigned to different stakeholders, make sure it's not a project in disguise.)Project: New Year's campaign
Task: Finalize campaign messaging
Subtask: Review campaign messaging

Responding to and collaborating on tasks

Tasks are meant to be created and assigned by anyone, for anyone in your Asana space. Make collaboration extra tight with these tips:

  • If someone assigns you a task, you can acknowledge it with a like to show that you've seen it and can work on it.
  • If you’re not the right person to work on the task, you can reassign it or start a conversation in the task comments.
  • As you work on the task, provide updates with task comments so task collaborators can respond and follow along with progress.
  • If a comment contains key details or is a final takeaway, you can pin to top to make it easy to find.
  • If you need to draw someone’s attention to a task or comment, use @mentioning. They’ll be notified and can quickly navigate to that specific task. @mentioning someone on a task automatically adds them as a collaborator and sends them an inbox notification.
  • You can also @mention the names of projects, tasks, messages, and teams to connect your work and make it easy to reference.

Type @ in a comment or description field and then the name of a teammate to @mention them

More resources to master tasks

More of a visual learner or want in-depth training ? Check out these resources:

Asana LessonsLearn task basics in 5 minutes
Task video tutorialWatch How to Asana
On-demand task management courseRegister for Asana Academy
Connect with CommunityAttend an upcoming training or start a thread on our community forum about tasks 

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